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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Where Truth Takes Us

Craig Smith - Where Truth Takes Us


Craig Smith - Where Truth Takes Us
TOPICS: The Good Life, Truth

Well, hey, welcome to Mission Hills. So good to have you today. We’re starting a new series today called “The Good Life.” And throughout this series, we’re actually going to have people sitting in this chair telling us how God has changed their understanding of what the good life is and what it looks like to pursue the good life. But I thought before we hear from anybody else, it’d be good if we kind of all put ourselves in the seat. And so, I would encourage you to take a moment right now as we begin this new series to just ask yourself this question, which is, what comes to mind when you think of the good life? When you hear the phrase “the good life,” what kinds of things come to mind? What does it consist of? In fact, I’d encourage you to take a moment right now to answer that question, maybe even write down a few things that come to mind. I promise you, I’m not going to make you share that list with anybody, okay? So, this is just between you and you actually. So, you don’t have to give the church answer just because you’re in church, right? You don’t have to say, “Oh, you know, reading the Bible is the good life,” or whatever. Okay?

Now, when you hear the phrase “the good life,” what actually comes to mind? What does it consist of? I encourage you to take some time right now to write a few of those things down. I think it’s really easy for me, at least, to fall into thinking about the good life the way the world teaches us to think about the good life, which is mostly that the good life consists of a bunch of good things that we get for ourselves, right? So, it’s all kinds of good things we can get for ourselves. One of the first things, obviously, we can get for ourselves would be cold, hard cash, right? It’s often sort of the foundation. I think, of the way we think about the good life, but it’s not just money, right? It’s not just a good bank account. I mean, there’s also things like, you know, houses, right? And you’re going to see here why I’m not a graphic designer. That’s not bad, right? That’s another good thing. I mean, the houses that we live in, we kind of want good versions of those, right? How about this one? It’s a little trickier. Oh, come on. That’s not bad, cars, right? Cars are certainly part of the good life or, you know, the… How about this? Fashion. Come on, clothes. Clothes we wear, that’s part of the good life. Oh, no, we got things like degrees we get. The education we get, that’s part of the good life, right?

I don’t know how to draw a degree. I’m going to just draw one of these weird little hat things with the tassels, right? You’re wearing the hat and grad… Anybody? It’s degrees. Trust me. It’s degrees that we get. It’s the educations that we get. Oh, and then, you know, obviously, there’s careers. Career is part of the good life, right? I have no idea how to draw a career, so we’ll actually just write the word career. It’s not just all stuff, though, right? There’s also relationships, right? We all want to have a good relationship, so, you know, we want to have that person that we can marry and share life with, and so they’re holding hands right there, right? So, we got our relationships. All right. Or maybe it’s kids, right? Or maybe it’s grandkids. That’s part of the good life. So, we get our relationship and another person is in our relationship, and there’s a tiny person, right? We got our kids. Oh, boy.

Well, thank you. This is part of the problem, though, with the good life that consists of all the things that we get for ourselves, the good things, and there’s nothing wrong with any of this. This is all good stuff, but when the good life consists of the good things we get for ourselves, there’s kind of a little bit of a balancing act that goes on, right? Plus, if anything comes along and takes one of those things away, then our experience of the good life gets diminished. Or if we don’t quite make it to one of those things, we never quite experience the good life. And then, of course, some of those things, if you lose them, it all comes crashing down, right? But what if…? What if the good life didn’t consist of good things we get for ourselves? What if…? Because it doesn’t consist of good things we get for ourselves, what if the good life couldn’t ever be diminished? What if it couldn’t ever be taken away from us? And what if we could experience it fully even if we never got all of the good things the world tells us make up the good life?

