Our Purpose: God’s Home


Homelessness is a miserable experience. We see it in our big cities especially: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, etc. But we also see it closer to home at with homeless beggars at many Grand Rapids traffic stops, and tent encampments along the banks of the Grand River. Who cannot feel sorry for the people in these awful circumstances. To be homeless is to be uncomfortable, cold, wet, vulnerable, lonely, insecure, hungry, pitiable, unhealthy, and afraid.

But the Bible teaches us that homelessness is much closer to home than the big cities, and even Grand Rapids. It’s not just something we can see on our computer screens or through our car windows. It’s something we can see in the mirror. Yes, you are homeless. I am homeless. We are all spiritually homeless to one degree or another. That’s not how it was meant to be. That’s not how God intended it to be. This was not God’s purpose for us. We feel our homelessness from time to time. So, where is home and how do we get there? In John 14, Jesus tells us where home is and how to get there.


  • Sermon 1: God’s purpose is is to glorify himself in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 2: Our first purpose is to glorify God in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 3: Our second purpose is to give God pleasure.
  • Sermon 4: Our third purpose is to receive and return God’s love.
  • Sermon 5: Our fourth purpose is to be part of God’s family.
  • Sermon 6: Our fifth purpose is to be like God’s Son.
  • Sermon 7: Our sixth purpose is to be God’s servant.
  • Sermon 8: Our seventh purpose is to be God’s missionary
  • Sermon 9: Our eighth purpose is God’s home.

But I’m not homeless. I have a lovely home.


“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (1).

Our First Home

God’s created a perfect home in a perfect world for his perfect people (Genesis 1-2). Eden was the divine paradise that God designed and created for the first human beings, Adam and Eve. It was “Home Sweet Home.”

Our Eviction

But our first parents rebelled against the home builder, disobeyed his rules, and were punished with eviction from God’s home and God’s presence (Gen. 3). They were put outside the garden, outside God’s special nearness, and exposed to all the miseries of homelessness. Since then, we’re all born outside of God’s garden and presence.

Our Homelessness

Even if we live in a big beautiful home with a big beautiful family, we are spiritually homeless. We are outside of God’s family, God’s home, God’s presence, God’s love, God’s protection. We are spiritually uncomfortable, cold, wet, vulnerable, lonely, insecure, hungry, pitiable, unhealthy, and afraid.

Thankfully God has made a way back to him and his home. In the Old Testament, he provided a Tabernacle and a Temple for the spiritually homeless to find a home with him and nearness to him by visiting his home with a sacrifice. In the New Testament, God has provided an even better way home and even greater nearness to him by providing the sacrifice of Jesus and the fellowship of his family in his church.

But even those of us who come home to God through Jesus’s sacrifice and Christian fellowship, still feel homeless at times. It’s like we’re in a halfway house. Being a Christian is better than being totally homeless and outside. We get special times of closeness and nearness to God and his family through Christ. But we still feel like pilgrims and strangers at times. God can feel distant, our enemies can feel close, our sufferings are long and deep. We sense that there must be somewhere better, somewhere that is really home.

That’s where the disciples were at in John 14. In the previous chapter, Jesus’s words about his departure through death had left them feeling alone, insecure, anxious, and disturbed. He saw their perplexity and, in John 14, he begins to comfort them with the prospect of a far better home and a far better family in the future.


Do you feel at home here? If you feel at home in this world, you have never been more homeless. You are homeless and you don’t even realize it. It’s like a homeless person living in a tent thinking that he’s living his best life. Ask God to show you your homelessness.

Do you feel homeless here? That’s good! Praise God for helping you to feel how bad that experience is. It’s the first step on the way home. Jesus tells you how to get home in John 14:1, 6. If you are not a Christian, you should be thankful that God has helped you to feel homeless and given you times of feeling at home with Jesus and his people. But that isn’t constant, is it? Like the disciples we long for more.


Where and when will we ever feel “at home”?


“In my Father’s house are many rooms” (2).

Heaven is home

Over the past seven sermons on purpose we’ve learned that there are a number of tracks to our purpose in life. But, all of them have one great aim and destination. Home! Our greatest, ultimate, primary purpose is to get home. As Tim Keller said in some of his last words to his family (remember, this was a man who had fulfilled so much of God’s purpose on earth). But listen to his final words to his family: “He expressed many times through prayer his desire to go home to be with Jesus. His family is very sad because we all wanted more time, but we know he has very little at this point. In prayer, he said two nights ago, “I’m thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family, that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.” Randy Van Dyk and his family have expressed similar words in recent weeks. However much Randy wishes he had more time, and his family wish they had more time, they all realize that this life is all about getting home. That’s our greatest purpose. We must get home.

