Christian Life: Christ’s radical view of the Meaning of Life
There are two questions I want to deal with from the teachings of Christ. The first isÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Is there anything really worth living for? Could I ever make a difference?
Have you ever asked anyone?
Have you ever asked anyone what do you live for? What is your life about? What’s the purpose of your life? What kind of responses do you get? I’ll tell you the most common one I get. “I don’t think about that stuff, man.” Or some variant of it. “I’m too busy thinking about what I’m going to do this weekend!” This topic makes people feel uncomfortable. Why? (Because they don’t think there is a good answer to those two questions. They’re afraid of the answer to those questions.) What do you do when you think there might not be anything really worth living for? What do you do when you think in the back of your mind that you may not be able to make a difference? You set your sights lower! Example: Let’s suppose you’re a girl here. And you want to go out with some stud, like Ben. But you think that probably Ben won’t notice you. So, instead you settle for someone like Uriah or Gabeÿ.ÿ.ÿ. This is what people do about meaning in life. Why is the whole culture agreed on the fact that there is nothing better to do than have fun? Example: If I told you, “I guarantee you can have worldwide impact, impact that will last for eternity!” How many people would say, “Well, I don’t know if I’m interested in that. I think I’d rather just have fun.” Only a fool! Example: I have wanted to have fun in this life. Anyone who knows me knows that. But if there’s been anything I’ve prayed to God on a consistent basis since I was your age or younger it was, “God, I want my life to count for something. Please God, let my life matter!”
We’re not worthy (Luke 5:4-11)
I want to talk about a vision, a purpose in life from the words of Christ. This story comes at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry when he called the disciples to follow him. I kind of want to go to the end of the story first and see what these guys did (read v.ÿ11). There’s something here Luke wants us to see. He emphasizes it. He doesn’t just say they followed him. Yeah, sure they followed Christ. What he emphasizes is they left everything and followed him. What was it about Jesus’ call that they said, “I’m going to leave everything and follow this guy?” And the story is given more punch by what comes before (read 4-10). These guys were fishermen. I don’t know if any of you are serious fishermen, but I am. There’s the kind of fishing it seems most people get into where you put a worm on the bobber and sit there all afternoon, which was something I could never understand. And it’s why I never even bothered fishing until I was about 22 or 23. Then this guy gave me this book about how to hunt for fish. It introduced me to the idea that there is a way of fishing that is very aggressive?hunting and stalking the fish, not waiting for them to come to you. These guys knew about all that. They were pros. And when they got into a big haul of fish like this there was a double thrill. They were not only saying, “Whoa! This is the big catch boys!” They also knew this was big money. They were pulling up hundreds and hundreds of dallars worth of fish. You know these guys were whooping and holleringÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Look at Peter’s reaction. “Go away from me, for I am a sinner!” What does this mean? Is this a reaction you would have? I can picture myself there. I might go up and say something like, “Jesus! You are the best! Thanks a lot!” But Peter comes up and saysÿ.ÿ.ÿ. Why? (He doesn’t understand why God has blessed him in this way. He doesn’t think he is worthy. He’s just a regular guy, a fisherman. And who is he to be blessed in this way?) Can you see the connection here to our second question? Inside all of us is a fear that we are unworthy. Especially when it comes to the question ofÿ really making an impact in this life, there is the fear that we can’t, or won’t be able to. And it’s a realistic fear. We are sinners. We are small. I am just one small person in this huge world. But the reason you can make an impact is not because of something about you. It’s not because you are worthy. It’s not because you are great. It’s because God wants to bless you. That’s the only reason. That’s good news. If you had to be good enough to be blessed by God, we’d be in trouble. If you had to be gifted enough to make a huge impact, the odds are still against you. But because it’s God who says, “Come here, I want to bless you,” then all the sudden it’s possible! It’s realistic! I want to turn now to what Jesus said that made these guys leave everything and follow him.
Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you’ll be catching men!” First he says, “Don’t be afraid.” Any ideas on why he said this? (Because it was a fear that Peter was expressing. It was the fear we’ve been talking about that everyone shares, “I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough.”) But Jesus says, “I know what you’re thinking. And I’ve got more for you than these fish. I’m going to turn you on to catching humans!” Here is an interesting idea?catching humans. Let’s talk about that some.
The hook: The gospel
Just a quick poll of ideas here, what do you think it means to catch humans? Evangelism is not the only issue. What does your memory verse for today say? Does it say to evangelize people? No it doesn’t. It says to disciple them. It’s great to see someone receive the free gift of forgiveness. What could be better? Example: We were talking about that last night. Imagine someone you shared the gospel with, meeting that person in heaven! There’s meaning in life right there!
But there’s more. When he says make disciples of people he’s talking about shaping their life. People need help. People need to change. People have problems. People almost never amount to the potential God sees for them. That’s why Christ used the term “disciple.” It speaks of taking someone and teaching them to have their whole life shaped by Christ. Let’s just get a visual of how we do that here (chart of conversion to commitment).
The exciting part
Here’s the exciting part. I told you that you could have worldwide impact in this life. But none of you really believed me. Let’s suppose you did this with someone once every 5 years. Not an outrageous number. Then after those five years you both did it with someone else. And after the next five years all four of you did it with someone elseÿ.ÿ.ÿ. After 50 years you would have impacted 2048 people. Very possible many of these people would be in different churches, different cities, different parts of the world by the time you die. Example: Already I’ve had the priviledge of having input with people who are now working for Christ in other parts of the country and even the world. I am blown away that God let’s me have that kind of impact. I’m just a regular guy! I’m not worthy! There is something worth living for.
Here’s what I want you guys to consider: Do you want your life to really count for something or not? If Christ said, “Come here, I want to shape you and turn you into a person who could have worldwide impact that lasts for eternity,” would you come? Would you leave everything? There’s no doubt about the fact that God will ask you to give things up. This isn’t a casual thing like going out to a picnic. Count the cost. Weigh it against the other options. And then tell God, “I want my life to count.”