Title: WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?
Scripture: Acts 1: 1-11
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Overview of the book of Acts (Acts of the Apostles)
- Name:Acts or more specifically, Acts of the Apostles
- Author:Luke (a physician)
- Who was Luke:NOT an Apostle but a companion of Paul
- Year:63 A.D
- Sequence:Written after the Book of Luke
- Key Characters:Peter, Paul, John, James, Stephen, Barnabas, Timothy, Lydia, Silas, and Apollos
Nowhere in the book itself does it say outright that Luke is the author. However, there is plenty of information, both within the Bible, as well as external sources, which confirms him as the author. People sometimes get confused about Luke, believing he was one of the Apostles. He was not an Apostle; he was a friend of Paul (companion).
Luke wrote this book from the perspective of a historian, to record the work of the Apostles. The book provides a model for today’s church.
- Luke reminds Theophilus about his previous book (Gospel of Luke)
- Apostles ask if it’s time to restore the kingdom and Jesus tells them not to worry about that.
- Jesus tells them about the Holy Spirit coming to bring them power. (Promise)
- Jesus instructs the Apostles to be His witnesses all over the world (Mission)
- Jesus Ascends into Heaven
- While the Apostles are watching Jesus ascend into the clouds two men appeared and asked them why they were starring into the clouds. (Get busy, be active)
- Apostles are told Jesus will return the same way he left. (Promise)
Consider these two questions for Wednesday night
- What is your purpose in life?
- What is the purpose of the Church?
What Is Our Purpose Here On Earth?
Before we can consider the purpose of the Church, we should first consider our own purpose in this world. You may have many different purposes in life. As a mother or father your purpose may be to raise a healthy, loving, secure child. As a husband or wife your purpose may be to love your spouse and provide, honor or cherish them. As an employee to your employer your purpose may be to provide an honest day’s work.
As we move forward in this study let’s consider an overall purpose and go a bit deeper. What are your gifts and how do you use them? What are you passionate about?
Jesus Established Purpose
Acts 1: 1-11 records potentially the most important events of the entire Bible. Jesus was born, walked and preached among us, and died on a cross. If that was the end of the story we’d be left to wonder about the truth of who Jesus was. His disciples probably wouldn’t have continued His ministry. They may have even returned back to what they were doing before meeting Jesus. His appearances gave the Apostles the confidence not only to continue the Ministry and spread it throughout the world, but to also go to their deaths defending what they knew to be true. Records show almost all of the disciples died a martyr’s death in distant lands.
What did Jesus accomplish during his resurrection appearances before his ascension?
- ________________________________ Fulfilled prophecy
- ________________________________ Gave his followers confidence
Famous last words:
Last words spoken by a person who knows they are dying often represent what is most important to them. Or in the case of the last two below (atheists) may have been an unveiling of truth.
Actor Michael Landon, best known for Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, died of cancer in 1991. His family gathered around his bed, and his son said it was time to move on. Landon said, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”
Writer T.S. Eliot was only able to whisper one word as he died: “Valerie,” the name of his wife.
Football coach Vince Lombardi died of cancer in 1970. As he died, Lombardi turned to his wife Marie and said, “Happy anniversary. I love you.”
John Wayne died at age 72 in L.A. He turned to his wife and said, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.”
And according to Steve Jobs’ sister Mona, the Apple founder’s last words were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” (Atheists)
Voltaire’s last words, “I am abandoned by God and man! I shall go to hell! O Christ, O Jesus Christ!”. (Atheists)
Last words spoken by Jesus: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
What does the words of Jesus mean to you personally regarding your purpose?
Developing our own Mission Statement
When you think of the words, “mission statement”, often it is associated with an organization or church. Community Church has a mission statement, “Partnering with one another to develop lives full of hope and purpose, as we connect with God, each other, and strive to make a positive impact on our world.”
Mission statements are the reason we exist and are usually formulated in short, one to three sentence statements.
Let’s take a few minutes to consider our own personal, life, mission statement and see if we can develop one that accurately defines our purpose.
What’s important to me? (Examples: Husband, Wife, Career)
What does “the best” look like for me? (Describe your best possible result. This isn’t the time to be realistic. This is the time to dream. Example, I want to bring peace to the world)
What is a driving force in your life or what motivates you? (Examples: Family, Faith, Work)
How do I want to act? How do you want people to describe you? (Think of a few words you would want to come to mind when people think about you)
What is your mission statement?
Mission Statement Examples
“To inspire positive change through teaching and coaching.”
“To create opportunities for today’s youth.”
“To encourage, engage, and equip others to grow in their faith.”
“To positively impact the life of every person I meet.”
“To encourage everyone I interact with on a daily basis.”