Beliefs Week 3: God's Purpose for Humanity

Beliefs Week 3: God's Purpose for Hummanity  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good Morning and welcome to the Bridge. I am so excited this morning because this morning we are joined by the Central Weslyan church for their first sunday with us weather it is in person or online. I am so glad that they have joined with us and we can celebrate and worship God’s presence together. Before we dig into the word let’s invite the Spirit of God to fill this place and speak to us through his Word this morning.
Prayer

The Great Question: Why are we here?

From ancient philosophers to young children we all at some point ask this question. Why are we here? What is the purpose of humanity and our existence. I mean think about it for a moment. We love to ask why questions in our lives. It doesn’t matter our age, race, male, or female we all love to ask why. I looked up and here are some of the most asked why questions on google. Remember I am straight reporting what was most searched.
Why is there a leap day?
Why is the sky blue?
Why you always lying?
Why is my poop green?
Why should we hire you?
Why are cats afraid of cucumber?
Why do dogs eat Grass?
Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?
Why do cats purr?
Why did I get Married?
What is our fascination with Cats. I mean seriously its crazy of the top ten three with cats. I should also note that i can think of a time when i might have asked myself all of these questions.

We Ask Why...

In all seriousness we ask why questions because we want to understand and grow and to learn. This is a core part of who we are as humans. We have reason and the ability to think that makes us curious.
It is natural for us to seek answers. This is why this morning we have to ask the question Why are we here? What is God’s Purpose for us?

God Created us!

Unfortunately i wish there was some grand answer in the Bible that just gave us the perfect insight into why God created us. The reality is that the creation story doesn’t share with us the why. Well at least it doesn’t explicitly.
There is no verse that says God created us because he wanted (insert Reason here).
We do know that he created us and that he created us in his image. He desired us to be like him and to be in relation ship with him.
Genesis 1:27 NIV
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Not only did he create us he blessed us above all his other creation.
Genesis 1:28 NIV
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then of course if we look at the rest of the story we find out that despite the fact that we had essentially everything we threw it away and humans screwed up because Adam and Eve both sinned and ever since humans have spent their existence trying to return to relationship with God. It is in this return that we find our new purpose our new intention because of the fall of humanity. We are trying to be in relationship with the creator, to worship and honor God in our lives. It is in this that we find what our purpose is.

The Greatest Commandments

If we are to try this morning to sum up the entire Bible we thankfully do have a few verses that do that for us. This is one example that we do have some very clear instruction of what God desires from us. Let’s look at a couple passages.
Matthew 22:34–40 NIV
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Mark 12:28–34 NIV
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Luke 10:25–28 NIV
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Love God, Love your Neighbor

Three different examples and all very similar in how they were presented. Usually when this happens in the Gospels that means it is something that we should pay attention to it.
Now if i am going to be honest with you i was preparing for this sermon and i kept getting stuck. I kept thinking about these passages and I kept thinking i have preached this too much. I have talked about this too much. If i am honest that is one of the biggest fears of a preacher is the idea that we preach an idea too much. Yet, i knew that this is what God had laid on my heart. I wanted to look at it from a different perspective than i had before though. After a lot of prayer and a lot of asking for God to show me what he had for me in this passage it hit me when i was reading the surrounding passages. Let’s look at what happens in both Matthew and Luke.

Matthew

We read earlier the passage from Matthew 22. We know that this passage is challenging the Pharisees. What is interesting is what happens right after he share with them the summary of the Law. He immediately turns the tables on them and asks them a question.
Matthew 22:42 NIV
42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied.
He challenges them to change their understanding of who the Messiah is and that he is more than they could know. He challenges them to see that the Christ is someone to be honored and loved as more than just the Son of David. He reinforces the idea that we are to Love God.
He follows this passage of scripture up with Chapter 23 where he give the “Seven Woes”
He openly challenges them on how they are preventing people from coming to God. He challenges them about how they aren’t loving their neighbor.

Luke

Just in case the more abstract nature of Matthew wasn’t helpful we also have Luke’s account which gives us an even clearer picture of this.

The Good Samaritan

Probably one of the more known passages of scripture or stories in the world. Even people who aren’t practicing Christians have heard or may be familiar with this story. Yet, I think we should summarize it really quick.
A guy get jumped while he was traveling. Two “religious” people walk by him in the ditch and do nothing. A thrid guy walks by who would be the last person you would expect to stop, sees the beaten man and helps him. Not only does he get him to help he pays for it all and returns later to check on him to ensure he is alright. Which guy do we want to be?
This story that Jesus told answers the question for us of who is our neighbor. He shows us how we are to love. He shows us why this is so important. Yet, this story is followed with a lesser talked about moment that shows us what the most important thing we can do is.

Martha and Mary

This story about Jesus is an interesting one.
Luke 10:38–42 NIV
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Poor Martha is trying to take care of her Neighbor right. She is trying to do all the things that have to be done to ensure that those around her are comfortable and happy. She is taking care of people yet…She misses something.
She misses that the most important thing is not doing the work or even taking care of others it is always God. It is recognizing that we can be in the presence of God.
It was in this story that I saw what God was trying to show us this morning.
We are Called FIRST to love God.
I think this is something that we can easily lose sight of in our world. There is such a push to care for others that we lose sight of the fact that our first command is to Love God. We are to show devotion and commitment to him. It is in him that we find our true purpose. It is in returning and committing ourselves to him that we find our true meaning.
Now don’t hear me wrong. This is not our only command. If we truly love God than the second command is a natural outpouring of the first. However, we must always remember that we first start with God not service to Man. It is an important distinction to make because anyone can be a good person and do good acts what separates us as Christians is that our desire to do Good is born out of our love of God.

The Spirit

I told you earlier that i was struggling with this sermon because i wasn’t sure how we could freshly apply this to today. I saw these passages and i was moved. Then i read another passage that helped push even further through on how we can live out these commands and fullfill our purpose. It is through our reliance on God’s Spirit that we are able to better understand know how we can love God and love our Neighbor.
John 14:23–26 NIV
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Love God, Love our Neighbor

We are called to love God. WE are also called to love our neighbor because we love God. We show love to God by loving our neighbor. It gets dizzying at times to see how we can express our love for God. Yet, the truth remains that WE must love God first and that will show naturally through our love of others.
I thought long and hard about this and wanted to end with how we can show our love for God and for our neighbor.

Mr. Rodgers

Mr. Rodgers is probably the best example i could think of when it comes to a modern example of who our neighbor is. Won’t you be my neighbor? Is such a classic and powerful statement of what we can be. Yet, when i was looking up things about Mr. Rodgers i found a quote from him in an interview that i thought not only applies to how we can show love to both or neighbor and more importantly God.
“If we can be present to the moment with the person we happen to be with. That’s whats important.”
Love of God is about being present with God in the moment. Love of our neighbor is about being present with those around us. We allow God to be present in us and we we show love for others by being present with them. Giving them our attention and care and connecting with them on a deeper level. Let us remember that.
Let’s pray.
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