I’ve always been a doodler and a note-taker, especially during church, and I recently started thinking about how I could continue learning and studying the lessons I hear on Sunday mornings further. I’ve prayed about the purpose of Jordan Tailored as a whole and what I’m writing a lot over the last few months, and I’ve decided that I want to share my sermon notes and takeaways here with you! I’m not an expert and I may not always say the right things (so give me grace), but if anything that God is teaching me speaks to even one other person or touches your heart in some way, that’s what it’s all about.
What is the purpose of the church? Where are we going, and how will we get there? Life is confusing and complicated and busy, but the message that God left for us in His Word is as clear as can be.
The Overall Purpose of the Church:
“The chief end of mankind is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.” – Westminster Catechism
The Dream We Had
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
We were created BY God, in HIS image and HIS likeness. Think about that, and let it sink in. He created all of humanity for a purpose, and He fashioned each and every single human being on the planet in His image – including me and you! It’s truly mind-blowing to think that He had little old me in mind when He was creating the heavens and the earth, but He did, and He also had a purpose for all of us from that very moment.
In a quote by John Piper, he is talking about the purpose of humanity and he says “… to live our lives in a way that makes Him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that He really is.” In other words, we were created to worship Him. Worship is everything because in worship, it is our lives reflecting the image of God. This was, and is, His dream and purpose for us as believers and humans and His children.
The Dream We Lost
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
This is the point in the story where we veer away from the purpose that we were created for. When Eve chooses to disobey God and eat from the tree, she is actively choosing to forgo the worship of the Lord that she was called to do from the beginning.
The primary human failure is the failure to worship. – N.T. Wright (The Great Playwright)
We see examples of this over and over in the Bible (and of course, real life, as well) – God’s people choosing to turn their backs on Him for the ways of the world instead. The passage below from Romans is yet another example of this.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)
The Dream Come True
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
But thank the LORD that our story doesn’t end in the garden with Eve, or with the people in Romans, or with us today when we do the exact same things. Because the Lord has redeemed us and saved us and forgiven us of our sins, and we have been removed from the darkness of sin! The Bible is a rescue story, and WE get to be rescued, just as all those before us and so many more after us will be, too.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)
So where does that leave us? In the roadmap of the church, we can define our purpose as to glorify God, and it is up to us to choose that every day, no matter what is happening all around us.