Intro: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” ― Robert Bryne. It is important, even essential to life for something – to find purpose in life.
I. The Importance of Aim: We need to formulate a purpose, an ambition, or an aim to drive us. Many young people fail because they “shoot from the hip”, living one day at a time, and never decide on a purpose to their lives. From whence should that come?
- economically – to have more money and get financially secure, or to eat every day.
- socially – to establish happy relationships, develop a good family, to be happy
- physically – to live longer, be healthier
All of these arenas provide viable sources of ambition or purpose. But they are all inferior in at least one important respect – They are restricted to this life – have no purposeful result beyond this life, and cannot prepare us for anything beyond. The wise preacher Solomon was given the ability to seek purpose in the many human endeavors of this life (wisdom, accumulation of wealth, pleasure, even benevolent deeds, and his conclusion is rather despondent: Eccl 1:13-14 – And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Where can we find purpose that reaches beyond this life, our life? At the end of Solomon’s investigation he presents a final conclusion: Eccl 12:13-14 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
A. Compare his words with the counsel of another “preacher” of God –the apostle Paul: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
1. Paul told these Christians that he longed for what was beyond this life, when he would live in a new house (tabernacle), with the Lord, not away from Him. Not only did he desire this, but he said he was prepared for this by God Himself. That is our hope was well.
a. Paul also tells us why he is prepared for what is beyond this life.
II. The “Ambition” of Being Well-Pleasing to God – 2 Cor. 5:9 “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”
A. “Therefore we make it our aim…” The word translated “aim” is from a compound word that means to “act from a love of honor. Strong adds the comment that it means to be “eager or earnest to do something” – makes me think of the stories my uncle told of young men who left school and even their homes to enlist in the army in WW2 to defend their country.
1. Lenski paraphrases vs. 9 as “We love it as a point of honor , ever to be well-pleasing to the Lord – not only to do what He says, but to have him take pleasure in us and in all we do.”
B. “To be well pleasing to Him…” The Christian has the privilege of being well pleasing to God. Heb 13:20-21 – Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (NKJ) The Christian has no greater goal in life than to be pleasing to God. – This purpose transcends all other aspirations.
1. This “aim” is all-encompassing. It must involve every part of our lives – without compromise. Col 3:17 – And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Jesus’ aim was tested with increasing intensity. He was tempted to not see it through to the end – and he realized that the disciple’s faith would be tested in the same way – Mark 14:38 –“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.” So often we compromise on this goal – I want to please God, but… (I would lose my job, I love her & she loves me, I’ve lived this way for so long…etc)
2. It is a matter of deliberate choice – It requires settled convictions based on knowing God’s will. We must learn to discern what is right & wrong. Phil 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” We must recognize that we will not accidently please God.
a. Jesus as our example – John 4:31-35 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (NKJ)
III. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” – Paul justifies his choice of purposes by referencing the coming judgment of God. – 2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”. The purpose of our lives is also found in our own accountability – Accountability toward God. We are motivated to be pleasing to Him, because He holds us accountable for how we live.
A. The term “judgment seat” means a tribunal or judicial bench. We will all appear before Christ to be judged. Jesus stated in John 5:26-29 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
B. The word “appear” in 2 Cor. 5:10 means to reveal or make known. This references not only our personal appearing (no one will be absent from this appointment) but also all the truth about us that will be brought into the open when we stand before this judgment seat. Nothing will be hidden. Heb 4:13 – 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. There will be no favoritism, but everyone will judged by the same standard. Albert Barnes says “The good will have no wish to escape the trial; the evil will not be able.”
C. Christ will judge us according to what we have “done in the body”, or in this life. Paul’s use of this terminology may have been to counter the popular idea at that time that what was done in the body could not taint a person’s inner spirit. This heresy is also seen in the view that a person’s intentions or belief is all that matters.
1. But Paul’s statement certainly tells us that this life is all we have (while we are in this body) and then comes the judgment. Heb 9:27 – 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
D. We will receive according to what we have done, whether good or bad. There is an inherent morality in our choices. What you do is good or bad. The right of Jesus to judge us in the end implies His sovereignty over the matter of right and wrong now. His word is the final word on what is right and wrong.
Conclusion: That then is the purpose for which we live – our aim is to be able to appear comfortably before Him. 2 Pet. 3:10-11 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”
- Who can stand before the judgment of God? Rom 3:10 – 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Without Christ’s sacrifice I could never have this hope.
- But because Of Christ I can have a true purpose to my life. I can be well pleasing to God. Matt 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
- He has shown me the way in His own life of obedience and covered my failures in His death. “He that believes and is baptized will be saved”