Heaven is homey

What makes heaven such a wonderful house is that it’s our Father’s house. It’s not where it is or what it is but whose it is that fills us with longing and desire. If he’s there, love is there, peace is there, power is there, beauty is there, wisdom is there, provision is there, delight is there, friendship is there, family is there.

Think of the relief of getting home when we’ve been away for a long time, or if we’ve had a hospital stay, or if we’ve been serving in mission or in the military. That feeling of relief and joy as we walk into our home, is a fraction of the relief and joy we will experience when we get to our final home. However comfortable we’ve had it down here, however happy, getting to heaven will feel like getting home after fighting in a long brutal war.

Heaven is huge

Sometimes when we go to book a hotel room, we are told, “Sold out” or “No rooms available.” That will never happen in heaven. There are many, many, many rooms. The kind of homes the disciples would have in mind when they heard this was the common Middle Eastern design of a large central garden courtyard where everyone gathered with multiple rooms built around it.


Get home. Getting home is our greatest purpose. Nothing else matters. You must get home or you will become eternally homeless, eternally outside, eternally lonely. Start every day with “I must get home.”

Help home. If we know how wonderful heaven is, how homey, surely we want to do everything in our power to help others get there too. When people tell us, it’s not for them, assure them of the many rooms. There’s still room. There will always be room until the very end. As long as there is time, there’s room.


That sounds amazing. But how do I get home?


“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (2-3).

Jesus prepares our home

When Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you” he was referring firstly to clearing the road home. The greatest home is useless if the access road is blocked. Jesus went to clear the access to God and open the door of heaven by dying on the cross to remove the barriers between us and God. Secondly, he was referring to our experience of heaven when we get there. He prepared earthly rooms as a carpenter and now prepares heavenly rooms as the Savior. He’s preparing a unique place for each of his unique people so that each will have a unique experience of home.

Jesus takes us home

When our kids are away from home for a while, we miss them and long for them to return home. Perhaps they are at college or working in another state. But then the date for their return comes and you are so anxious to see them that you don’t wait for them to come home, but go and get them yourself. Jesus has that same longing to see each of his people and at the set time, he goes to get each one at just the right time and in just the right way.

Jesus welcomes us home

Jesus does not just take us home but welcomes us home and enjoys us at home. He takes us to himself and wants us to be with himself, literally “face to face” with himself. He’ll show us around and introduce us to the rest of the family. “Look at this and this! Look at her! Look at him!” He’ll take us to our room and show us around with delight. He’ll remind us that there’s no night there, no death, no sorrow, no crying, no pain, no sin, no Satan, no worry, no depression, no disease, no evil. There’s no place like home.


Praise the Preparer. He’s done so much, is still doing so much, and will yet do so much to make your home, to take you home, and to make you feel at home.

Trust the Taker. Jesus has designed our taking so that it’s best for us and the best way to get others ready for home too. Our arrival and departure times are on God’s timetable. He’s designed the road and the transport. It can be a long and rough journey, but remember where you are going and who’s taking you there.

Anticipate the welcome. We cannot imagine how welcoming Jesus will be to us and for us. “I’m so glad to have you home” he’ll say, because his prayer has been answered: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).



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Unbelievers: You must prioritize securing a heavenly home over your earthly home. Nothing matters more than this. You cannot get there apart from Christ (John 14:6)

Believers: While thankful for finding a home with God and with his people, while thankful for moments of joy and belonging, yet we still have times when we realize we are not yet fully home. It reminds us that here we have no continuing city but seek one to come (Heb. 13:14). Every day, remind yourself, “I must get home. I must prepare for going home as Christ is preparing my home for me.”

Prayer: Home builder and home preparer, we thank you for not only providing a heavenly home, but preparing it for us so that we can be eternally at home with you and so fulfill our greatest purpose.


1. What does spiritual homelessness feel like?

2. What makes a Christian feel homeless in this world?

3. How did this sermon change the way you view the church, this world, death, heaven?

4. How can you help others get home?

5. What are the parallels/differences between your earthly home and your heavenly home?

6. If “getting home” is our greatest purpose, what difference does that make to our lives?



The Spirit and our Sanctification


“I feel so dead….spiritually.” Is that you? You used to be so spiritually alive, but now you feel so spiritually dead. You still go through the motions of the Christian life, but it’s like dragging a corpse around. It’s a drudge and a labor. What’s gone wrong? And, how can I fix it? Why am I so dead and how can I revive my soul? Paul answers both questions in Romans 8:12-13.


Romans 8 tells us a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. What the law could not and cannot do, the Holy Spirit can and does.

