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Life lesson #2: Why Am I Here

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(10/31) 26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28)

"Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory;

I have formed him, yes, I have made him." (Isaiah 43:7)

As a child or a teen, I didnít lay awake at night wondering about the great questions of life like, Who am I, or Why do I exist? Like most kids my age at the time. I went to school and worked hard when I was home, and lived for the free moments and Sundayís when I could play ball, or fish, or hunt. Sundays were my only free time, as my dad would rest that day, after the sweetcorn orders were filled. My cousin Frank Bauerlein and I would often turn the beagles loose and hunt rabbits on Sunday, or ride the back roads and look for pheasants. But I digress.

Shortly after high school, Debbie and I married and started a family. Childhood dreams faded fast. As I look back I wish there would have been someone to mentor me and tell me how to be a husband and a father. I went from pimples to being a parent very fast. My dad taught me how to work hard and so I did. To provide for a wife and child I worked as many as 3 jobs at a time to provide for a new family.

I remember reading a bumper sticker that said, "Life is Tough, Then You Die." Really? Is that it? You just tough it out, survive, then die? There was a singer back in the 50ís and 60ís named Peggy Lee that had a big hit song called, Is that all there is? And that was my question. Is that all there is?

I discovered that, that seemed to be a big question in my time. People were asking, "Who am I, Why do I exist, What is the meaning and purpose of life?" By the way, Evolutionist have no answer. To them we are just an accident and life has no purpose or meaning, so we can just make it up as we go, which is why abortion and same sex unions are okay and why we can euthanize each other, but again I digress. I also discovered that throughout history philosophers have been trying to answer those questions. One such philosophy simply says, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." It was kinda like the song said, a few years ago, "Donít worry be happy." A beer commercial from years ago, said, "You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can." Yet, the wisest and richest man that ever lived tried to grab all the gusto he could and he said it all left him empty. Like so many people. He thought that having anything money could buy would satisfy the emptiness inside. And while it may have for a short time, all the wine, women, music, houses, land, the latest luxury chariot, and more could not satisfy him and led him to the conclusion that the pursuit of all that stuff is vanity, or empty or worthless. You can read about it in Ecclesiastes which is essentially a book about purpose.

Thatís what so many of us think, that if I could make enough money, get the right stuff, I would be happy and fulfilled. After all, isnít the purpose for life to be happy? Isnít the purpose of life to look out for #1; that is, me, myself, and I?

Again, I wondered, as the Peggy Lee song asks, Is that all there is? Do I just stock selves in a grocery store, pick tomatoes, or drive a truck, look for a few moments of happiness and then die? There must be something more. There must be a purpose for my life.

One of the largest Holes that we want filled in our souls is the one that longs for significance and purpose. This is especially true as we age. We want to know whether our lives have had any impact, any real accomplishment. Do you remember the movie, Saving Private Ryan? Men died attempting to get Private Ryan out of harmís way because he was the last surviving son during WWII. His brothers had been killed. The man in charge of the mission was Capt. Miller. Capt. Miller was shot saving Private Ryan and before he died he said to Private Ryan, "James, earn thisÖearn it."

The movie ends with an aged James Ryan standing over the grave marker of Capt. Miller and he looks at his wife and pleads, "Tell me Iíve lived a good life." She is confused and asks, "What?" He pleads again, "Tell me I am a good man." He needed to know that His life had significance and that it was worth the sacrifice that had been made for him.

How about you? Do you know why you are here? Why you exist? What is the purpose for your life? What meaning does or has your life had? Is that deep or what?

Someone once said, that, "One of lifeís greatest disappointments is to climb to the top of the ladder of success only to find that it was leaning against the wrong wall."

The Writer, Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation."

I read of a successful attorney, my age, a church member for 30 years, who came to a Christian businessmanís office and broke down in tears and sobbing said, "My life has no meaning, no purpose. Itís as though Iíve been chasing the wind all these years."

I know that many people in America see this (as follows) as their purpose. See how close this comes to you.

"My purpose is to get a good job, make as much money as I can, get my own home, 2 cars, credit cards, and lots of stuff, pay for braces and college for my children, then retire, hopefully with the mortgage paid off, a sizable pension to enjoy traveling, golfing, fishing, hunting, or have a home in Florida and a rocking chair on my porch" How close was that? We raise our children with that same focus. "You need a good education so you can get good job and repeat the cycle." Now these are not bad things, in fact, they are very good things. The problem is that we miss the basis of the purpose for these things.

Even after becoming a believer in Jesus, I still thought life was about me and that if God loved me He would want me to be happy. Some of the TV preachers promote this philosophy. The problem with this is that I saw life as being about me. The saddest part of my life is the time I wasted focusing on what I wanted. Here is what I learned the hard way.

