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Greg Laurie - God's Purpose For Us

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    Greg Laurie - God's Purpose For Us
TOPICS: It All Starts Here, Purpose

So, I heard about an older man who was speaking to a younger man, and this young man was a law student. And so the older gentleman asked the younger guy, "Hey, what do you want to do when you graduate"? And he said, "Well, I'd like to get, you know, a position with a law firm and make some good money". And the older man said, "Okay, then what"? And then the guy said, "Well, I'd like to get married and have some children and eventually get a good home to live in". The older man said, "Right, then what"? "Well, then I would like to maybe vacation, you know, a little bit more and eventually travel around the world with my wife". "Yeah, okay, then what"? "Well, I guess I would like to pass my money on to my children so they could live a life as comfortable as I've been able to live". The older man said, "Okay, then what"? "Well, then I guess I die". And the older man said, "Then what"? Then what?

You know, we can spend our entire life chasing nothing. It's been said, "If you aim at nothing, you're bound to hit it". And there's a lot of people who are walking aimlessly through life with no real meaning or purpose. I'll tell you "then what," then comes eternity. God created us for a purpose and on purpose. God created you on purpose and for a purpose. There is a purpose for your life. But I read a survey recently that said 58% of young adults report experiencing little or no purpose or meaning in their lives. Is that a description of you? Here's what you need to know. God has a plan and a purpose just for you. It said of David in Acts chapter 13, "He served God's purpose in his generation, then he fell asleep," which is another way of saying he died.

So you have a life you're gonna live on this earth, as do I, and we're here to serve a purpose. So my question for you is, are you serving that purpose that God has for you? You say, "Well, I'm not sure. What should that purpose be"? The Apostle Paul had it right when he said, "My determined purpose in life is to know him and become progressively more deeply and intimately acquainted with him". That's his purpose, and that should be our purpose as well. And we find God's purpose for us in this first book of the Bible. The word genesis means beginning. It's a beginning or creation of something, its starting point. In Genesis, we find the greatest story ever told. The story of Jesus.

In Genesis chapter 3, we have the first Messianic prophecy, the first verse that speaks of a coming Savior that will arrive on our planet. The Bible says, "Christ was crucified from the foundation of the world". And that simply means that God knew man would blow it. God knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the forbidden fruit. And, by the way, if you were in the garden, you would have done the same thing. God knew that we would sin, and God made a provision for our sin. But the book of Genesis tells us the big story. But here's the thing that we wanna start with.

Point number one, the book of Genesis begins with God. So, if you're taking notes, there's point number one, the book of Genesis begins with God, with this simple verse, Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Look up on the screen, let's repeat this together, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". How many of you believe that verse, raise your hand up? Wow, if you believe that verse, it changes everything. If you believe that verse, you'll have no problem with the miracles of the Bible, like the virgin birth of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. You'll have no problem with Jesus walking on water or raising others from the grave, as well, because it all comes back to, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth".

And, if this is true, and I believe it is, and it sounds like you believe it's true as well, if God created the heavens and the earth, then I think he's more than adequate to meet your needs, whatever they may be. Genesis is the ground floor in the foundation of the entire Bible. Without the book of Genesis, the Bible would be incomprehensible. The book of Genesis gives vital information concerning the origin of all things and, therefore, the meaning of all things. So who wrote the book of Genesis? Well, short answer, God did, but God gave it to Moses. And Jesus himself attested to the fact that Moses is the author of Genesis. And, not only did Moses write Genesis, he also wrote Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy at around 1450 BC.

So think about this for a moment. On Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders orbited the moon on Apollo 8. And they became aware of the presence of God in outer space, and they publicly read the first 10 verses of Genesis chapter 1 to a listening world. So let's read now those verses that the astronauts read in space to a listening world.

Genesis chapter 1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. God said, 'Let there be a firmament'", or a space, "'in the midst of the waters, and divide the waters from the waters.' Then God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And so the evening and morning were the second day. Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear,' and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together of the waters, he called seas. And God saw that it was good". There it is, the book of Genesis.

So here's point number two, God is Triune, that is, three in one, one being eternally existing in three persons. Let me say that again, God is Triune, meaning three in one, eternally existing in three persons. In fact, we see the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at work in the creation of all things. In Genesis 3:22 we read God saying, "Behold, man has become one of us". In Genesis 11:6, God says, "Let us go down". And, in Genesis 1:26 we read God says, "Let us make man". Wait a second, who's God talking to? Is this a conversation with angels? No, because we're not made in the image of angels. We're made in the image of God. This is a conversation among the members of the Trinity. Each member of the Trinity exists simultaneously, yet each one is distinct yet perfectly united.