  • The Holy Spirit transforms our conscience (1-3)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our minds (4-9)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our bodies (10-11)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our holiness (12-13)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our assurance (14-17)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our suffering (18-25)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our prayers (26-27)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our purpose (28-29)

What’s the first step back to life? Calculating our debt to the Holy Spirit.


“…we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die” (12-13).

We are not debtors to the flesh

We don’t owe the flesh (our sinful human nature) anything. We are under no obligation to the flesh. We have no debt to the flesh. The flesh has no legal or moral hold on us. It’s not our friend or benefactor but our enemy and our mortal foe.

We therefore have no obligation to live according to the flesh, to listen to the flesh, to follow the flesh, to respond to the flesh’s promptings. If we do try to please or satisfy our flesh, we will die. Our spiritual life will die a little. Sin starves, suffocates, and strangles our spiritual life. If that becomes a lifestyle, it means we are not truly saved, and we will die eternally.

We are debtors to the Spirit

This is not stated explicitly, but it is clearly implied as a contrast. If it was to be stated explicitly, it would read: “We are debtors to the Spirit, to live according to the Spirit. For if you live according to the Spirit, you will live.”

The Spirit transforms our conscience (Rom. 8:1-3), our minds (4-9), and our bodies (10-11). We therefore owe the Spirit so much. We owe the Spirit our spiritual life and our eternal life. Therefore we dedicate our lives to the Spirit. We listen to the Spirit, we follow the Spirit, we respond to the Spirit’s promptings. If we do that, we will live like we’ve never lived before. Every time we follow the Spirit we get more of the Spirit, we get more life.


Count your debt to the Spirit. Take time to calculate how much you owe the flesh. What has it ever done for you? How has it ever benefitted you? Where has it ever helped you? How much has it added to your life? How much do you owe the flesh? Nothing! Then calculate what the Holy Spirit has done for you, given to you, helped you, added to you. How much do you owe? Everything!

Increase your life by the Spirit. As you count your debt to the Spirit, it will make you more obliged to the Spirit, more grateful to the Spirit. That in turn will make you more aware of the Spirit, more receptive to the Spirit, more responsive to the Spirit, more alive by the Spirit. We are either spiritually dead or spiritually alive, but there are degrees of spiritual life. We can be barely breathing or thriving and flourishing. If we want the latter, if we want increased life, here’s how.


What do we do with this new life? We kill.


We kill by the Spirit

“…if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”? (13).

We “put to death the deeds of the body.” The deeds of the body are not only the sinful actions of the body, but also the desires, thoughts, words, and actions that precede and produce them (Matt. 15:18-20). We are to view these as murderers that we must murder first. The only debt we owe this enemy is death.

We kill sin by starving it of food (through the eye or the ear), by feeding it poison (God’s Word), by attacking it with prayer, by joining forces with others (accountability), by remembering the worst ever murder (Christ on the cross). We are to do this, we are to do the killing. But we cannot do this in our own strength or by our own power. We cannot do this by self-discipline or self-improvement. We can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Spirit of life helps us to kill the threats to his life in us.

“Until you believe that life is war — that the stakes are your soul — you will probably just play at Christianity with no blood-earnestness and no vigilance and no passion and no wartime mindset. If that is where you are this morning, your position is very precarious. The enemy has lulled you into sleep or into a peacetime mentality as if nothing serious is at stake. And God, in his mercy, has you here this morning, and had this sermon appointed to wake you up, and put you on a wartime footing.” John Piper.

We live by killing

“You will live” (13).

If we kill, we will live. Killing killers enlivens life. Christians kill sin to stimulate life. For the Christian, life follows killing. We live by killing. As you kill, you will get more life, which will energize you to kill another sin, which will give you more life, and so on. There is always another sin to kill, and each attempted murder is an opportunity for more life.

What does that life look like? It looks like greater love for God, greater assurance of salvation, greater heavenly-mindedness, greater discernment, greater guidance, greater courage, greater opportunities to witness, greater help in everyday life, greater answers to prayer, greater enjoyment of God, greater insight into Scripture, greater usefulness to others, greater hatred of sin. So much life!


Get a wartime mindset. “The only possible attitude toward out-of-control desire is a declaration of all-out war. . . There is something about war that sharpens the senses . . . You hear a twig snap or the rustling of leaves and you are in attack mode. Someone coughs and you are ready to pull the trigger. Even after days of little or no sleep, war keeps us vigilant.” Ed Welch.

Kill one sin. Instead of trying to attack all our sins at once, target one, and develop a plan to murder it this week. It might be time-wasting, lust, gossip, anger, greed, discontent. Whatever it is, identify it, target it, gather intelligence on it, build up resources, develop a plan of attack, and determine that this week you are going to murder this sin. Then target another, and another, and soon you will become a serial killer of serial sins.



