Robert Morris - Passing the Purpose Test
So, this is our tenth message in the series Dream to Destiny. We've been looking at the life of Joseph. Joseph had a dream when he was 17. He stepped into that destiny then when he was 30 and began to fulfill that destiny for the rest of his life. What I've been saying is that each of us has a dream from God, that God has a dream for you over your life. And God has a destiny for you. But in order for Joseph to be able to fulfill his destiny, he had to pass certain tests that build our character, and that's what we have to do, too. And so, just so you know, if you have failed any of the tests, God is very gracious, and you get to take it over. So that's what's great about it. So, we've been going through these. This is the one where I'm going to help you understand what your destiny actually is and how to know what your destiny is, because some of you are wondering. So, this is called Passing the Purpose Test.
Now, we're backing up a little bit chronologically from last week. Last week, we went to the pardon test, and Joseph was 59 years old. We're backing up 20 years. Now he's 39 years old for the purpose test. The reason is because it's the first time that he's reunited with his brothers. His brothers come to Egypt to buy grain, and he finds out it's his brothers. And they don't recognize him, and then he reveals himself to them. So that's what we're going to read. But I want you to notice how he talks to his brothers the first time after... Remember, now, they sold him into slavery, and then he ends up going to prison, and he's wrongfully accused. And yet how he talks to them, this is what will help you understand your purpose and how to fulfill your destiny. All right?
So, Genesis 45:3 says, "Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph; does my father still live?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold in Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here...’" now watch this, we'll come back to it, "‘...for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will neither be plowing nor harvesting. And...’", here, he says it again, "‘...God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now...’", watch this, "‘...it was not you who sent me here, but God...’" In other words, "You didn't do this to me. This was all part of God's plan". "‘...and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all of his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.’"
So, can you know what your purpose is, and how can you know your purpose? So, I have four points for you this week, so you get a bonus one. All right? So, here's number one. Number one: Believe you have a purpose. You need to believe you have a purpose. Here's the reason you have a purpose: because you were created by a purposeful God, not a purposeless God. Everything God created, He created for a purpose. There's nothing that He ever created that doesn't have a purpose. Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven". Every tree has a purpose. Every animal has a purpose. Every individual human has a purpose. God has a purpose for everything He created.
Now, I have to admit, I don't know the purpose for spiders. I don't know that. My wife, Debbie, does not know the purpose for grasshoppers. I'll tell you why, and I'm just going to be like I am every week. You know how people say, "I’m going to be honest with you". And you think, "Well, what have you have been being"? Okay. Well, I'm honest all the time, and sometimes I think people think, "He might be a little too honest". So we have some land out in the country, and we have a side by side. I brought a picture just so you can see if you don't know what a side by side is. So, it's something, and that was just one day it was snowing, and we went driving around on our land. But you notice the windshield comes open, and you open that during the summer because it gets hot. But when I take Debbie for a ride, I have to use the truck, a four-wheel-drive truck that I have, because she doesn't want to ride in that in the summer because of the grasshoppers.
Now, Josh and I just went out there this past week, and we filled deer feeders. Grasshoppers, they hop on men and we just flick them off. It doesn't matter. When they hop on Debbie or Hannah or Bridgette, they totally freak out. It's like they're being attacked by a gorilla or something. I mean, they go crazy. But for some reason, I'm just being honest. Okay? Is that all right? Let me just do it this way. Let me tell you what Debbie calls the grasshoppers on our land. She calls them perverts, because they jump down her shirt. And I don't know why. I don't know. I don't know. She just goes crazy when this happens. It's just something.
When James was about two or three years old, he came to me, and I know she doesn't like crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, insects. I know she doesn't like them. And so, James came to me, and he said, "Look, dad, trick it". That's the way he pronounced cricket. "Trick it, trick it, trick it. I got to trick it". And so, I said, "Go show your mom. She loves crickets". I was young and stupid, but it was fun. And so he says, "Mom, mom, mom! Look, look, look"! And she bent down like this, and he said, "Trick it". And it went right down her shirt. And James and I got grounded for that. But how do you know what the purpose for something is? You know by the way it's designed. So, this is how you can discover what your purpose is, how did God design you? Because He designed you different than how He designed me. So, I brought something with me, and I'm thinking if we look at the design of it, we might be able to figure out what its purpose is. All right?
