DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Focus On Your Purpose Not Your Problems
 

I. New Testament Christians understood their purpose

1. Jesus

a. Jesus came to save the world

John 12:47
"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

b. He came to seek and save the lost.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

c. He came to destroy the devil's work.

1 John 3:8
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

2. Paul

a. At once he began preaching about Jesus

Acts 9:20
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

b. He was compelled to speak the word of God

Acts 13:46
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

c. He knew he must testify about Christ.

Acts 23:11
The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."

3. The Apostles

a. They were called to be fishers of men.

Matthew 4:18-20
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
20 At once they left their nets and followed him.


b. Told by Jesus to preach the Kingdom.

Matthew 10:5-7
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.
6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.
7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'


c. They couldn't help speaking about Jesus.

Acts 4:18-20
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."


4. The disciples

a. They preached boldly.

Acts 4:29-31
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


b. They preached where ever they went.

Acts 8:1-4
1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.


c. Be active in sharing your faith.

Philemon 1:6
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

In the first century, a Christian's purpose in life was clear: Preach the word to all mankind. They understood that the whole world was lost and needed Jesus Christ. There was much work to do. Today is no different. But what has your focus been lately? Have you focussed on your purpose or does Satan have you focussing on problems?

II. Satan understands his purpose

a. Satan's purpose is to accuse you before God night and day. And he knows his time is short.

Revelation 12:7-12
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."


b. Don't be unaware of Satan's schemes for you. What schemes he is working out for you? Distractions? Worry? Discouragement? Lack of discipline? Remember your purpose!

2 Corinthians 2:11
in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

c. Are you Mary or Martha? How was your Bible study this week? Prayer? Remember: every week that goes by with poor Bible study makes you weak.

Luke 10:38-42
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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


d. The cares of this life are common. God knows what you need. Are you anxious about your needs or do you have faith and rely on God? Have you forgotten your purpose this week and been too busy seeing to your problems? Make a list of your problems / worries / cares.

Matthew 6:25-34
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


e. These were Paul's problems. How do yours compare? Does everyone around you hear about your problems or your purpose?

2 Corinthians 11:22-30
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.


f. Don't preach your problems, preach Jesus. How can you "renew" your light?

2 Corinthians 4:1-18
1 Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;


What should you always carry around in your body? How can the life of Jesus be reaveled in you? (v7-12)

How does Paul view our daily cares? How does your view differ? How can you achieve your purpose without ignoring your problems? (v13-18)

Practicals

1. Repent. Make your relationship with God top priority.

2. Get Advice. Learn to solve problems as a disciple. Stop worrying.

3. Take Action. Make a plan, then work it.

4. Commit Yourself. Remember your purpose. Trust and rely on God.

Remember

Problems will come and go, but....

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
1 As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.
2 For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.