Number three, God is the Creator of all things. Again, Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". The word "therefore created" in the Hebrew is bara, which means to make something out of nothing. Only God can create; only God can call into existence that which has no existence. Now, if I eliminate God, I have a big problem. In the beginning, a mass of gasses... well, where did the mass of gasses come from? For that matter, where did the space come from? That's not the beginning. So, sooner or later, everyone gets around to asking the question, where did God come from? And there's no easy answer for that because God did not come from anywhere. God has always existed. He is self-existent, and he has existed from the beginning.

In Revelation 1:8, he says, "I am the first and the last. I am the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come". Well, wait, I can't understand that. Well, check this out. If God were small enough for your minds, he wouldn't be big enough for your needs. God has always existed. We read in verse 2, "The earth was without form and void". And that's pretty much a describe, a description of our lives as well; before we knew the Lord, darkness filled our life. And God said, "Let there be light. And there was light". And God brought order to our chaos and hope for our hopelessness and light for our darkness.

Point number four, God created all things in six days. God created all things in six days. So verse 5 says, "The evening and the morning were the first day". Now, were these thousands of years or literal days? This addresses the older new earth theories. And, for me personally, I believe they are what they are: days. "Well, how could God do all that in a day"? Go back to Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". With God, all things are possible, that's the answer.

Number five, Genesis gives a broad-stroked painting of creation, not a photograph. So, in other words, the book of Genesis is not a detailed account of creation. If God wanted to give us a detailed account, you could have filled the entire Bible with that. But basically the Lord gives us one page on creation. The focus of Genesis is not to show us how the heavens go as much as it is about how to go to heaven. Let me say that again, the focus of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible for that matter, is not to show us how the heavens go as much as it is there to show us how to go to heaven. However, that is not to say that the Bible is not reliable scientifically.

There are so many things that the Bible said far before the scientists figured it out. It is the Bible that said, "The stars in the sky are innumerable. They're like the sands of the sea". And scientists and astronomers scoffed at such a ridiculous statement because they had counted the stars. But then they developed a more powerful telescope and found there were more stars, and they expanded that number, and then they expanded it again.

And now, with the Hubble telescope and others, we realize there's billions of stars out there, as the Bible said. Scientists tell us there are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Astronomers estimate there are 100 billion galaxies, and each galaxy has more than 100 billion stars, and every one of them was made by God. And the Bible not only says that, but it says that he has named each star. Why do I bring this up? Because, whatever you're facing, I think God can handle it, right? Think about it. Listen, I don't believe in the Bible because science proves it's true. Rather, I believe in the science that the Bible proves is true. My source of truth is the scripture.

Number six, God created mankind in his image. He made us in his image. We're not a highly evolved life form. We're not evolving from animals. We're uniquely created and made by God himself. We are his image bearer. That's not true of any other created thing. Genesis 1:26, "God said, 'Let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. Then he blessed them and said, 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

You know, it's interesting to know, after each thing that God made, he would say, "It is good". But, after he created man, he said, "It is very good," Genesis 1:31. Humans are uniquely made in God's image, as I said. And, I don't know what's going on right now, but people seem to be more obsessed with animals than any time I can remember, you know what I'm saying? And, by the way, I'm an animal lover, but sometimes that's going a little far. You know, we have to take the animals everywhere with us now. The animals are in the car, we take the animals into the restaurant; we push the dogs around in the strollers, right? And now people are on planes, and they have to have their "emotional support animals". They've got their dogs and their cats. But I read that other animals that people have taken on planes, I'm not making any of these up, pigs, ducks, ponies, a pony. I saw a photograph of a pony in the plane.

Look, that plane isn't big enough for the people, much less with a pony in there. Someone else brought a kangaroo. No, I'm not making that up, probably came from Australia, I suppose. But, now, animals are animals, and we have to see them for what they are. But nowadays people treat animals as though they're our children. People will say, "Animals are people, too". No, they aren't, they're animals. Let's appreciate them for what they are. Jesus would talk about how our Father cares about the animals, and the birds in particular, says he knows about every bird that falls to the ground. He even used birds as an example for us, showing us that we don't have to worry. Jesus said, "Look at the birds, they don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they are"? And then he says, "Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life"?

Have you ever seen a bird worry? Have you ever seen a bird pop a Valium? I don't think so. God provides for them, but animals don't seek God. Animals don't sit around and wonder about the meaning of life. I don't think your dog lays around and thinks to himself, "What is the meaning of my life"? And I figure, if a dog had a voice, it would sound something like that. "What is the meaning of my life? I've tried everything this world offers: chasing cats, drinking toilet water, eating roadkill, though I did like that a great deal, but my life is so", dogs don't think that. I know cats don't think that. I think cats think murderous thoughts toward us. But people do think that. From our earliest years, we wonder about the meaning of our lives. And why is that? Because you've been made in the image of God.

