searchingIt’s amazing to me how God designed us people. We have these deep desires inside us that seem to show up all the time.  We want a lot of things.  We want to be loved.  We want to have friends.  We want to find peace.  We want to find joy.  We want to believe that their is a purpose for our existence.  We want all of these appetites to be filled, but the irony is that they never will be filled by anything we can produce on our own…but boy oh boy do we try.

We want true joy don’t we?  Now we can’t ever find it so we replace it with happiness.  So we spend every penny we earn on material possessions…and it feels nice to live in the big house, drive the nice car, or own the latest whatever it is that you want to own.  It’s exciting when our favorite sports team wins the championship…then we go to work on Monday after the big game and nothing has really changed has it.  It’s great when we are on that vacation, or engaged in that hobby that we enjoy…but those moments of happiness are few and far between aren’t they?  We crave true joy, and when we can’t find it, we substitute it for moments of happiness or pleasure, but it’s just not the full life that we all crave.

We all want to be loved.  And we go to a lot of extremes to find love don’t we?  We watch movies about this amazing person who is out there that will “complete us” and we go out searching for that special person.  The love of our life.  That mythical human who completes us inside and out…that is a huge problem isn’t it, because they are a person, and people don’t make good Gods.  What can happen is we end up in a relationship and we lean way too hard on this special someone thinking they will complete us…and they can’t they were never created to do such a thing.

We want peace in our lives and we just can’t find it on our own can we?  Don’t get me wrong you can find it for a moment, you can drink a glass of wine, or make the perfect cast in a stream while you’re fishing, you can go out after a tough day and mow the grass and have a peaceful moment.   But they are just moments so finding true peace just doesn’t come on your own.

We want purpose.  We want something to stand up and look at and say…”you know what this is why I’m on this planet.”  We are all searching for meaning…and I find it amazing how many different places we stray off to find our purpose.  We will find something to fight for but is it the true purpose for our lives?  I call this the “Whale Wars Principle.” Did you ever see that show on Animal Planet where these people spend millions of dollars to save whales (that is a great cause) then they go down into the Arctic Ocean and risk their lives trying to stop Harpoon boats from killing whales by trying to toilet paper their boats?  It’s noble effort but it’s kind of odd, they basically just pick at them until the Japanese boats get mad enough to punch back.

See we have a deep desire wired into us by God to find love, to find purpose, and to find true joy and we look in all kinds of places to find it, and none of them can fulfill the desires of our heart.  At our deepest level we are searching to fulfill the desires of our soul.  We try everything and we try everywhere…and nothing satisfies seems to fill the void that God designed into each and every one of us.

So is God just mean?  Does he want to punish us for something?  Is this some kind of cruel torture?  Why create us with all these desires if there is no way to satisfy them?  Well, no God isn’t torturing you. No, he isn’t just being mean and designing you with desires and appetites that can’t be fulfilled.

What if I tell you that he did not only create us with the appetites and desires but also with the solution.  We can have all of it.  Joy, Peace, Purpose, Relationships, all of it…and all of it comes through Jesus.

This is why understanding who Jesus is, is such a big deal!  The solution to everything we are searching for is found in and through Jesus!  Well that sounds awesome, but to experience him as the solution to everything we need to understand why Jesus came…and then live out what we read!

1. Jesus came to save the world.

We have got to understand who he is, so that we can stop searching for answers in all the wrong places.  We know the big picture stuff right?  That he is God’s son…and that through him we get to experience grace, and love, and mercy right?  Hopefully by know we are onto that fact that Jesus went to the cross and did for us what we could never do for ourselves right?  We all know John 3:16 right?  This is a very popular verse…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  NIV

We got that.  He came to this world so that we could have eternal life.  Well let’s read onto the next verse…

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  NIV

So first we learn that through Jesus we are saved.  Not condemned and not judged!  How huge is that, Jesus isn’t here to point out our sin, mistakes, and issues…no, he is here to take them away!  This is an extremely big deal!

It’s amazing how many Christians understand John 3:16, and never read John 3:17…and they decide that they are going to heaven and spend most of their time condemning the world, because they are so focused on everyone’s sin and imperfections.

2.  Jesus came that we can have life to the full!

I come back to John 10:10 a lot in my time with you on Sunday mornings.  My number one reason for that is that many people associate Christianity with robotic rule following.  They assume that to be a Christian means that their life of fun is over!  Now it’s all about everything they can’t do, rather than everything they did that was so much fun prior to accepting Jesus into their lives.  Yet Jesus didn’t tell you he came to give you a boring, waste of a life, no he tells you he came to provide you a true life to the full!

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  NIV

So we spend our whole lives looking for a life of joy, and meaning.  We search in all the wrong places for joy, for fun, for a full life.  We run to everything this world offers us and it leaves us wondering…is this it?  We run to everything and anything from our kids sports careers, to alcohol and substances, to material possessions, to religious ceremonies…and none of it works does it?  We search, and search, and search and wonder where the answers to this is found.  Then we get up in the morning and read our Bibles and we are told over and over and over again that Jesus is better than everything else!

It’s through Jesus that we have the opportunity to be saved, to experience life to the full…and also where we find our purpose.

3.  Jesus gives us purpose.

I think if Jesus had a mission statement this would probably be it.  If you want to know why Jesus came and what he was doing here on this Earth here you go.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” (THE MESSAGE)

Jesus came to find and restore the lost.  That is the mission, and he invites us all along with him on that mission.  Everyone is searching for purpose, well here it is.  When you have had an active encounter with Jesus this becomes the passion of your life.  Helping others experience what you are experiencing!

It’s through Jesus that we are given joy, life to the full, and true purpose!  It’s all found in Jesus.

Check out what Paul wrote here…

Philippians 3:7-21

The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash — along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. 8 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant — dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ 9 and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ — God’s righteousness. 10 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. 11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.12 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. 13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. 14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision — you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. 18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. 19 But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.20 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.  (MSG)

If you think about what Paul is writing here this would have caused quite a stir in the times that he wrote them.  Paul is hitting on what we spoke of last week, that it just isn’t enough to do what is right!

Paul is saying that all if our religious activity doesn’t give us Jesus than it’s actually dog-dung.  It’s poop.  The goal is not to do what is right.  The goal is to know Jesus and to enter into a true relationship with him!

So why did Jesus tell you he came?  Jesus came to give us life, purpose, and joy!  We can have all of these things when we live in Jesus!  Peace, joy, a life of fulfillment…it all comes through Him!

It’s through Jesus that we find the fullness of life.  Without him there is no fullness in life…only moments of temporary satisfaction.  Yes they are fun as they are happening, but they will leave you empty and wanting more.  The only answer to fulfillment is Jesus.

When we begin to understand Jesus, who he is, and why he came; we find true joy.  We find our purpose and we will experience life to its fullest capacity.