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Unbeliever: You will never kill sin without the help of the Holy Spirit. You might stop the acts of sin for a while, but the root is still there and only the Holy Spirit can root it out. Pray that the Holy Spirit will start new life in your soul by regeneration.

Believer: You need a wartime mentality and a killer instinct when it comes to sin. The more you kill, the more you will revive. But like, the unbeliever, you cannot do this on your own. Pray to the Holy Spirit for a murderous spirit and a ruthless merciless determination to kill sin. The weapon he uses most is the Word of God (Heb 4:12).

Prayer: Sin-killing Spirit, share your killer instinct with me so that I can murder sin and enjoy deeper, greater, and better life.


1. What has killed or is killing your spiritual life?

2. What debts to you owe to the Holy Spirit? Put a value on it.

3. What have you found to give you greater spiritual life?

4. What have you found helpful in killing sin?

5. How do you know if you have increased spiritual life? What are the signs of life?

6. How did Jesus experience these verses in his earthly life?


The Spirit Transforms our Bodies


Tech tycoon Bryan Johnson, 45, spends $2million a year to engineer his body into that of an 18-year-old. Through diet, exercise, and various high-tech devices, Johnson and his doctors claim that in two years he has reduced his overall biological age by more than five years and now has the heart of a 37-year-old, the skin of a 28-year-old and the lung capacity and fitness of an 18-year-old. Like most people, Johnson wants to delay aging or rewind the process of dying and is putting his hope in technology to achieve this.

Others are more focused on restoring life after they die. Today, nearly 200 dead patients are frozen in Alcor’s cryogenic chambers at temperatures of −196 °C, including a handful of celebrities, who have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the goal of “possible revival” and ultimately “reintegration into society.” One of the most famous is Paypal founder and tech titan Peter Thiel. Replying to a question about whether humanity can conquer death and whether it should, Thiel responded, “We haven’t even tried. We should either conquer death or at least figure out why it’s impossible.” Like most people, Thiel wants life after death and is putting his hope in technology to achieve this.

What’s the Christian hope of greater life here and hereafter? The Apostle Paul points us to the Holy Spirit not high tech.


Romans 8 tells us a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. What the law could not and cannot do, the Holy Spirit can and does.

  • The Holy Spirit transforms our conscience (1-3)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our minds (4-9)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our bodies (10-11)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our holiness (12-14)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our assurance (14-17)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our suffering (18-25)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our prayers (26-27)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our purpose (28-29)

How do we get greater life here in this dying world?


The body is dead because of sin

“Although the body is dead because of sin” (10).

“The body is dead” does not mean it is actually completely dead, but that it is sentenced to death, appointed to death, subject to death, in the realm of death, in the process of dying. There’s a deadness in our bodies. Just as we say of the condemned murderer on death row, “He’s a dead man walking.” It doesn’t matter whether we are young or old, healthy or unhealthy, strong or weak, beautiful or ugly, our bodies are dead because of sin. Sin has sown the seeds of death in every human being. God promised death as the result of sin and has fulfilled that promise (Gen. 2:17; 3:1-7).

The Spirit is life because of righteousness

“If Christ is in you…the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (10).

Christ is in us by the Spirit (9). The Holy Spirit brings Christ into our lives. Christ is in us! What an amazing truth. How can he be in us by the Spirit? “Because of righteousness.” Christ cannot and will not live in a place of condemnation. He will only live in a place of righteousness, a life that is right with God because the righteousness of Christ has been credited to us. That legal transaction results in a psychological and spiritual transaction. When Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account, Christ’s Spirit enters our lives with life.

When the Spirit of life lives in us, it does not stop the process of dying but it adds a dimension of life while we are dying. We have a dual experience of ongoing dying and increased living. We are living in two spheres, two realms, two worlds: the sphere of dying and the sphere of living.


Use your dead body to hate sin. It is natural to love our bodies, and therefore we should hate what is the sworn enemy of our bodies. Whenever we see the effects of death upon us, we are invited to hate sin more.

The Holy Spirit is our ally in fighting sin and its consequences. Part of our experience of dying is the disruption of our bodies: its desires, chemistry, electrics, etc. But the Spirit is our ally in fighting for life. Some of us have bodies that anger too easily, fear too easily, get addicted too easily, get confused too easily, get depressed too easily. SSA and gender dysphoria are part of human death, part of our dying. But the Spirit can give life, can balance out the death, fight the death, overcome the death, and all because of righteousness.


What about life after death?