That’s what we’re going to talk about in this series, God’s version of the good life. Now, the only place to go for instruction on the good life as God defines it is the Bible. It’s written by a good God who invented life and wants for us to have a good one, a good life. But there’s one book in particular, that has kind of a laser focus on the good life, and that’s the Book of Titus. So, if you want to grab a Bible and start making your way to Titus, I’d love you to join me. If you’re not familiar with Titus and if you’re looking at an old-fashioned physical Bible, you’re going to find it about here close to the end. If you come across the Book of Hebrews, a little bit bigger, you back up. If you come across 1 and 2 Timothy, also a little bigger, you go forward. And it’s a small book nestled between 2 Timothy and the Book of Hebrews.

As you’re turning there, let me just say a couple of things you need to know about the Book of Titus. The first is that it’s actually a letter. It was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to kind of his problem solver, his troubleshooter, a man named Titus. Every time we see Titus in the New Testament, he’s basically being sent off to solve some problem in some church somewhere. And I think the problem with being a good problem-solver is people just keep coming up with worse and worse problems for you to solve. And that was apparently Titus’s main role in the early church. Paul sent him into places that had problems. Now, in this particular case, Titus was going to an island called Crete, an island off the coast of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea, and it was an island that was well-known and had a reputation for having problems. The culture itself was well-known for having problems.

In fact, as we go on in the series, we’re going to see some of the things that were problematic with the culture, but the real reason that Titus is there because it’s not just that he had problems in the culture, but some of the problems from the culture are invading the church, and some of the way the church is functioning has actually become impacted negatively by the problems from the culture. And it’s interesting the church always faces a particular kind of tension. We have to be in the world because we have the good news for the world, and you can’t share the good news for the world if you’re completely out of the world, so we got to be in the world. At the same time, we can’t allow the problems from the world get into the church. Sometimes we use the language we say we have to be in the world but not of the world, and it’s a delicate balance that we maintain, and in the particular case of the churches on the island of Crete, they weren’t maintaining the balance very well. They had allowed problems from the culture to get into the church, and it was taking the church off mission, and so Paul has sent Titus to fix that and to get the churches back on mission. And one of the biggest problems that had invaded the church was the culture’s conception of what was the good life. And so, the whole Book of Titus really is about helping people understand how God defines the good life.

Now, Titus 1:1 begins this way, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Just stop there for just a quick moment because I want you to pay attention to the way that Paul has introduced himself here. He’s not just introducing himself to Titus. Titus already knows who he is. He’s really introducing himself and Titus to the congregations there on Crete. And Paul identifies himself in two ways. He says that he’s a servant of God and that he is the apostle or an apostle of Jesus Christ. And what I want you to notice is that there’s a posture and a position there. There’s a posture and a position. The first thing he says, he’s a servant of God. That’s not a position. That’s a posture. It’s a posture of humility. He’s identifying himself as a servant who was there to serve, right? That’s a posture. It’s a posture of humility. It’s a posture of being a servant. Interestingly enough, it’s exactly the same posture that Jesus himself had. Mark 10:45 says… This is Jesus’s own words. He said, “For even the Son of Man,” that’s his favorite title for himself, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So, even Jesus, the Son of God himself had the posture of a servant. His approach to the world was in order to serve others. And I think it’s important to notice that Paul identifies himself as having the same posture before he goes on to introducing his position, which is he’s an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Now, understand that that is an exalted position. It’s a highly respected position. That word apostle, it literally means a sent one, and it was used of a very small group of people in the first century that Jesus himself had personally commissioned to go and basically to plant churches, which became the foundation for all the other church work that’s gone on throughout the centuries. Every other church that’s ever been planted or every other church that’s ever existed has been built on the foundations of these apostles basically established because that’s what Jesus commissioned them to do. And so, there was a limited number of those guys, and so because of that, it was a very respected position. By the way, you’ll every now and then in the modern world hear somebody in a church refer to themselves as an apostle. I don’t personally think that’s a good thing to do. I actually think there was only one generation of apostles. Again, they were directly commissioned by Jesus. But the reason I think sometimes people use the word apostle is because it’s got a little bit of flair to it, right?

