Finding Your Purpose

 

 

The Bible is very clear as to what our purpose in this life should be. 

Men in both the Old and New Testaments sought for and discovered life’s purpose.

 

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, according to scripture, discovered the futility of life when it is lived only for this world. He gives these concluding remarks in the book of Ecclesiastes: 

13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). 

 

 

Solomon says that life is all about honoring God with our thoughts and lives and keeping His commandments, for one day we will stand before God in judgment. Part of our purpose in life is to fear God and obey Him. 

 

Another part of our purpose is to see life on this earth in perspective. Unlike those whose focus is on this life, David looked for His satisfaction in the time to come. He said, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." (Psalm 17:15). 

 

 

To David, full satisfaction comes on the day when he awakes (in the next life) both beholding God's face (fellowship with Him) and being like Him.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”. (1 John 3:2)

 

In Psalm 73, Asaph talks about how he was tempted to envy the wicked who seemed to have no cares and built their fortunes upon the backs of those they took advantage of, but then he considered their ultimate end. In contrast, he states in verse 25 what mattered to him:

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”.

 

To Asaph, a relationship with God mattered above all else in life. Without that relationship, life has no real purpose.

Paul talked about all he had achieved religiously before being confronted by the risen Christ, and he concluded that all of it was like a pile of manure compared to the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus. 

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8)

 

 

In Philippians 3:1-10, Paul says that he wants nothing more than to know Christ and “be found in Him,” to have His righteousness and to live by faith in Him, even if it meant suffering and dying. Paul’s purpose was knowing Christ, having a righteousness obtained through faith in Him, and living in fellowship with Him, even when that brought on suffering “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Ultimately, he looked for the time when he would be a part of the "resurrection from the dead.”

 

Our purpose in this life, as God originally created man is to

  1. Glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him 

  2. Have good and healthy relationships with others

  3. To work

  4. Have dominion over the earth, but with man fell into sin, fellowship with God was broken, relationships with others are strained, work is often frustrating, and man struggles to maintain any semblance of dominion over nature. Only by restoring fellowship with God, through faith in Jesus the Christ, can purpose in life be rediscovered.

We glorify God by fearing and obeying God, keeping our eyes on our future and knowing Him intimately through a true relationship. We enjoy God by following His purpose for our lives, which enables us to experience true and lasting joy—the abundant life that God desires for us is actually beyond mans comprehension.

Isaiah 64:4

4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

 

1 Corinthians 2:9

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

 

Notice first that in Ephesians 2:10 Paul says, ”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. 

 

 

God calls us to a purpose—to do good works—“tailor-made” just for us. And He gifts us with all we need to accom­plish that purpose through the gifts of the Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

 

Secondly, God doesn’t play games with your life. He wants you to reach your full potential, and He provides the means for you to discover how.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8).

 

Third, receive the assurance the Lord gives in Philippians 4:6–7“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

God gives us peace as we ask for direc­tion . . . thanking Him for all we’ve learned through the hard times.

 

Fourth, we must understand that the spiritual gifts of the Lord belong to Him, we must yield these gifts to His service, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) these gifts are given without repentance, meaning they are not taken away, even if they are used outside of Gods purpose, i.e.; soothsayers, psychics, false prophets. 

(Romans 11:29) - “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

 

We all have different talents and abilities, and we need to make sure our plans align with our aptitude. “ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;” (Romans 12:6).

 

Finally, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15). God has placed people in our lives to serve as wise guides, advisers, and encouragers.

Proverbs 11:14

14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

 

Proverbs 24:6

6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. 

 

 

How to know your service

If you are unclear about God’s specific purpose for your life, spend some time in the week asking God to reveal His plans for you. 