And the Bible says, "God has set eternity in our heart". It's like you were prewired to know God. That's why we are that way. So it's amazing to look at God's creation, and thank God for that creation. But there's no one higher than the creation of humanity. After this, God rested; go to Genesis 2, verse 1, "Then the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all of the work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he had rested from all the work which he had created and made".

We'll stop there. So God did not rest because he was tired. That's why we rest. God rested because he was done. It was completed, it was accomplished. In fact, it's a word that is used here for rest, Hebrew word Shabbat, where we translated to Sabbath, and it simply means "cease". God's done, "I'm finished". There's a similar word in the New Testament that is used, and it is spoken by Jesus as he hangs on the cross of Calvary where he uttered seven significant statements. And among those statements was the single word Tetelestai, and the word Tetelestai is translated, "It is finished".

What was finished? His work was finished. He had accomplished what he had come to do: to die on the cross for the sin of the world. And it was accomplished, it was completed, it is finished, and our salvation is finished. Once you believe in Jesus Christ, you don't have to work for your salvation. It's a gift to you from God. So you can rest from the weight of sin, and you can rest from your fears as well, in the hand of God who created all things. Listen to this, this almighty God, this all-powerful God, this all-loving God can certainly handle whatever we throw at him, and we should throw our problems at him. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your care upon him, for he cares for you".

Now, that's interesting, that word "cast," as in cast your cares, means to hurl or to throw violently, like, throw your problems on to Jesus. And we all have problems, don't we? We all have anxieties. We all have things that keep us up at night. Cast them on Christ. In fact, that word "cast your cares upon him" is only used one other time in the New Testament. And that's speaking of when they took that donkey and put their garments on it, and Jesus rode it into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. So, in effect, here's what the Bible is saying, "Cast your cares on Jesus as though he, if you will, was your beast of burden, carrying your problems for you. Let Jesus take your burdens, let him take your trash".

You know, I don't know about how it works in your home, but, in our home, I take the trash out. And I have little cans with wheels. And, now in California, we have 25 separate trash cans. There, you know, okay, this is the recyclable things, and this is the other things, what is it, the landfill? And I stand there with these little bags, I don't know which, what I think. I'm confused. Are they going to arrest me if I get it wrong? And then the trash man shows up, and I'm so glad he shows up because he takes my trash. And if I forget one week, that trash starts piling up. The same can be true of life. Your trash can pile up, your problems can pile up, your anxieties can pile up, your sins can pile up. Hurl them on Jesus. Throw them violently, if you will, on Jesus. "I don't want this stuff in my life".

God can bring a genesis in your life. Again, genesis means beginning. God can bring a new beginning in your life. He can make all things new. We've all done things we regret, we all, we've all said things we wish we had not said. But God can change that if we come to him and bring our lives to him. This Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, this God who has a name for every star, the God who brought this magnificent creation out of nothing, cares about you and he loves you. David was watching over his flock of sheep one day, one night, actually. And he wrote this down in Psalm 8, "When I look at the night sky and I see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you set in place, what are mortals that you should think about them, what are human beings that you should care for them"?

Have you ever just laid out and looked up into the sky? You have to find a spot where you can actually see the stars. But, as you look up there, you just think, "Wow, the God who made all of this cares about me. He knows every star by name. He knows every bird that falls to the ground. He knows every thought that we think. And he's thinking about me". As David wrote in Psalm 109, "I'm poor and needy, yet you think of me". In Psalm 40, we read the psalmist say, "Many, O Lord, are your wonderful works which you've done. And your thoughts toward us cannot be counted. If I were to speak of them, they're more than you could number".

I love that. God's thinking about you. God cares about you. And think about Jeremiah 29:11, of course, right? "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope". Let me come back to that question I raised earlier. Why did God create me? What is the purpose of my life? What is the meaning of my life? The meaning of my life is to please God. The meaning of my life is to know God. The meaning of my life is to glorify God.

I said earlier, "He set eternity in my heart". I'm wired to worship. I was made to have a relationship with God. Of course, that was all lost in the Garden of Eden. And we'll talk about that next time, when Adam and Eve ate of that forbidden fruit. But the point is simply this. I can know God because Christ died for my sin. He came and walked among us as a man, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead. And now he stands at the door of our heart, and he knocks, and he says, "If you'll hear his voice and open the door, I will come in".
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