This morning I will be teaching to about 40 men in an addictions recovery program. I love these guys; they are very open, and very hungry spiritually. I will be going through Ephesians chapter 1, where the main idea is that our salvation is much broader than we usually understand, and also tied into God’s ultimate plan and purpose for the cosmos. I don’t have time or space to replicate that here, but I thought a few of you might find the following excerpt interesting. It’s an attempt to do two things. First, to connect our ultimate purpose with God’s cosmic purpose. Second, to describe our purpose not only in its ultimate form, but in the form of our life on this side of the grave. This may create more questions than answers, but that’s a good thing. Note, this is mainly based on an exegesis of Ephesians 1:3-11 and 22-23, along with parallel passages.
Knowing God’s ultimate purpose
Cosmically: to bring all things under Jesus, united in Jesus, perfected through Jesus, and to do this by means of a new humanity that is in perfect union with Jesus, perfected in the likeness of Jesus, and reflecting the wisdom, love, and power of Jesus to all parts of creation.
Personally: to make you a full part of this new humanity in Jesus, with a perfected body in a perfected New Creation, as you uniquely image Him throughout creation. This implies three areas:
- Perfect union with Christ (and, through Him, with all the Godhead)
- Perfect likeness to Christ
- Perfect imaging of Christ
Finding our daily purpose based on God’s ultimate purpose illustrated
The Matrix of our Purpose
Seeking to make His purpose My Purpose in the Here and Now:
These questions are by no means designed to be a burden; rather, they are a tool for those who desire to grow into God’s purposes.
- To develop and deepen my individual relationship with God, as I partner with Him in removing the roadblocks in my life to a fuller union with Him.
- What are my biggest roadblocks to increased intimacy with God?
- What are some practical ways I can address these roadblocks?
- Who can help me address these roadblocks?
- What keeps me from addressing these roadblocks (what are the roadblocks to dealing with my roadblocks)?
- How can the main problem I am facing right now actually draw me closer to God?
- What one change could I make to grow closer to Christ?
- Will I do that one thing?
- To cooperate with His Spirit in removing those things in my life that are not Christlike, and to seek my unique expression of Christlikeness.
- What habits have I fallen into that I know are not Christlike?
- In what ways has God shaped me to be unique in the way I follow Christ?
- Are there goals (probably subconscious or at least unspoken) that I have in my life which actually draw me away from Christlikeness somehow?
- Am I a little fearful of becoming more Christlike? If yes, what can I do about this?
- What practical changes in my daily routines could I make that would help me become more Christlike?
- Who can help me become more Christlike?
- How can the sin, weakness or failure of (insert name of someone here___________) actually lead me to greater likeness to Jesus?
- To learn how to serve Him according to the way He has gifted me, my station in life, and my unique expression of Christlikeness.
- Do I know my spiritual gifts?
- If yes, what are they?
- If not, what can I do to learn them?
- Because of my life-situation right now, what unique ways can I serve God? Or, are there people that I have a unique opportunity to help spiritually?
- In what ways has God shaped me to serve others in a way that most people could not?
- What areas of wrong or injustice do I feel most angry about?
- What areas of serving others do I get most excited about?
- What would I have to do to serve in one of those two areas?
Based on all that God has shown you, what steps will you make in the days and weeks ahead to live in His purpose?