The Spirit raised Jesus’s body from the dead

“…he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead” (10).

The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead. Each of the three members of the Trinity were involved in the resurrection: the Father (Acts 2:24; Rom. 6:4), the Son (Jn. 2:19; 10:18), and the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit will raise our bodies from the dead

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he…will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (10)

If (that’s a big IF we must be sure to get erased) Christ’s Spirit is in us now, he will return to breathe new life into our dead bodies on the last day of World History and the first day of Eternal History. The Spirit’s indwelling presence now is our guarantee of the Spirit resurrecting us later.

Though the body break down into a million pieces of dust, yet the Spirit will reunite, restore, and reconstitute our bodies. Though it be mortal it will become immortal. Though it be weak, it will become strong. The ugly will become handsome (Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15: 42). All our death will be swallowed up by life.


The present Spirit will be replaced with a greater future Spirit. That same indwelling Spirit you enjoy now, that gives life to you now in the midst of death, will give you life after death when there is no more death. Death will no longer co-exist with life but will be expelled forever and replaced with the Spirit of life in all his fullness. We will live as if we’ve never lived before.

The present body will be replaced with a greater future body. The Holy Spirit will gather your remains and breathe spiritual and physical life into your dust and ashes. Death will be swallowed up with life. No more fatigue, pain, breakages, loss, or disease.



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Young: You may feel strong, healthy, and vigorous now. But these verses remind you that you are actually dying while living. Remember you are dying so that you seek greater longer life.

Sick: Use the increasing awareness of death in your body to increase awareness of sin in you.

Tempted: You have the resources of the Spirit of God to fight against moral weakness.

Saints: Think of how much more life the saints have in heaven. They went from dying to living.

Prayer: Spirit of Life, breathe life into my spirit and body so that I can enjoy greater life here and longer life hereafter.


1. In what ways do people try to get more life here and hereafter?

2. What about your body has helped you to hate sin?

3. What bodily weakness has made sin easier? How can you make sin harder?

4. How were all three persons of the God head involved in Christ’s resurrection?

5. Who is more alive? Us on earth or the saints (God’s people) in heaven?

6. How can you become more aware of the Holy Spirit in you?


Our Purpose: God’s Missionary


Christians are called to the most impossible mission in the world. We are to make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). I’m sure we’ve all felt the impossibility of this as we look at ourselves as individuals, as we look at our church, and even as we look at the worldwide church. How can we ever make disciples of anybody, never mind everybody? How can this mission impossible become mission possible? In Matthew 4:19, Jesus not only gives us our mission but makes it possible too.


  • Sermon 1: God’s purpose is to glorify himself in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 2: Our first purpose is to glorify God in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 3: Our second purpose is to give God pleasure.
  • Sermon 4: Our third purpose is to receive and return God’s love.
  • Sermon 5: Our fourth purpose is to be part of God’s family
  • Sermon 6: Our fifth purpose is to be like God’s Son.
  • Sermon 7: Our sixth purpose is to be God’s servant.
  • Sermon 8: Our seventh purpose is to be God’s missionary

Last week’s sermon was more about our ministry to other believers. This week’s sermon is more about our mission in the world.

Where do we start in making disciples?


Jesus calls

And he said to them, “Follow me…” (19)

  • A direct call: Not general and vague but specifically addressed to two men.
  • An authoritative call: He had established his authority (Luke 5:1-11) now he exercises it.
  • A personal call: It’s follow me. Not an ideology, a philosophy, or a system but a person.
  • A gracious call: He called the lowliest and the most uneducated – a rare kind of rabbi.
  • A transforming call: Following him made them what they were not before in head, heart, and hands.

We follow

…Immediately they left their nets and followed him (20).

To follow Jesus is to stick close to him, listen to his every word, learn his every lesson, watch his every move, put your feet in his every step, obey his every command. The first disciples do this immediately, without excuse, delay, or hesitation. They looked at their nets and said, “We’re done!” They looked at Christ and said, “We’re in!” They came under his authority from then on. This meant walking beside and behind him but never ahead of him.


Do you hear the call of Jesus? He is calling you with a direct, authoritative, personal, gracious, transforming call. “Follow me!” What’s your answer?

Are you following Jesus? There are many saying, “Follow me!” Politicians, influencers, celebrities, teachers, friends, businesses (through DEI/ESG/CRT), other religions, and cults, and even pastors and churches. But we are to follow Jesus as the disciples followed him – ALL IN.

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on;
Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Everywhere he leads me I will follow on.

What happens when we follow Jesus?


“…and I will make you fishers of men” (19).