Write your answers to these questions: 

1. What is your passion? 

2. What has brought you great joy in your work? 

3. How could you best serve others by fully using your God-given gifts, talents, and skills? In other words, consider your talents, and how they align with the areas of service as described in- Romans 12:4-8

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

Once you’ve made this determination, ask God to prepare you to fulfill the purpose to which He has called you. Your outlook on life will change as you achieve the purpose God has set for you. And as you pray, these additional steps will help you identify your specific God-given purpose:

 

Step One:

Evaluate which situations have brought you success or failure, excitement, boredom, fruitfulness or frustration. 

God uses all our experiences—whether positive or negative—to steer us in the right direction. “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21).

 

Step Two:

Look for doors of opportunity to obey God—to do what He has called you to do today. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” (Isaiah 1:19).

 

Step Three:

Wait for God’s timing. Typically, we want our marching orders NOW! But sometimes God is grooming us for better things—not yet in place. So He tells us to wait patiently . . . serve Him faithfully . . . where we are currently. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” 

 

Step Four:

Define the essential goals that will help you achieve your purposes— goals that are: 

  1. Specific and reachable

  2. Not dependent on others for success

  3. In line with God’s will

  4. Set deadlines for com­pletion. 1 Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order”.

 

Consider what God says about you directly “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

Remember! No one who has ever lived or is living now, or will ever live, can accomplish your unique purpose. This is something only you can do . . . something only God can do through you. 

 

 

Connect Your Office - The Five Fold Ministry Offices

Ephesians 4:11-13: 

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

13 till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 

 

 

 

APOSTLES

The word Apostolos appears seventy-nine times in the New Testament (ten in the Gospels; twenty-eight in Acts; thirty-eight in the Epistles; and three in Revelation). 

 

The vast majority of these occurrences are found in Luke-Acts (thirty-four) and in Paul’s epistles (thirty-four), and refer to those appointed by Christ for a special function in the church. 

 

Their unique place is based not only on having witnessed the resurrection, but also on having been commissioned and empowered by the resurrected Jesus personally and directly to proclaim the gospel to all nations.

 

In the New Testament, Apostles is applied to Jesus as the Sent One of God 

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;” - Hebrews 3:1

 

To those sent by God to preach to Israel (Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: - Luke 11:49 

 

To the individuals who had been appointed by Christ to preach the gospel of the kingdom. 

“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.”-Philippians 2:25

 

 Luke-Acts uses the term "Apostle" to refer almost exclusively to the Twelve, while Paul uses the term in relation to a broader group of individuals. The expression "all the apostles" in

1 Corinthians 15:7 “After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles”.

Include more than the twelve referred to in verse 5. “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”

 

James is considered here, and in Galatians 1:19“But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother” to be an Apostle. Barnabas is referred to as an Apostle in Acts 14:14, 11:22-24 ; 13:1-4. Paul calls Andronicus and Junias apostles in Romans 16:7 - “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me”.

 

In this broader sense, an Apostle was a witness to the resurrection of Christ, sent by Jesus to make disciples of all nations. Nonetheless, the specific requirements to be an Apostle can only apply to the dispensation of those who lived during the time of Christ. In this requisite the appellation of Apostle today does not apply.

Acts 1:20-26

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. 

 

 PROPHETS

The first person in the Bible to be called a prophet was Abraham, the “Father of the Faithful.” It is important to notice also, that it was God who gave him this title. The account is found in Genesis 20:6-7

6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

 

A prince had taken Abraham’s wife, and God commanded him to restore her, saying of Abraham, “he is a prophet.” (the Hebrew word is “nabi” as it is also in Arabic). There were other men before Abraham who were prophets, Enoch was one, (Jude 14) but Abraham was the first person to be designated a prophet by the clear Word of God directly. Many God-appointed prophets came after Abraham. 

 

They were chosen from many walks of life. Moses was adopted in infancy by an Egyptian princess and received a prince’s education. (Exodus 2:5-10; Acts 7:21-22.) Ezekiel and Jeremiah were priests as well as prophets. David was first a shepherd, then warrior, King, poet and a prophet as well. Amos was a herdsman (Amos 1:1). 