I mean, Pastor Craig is fine, but the Apostle Craig, like, that pops, right? It’s got a little bit more oomph to it, and I think that’s the reason sometimes people use that title today because it’s a respectable position. It’s a respectable title. And I want you to understand that Paul is using it that way. He’s using it as a title worthy of a certain amount of respect, but what you need to understand is his goal isn’t to lift himself up. His goal is actually to set Titus up for success. Does that make sense? He’s identifying himself as an apostle only for the purpose of introducing Titus as his right-hand man as Titus has basically come under the direction of an apostle to do the work that Paul has asked him to do there in Crete. And so, what he’s really doing is he’s giving Titus some of the tools that he needs to get the job done because he’s got big problems to face and he’s going to need some clout. He’s going to need some influence. He’s going to need some credibility to accomplish what Paul has sent him here to do. And so, he introduces himself as an apostle, not in order to lift himself up, but in order to set Titus up.

But even so, I want you to notice that that’s not what he led off with. He didn’t lead off with his position. He led off with his posture, “A servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.” And I think that’s probably at least partly why Paul is such a great leader because he had the posture of a servant before anything else. In fact, there’s probably an important principle in that, kind of a bonus truth for today. Listen, never give someone a position of leadership if they don’t have the posture of a servant. You hear me, church? Don’t put somebody in a position of leadership and influence over you or over others if they don’t first have a posture of a servant willing to serve others. It’s interesting during this pandemic, obviously, the airlines have been really hard-hit and they’re all scrambling, and they’re all trying to make cuts and layoffs, and all those kinds of things. And it was interesting in the midst of all that, I saw last week that the CEO of Southwest Airlines, my favorite airline, by the way, he made an announcement that he would not be taking his salary in 2021 in order to cut the costs of the airline and not have to lay anybody off.

And I thought, “That’s actually a guy who probably belongs in that position.” He probably belongs in the role of CEO. He belongs in the role of a leader because he clearly has the posture of a servant. Never put somebody in a position of leadership unless they have a posture of servant because otherwise, you’re giving them power without the posture of a servant and that always leads to pain. Always. It’s true in the church. It’s true in business. It’s also true in our families. So, for those of you out there that are kind of in that process of finding your spouse in life, I want to suggest this is a principle to pay attention to. Don’t give that person a position of influence over your life for the long haul if they don’t first have the posture of a servant. It’s what makes Paul so effective. It’s what made Jesus so effective. He uses power to serve. So, he says, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.”

What Paul is doing here is he’s identifying his mission. He’s saying, “My mission, my whole purpose in life is to further the faith of God’s elect.” And I love the way the NIV translated it there, “to further the faith” because there’s a sense there that it’s not just…I’m not just going to deepen the faith because that can imply that, you know, you’d get deeper roots. That means you stay in the same place. To further the faith implies I want to make your faith more profound so that you go further with it, so that you live more effectively on mission with Jesus. We say here at Mission Hills all the time that we’re about helping people become like Jesus and join him on mission because Jesus didn’t say, “Come follow me and I’ll book some rooms at the local Marriott and we’ll hang out for a while,” right? He said, “Come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” That’s mission. And so, Jesus is communicating something through Paul about what all of us do in life. We follow Jesus on mission. And so, Paul says, “My goal, my whole mission is to further your mission, to further your faith.” Now, it’s interesting in the process of doing that, he talks about furthering the faith of God’s elect. And that’s an interesting phrase. Here’s a couple of things you need to know about that phrase God’s elect.

First, you need to understand that it’s referring to Christians. It’s referring to the followers of Jesus. Secondly, you need to understand that it’s a term of endearment. Basically, it’s saying, you know, God’s chosen people. So, the followers of Jesus are God’s chosen people. And then the third thing you’re supposed to understand is that it’s meant to inspire confidence. The point is, as God’s chosen people, we can be confident that God will be faithful to us. We can be confident that God will bring true his promises to us. We can be confident that God will never abandon us. It’s intended to inspire confidence. Now, if you’ve been around the church, well, you may be aware that that phrase elect is also tied to phrases like predestination and things like that, and so you may be aware there’s a little bit of a debate in the church about what makes them God’s elect. Did they become God’s elect when they said yes to following Jesus, or did God elect them, which is why they ended up saying yes to following Jesus?