So, this is what I brought with me. So, I'm thinking if you set this on the ground like this, and you back up, you could have a ring toss game. So that might be its purpose. If you take it this way and put it down in the ground, it might be a hummingbird bath for hummingbirds. There's something about this that makes me want to do like this. So, maybe it's a giant cookie cutter. Are y’all okay? Would anyone here like some cookies for me to make, use this to make cookies for you? Okay. I'm sorry about this one I came up with, but possibly because it has suction, it could be a cap for bald men that won't blow off in the wind. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I know.
Okay, here's the point. We all know what this is for, right? Okay. And we don't need to go into the details, but the designer had a purpose in mind when he designed this. Is that right? Okay. Your Designer had a purpose in mind for you when He designed you. He designed you specifically to do something that would help other people, and your gifts are designed for that. I was the kid that talked in class, and I was the class clown, and look what I do now. So, God knows. He has a purpose for you. That's what I want you to know. God designed you, and because He's a designer, there’s a purpose. By the way, we know what this is for. So, in the spiritual, if you're a part of Freedom Ministry, this is what you look like. I'm sorry, but that just tells you what I think of demons. You get demons out of people. All right?
So, number one: Believe you have a purpose. Number two: Understand that God is in control. This is one of the greatest truths you can understand. This is what Joseph understood; that God was in control no matter what his brothers did. See, the only person who can stop your destiny from coming to pass is you. Nobody else has control over your life but you. You're the only one. When God designed you to do something, you're the only one that can stop it. And you can get off track, and with God, it's so wonderful, you can get back on track. But here's what he said, verse five. He said, "God sent me". Don't be angry or grieved with yourselves because God sent me. Verse seven, "And God sent me", verse eight, "it was not you who sent me here, but God", three times, here's what he told them, "God was in control of my destiny. You don't need to be upset with yourself. I'm not upset with you".
They sold him into slavery. He became an enslaved person at 17, and then he becomes a prisoner for something that he doesn't do. Don't you think the enemy could have said to him, "You will never be able to fulfill the destiny God has for you because of what someone else did to you". And there are a lot of Christians who believe that. "I'll never be able to do what God called me to do because of what that person did to me or because of what that person did to me". And I'm telling you, whether it was parents or a pastor, abusive pastor, or a spouse; that person cannot stop God's destiny in your life. You need to know that. God is in control. And we know this scripture, when we talk about purpose, but think about this. Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose". He has a purpose for your life, and He's in control.
Here's another good scripture, Isaiah 55:10, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater", watch, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it". You know what you need to know? God has spoken a word over your life, before you were even born. That's what He told Jeremiah. "Before you were even born, before I even formed you in the womb, I ordained you and I sanctified you for a purpose".
I'm telling you, God has a purpose for your life that no one can stop. Do you realize that if you believe that God's in control, you're an optimist? And if you don't believe God is in control, you're a pessimist. I don't know if you ever thought about that, but if you believe God's in control, then you say, you know everything's going to work out for your good. You're an optimist. I don't know if y’all heard about, did you hear about the pessimistic parachutist? So, the sergeant said, "There's going to be this plane. It's going to take you up to about 10,000 ft, and then you're going to jump out of the plane. You're going to take your right hand, you're going to put it on your left shoulder, and you're going to pull the rip cord. If for some reason the chute doesn't open, you'll take your left hand, put it on your right shoulder and pull the emergency rip cord, and then you're going to land in a field about 10 miles from the base, and there'll be some trucks there that'll bring you back to the base".
So, this pessimistic parachutist got on the plane and said to the guy beside him, "I'll bet this plane can't even get up to 10,000 ft". Sure enough it did. So, he jumped out. He took his right hand, put it on his left shoulder, pulled the chute cord. It didn't open. He said, "I knew it. I knew it wouldn't open. I just knew it. I knew this would happen to me". Took his left hand, put it on his right shoulder, pulled the emergency rip cord. It didn't open either. He said, "I knew it, I knew it". And then the last thing that his friends heard him say as he was passing them was, "And I'll bet them trucks are going to be late, too". So, you need to believe that God has a purpose you, and you need to believe that God's in control.