 

Elisha was a plowman (1 Kings 19:15-21). Daniel was a government administrator (Daniel 2:48). God chose His prophets from diverse backgrounds. Their influence and authority did not come from their rank, education, wisdom or wealth, but entirely from the fact that God chose them to be His messengers. 

 

A prophet is defined as one appointed by God Himself to be His messenger. Now we must examine the Bible to expand this brief definition. Notice first that God chose His messengers.

1. To reveal the nature and attributes of God to men - Deuteronomy 5:4-10

2. To make known to men the laws of God Exodus - 20:1-17

3. To call the people back to obedience to God’s laws - 2 Chronicles 24:19

4. To exhort the people to sincerity in worship - Jeremiah 7:1-11

5. To warn men of Divine judgment upon sin, both personal and national - Jeremiah 36:30-31

6. To foretell future events which God had willed - Jeremiah 30:1-3

7. To foretell the coming of the Messiah, the Savior - Isaiah 9:6

8. To record the history of God’s dealings with men - Deuteronomy 31:9-13

9. To record the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures - (Exodus 17:14), (Exodus 34:27), (Deuteronomy 31:22-26), (Jeremiah 36:1-2), (Jeremiah 36:27-28), 

This list is not all inclusive, but shows the importance of the work of a prophet. 

 

 

EVANGELIST 

An evangelist is a missionary preacher of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:1, Ephesians 4:11 ). This title is applied to Philip (“And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him”- Acts 21:8), who appears to have gone from city to city preaching the word (Acts 8:4 Acts 8:40). 

 

Evangelists have neither the authority of an apostle, nor the gift of prophecy, nor the responsibility of pastoral supervision over a portion of the flock. They are itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the gospel to places where it was previously unknown. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists.

But Ephesians 4:11 teaches that one particular order of the ministry, distinguished from every other, is singled out by the Head of the church for this work in a distinctive sense. 

 

All may possess the gift of an evangelist in a measure, and be obligated to exercise its privilege 

and duty, but some are specially endued with it. "He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." It is seen that as an order in the ministry, the evangelist precedes that of the pastor and teacher, a fact which harmonizes with the character of the work each is still recognized as doing. 

 

The evangelist typically has no fixed place of residence, but moves about in different localities, preaching the gospel to those ignorant of it before. As these are converted and united to Jesus Christ by faith, the work of the pastor and teacher begins to instruct them further in the things of Christ and build them up in the faith.

 

The name "evangelist" was given to the writers of the four Gospels because they tell the story of the gospel and because the effect of their promulgation at the beginning was very much like the work of the preaching evangelist. In character, the Gospels bear something of the same relation to the Epistles as evangelists bear to pastors and teachers. 

 

 

PASTORS

7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

8 The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit - Jeremiah 2:7-8

 

The office of a pastor in the Christian church has been a role that has been accepted without question over the past 400+ years.  Since the days of John Calvin, church government has consisted of the pastor and the elders, who are elected representatives of the congregation. This governmental structure is almost exclusively pyramid in nature with the pastor as the head and the elder board beneath him. But this is clearly in conflict with the teachings of the New Testament. 

 

An elder is not necessarily an older man, but his qualifications for this office must reflect his maturity and understanding of the word of God - 1 Timothy 3:1-7 

 

Here pastor is listed as one of the God appointed offices in the church, but it is plural “pastors” and rules of Greek grammar demand that pastors and teachers refer to one office. So if we accurately translate the Greek word for shepherds “poimen" and it is one office, more properly Ephesians 4:11 which reads “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; “ 

 

The passage would read “shepherds as teachers.” rather then pastors and teachers

 

The Greek word “poimen” translates as “shepherd” 17 times in the New Testament; below are its various uses:

4 times it is used of literal shepherds caring for literal sheep;

8 times it refers to Jesus as the Great Shepherd of the church;

4 times it refers to leadership of true believers, as either true or false leaders;

1 time it is used of an office in the church.

 

In all contexts, other than Ephesians 4:11, poimen is used as shepherd because God’s people are viewed as sheep of the flock.