Now, this is a very simple debate. It’s not complex at all. It’s been going on for about 2,000 years now because it’s not simple, actually. It’s very complex. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time dealing with it today. Two reasons. Number one, it’s actually very complex. And number two, in the Book of Titus, actually, Paul actually warns us about getting caught up in endless debates that take us off mission. And I’ve seen that this debate can become one of those debates. It’s a fine subject to discuss, happy to discuss with you, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it today. Here’s the bottom line that I want everybody to understand. God will never say no to anyone who says yes to following Jesus. Are you with me, church? God will never say no to anyone who says yes to following Jesus. If you’ve said yes to following Jesus, you’re God’s elect, okay? And if there’s something stirring in you that you’re thinking about becoming a follower of Jesus, it’s because God is working in your heart and he’s drawing. He wants that to be true. And when you say yes to following Jesus, God will never say no to you, okay? And you can be encouraged by that.

So, he says that he wants to further the faith of God’s elect, of his chosen people, and he says, “And to further their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” I love that. He says, “I want to teach you some things, but I only want to teach you things that are going to actually help you to become more godly.” It’s interesting. In other of his letters, Paul writes that knowledge can puff up, meaning, you know, you can get a lot of knowledge about God and end up being arrogant about it. You know, if you feast on enough knowledge, eventually you have to let out the belt because you’re all bloated but you’re not actually doing anything with it. That’s what he’s talking about. And here he says, “What I’m going to do is I’m going to feed you but I’m going to feed you so that you have fuel for the mission. I’m going to feed you so that you can move further into God. And so, I just want you to know some things. I want you to know the things that are going to help you to become more godly.” And when he says that, he’s actually setting the foundation for an important theme that we’re going to see over and over again in the Book of Titus, and that is the theme of the good life. He’s laying the foundations right here in every single section of the Book of Titus. As we move forward, you’re going to see he builds on this foundation.

So, here’s what you need to understand about the good life. Number one, the good life is the godly life. The good life is the godly life. The good life is not the life that consists of accumulating all these good things for ourselves and trying to keep them stacked up and protected. No, no, no. The good life is the godly life because God himself is good. In fact, we only know what good things are because they line up with who God is. Why is telling the truth good? Because God tells the truth, and when we tell the truth, we line up to who God is. That’s good because it’s godly. Why is keeping our promises good? Because God is faithful. He keeps his promises, and so when we keep our promises, we line up with God who is good. That’s godliness. It’s also goodness. They’re equivalent terms. And so, the good life is the godly life. Then the second thing we need to understand is that God is all about giving. One of his defining characteristics is as a giver. He gave us life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” He gave his own Son. In the Book of James, we’re told that he’s the giver of every good and perfect gift. God is a giver. He gives good things to others. That’s who he is. So, if the good life is the godly life, that also means, number two, that the good life is all about giving good to others.

Listen, this is so important to understand because it requires a reorientation of what the world has been teaching us from the moment that we entered into it. See, the world says that the good life is all about getting good for ourselves, right? It’s, “Oh, you need a little bit of this and you’re definitely going to need some of this, and it’s only if you get this and get a little bit more of this that you’re beginning to experience the good life,” okay? The world says the good life is all about getting good for ourselves, trying not to lose it, but God says that the good life is all about giving good to others. You with me? This is foundational to everything else we’re going to see throughout the Book of Titus. The world says the good life is all about getting good for ourselves, but God says the good life is all about giving good to others. And I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be honest. When I came to understand that that was the good life that God wanted for me of giving good others, there was a little part of me that went, “Ahh” because I want good for me too, right? Like, I want to experience the good life and this idea that the good life is all but giving good to others there’s a little part of us that goes, “Well, then when do I get mine?” Right? “When do I get mine?” Plus, honestly, the idea of living a life that’s all about giving and serving others, that sounds exhausting. And I’m already tired. This has been a long…Anybody else…? This has been a long season for you? And you’re really glad you came to church today, right? I’m so glad I came. And then Craig is going to tell me that I just need to give more, and more, and more. And it’s a little hard sometimes maybe to find the motivation for that.

