Being In Line with God's Purpose

When God created man, He created us with a purpose - to have fellowship with Him. Too often we find ourselves drifting from our divine purpose. Like a car that drifts out of its lane when we’re not paying attention, so we drift from what God has designed us to do. We become distracted and in need of a realignment.

We look at Acts 1:1-11 today to examine how we easily drift away from God’s purpose to be his witness in the world.

3 Things That Distract Us From Our Purpose

1. Waiting for God to do something. There’s a lot to worry us these days. Finances, health scares, family drama, all these can cause us to become worried while we wait for God to do something. Being overwhelmed can cause us to be distracted from God’s truth. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.” We worry, too, about what God is going to do about all our our concerns. We get anxious because God has told us to wait.

In Acts 1:4, Jesus had commanded the disciples “Not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father.” When God tells us to wait, it isn’t a passive waiting. It’s an active waiting and anticipatory waiting, a seeking kind of waiting, a waiting that says, I'm going to wait. Like just like you open the door for someone and you wait for them to walk through that. God, I'm going to wait on you. I'm going to let you go first. I'm going to let your voice lead me first, be the loudest voice in my life. I will wait actively on you.

Verse 4 goes on to say, “ You have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but your shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Jesus was preparing the way for the Holy Spirit.

2. We want to meet God on our terms, not His. When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, they had an idea of where God would be and what He would do. They expected a political takeover and a removal of the Roman government. But that wasn’t Jesus’ plan. In Acts 1:6, the disciples respond to Jesus by saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Sometimes we’re like the disciples. We want God to do something. We treat God like a genie or a vending machine. But that's not God.

His thoughts are his thoughts and his ways are his ways. And they're higher. He has a mind of his own. That's part of the beauty, actually, that he gets to take care of hundreds and thousands of years of purpose and we just get to trust him. But we have to be willing to meet him on his terms, not ours. He has good plans for you, I promise. It's in Scripture, but they might be in a different place than you're looking at. If you're so focused over here, you can't see what he has for you.

3. We want to stay in the feel-good moments. Sometimes God wants to change your situation. He may be telling you to come down from your spiritual mountain and put His plan into action. In a previous sermon, I defined faith in a message called Do Stuff. That real, genuine faith is not a set of beliefs that we check the boxes we agree with, but it is beliefs that we agree with. It changes how we live. Not perfectly, but it changes how we live. It changes how we prioritize our life. That faith includes action that we weren't just meant to come on a Sunday to feel good with God once a week for an hour and not let it change our Monday, or Tuesday, or our Friday night. We want to stay in our holy huddle. We want to stay with the same friend group for a decade and never invite anyone new in. We want to do the spiritual things that make us feel good and not the ones that stretch us and use our spiritual gifts and are involved in pouring out. We tend to drift towards comfort.

In Acts 1:11, the angels tell the disciples, “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” I believe they were saying, ‘Go and get to work.”

Our Divine Purpose

The work the disciples and we, are called to do is what Jesus said in Acts 1:8. “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.”

This is your purpose, telling people about Jesus. These are concentric circles that go out. It's meant to create a picture, an image. You will be my witnesses. You see, this is a role change for the disciples. They had been students under a rabbi, a great teacher. And now Jesus is saying you're going to be witnesses under the Spirit. A great advocate, a great guide. You see, it's it's transitioning us into the era of being witnesses under the spirit. And it's an era we are still in. It's our calling, not just theirs.

Next Steps

  1. Spend time with God. The more time you spend with Him in Bible reading and prayer, the more your affection for Him will grow.
  2. Be in community with other believers. Look at how the disciples formed a close group of twelve. They did life with Jesus in community. They are our example.
  3. Trust God to finish what he started. When the world feels dark, when the world feels heavy, when you feel like you don't know where God is and why is there so many bad things happening, leave the darkness to him. He will redeem it. It's not in this lifetime, but he's coming back and he will. And until then, may we be found witnessing.