I. Why Am I Here on Planet Earth? Why Do I Exist?

Rick Warren has up-dated his book The Purpose Driven Life and has given it that name, What Am I Here On Earth For?

The answer is that you and I are a special creation of God. We were created in the image of God as Genesis 1:26-27 tells us. David in Psalm 139 elaborates that you were skillfully woven together by God in your motherís womb. His touch was on you. You, of all living creatures, were created in the image of God. Now, donít pass over that too quickly. Have you ever thought about what it means to be in the image of God? That there is something about you that is exactly reflective of God? What is that? Well, you can rest knowing that it isnít in appearance. I would hate to think that God looks like some of us. But something about you exactly corresponds to God. It is something that no other animal or living thing has. I believe it is personality. Personality is made up of 3 things. And no other creature in this world has all three of these. We alone are in the image of God.

ē A Mind to think and to know

ē Emotions to feel and express

ē A Will to choose

God has these three things and He made you with the same. He made you with a mind to correspond to His; to think, to create, and to know; to know intelligently and to know intimately, personally, experientially, because He wants you to know Him intelligently, and intimately, and personally (Jeremiah 9:23-24 and John 17:4). He created you to be in relationship with Himself!

He made you with emotions to feel and express. He wants you to know love, and express sorrow and grief, to know anger, hate, and joy. He made you with emotions because he has emotions and he wants you to love Him and what He loves and to hate sin and what he hates, to be angry over injustice and to know the joy of relationships. He loves you and what you to love Him. Thatís why the 2 greatest commandments are to love God and love people.

He made you will a will to choose. God has a will. He chose to love you and make you special to Him. Now, He wants you to choose to love and obey Him because He has good plans for your life and he wants you to love Him and know Him and be in a special personal relationship with Him, but to do so, not because He forces you but because you want to.

You are a special creation of God specifically designed to correspond to Him; to know Him personally, to love Him purposefully, and to obey Him willingly because you trust Him. When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become the child of God, adopted into His family. You discover your identity in Him. Iím no longer a slave to fear, or to Satan, or to this world, I am a child of God, (John 1:11-12, 1 John 3:1; Gal. 4:4-7, Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:4-5). My Father then starts the process of re-shaping His image in me so that my life and character begin to resemble that of Jesus. Do you understand that?

Remember, that when Jesus came into the world, part of His purpose was to show us the Father. Listen to familiar words. "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." (John 1:18)

The author of Hebrews reminds us of this also. "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person," (Heb. 1:1-3a)

Consider one more. In John 14:9 after our Lord gave the famous, "Let not your hearts be troubled talk, Philip asked to see the Father and our Lord said this. "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ĎShow us the Fatherí? We know what God is like because His image was revealed to us by Jesus. Do you understand this?

II. What is My Purpose?

What is an image? An image is a reflection of something else. When you see a picture or a statue, it should cause you to think about the one it represents. When I look at the picture of, The Prayer at Valley Forge I think of the faith of the man that led the American Revolutionary War and became out first president. When we read about Jesus we learn what God is like. Though we have not seen Him personally. His image is revealed in this book. Listen carefully; Your purpose is to represent God in this world. Your purpose is to know and love and willfully obey God, and as such to show others what God is like so they will know and love and willfully choose to follow God and so on. Thatís why we were created. Thatís why we are here. I think that our Lord had this in mind, when He said this, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16). How is it that the world will glorify or give honor to the Father? Because they see Him in you. Regardless of any deeper meaning in this passage, the primary purpose of salt is to influence, and the primary purpose of light is to illuminate. The purpose of your life is to influence people toward God and to shed light on who He is! Do you understand this?

1 Peter 2:9-10, But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. This verse answers the questions who I am and what am I here for. The word, Praises, is also virtues or moral qualities.

So here is a question, what is God like? What are His virtues, or His character? Do you know? He is Holy, Righteous, Good, Just, Merciful, Grace, and Love. Your life is to mirror those attributes or character traits

Or Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Image God! Jesus said, Love one another as I have loved you. That is, image Jesus. When you image Jesus, you image your Father.

Now, letís remember that, that image of God was marred in us when sin entered the world. The world cannot see the image of God in the bulk of humanity because apart from God all that the world can see is the self-centeredness of man. But when we come to faith in Jesus, God begins to reshape that image and we begin to reflect who He is again. We do that by the way we reverence Him, the way we Love Him, the way we love people, and the way we follow Him. 2 Cor. 3:17 says, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." When we treat people with humility, mercy and with fairness, that is, we seek to do what is right, we display the image of God. Micah 6:8 says, He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

III. He created you so you could glorify Him. Look at Isaiah 43:7.

What does it mean to glorify God? It means basically to Honor Him. He is honored when we know Him, love Him and willfully obey Him. Most parents are honored when a child is born to them. "Thatís my son, thatís my daughter." We are proud the moment they are born. Our hearts desire is that we will always feel the joy of the moment as our children grow. We hope that they will make right decisions and know us well enough to know what we are like and what we want for them. We want our children to always love us and to always make decisions that are in line with our morals and goals for their lives. Thatís what God wants. He wants to always be honored by our lives. He wants His image in you to be known by your lives and He will be honored. Thatís why we have such passages as these:

ē 1 Cor. 10:31, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

ē 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[a] and in your spirit, which are Godís."