The fish

The sea is the great ocean of sin. As water is the natural environment of fish, so sin is the natural environment for sinners. They are comfortable there and have no desire to leave it no matter how dangerous or polluted it becomes. The first fish we want to target are those in our own families, then widening to friends, neighbors, colleagues, then expanding to people we don’t know in our community, our nation, and our world. We start with the fish we know best, love most, and are closest too.

The net

In Jesus the day, fisherman generally used circular nets with weights attached to trap fish underneath it. In Jesus’ mind, the net is the Gospel message. We can improve our catch rate by getting more familiar with the net and improving our use of it. The mesh is made up of law and Gospel strands – not too wide (all love) and not too narrow (all law) but just the right size for each fish.

The fishers

Like anglers, fishers of people have certain characteristics:

  • Optimism: They cast the Gospel net wide with great hope
  • Training: As they follow Jesus more closely, they are changed, transformed into being better fishers.
  • Skill: They use different tactics and timing for different fish (1 Cor. 9:20ff).
  • Courage: Fishing was and is a hard and dangerous occupation.
  • Patience: They sometimes go days, weeks, months, even years, without coming home with fish.
  • Success: They fish not to kill but to give life to the fish by getting it out of polluted water and into pure water.


Fish with the Gospel facts. Learn how to share the Gospel briefly, simply, attractively.

Fish with Gospel testimony. How did you see your need of Jesus, come to Jesus, and the difference it made.

Fish with Gospel benefits. Tell of new peace, joy, confidence, satisfaction, purpose, contentment.

Fish with Gospel living. Show the difference the Gospel makes to your marriage, job, money, suffering, etc.

Fish with Gospel commentary. Apply the Gospel to current events and questions.



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Unbelievers: Ask to be caught by Christ so that you can catch for Christ.

Teens: Learn to follow Christ then learn to fish for Christ.

Young Adults: It’s time to start fishing, to put into practice all you’ve learned.

Middle-aged: Don’t let busyness keep you from following and fishing. Take every opportunity.

Seniors: Don’t give up, coast, or wind down. There are many old fish still to be caught.

Prayer: Master Angler, help me to follow you closely so that I can fish successfully.


Our Purpose: God’s Servant


“I’d like to be a servant when I grow up,” said no one ever. Who would ever want to be a servant? That’s a position of lowliness, weakness, and poverty rather than of prestige, power, and wealth. Why would anyone choose to be a servant rather than a master?

That’s a question that stumped the disciples too. A couple of them asked Jesus for the highest, most powerful, and most prestigious seats in heaven. When the other disciples heard this conversation, they jumped in to put them down and elevate themselves over them. They were all jockeying for position, power, and prestige.

Jesus was not impressed and therefore “called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).

Jesus gave two reasons why they should seek to be servants rather than masters: (1) It’s the way to true greatness; and (2) it’s the way to great usefulness. We will look at how Jesus exemplified that and then at how we can follow that example.


  • Sermon 1: God’s purpose is is to glorify himself in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 2: Our first purpose is to glorify God in grace-and-truth filled relationships.
  • Sermon 3: Our second purpose is to give God pleasure.
  • Sermon 4: Our third purpose is to receive and return God’s love.
  • Sermon 5: Our fourth purpose is to be part of God’s family
  • Sermon 6: Our fifth purpose is to be like God’s Son.
  • Sermon 7: Our sixth purpose is to be God’s servant

Who’s the greatest ever servant?


Jesus came to serve sinners

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve (45).

World leaders rarely travel to dangerous parts of the world. If they do, they are accompanied by an army of security, staff, and other servants. When Jesus came to this earth, he came from safety to danger. from comfort to pain, from peace to hostility, from love to hate. from heaven to hell, from being served by angels to serve sinners. He was not forced to come but came willingly, freely, and enthusiastically. He did not come as a person of wealth, power, or prestige, but as a poor, weak, servant. It was a despised menial role, yet he entered into it with all of his heart. He served many different kinds of people: the poor, the blind, the lame, the rebel, the wicked. He served in so many different ways: teaching, preaching, counseling, praying, discipling, suffering, dying. He never had one selfish thought.

Jesus came to pay a ransom for sinners

The Son of man came….to give his life as a ransom for many (45).

A ransom implies a captive and a captor. In this case, sinners are the captives and the captors are Satan and sin. We were sentenced to this captivity by God as a punishment for sins committed against him (2 Tim. 2:26). We cannot find or raise our ransom price and none of our family or friends can either (Ps. 49:7).

