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The WHY Advantage
The Importance of “Why”

Eph. 1:11-12 LB “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”

I’m beginning a series today called “The ‘Why’ Advantage.”

What I mean by that is, when you understand the two things mentioned in this verse—Who you are (in Him) and what you’re living for, then you understand your why.

Answering those two questions answers the million dollar questions of life, namely:

What the PURPOSE of your life is, and
What is the REASON for your existence

Many people live their entire lives out never understanding WHY they’re here, what their PURPOSE is in life.

They live and die without ever experiencing the deep satisfaction of fulfilling God’s eternal plan for their lives.

God has a transcendent purpose for all of us.

His purpose is bigger than us, greater than us, and better than anything we could come up with on our own.

God’s purpose in the earth is His great plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.

And every believer is called to play a part in the outworking of that plan!

For instance, A ship may be safe in a harbor, but that’s not what ships are for—the ship was created to sail the deep.
And you and I were created to sail, as it were, in the ocean of God’s great plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.

ILLUS: One day a man came across 3 stonecutters working in a quarry. Each one was cutting out a block of stone. Curious as to what they were doing he asked the first stone cutter what he was doing.

“What? Are you blind?” the stone cutter shouted, “Can’t you see, I’m cutting this stupid piece of stone.”

Shocked but still no wiser, the man turned to the second stonecutter and asked him what he was doing.

“I am cutting this block of stone to make sure that it’s sides are straight and smooth so that the builder can build a straight wall.”

Feeling a lot better but still not really any wiser the man turned to the third stonecutter, who seemed to be the happiest of the three, and asked him what he was doing.

“I am building a great cathedral to God’s glory,” the 3rd stonecutter replied.

The first two knew HOW to build, the third man understood WHY they were building it—He saw the bigger picture!

Every believer is called to be a builder in God’s bigger picture—His eternal plan of redemption.

Stephen Covey famously penned the phrase, “The MAIN thing is to keep the MAIN thing the MAIN thing!”

And the MAIN THING for all of us is our purpose in God’s plan!

This is why I call it “the WHY advantage.”

Because once you understand who you are and why you’re here, you can:

-Survive virtually any trial.
-Remain focused, even in the difficult, dark seasons of life.
-Not lose heart with setbacks and disappointments.
-and see God’s hand at work in everything around you, be the days cloudy or clear!

So let’s start this series at first base:

I. When God saved you, he had a plan!

You say, “Well of course, Jeff, his plan was to get me to heaven!”

That’s true, but it’s only PART of his plan.

He also has a PLAN for your time on earth.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He spoke these words to his own people languishing in Babylonian captivity.

Though they had royally messed up, He still had a plan!

What kind of plan?

They were GOOD plans, they were FUTURE plans, and they were HOPEFUL plans—to give them a FUTURE and a HOPE!

And then in another place we see that the Lord told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I KNEW you, before you were born I set you apart; I APPOINTED you as a prophet to the nations”—Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

Notice how God’s plan was preemptive, he preemptively, on purpose, intentionally formed and called Jeremiah to accomplish His plan before he was born.

You say, but that was Jeremiah! Not little ol’ me!

But listen to this psalm, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13).

And it gets even better, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”—vs 16

A scheduler schedules something because he has a plan!

If all my days are scheduled then all my days have been planned by a great Planner!

In case you’re still in doubt about this being true of you, Paul writes to ALL believers:

Eph. 2:10 LB “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he PLANNED that we should spend these lives in helping others.”

So the Bible teaches that each one of us was created ON purpose FOR a purpose that is bigger than us, greater than us, and the most fulfilling, rewarding thing we can ever do is plug into it!

Then secondly,

II. God’s plan begins with your salvation

God’s desire is that every human being comes to know Him by accepting His offer of salvation.

2 Pet 3:9 LB says, “He isn’t really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.”

God created us for fellowship with Him, and, when we reject the salvation He offers, we walk away from His plan.

It is after we’re saved that we discover God has planned “good works” for each of us according to our gifts, strengths, and the opportunities he brings.

Eph. 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so (that) we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”—NLT

Notice, you will never know or participate in God’s plan unless you are born again (created anew) by turning to His Son.

When we turn to Jesus for salvation, the doorway to God’s plan for your life is swung wide open!

ILLUS: Ollie and the pound

*He was terminal—it was a kill shelter
*He was imprisoned—in a cage
*There was no way out unless I paid for it
*And I had a plan far beyond just getting him out if only he would come to me—my plan for him was:

To be part of my family
To bless my children with companionship and joy
To walk beside me and get to know me
To be taught, trained, and provided for
And ultimately, to bring him to my home

All these ‘plans’ awaited Ollie, and it hinged on him COMING TO ME.

And it’s true of us!

God sees you in the cage of your sin.

He knows you will perish if not delivered.

He’s already paid the ransom to deliver you, but you must come to him.

Once you do, you soon discover it was about far more than just getting you out of the cage of bondage.

He had a PLAN for you whole life—

To walk with Him, get to know him.

To be a blessing to his children.

To be trained and taught and provided for by Him

And that your life would be to His glory by the various good works he had planned for you before the world even began!

And of course, finally to take you to HIS HOUSE!

And it all begins with coming to Him for salvation!

Finally, His plan involves:

III. Getting involved in what He’s doing

We call this, “Good works.”

Listen to Jesus: “You are the salt of the earth…14 You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden…Live so that they will see the good things (good works) you do and praise your Father in heaven.”—Matt 5:13-14, 16 ERV

So doing good works—

telling others about Christ,
feeding the hungry,
visiting the sick and imprisoned,
giving water to the thirsty,
using your spiritual gift to encourage believers, helping others in practical ways in the name of Jesus

These kinds of things are the ‘good works’ God had planned for us to do!

So in summary,

—When God saved you He had a PLAN
—His plan begins with your SALVATION
—His plan involves getting involved in what He’s doing through GOOD WORKS.