Living on Purpose by God’s Word

This is the second week of our focus on Living on Purpose

We will continue to look at John 15, this time reading from verses 5-8. Before we do, let’s recap what we considered last week:

  • Jesus is the Vine
  • We are Branches
  • Our Heavenly Father is the Gardener
  • We need cleansing from the Gardener
  • We need sustenance from the Vine

Thus, to Live on Purpose is the be fruitful for God’s Glory.

There are three gifts that God gives to His Disciple so that we will live on purpose:

Three Gifts to the Believer

  1. Word (Revelation)
  2. Prayer (Spirit)
  3. Body (Church)

Today, I am looking, specifically, at the gift of His Revelation: God’s Word.

I have books available for every household.

As well, I have a magnet for every household.

Revelation is something that normally is hidden and unseen.

Once it becomes visible, then the knowledge that it holds becomes useful.

ILLUSTRATION

I heard a story about a man from another country.

He was living in the Midwest, and some believers who LIVE ON PURPOSE were reaching out to him.

As they shared with this young man, he spoke about his grandmother, who was 86 years old at that time and lived nearby.

He said, “My grandmother says I should listen to you.”

So, as they reached out to this foreigner, they helped him find the right things that he needed for his university studies.

They helped him with shopping, and other things, because immigrants and refugees need help, just like we all do.

I’m amazed at how many times Muslims helped me to live in Istanbul and to start a church there.

This couple even helped this man during a time of marital problems.

And many times he told them,

“My grandmother says I must listen to you.”

So, the couple asked him,

“Why does your grandmother say you should listen to us?”

He said that he didn’t know. He explained that his grandmother spoke a very obscure dialect from their country, and he didn’t even speak it well.

He spoke another dialect as well as the national language, but his grandmother only spoke a rare dialect.

So, he only understood a little of that dialect, and not enough to even ask her why she had told him this.

One day my friends found someone from that country and learned that they spoke that rare dialect, so they arranged to meet with that grandmother.

And when they met her, they learned why she had told her grandson that he should listen to them.

And I will tell you why a little later in the sermon  🙂

Let’s continue reading where we left off last week:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:5-8

PRAY

These verses speak about all three of God’s gifts, but Verse 7 is significant, and causes me to pause and focus upon the gift of God’s Word:

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.          John 15:7

This verse is about prayer, but more so, it is about living on purpose by God’s Word.

The significance of remaining (aka “abiding”) in Jesus

and having His Word remain/abide in us affects our prayer life.

  1. Remaining in Jesus

Last week I shared that to remain in Jesus is to make use of all three of the gifts God gives to us.

As well, we looked at how they apply to the priorities in our lives.

Priorities in Life

  • God
  • Family
  • Professions
  • Community
  • Church

And we will consider those priorities, again, at our conclusion and how they relate to God’s Word.

But remaining in Jesus means that Jesus invades our lives, and He has his SAY in everything we do, and every aspect of our lives.

We are not called to be monks, and hide away from the world, but we are in the world.

As we are in the world, we need to let Jesus invade the world, with us and through us.

Thus, whatever we do, we do it

  • with Him,
  • in Him,
  • for Him,
  • by Him,
  • because of Him, and even
  • enjoying Him in the process.

We need to invite Jesus to be the leader of our lives, daily.

Remember if we are to be his disciple, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, daily, and follow Him.

FOR GOD’S GLORY

And we do this for God’s Glory!

GOD IS NOT GLORIFIED IN OUR PERFECTION, BUT HE IS GLORIFIED IN OUR RECEPTION OF HIS WORD IN OUR LIVES.

So, whether we are working for the government, or for ourselves, or whether we are retired, a student, or disabled, whatever we do, daily, we are to do it

  • denying ourselves,
  • taking up our crosses and
  • following Jesus.

Not only do we need to ask Jesus to be with us, but we must also consider whether or not we are with Jesus.

We are to remain in Jesus.

Reading God’s Word, is one of the ways that we can remain in Jesus.

By reading His Word, we know Him, better.

But reading His Word is not enough, we must be connected with His Spirit and His Body.

Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you.”

  1. Remaining in Jesus’ Word

The Word of God makes a difference in our lives when we are

  • exposed to it,
  • hearing it,
  • taking it into our lives and
  • allowing it to make a difference.

His Word corrects me.

His Word directs me.

In order to remain in Jesus’ Word, we must be receiving from His Word.

And specifically, we would be receiving from Him, Jesus, who is

  • the Son of God and
  • Savior of the world.
  • Lord &
  • Christ
  • He is the Resurrection and the Life.
  • He is the
    • Way the
    • Truth and the
    • Life

And in the beginning of John’s Gospel, Jesus is described as the essence of all life:

He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.         John 1:2-5

  • From the beginning
  • Through Whom all has been created
  • Life is in Him
  • Light is in Him
  • His Light is greater than Darkness

What was the first thing God did when He created the heavens and the earth?

He created light by speaking it into existence.

In the beginning, His Word spoke the Universe into being.

Today, He wants to speak light into our lives

Into the pain that pulls us down.

Into the sadness that breaks our hearts

Into the depth of our souls.

When a child goes to see a popular movie at the theater, the child often can’t stop talking about the movie for days and days.

I still remember being that way as a child.

People had to tell me to be quiet.

** **

“If you remain in me,” Jesus said,

“and my words remain in you.”

** **

When we have good news, we can’t wait to tell it to someone.

While we have three children, we are physically closer to Grace, since she lives in Henrico.

So, often when I see her, I want to tell her something cool about you guys or something else.

Usually she has to interrupt me and tell me,

“Dad, mom already told me.”