Although we were justly sentenced to captivity and therefore had no right to be freed, Jesus came to campaign for our release. He came not because of our merits, but because of our misery and his mercy. He came not just to campaign but to pay the ransom too. His ransom was:

  • Valuable: He gave up his time, talents, desires, comforts, home, family, security, reputation, life, body, soul.
  • Voluntary: He was not a victim and this was not an accident or fate. It was his conscious choice
  • Victorious: He campaigned, paid the ransom, reversed God’s sentence, and freed us from our kidnappers.


True greatness. In this world, most are motivated by the desire to be served rather than to serve. The result may be greatness according to this world’s standards, but not by God’s. God says true greatness belongs to the greatest servant (Luke 9:48). Why won’t you ask him to serve you?

Great usefulness. The greatest Servant performed the greatest service resulting in the greatest usefulness. Someone can have the greatest power in this world yet achieve nothing useful with it. Jesus had the least power in the world on the cross and yet achieved the greatest usefulness. Why won’t you ask him to pay the ransom for you?


If that’s why Jesus came here, why are we here?


“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (43-44).

We have five areas of service

  • God: Every day we wake, our first words should be, what will you have me to do?
  • Family: Husbands, wives, and children should be competing to see who can serve most and best.
  • Calling: We must frame our vocations as the place we serve God, our families, and others.
  • Church: We do not go to church primarily to be served but to serve. Church is Servant University.
  • Community: How can we best serve our neighbors and neighborhoods?
  • World: If we have the ability, time, and resources, and if we’ve proven ourselves in smaller areas

We have five considerations in service

God gives each of his servants a unique SHAPE (see Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren)

  • Unwrapping your spiritual gifts: These are given to benefit others not ourselves (1 Cor. 12:7)
  • Listening to your heart: Our desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, loves, passions, enthusiasm.
  • Applying your abilities: Where are you most effective? Try different service opportunities to find out.
  • Using your personality: Unique combination of introvert/extrovert, thinker/feeler, optimist/pessimist
  • Employing your experiences: Family, education, vocational, spiritual, ministry, painful experiences

“God never wastes a hurt! In fact, your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt. If you really desire to be used by God, you must understand a powerful truth: The very experiences that you have resented or regretted most in life — the ones you’ve wanted to hide and forget — are the experiences God wants to use to help others. They are your ministry!” Rick Warren


Discern your areas and shape of service. Prayerfully consider the places and types of service God is calling you into.

Look forward to the reward of your service. “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21). There we will serve the Servant but also be served by the Servant (Lk. 12:37).



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  • Unbelievers. Jesus wants to serve you by paying your ransom and saving you. Will you humble yourself to ask for his service.
  • Children. Your primary places of service are your family and your school
  • Teens. You don’t get eight years off service in your teen years. Rather it’s a time to try various kinds of service to find out where/how/who God is calling you to serve
  • Adults: Frame work as serving God and others to get great sense of purpose and meaning
  • Seniors: If you are fit and able it’s a wonderful time to serve in ways you’ve always lacked the time for. If you are not fit or able, you can still serve in prayer, giving, cards.

Prayer: Lord and Master, show me how you want me to serve you and others so that I can see great usefulness and show what true greatness is.


  1. What are some obstacles to viewing oneself as a servant?
  2. In which of the five areas did Jesus serve and how did he serve in them?
  3. What areas can you serve in better?
  4. Write out your SHAPE and discuss with someone else?
  5. How can you serve God better?
  6. What pain has God used in your life to guide you into his service?


Two Kinds of Mind


What kind of mind do you have? There are multiple classification methods for mind-types:

  • Two types of mind: creative or analytical.
  • Three types of mind: photo-realistic visual thinking, pattern mathematical thinking, and verbal/auditory thinking.
  • Four types of mind: the soul-mind, the body-mind, the emotional mind, or the rational mind.
  • Five types of mind: he disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind and the ethical mind.
  • Six types of mind: joy oriented mind, love oriented mind, hate oriented mind, fear oriented mind, boredom oriented mind and sex oriented mind.

Believe it or not, some say there are seven, some say eight, and on and on it goes. IQ or EQ is another way to divide minds into almost infinite classifications. But, according to God, there are only two types of mind: the flesh-mind and the Spirit-mind. What kind of mind do you have? Let’s get the answer from Romans 8:4-9.

Romans 8 tells us a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. What the law could not and cannot do, the Holy Spirit can and does.

  • The Holy Spirit transforms our conscience (1-3)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our minds (4-9)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our bodies (9-11)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our holiness (12-14)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our assurance (14-17)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our suffering (18-25)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our prayers (26-27)
  • The Holy Spirit transforms our purpose (28-29)

Before looking at the two different kinds of mind, let’s remind ourselves of the different meanings of “flesh” in the Bible. Sometimes it means flesh and blood humanity, sometimes it means weak and frail humanity, and sometimes it means sinful humanity.