Here's number three: Discover your gift and your direction. This is important to knowing what your purpose is because why would God call you to do something and not give you the gifts to do it? So, it's very important that you understand what your gifts are because those have to do with you fulfilling your purpose. And we have all sorts of tests to be able to help you to figure out your gifts. There are three categories of gifts. There are motivational gifts, manifestation gifts, and ministry gifts. I'm just going to hit the motivational gifts. In Romans 12, there are seven motivational gifts. You can see all seven of these in the life of Jesus, obviously because He's Jesus and He's perfect. But it talks about us being part of the body of Christ, and as the body of Christ, we're only part.
So, each of us has one of these gifts. In other words, there is one of these seven that motivates you. You need to know what your motivational gift is. You need to know what floats your boat. If you want to go back to my parents' generation, you need to know what churns your butter. If you want me to go to my kids’ generation, you need to know what apps you have on your phone. I don't know. I don't really know. Josh, I should have asked you before the service what would have been a better illustration for that. All right. But the bottom line is you have one of these gifts, and it motivates you. So let me go through these.
Romans 12:4 says, "For as we have many members in one body", that's the body of Christ, "but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace", or another way to say that is, the calling that God has given us, "let us use them", and then here are the seven, "if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry", which some translate service, which it is the Greek word diakonia, which means service, "let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness". All right, so I gave each of these gifts kind of a name and a little practical definition to help us. All right?
So, the first gift would be prophecy. I call it the Motivator. A motivator is a person who desires to motivate people to serve God. This is my primary gift. It's not a person who moves as much in the ministry of prophecy or the manifestation of prophecy. This is the motivation of my heart. My heart is to motivate every person I meet to serve God, to love God, to know God. So that's what makes me tick. All right? Second is a Servant. This is a person who desires to meet the needs of people on a practical basis. This is the person that when you finish the meal, and you're sitting around talking, begins to clean the plates up, even when you're in a restaurant. This is my wife. Debbie will begin stacking the plates and pushing, and we're in a restaurant.
And I'm thinking, "I think there are other people who will do that for us when we leave". But she loves meeting needs on a practical basis. The third is a Teacher. This is a person who desires to study and present truths to people. I want you to notice, by the way, all of these have to do with helping people. Whatever your destiny is, it has to do with helping people. This is a person who reads more than one book at one time. This is a person who has not just the basic Bible program, but the advanced one. This is the person who loves the Greek words. So, I function as a teacher sometimes, but that's not my motivational gift.
Number four is an Encourager. This is a person who desires to admonish and encourage people. You can see it in them. I can see these gifts at work so many times. Someone say, "I lost my job". "Oh, you'll get a better job". And then they say, "My house burned down". "Oh, it was old". No matter what you say, they're going to encourage you.
Number five is a Giver: desires to meet needs of people on a financial basis. I have a friend of mine who is very successful financially, and his wife has the gift of giving. And I told him, "You understand, that's why God has blessed you financially, so your wife can give all your money away".
Number six is a Leader: desires to lead people through organization. This is a person who's very, very organized. Pastor Tom Lane is like that. Pastor Tom, I'm going to tell you something about Pastor Tom Lane. Pastor Tom lines his french fries up from larger to smaller, and thinks that everyone else does it, too. When Pastor Tom came here, he said, "Hey, I was just wondering so that Jan and I could get to know you and Debbie better, what if we went to lunch like once a week, every week, you know, what if we went to lunch"? And I said, "That would be great". And I said, "What about Mondays"? He said, "That would be great". And then this is what he said to me.
Now think about the way he thinks, all right? He's got to have everything lined up. He said, "Would you like for me to come up with four restaurants that we do the first, second, third, and fourth Monday, and then I'll come up with another restaurant for the fifth Mondays, four times a year"? I said, "Tom, let's just wing it". You should have seen, his face was going, because I just blew his plan all out of the place. So they love organization. All right? And the seventh is an Empathizer. This is a person who desires to identify and empathize with people. Now, let me tell you something, by the way. Again, we should have all seven. We should at times do all seven. Jesus did. We're part of the body of Christ. One’s going to motivate us, though. But let me just give you a little key here between sympathy and empathy. The more you grow in Christ, the more of an empathizer rather than a sympathizer you’ll be.