And I want to say something. The good life as God defines it is impossible to live without one foundational thing being true. That’s what Paul says next. He says, “In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” He says, “I’ve come to further the faith to help them live on mission. I’ve come to give them the knowledge that will lead to godliness in the hope of eternal life.” And a couple of things you need to understand. First off, you need to understand that the word hope, as Paul was using it there, doesn’t mean what we often mean by the word hope. In our culture, we often use the word hope to talk about…really, it’s wishing, right? Like, I really wish that this coronavirus had come to an end. So, I really hope we’d say, you know, the vaccine will be out by Thanksgiving or by Christmas. I really hope that it just goes away all by itself. Though what we’re really saying is it’d be really nice if this thing happened. I don’t really know if it will or not, but I really hope that it will. We kind of use it as that sort of wish. And that’s not what Paul means.

When Paul talks about the hope of eternal life, what you need to understand is he’s talking about confidence. He’s talking about the certainty of eternal life. He says, “I know it’s going to happen. I’m just waiting for it, and in the meantime, because I know what’s going to happen, I can focus on these other things.” And he says there’s two places where that confidence comes from. He says, first off, “The God who does not lie.” God would not promise something he’s not going to deliver. He has promised to turn alive to those who put their faith in his Son, Jesus, and so we can be confident it’s going to happen. And secondly, he says, “This was promised before the beginning of time.” He says, “Basically, this was God’s plan all along.” God didn’t come up with the offer of eternal life as a secondary option. This was the plan for you and I from the very beginning. He says, “God always intended us to have the good life.” God always intended us to have the good life filled with love, and joy, peace, blessing, and significance. And I want you to understand this. If you have ever looked around at life and gone, “Is this all there is?” In the midst of running after things the world says you got to have to have the good life and maybe succeeding maybe failing, if you’ve ever had this moment where you went, “Is this really what life is all about?” What you need to understand is what you’re feeling in that moment, the discontent you feel in that moment isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a very good thing. What’s happening is you’re responding to something about the way that God wired you. God wired you to experience the good life. It was his plan for you from the very beginning. He wanted you to have a life that was filled with love, and with joy, and with peace, with blessing, and meaning.

All those things God designed you for and the longing that we have for the good life is actually a longing that’s been built into us from the very beginning. The problem is that since Adam and Eve sin, since we began to rebel against God by our own sin, we got separated from God, and because of that, we don’t experience the good life as God intended it, but the longing is still there. The desire is still there, and so what happens is we’re like, “Well, I know I need something,” and so we go looking for something. And here’s an important truth to understand. In the absence of what’s real, we settle for what’s ridiculous. In the absence of what’s real, we settle for what’s ridiculous because we’re longing, and so what happens is we’re like, “Well, I know I’m missing something, so maybe it is this, or maybe it is this or maybe because that hasn’t done it yet, maybe it’s this and I still don’t feel it, so I guess maybe it must be this. Also, maybe it’s this.” And we’re constantly struggling after these things. And again, they’re good things. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but the idea that these provide for us the good life, that is ridiculous.