We have three of these different meanings of flesh in Romans 8:3-4. “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (weak humanity) and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh (humanity), in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh (sinful humanity) but according to the Spirit.

Christ’s past life in human flesh (weak humanity) results in a different present life in the flesh (weak humanity) for his people. We are now much more able to live in obedience to God’s law because Christ paid the penalty of the law, satisfying both God’s law and our consciences. That transformed life comes from a transformed mind, changing us from a flesh-mind to a Spirit-mind.

What is the flesh-mind?


The flesh mind is flesh-focused

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh (5).

“Flesh” here means sinful humanity. Paul was looking at people who were living sinful lives, and concluded their primary problem was not so much their lives but their minds. Their lives simply reflected their minds. Their lives were flesh-full because their minds were flesh-prompted. Flesh dominated their lives because flesh dominated their thoughts. When their mind was not taken up with their daily work and responsibilities, it was taken up with sinful subjects. Their minds were magnetically drawn to sinful things. Their mind-set was sin-set on self, money, sex, and power.

With AI, everything depends on the prompts we enter. The prompts determine what’s produced. Paul is telling us that our mind-prompts determine our life-product. When the life-product is flesh, it tells us the mind-prompt is flesh. There’s a flesh mindset, mentality, and outlook. The dominant tendency, bent, and disposition is flesh.

The flesh-mind is death

For to set the mind on the flesh is death (6).

A flesh-mind not only ends in death but is actually dying while the person is still living. Every time their minds turned to flesh-things it died a little. There was a mini-funeral service and burial. A little gravestone was set up to memorialize the little death that had just happened.

The flesh-mind is hostile to God

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (7-8).

The flesh mind is at war with God and rebels against God’s order, no matter how much it damages them and others. If God’s for it, they are against it. Flesh-minds want God and any of his spiritual influences eliminated from every area of life. Nothing they do at any time can please God. It’s not just difficult for them to please God; it’s impossible.


Examine yourself and pray. Does this describe you? It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your IQ; you need to know if you have a flesh-mind or a Spirit mind. If you have a flesh-mind, pray for God to give you a Spirit-mind.

Examine yourself and praise. If you don’t have a flesh-mind, praise God. You were born with one, but God has changed your mind. Any time your mind turns from the flesh to the Spirit it’s the work of the Spirit.


I really don’t want a flesh-mind. How do I get a Spirit-mind?


The Spirit-mind is Spirit-focused

…but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit (5)

There were others in Rome who were living according to the Spirit. They lived in a way that reflected the Holy Spirit. How did they do this? They lived differently because they thought differently. They thought about the things of the Spirit. They loved to think about God’s salvation, sanctification, and service. Their automatic prompt was “Spirit.” Their minds went to the Word, worship, prayer, fellowship, mission, growth in grace, eternity, and heaven. That was their dominant bent, their tendency, their disposition. This is a perfect description of our Savior while on earth.

The Spirit-mind is life

…to set the mind on the Spirit is life (6)

Every time their minds went to spiritual things, there was a little birth of new life, a little life was generated. They lived a little more, life got more lively. The Spirit gave life to their spirit.

The Spirit-mind is God’s happy place

…to set the mind on the Spirit is…peace (6)…You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you (9).

These minds were no longer a hot-bed of sinful rebellion but of holy happiness. Peace filled these minds as God filled these minds. God loves to live in peaceful minds because peaceful minds love to be filled with God. It makes our minds a happy place for us and for him. He enjoys living there because he feels at home there, he feels welcomed and loved. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth. It’s a piece of human real estate that Christ owns (9) and invites the Spirit to live in.


Your mind can be a graveyard or a maternity ward. It can be a place of death or the birthplace of life. It all depends what you think about.

Your mind can be little hell on earth or a little piece of heaven on earth. Yes, you can have a foretaste of heaven on earth if you set your minds on the right subjects.



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Just as mental exercises improve brain function, spiritual exercises can improve mind function:

  • feed your mind with God’s Word
  • exercise your mind with meditation
  • refresh your mind with fellowship
  • grow your mind by discipleship
  • elevate your mind by prayer
  • brighten your mind with heaven

Prayer: Magnificent Mind, share your mind with us so that we have living Spirit-minds rather than dying flesh-minds.


1. Describe your spiritual conversion from the viewpoint of how it changed your mind.

2. How do you know if you have a flesh-mind? A Spirit-mind?

3. What exercises have you found strengthen your Spirit-mind?

4. Why is it impossible for non-Christians to do anything to please God?

5. How would you encourage someone with a flesh-mind to seek a Spirit-mind?

6. How did this message help you understand and love Jesus better?