A sympathizer means, "I see what you're saying. I see what you're saying. I sympathize with you". An empathizer means, "I feel what you're saying". This is very important because when someone is telling you something that's hurt them, first of all, there are people that don't even see their side. They don't even see it because they're so concerned about something else. But the next thing you need to understand is, as we grow in Christ, you've got to get to the point where you say, "That must have been very hurtful for you. I'm so sorry you went through that". You empathize with them, and there are people who have that gift. So let me just give you a little illustration. Let's say there's a committee at the church, and there are seven people on the committee, and each have one of these gifts. Well, obviously the leader is leading the meeting. Okay? He's leading the meeting. That's what he does. And he brought an agenda, and it's very important that you stick to the agenda. It's very important. The agenda was inspired by the Holy Ghost. All right.
So, the leader’s leading and he says, "So and so in the Church lost his job". Well, the prophecy person says, "Well, maybe he has sin in his life, and we could help him understand what that sin is so we could get that out of the way". He's really trying to help the person, but sometimes it doesn't sound that way. All right? So, the prophecy person thinks that way. The teacher will say something like, "You know, I need to get with him and talk to him because if you'll follow the steps in 1 Timothy 3, then that's how you get a job. There are five steps in 1 Timothy 3, and they all begin with the same letter, by the way".
The encourager is already texting him. He's already texting, "Hey, God's got this under control. He's going to take care of you. You're going to get another one". All right? The giver has already got his checkbook out and he's writing a check to help him, whatever his needs. "Let's find out what his needs are, and let's try to help him through this season". All right? The servant has already left the meeting to go clean the guy's house, and the mercy person is just sitting over in the corner crying. Please hear me. Everyone wants to know, "What's my destiny"? Find out what your direction is, and your destiny will take care of itself.
See, here's what God was saying to Joseph when he was 17. "Your gift is leadership". But He had to work some things out of him so that Joseph could be the leader that He wanted him to be. So, find out, discover your gift and your direction. Let me just show you. And some of you may have heard this before, but about a person in our country, someone in our history. And let me show you a little bit of his history, and it's just kind of interesting, I think. At 22, he failed in business. At 23, he was defeated for Legislature. At 24, he failed in business again. At 26, his wife died. At 27, he had a nervous breakdown. At 29, he was defeated for Speaker. 31, defeated for Elector. 34, defeated for Congress. 39, defeated for Congress again. 46, defeated for Senate. 47, defeated for Vice President. 49, defeated for Senate again. 51, elected President of the United States.
Who is that? Abraham Lincoln, who led our country through the only civil war that we've ever had, and righted the greatest wrong that our country has ever been involved in. God prepared him. But notice how God prepared him. Defeat after defeat after defeat after defeat. You know what He was doing? He was preparing him to fight a war against principalities and powers who were enslaving innocent people. And God prepared him for what He wanted to do.
So, here's number four: Determine your direction and be faithful. So, once you figure out what your gift is, like, Joseph’s gift was leadership, that was his direction, then, to be a leader. Think about this. When he goes into Potiphar's house as an enslaved person, he becomes the leader. He's not waiting. See, here's the problem. Most people are thinking, "My gift is leadership. So, I'll wait for someone to give me a position of leadership, and then I'll lead". No. Lead now, and someone will give you a position of leadership. Lead where you are. That's how you do it. You find out what your direction is. And then when he's not only an enslaved person, he's a leader. But then when he is a prisoner, he becomes the leader of the prison. See, he's already using his gift. So, you find out what your direction is, and you start using that.
Now, here's probably what you're thinking. "Well, Pastor, you're telling me, okay, I have a gift, and I have a direction. But are there specifics to my destiny? I mean, are there specific things God wants me to do"? Yes. Then the next question could be, "Can I know those specifics"? Yes. Then you might say, "When can I know the specifics of my destiny"? Let me tell you when: after you do them. That's when you'll know. You'll look back and say, "Oh, that's what God wanted me to do". Because if God told you the specifics now, it would scare you to death. And He knows that. So, all He did was give Joseph a dream about being a leader one day. But He left out the whole prison part. He left out the enslavement part. He left all that out.