God always intended from the very beginning. He intended you to live the good life filled with good things. What Paul says here is this idea of living a godly life, living a life on mission of giving good to others, that’s only possible when we know that the good life, we all long for is coming, right? What he says basically here is it’s our confidence in the good life that’s coming that enables us to live the good life now. Our confidence in the good life that God has promised and always intended for us, our confidence that we’re going to have that is the only thing that enables us to live the good life here and now. In other words, knowing that the good life is ours means that we can stop chasing after the imitations of the good life that the world offers us. We’re free at that point. We’re set free to begin living the good life as God intends it, a life of giving good to others. And he says this, he says, “And which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.”

What he says is, “I know the good life is coming to me because God has fulfilled his promise,” meaning that in the life of Paul, he’d actually seen, during his lifetime, the Son of God, Jesus. He’d come. He’d lived a perfect life. He died on the cross to pay for our sins. Three days later, he rose from the dead to prove he had defeated death and sin, and that eternal life was an actual possibility if we would trust in him. Paul had seen all of that. It had come true and he sees it, and so now he says, “I know that that’s coming. There’s no question in my mind. It’s not just a wish that maybe someday I might have the good life as God defines it,” but no, he says, “I know it’s coming, and because I know that what’s coming is so much better than all the imitations the world has to offer, I’m free. I don’t have to run after these things anymore. I’m free to help other people understand the good news that leads to the good life that God always intended us to have.” In other words, what was coming changed his perspective of what is. What was coming gave him the confidence to begin living the good life in the here and now. It’s interesting.

It’s interesting. Some of you know for a couple of years my youngest daughter struggled with chronic abdominal pain, and we saw all the specialists. We read all the books, we read all the web articles and all that stuff trying to find things and nobody could figure out what it was. We had gotten to the point that the doctors were just beginning to say, “I guess we should just prescribe opioids to your teenage daughter, and that’s just how she’ll live the rest of her life.” It was horrible. And we were frantically looking for options and praying for options, and God led us to a specialist. And I’ll be honest. We went to that specialist with a little bit of skepticism, just one more specialist. We sat down and she came in with some X-rays that they’d taken, and she goes, “Oh, yeah, here’s the problem. Yeah, she’s got a vein that’s supposed to bring all the blood back from the lower body and it’s just way too constricted. We seem to go in there, put a stint, and she’ll be fine.” We were like, “Wait, what?” Yeah, we can fix this. “All right. When do we do the surgery?” And unfortunately, we had to wait six weeks to do the surgery. But it’s interesting during those six weeks, we lived differently.

During those six weeks, like, we relaxed. We didn’t spend those six weeks constantly scouring the web for possibilities, making phone calls, and trying to set up appointments because we had hope. Not we wish, but we had some confidence of what was actually coming, and it changed the way that we lived during those six weeks as a family. We had more fun in those six weeks than we had had in the previous two years. That’s what Paul is talking about here, in the hope of eternal life, in the confidence eternal life is coming that the good life that God always intended is actually going to be mine for sure and forever, it changes the way I think about this life right here right now. And now, I can actually focus on not trying to gather all these good things for myself. I can focus on giving good things to others. And that’s what he means when he says that God has brought this to light through his preaching. He says, “My mission now is to shed light on this good news that leads to the good life that God always intended.” He says, “My mission is to give good to others,” and what greater good do we have to give than the good news that leads to the good life that God always intended us to have and promises is ours in Christ? Paul says, “I’m focused on that now.”

And I think it’s important that we recognize that he’s not just talking about his mission here. He’s talking about all of our missions. As followers of Jesus again, we don’t just follow Jesus to hang out with Jesus. We follow Jesus on mission. We all have this mission of shedding light on…of bringing light so the people can see this good news that leads to the good life that God always intended people to have. And that’s ultimately what the good life is right now. Throughout the Book of Titus, what we’re going to see is specific talk about what it means to lead that good life. We’re going to see specific instruction on loving what is good, doing what is good, of being saved by Christ to do what is good, of not being distracted from doing what is good. We’re going to see all kinds of instruction on that, but what you need to understand right here as we begin the study is this, it’s foundational. The good life is a missional life. The good life is a missional life that’s focused on giving good to others. And there’s no greater good that we have to give than the good news of the good life that God always intended us to have and through Jesus Christ. It’s not only possible, but it’s a certainty. The good life is a missional life.