 

Scriptures other than Ephesians 4:11 where poimen is used:

Luke 2:8, Luke 2:15, Luke 2:18, Luke 2:20, Matt 9:36, Matt 25:32, Matt 26:31, Mark 6:34, 

Mark 14:27, John 10:2, John 10:11, John 10:12, John 10:14, John 10:16, Heb 13:20, 1 Pet 2:25  

 

 TEACHERS

The spiritual gift of teaching is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:1–12). It is a gift given by the Holy Spirit, enabling one to effectively communicate the truths of the Bible to others. 

It is most often, but not always, used in the context of the local church. The gift of teaching involves the analysis and proclamation of the Word of God, explaining the meaning, context, and application to the hearer’s life. The gifted teacher is one who has the unique ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith and truths of the Bible.

 

Teaching is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. One without this gift can understand the Bible as he hears or reads it, but he cannot explain it as one with the gift can. Although it can be developed, the spiritual gift of teaching is not something that can be learned or acquired, as with a college degree. A person with a Ph.D. but without the gift of the Holy Spirit, any teacher will not be able to expound on the spiritual application of the Bible as one without a degree but having the gift of teaching from the Holy Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 2:12-14

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

In Ephesians 4:11–12, Paul lists foundational gifts for the building up of the local church. The gifts are given for the building up of the body of Christ. In verse 11 teachers are linked with pastors. This does not necessarily suggest one gift, but it does imply that the pastor is also a teacher.

Ephesians 4:11-12

11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”:

 

God gave spiritual gifts to edify His church. Paul instructed the church at Corinth to seek to edify and build up Christ’s church, telling them that since they were eager to have spiritual gifts, they should try to excel in gifts that build up the church (“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” - 1 Corinthians 14:12). 

 

A spiritual gift (“charismata” in Greek) is a supernatural, God-given ability to perform a ministry for the building up of the body of Christ. It is given graciously by God and cannot be earned. While a spiritual gift can be developed, it does require a supernatural ability to exercise it. One of these gifts is teaching. 

 

 Connect your Gifts with the office you operate in

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 

9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 

10 to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 

11 but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 

 

 

Connect your personality type to your service - (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The gifts of the spirit are often given in combination in order for the primary gift of the sir o operate most effectively. As an example, the gift of prophesy is often paired with the word of knowledge, but the primary gift being prophesy. These gifts as they apply to the service one is given, connect directly to ones personality. What this means is that any particular feature of your personality is there for a reason and the gift will follow that personality trait and connect with the gift of spirit for power and capacity and therefore define the service to the Lord. We examine the service and the personality directly.

 

1. The Truth-Teller/Prophesy is brutally honest and speaks frankly without fear of the consequences.  They can’t stand hypocrisy and are very vocal. This combination can sometimes make them tricky to be around, as they may well say something that will upset you!  They simply tell it as they perceive it. 

  • Connects with Teacher, Pastor, Server, Exhorter

2. The Server loves to help others in practical ways, and can consequently be judged as not being very spiritual.  However, that is not the case; they are just in tune with the need to attend to the physical matters of people.

  • Connects with Exhorter, Giver, Mercy 

3. The Teacher is very logical and systematic. He or she is very thorough, and focuses on facts and truth as opposed to feelings.  They love to research matters for themselves, instead of just taking your word for it.

  • Connects with Prophesy, Exhorter, Server, Pastor

4. The Exhorter is keen to encourage others and help people to grow.  For the Exhorter, problems are just seen as stepping-stones to take you higher.

  • Connects with Server, Giver

5. The Giver is passionate about sharing their material and monetary resources with others.

  • Connects with Server, Mercy

6. The Administrator/Ruler tends to be very neat and organized. They take pleasure in coordinating people and projects, and think from a management perspective.

  • Connects with Server

7. The Mercy personality type is concerned about the hurting person, and wants to alleviate their misery as quickly as possible. They are the kind of person that doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

  • Connects with Exhorter, Giver

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