And by the way, think about this, Joseph could have gotten so discouraged and thought that his brothers had thwarted his destiny that he didn't do his direction, which took him to his destiny. I didn't read you the scripture during this series, but it says that one day Joseph noticed, he noticed, that the butler and the baker were sad. And he said, "Why are you sad"? And they said, "Because we had a dream and we don't know what it means". And he used his gift and interpreted the dream, which is what got him out of prison. But here's what I want you to get. If he was so consumed with his own problems, he wouldn't have noticed that someone else was sad. He'd have said, "You think you're sad? I have something to be sad about".
Please hear me. No one can derail you except you. You’re the only one, and the only way you derail yourself from your destiny is to just stop trying and stop heading in the right direction, because you can fail these tests as many times as you want, and God will just keep having you take them over and over again because He's trying to get you to your destiny. Joseph stayed on track. The Lord determines the direction. We determine how far we go. Think about, I was born with a gift to speak. I was born with that gift. But how many people I could speak to and help was determined by how many tests I could pass, and keep myself the right. See, what helped Joseph do what God called him and do was his faithfulness, his purity, his integrity; all of these character issues that God formed in his life.
Let me read you one more thing. This is from the diary of John Wesley. So, John Wesley, one of the greatest preachers in the Reformation and the revival, he came here, started on our shores. I actually was at the place where he would preach, and people would climb these trees to hear him preach, thousands. And he literally, he would tell him, this is what, I was there, and they were telling us this, and this is recorded in history. In his sermons, he would say, "You need to get out of those trees, because when the Holy Ghost comes, you'll fall". This is a man of God, but I want to read you one month of his diary, just the Sundays. Okay? Just the Sunday entries.
And so, in other words, it would be like Sunday the fifth and then the 12th. If you're not good in math, that's seven days later. And then the 19th, and then the 26th. Okay? All right. So, these are actual entries written in his own hand in John Wesley's diary.
"Sunday morning, May 5 – Preached in St. Anne's. Was asked not to come back anymore".
"Sunday night, May 5 – Preached in St. John's. Deacons said, ‘Get out and stay out.’"
The next week, "Sunday morning, May 12 – Preached in St. Jude's. Can't go back there either".
"Sunday morning, May 19 – Preached in St. Somebody Else's".
I like the way he said that. "I can't even remember what saint that one was".
"Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't return".
"Sunday night, May 19 – Preached on street. Kicked off street".
Next week. "Sunday morning, May 26 – Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow because bull was turned loose during service".
"Sunday morning, June 2 – Preached at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway".
"Sunday night, June 2 – Preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came to hear me". Because he knew what his purpose was, and he was faithful. I'm telling you that God has a destiny for each of us to fulfill. And you don't have to know what that destiny is. You just have to figure out what the direction is and start heading in that direction. And God will take care of all of the details, because God's in control. He's in control.
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. And every week we ask the Holy Spirit the same question. That is, "What are You saying to me? God, what are You saying to me through this message"? But I also want to remind you that in just a moment, we're going to have a time of prayer where you can come forward at the campus or the Gathering. I know some Gatherings have this available and some don't at this time, but wherever you are, and you can just agree with someone. I want you to know that you're not a big, bad sinner if you come and ask for prayer. No one's going to look at you as, "That’s a sinful person," because we all need prayer. Some churches have this as the time to join the church.
We're not asking you to come join the church. We're not asking that. We're just simply saying we're here, and we're available. If you need prayer, we want to pray with you. And Scripture says, if two of you will agree, if you'll just agree with just two of you, it'll be done. So, if you have any prayer request, I'm encouraging you, in just a moment, when we open the altars, that's what we call this at the front, the altar, I want you to just you just step out from where you are. Don't be embarrassed. Please don't ever be embarrassed at church to pray with someone, and just come and just come to one of the leaders at the front and just say, "I need prayer". And just let us pray with you. All right? And ask the Holy Spirit throughout this week. "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"?
Lord, I want to tell You thank You that You have a dream and You have a destiny for each of us. And I pray, Lord, that we would discover the gifts and the direction that You have for our lives, and that we will begin walking in that direction and we’ll be faithful so that You can fulfill Your destiny and Your purpose in our lives, in Jesus’ name, amen.