I remember once when I was excited to tell her something, but I asked first,

“did mom tell you about this?”

and when Grace answered,

“no,”

I was so excited that I didn’t know where to begin.

🙂

** **

“If my words remain in you…”

** **

When someone gives their word, they are making a promise,

and if they break that promise, then their name and reputation are damaged.

Jesus promises to be with us.

Illustration

You remember that story I told you about at the beginning.

The friends of mine had found someone who spoke an obscure dialect and they were arranging to meet with an 86-year-old grandmother in order to learn why she had said to her grandson,

“you need to listen to those people.”

The interpreter spoke with the grandmother and asked about it.

The grandmother said that when she was 16 she met a Christian, and was very impressed with that Christian.

And for 70 years, she had never met another Christian.

So, when her grandson met these Christians, that is why she said,

“you must listen to them.”

** **

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you.”

** **

By the way, Turkey is one of the least evangelized nations on earth, and in fact they have what I call “anti-evangelism.”

Many people I met there didn’t know much about Islam, but they knew many arguments against Christianity.

But even though they receive anti-evangelism, the gospel is being shared.

Yet many people that I met with in the few years I lived there had had some sort of exposure to the Gospel.

So, God had placed us there to water seeds that had been planted by others.  

We prayed with some people to repent of their sins and follow Jesus, too

NOW, BACK TO MY STORY

My friends I am talking about were the first Christians to meet that old 86-year-old woman in 70 years.

But because that first Christian made an impression upon her when she was 16, she was ready to listen when she was 86.

And she, soon, repented and began to live for Jesus and serve Him.

She lived to be over 100 years old and shared Jesus with others.

At age 86, she received the Word of God into her life and she remained in Jesus and His word remained in her.

And BECAUSE OF her, churches were planted.

We must let the Word of God dwell in us richly and deeply, and a transformation will take place in our lives!

And it will affect the lives of those around us.

The apostle Paul described the Corinthian church as a letter from Christ.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.             2 Corinthians 3:2, 3

How will we know what God wills if we don’t know His Word?

Even prophets, like Jonah, refused to follow God’s Word.

He was given a second chance.

If we remain in God’s Word, we will know what God is willing and how God is calling us to live and serve Him.

  1. Ask According to His Word

God wants us to ask according to His Word.

Our desires must be shaped by remaining in Jesus in Prayer, Bible Study and in the Church fellowship.

Ask whatever we wish.

Our wishes will change when we spend time in God’s Word.

Our desires become His Desires.

God called Jonah to preach to ISIS. Well, they were called Nineveh, at the time, but they were the violent enemies of God and of Israel.

Jonah didn’t want to do it.

He ran away and caught a ship going in the opposite direction.

A storm arose, threatening the ship.

Jonah confessed that he was the guilty one, and was thrown overboard.

Jonah found himself inside of a fish, and he prayed and God released him.

So, then he commenced with living on purpose.

For three days, he preached throughout the city of Nineveh, and the people responded in repentance.

Nineveh was a hard group of people.

God’s Word can penetrate.

Jonah was a man of God, a prophet of God.

But prophets and preachers can be wrong.

And we need to remain in Jesus and let His Word remain in us.

We cannot afford to be political, but we must all listen to the voice of God, and speak to Nineveh.

Right now, in the world, there are several major religions:

  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Atheism/Secularism

And while many in the West are leaving Christianity to follow other religions, the majority are probably people who didn’t have a relationship with Jesus at all.

Yet, around the world, Buddhists and Hindus are embracing Christianity in the tens of thousands.

And it is reported that Muslims are coming to Christianity in the hundreds of thousands (the Roman Catholic church reports “millions”).

Who would have thought?

The Gospel is attractive to those who are perishing, and many are being drawn to Jesus.

We need to be concerned about those who are coming to faith in Jesus from other religions,

…but we are rightfully concerned about those who come from our own households who are turning away from Jesus and embracing other faiths and even espousing atheism.

How do we reach them?

How do we answer their questions?

How do we answer their objections?

We need to know God’s Word.

As we do this, we will feed our souls and be able to share with them in a way that God wants us to share.

Psalm 1:1-3 says this:

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

So, how does one “meditate on his law, day and night?”

By remaining in Jesus, and letting Jesus’ Word remain in us.

  1. Living on Purpose according to God’s Word

Remember the priorities we looked at last week, and I mentioned at the beginning of the message, today:

Priorities in Life

  • God
  • Family
  • Professions
  • Community
  • Church

How does the Word of God relate to them:

God: I show my love for God by reading, studying and meditating upon His Word.

Family: When God’s Word is the final authority in our homes, we will prosper (otherwise, anything goes).

But we must resolve to do this.

And this relates to our relationships with our families after we’ve raised them.

Let God’s peace rule our lives and our hearts, and this will affect our families, too.

There can be great opposition, but in time, most will respect us when they know we are acting according to God’s Word since it is a higher standard than anything that the world offers.

Jobs: If we are regularly in God’s Word, then we have something to offer our places of employment that is different than even the world will offer.

Even if we work in a Christian organization, we need to be regularly in God’s Word on our own so that we can discern properly.

People desperately need God’s Word practiced among them.

Community: As Christians, we live in the world though we are not to be of the world.

Let’s bring the Word of God into our communities, and not keep it hidden.

Church: We need to increase our consumption of God’s Word and not decrease.

A church full of discerning Bible readers is what every pastor wants.

Let’s be a church full of people who make an impression that lasts 70 years.

Let us be a church of people who say, we want to give our best, and make this world a better place, by remaining in Jesus and letting His Word remain in us.

Let’s dedicate our lives to remaining in Jesus and letting His Word remain in us.

Let’s Live on Purpose by God’s Word.

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