So, here is the question I want you to ask yourself as we really begin this series. I ask you to think through, like, when I think of the good life, what kinds of things come to mind? And here I’m going to ask you to do this now. Where do I probably need to change some of my thinking about what the good life is? I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve been in vocational ministry for 27 years now. And, by the way, I always say vocational ministry because the moment you say yes to Jesus, you say yes to ministry. Every one of us is in ministry. Every one of us is on a mission to share the good news of the good life that God always intended us to have. I’ve been in vocational ministry for 27 years, though, in paid ministry for 27 years, and even so, I still find myself on a regular basis going, “But this is kind of part of the good life, isn’t this? Right?

You know, if I just also add these things in…” And the thing is that when I begin to add these things into my thinking of the good life, it’s so awesome that they kind of begin to eclipse the true good life. They take over. And I’m telling you, I’m being honest with you. I struggle with this, and so I know that you do too. We all do. And the question is, where do we struggle? We need to identify those places where the world’s version of the good life needs to be toppled so that we can replace it with God’s version of the good life. So, where do you need to change some of your thinking? The good news is that you can ask God, and the Holy Spirit will actually begin to transform the way you think about the good life. So, spend some time wrestling with that. Where do you need to see some changes in your thinking about the good life?

The second question is this. What’s something I can do to start living more on mission? What’s something I can start doing to live more on mission? If the good life was a missional life, then how are you engaged in your mission? You know, Paul preaches. You may not be called to preach. It may be acts of kindness or generosity. It may be in your work situation, maybe the relationships that you have with all kinds of people. All the different ways that we live really set the stage for the truth, the hope, the good news that we have to give. But the question is, are you thinking through that? Are you living with the missional mindset? And you should be.

So, my encouragement is start doing something that’s more mission driven. You know, there’s group link weekend. Maybe you’re not part of a Life Group. I would encourage you to become part of a Life Group this weekend. Our Life Groups are all about helping people discover community, grow in their faith, and live on mission with Jesus. So much easier to live on mission. You have other people around you who are living on mission, so if you’re not part of a Life Group, maybe you do that. Or maybe you begin serving in some area. You have some people in your life that God is calling you to reach out to to build a relationship with, and that relationship becomes the foundation of the good news that you have to give about the good life that they were called and intended to live. But what can you do to start living more on mission? We’ll see some practical stuff throughout this study to help you do that but begin thinking about it right now.

And the last question is just this. Do I have the hope of eternal life that makes the good life possible now? Remember the good life that Paul saw him as not possible without the hope of eternal life, without the confident expectation that the true good life is coming. So, we don’t have to look for the ridiculous versions the world offers us. That’s not possible unless you have a relationship with God through faith in what Jesus did for you. And if that’s you who recognizes it right now you don’t have that hope of eternal life, maybe you’ve been trying to be a good person, maybe you’re not sure what it looks like, and you know you don’t have that confident expectation of eternal life, I want you to have it today. You can have it. You can have that confidence today. Here’s how. I’m going to ask everybody to close their eyes and bow their heads. If you’re listening to this and you do not have a relationship with God through faith in what Jesus did for you, if you do not have the confident expectation of eternal life, here’s how you get it. You’re going to say yes to following Jesus because that’s the only way. So, just right now, have this conversation with God. Just repeat this after me to the Lord. Say:

God, I have done wrong. I’ve committed sin. I know I’m not ever going to be good enough on my own. Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sin. I believe you rose from the dead and that you’re offering life, eternal life, the eternal good life. You’re offering me forgiveness, freedom, hope. Jesus, I want all of that, and so I’m going to receive your gift today. Jesus, I commit my life to following you. Jesus, I put my faith, my trust in you. Jesus, I’m saying yes to following you. I’m yours for now and forever. Amen.

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