ē Romans 15:5-6, "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

ē Matt. 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

ē 2 Thess. 1:11-12, "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

ē John 17:4, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."

IV. How Can I Image and Glorify God in Practical Ways?

When Moses was recounting Godís will to the Israelites, before they went into the promise land with Joshua, he told them 5 things that God wanted them to do. Look at Deut. 10:12-22: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Notice that verses 12-13 tell us what God is asking of us. The require could be translated as, "ask." Verses 14-22 tell us why God has the right to ask this of us, or require it. It is because this is how we will image you He is. Our purpose is to be like our Father and show the world what our father is like.

14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.

A. Fear the Lord Your God. (cp. verse 17 and 21)

To fear the Lord means to be in awe of, to reverence, to respect, to recognize His awesome greatness, holiness, and incredible grace and to be in awe. Doesnít every parent want to be respected and held in high esteem by his or her child? So, does our God. It is interesting that Psalm 36:1 and Romans 3:18 describe so many when it says, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." There is no sense of awe, reverence, no respect for God. Does your life demonstrate reverence, respect and awe for God? Part of that is by being Holy. Stay away from sin and set yourself apart to God.

God is Holy and He wants me in reverence to Him to be holy. Listen to Peter again, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each oneís work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"

B. To Walk In His Ways. Contrast this with Ephesians 2:1-3 or

Proverbs 14:6. Basically, this means we choose to follow His way of doing things instead of our own way or the worldís way. We discover His ways in the Bible. Some are clear commands. There is no doubt. Do this and donít do that. Some are simply following His examples. How did he serve people, How did He love you, How did He respond to sinners, or to the self - righteous? Go and do likewise.

This is how we honor God; to live just like Dad; Just as He taught us; handling conflict His way, treating our spouses, children, parents, neighbors, employers, employees, etc., His way such as verses 17-19.

C. To Love Him. How do you love God? Well, honestly, the way to love God:

ē To love what He loves. Again, please look at verses 17-19

ē It is by worshiping Him with our whole Heart.

ē It is by reading His book, His letters which is what you do when you love someone.

ē By talking to Him and sharing your life with Him.

ē By telling people about Him. 1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. There is your identity and your purpose. We are to proclaim the praises or to brag on our Father in Heaven. We are to speak of His virtues as we show the world what he is like by our own lives. We are to show and tell this world what our Father is like. That is your purpose, that is my purpose that has been the purpose of Debbieís and my life. Though I confess, that early in our ministry I wanted people to think I was something. I had to learn the hard way that I am nothing, God is something. I am not the object I am the image of the object.

D. To Serve Him with All Your Heart and with All Your Soul. Cp. with Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25; James 1:27. When Godís Business becomes your business, your business becomes Godís business. It is when you see the purpose of your life as being Godís hands and feet and mouth and ears and arms, etc. Your ladder is against the wrong wall when your focus is on yourself instead of God and others. Listen to Joshuaís challenge in Josh. 24:14-15, "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.". Adrian Rogers, "What would the church be like if everyone in it served God like you do?" He was preaching from James 4:17, "to Him who knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin."

E. To Keep His Commandments which are for your Good. Godís commandments are for our good and for His glory. They are the best way for us to live and they are the way that we accomplish His will. His commands encompass moral matters, Holy living, and everyday living matters, like our work, our marriages, our parenting, our community involvement, and they include Godís desire to reveal Himself to the world through us. This is taking the good news of Jesus to the world, and loving each other in tangible ways here and now in Church. This is His desire for us. Our Lord Jesus would say repeatedly, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Samuel told King Saul, "God wants your obedience more than your worship." Itís like saying, "I donít want you to JUST tell me that you love me, I want you to show it." (cp. Luke 6:46; James 1:23-25)

This is who you are and why you were created. This is your purpose. You are a special creation of the Almighty God and Father. He created you in His image and recreates you in the image of His Son Jesus so the world will know what God is like. I close with the words of Paul in Philippians 2:14-15, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,"

 If any of these messages have encouraged you, or if you have any questions please let me know. You can email me at pastorgarybuchman@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you. And I promise, I will never ask you for money, nor place you on any mailing list.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman