Yesterday, we wrapped up our journey through the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, looking at the church at Laodicea. If you missed this sermon or any other of the sermons through apocalypse, you can find them at vcnola.com/apocalypse.
Jesus levels against the Laodiceans one of the most difficult words he gives to all seven churches. Jesus says this to the Laodiceans, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). The point of this rebuke is not about spiritual passion or apathy; the point is about purpose. As we saw on Sunday, Laodicea was situated between two other cities: Colossae and Hierapolis. Colossae was known for its cold, refreshing water. Hierapolis was known for its warm, medicinal waters. Laodicea did not have a natural water source, and so water was pumped in from these neighboring towns. When it arrived in Laodicea, it was lukewarm—good for nothing! The church at Laodicea had lost its purpose.
What About Us?
How many of us have lost our way? If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us are probably walking around aimlessly, with little to no purpose. Some of us are purposeless because we’re too busy thinking about the specifics of what we are supposed to do. We’re constantly not happy with the job we have, or we’re repeatedly wondering if we are in the right field. Some of us have forgot that regardless of our occupation, at the core of who we are is a purpose from God.
Do you want to live on purpose? I want to encourage us to focus on two callings God has placed on each of our lives.
Our General Calling
One author has defined our general calling as “those things to which God calls all people. . . . It is what God wants of everyone all the time.”1 What does God expect of us all? Love God and love people. Jesus said this, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Most of us know that we are to love God and love people, but how many of us are actively seeking to love God and love people? How many of us are pursuing a relationship with God through Scripture, prayer, worship, work, etc? How many of us are loving people by taking care of their needs, bringing the gospel to them, etc? Perhaps we’ve gotten caught up in other things and have failed to remember our central purpose in life is to love God and love people.
Our Missional Calling
Our missional calling is understood as “the main contribution that your life makes to God’s kingdom.”2 Your missional calling often aligns with your gifts, passions, and life. Your missional calling is that thing you will do for the rest of your life regardless of your occupation or setting. Your missional calling could be understood as your purpose. For myself, God has called me to four elements: (1) Love God, (2) Lead my family, (3) Equip my church, and (4) Serve my city. In particular, I would say that regardless of what I do vocationally, God has called me to equip the church. Over time that might look differently, but regardless of where I am and what I am doing, I will equip the church.
What purpose has God placed on your life? Perhaps it is to raise your family, advocate for adoption, care for people through medicine, or perhaps it is to preach the gospel. One of the most important things you and I can do in our lives is to discern God’s missional calling for our lives.
This week, let’s strive to live on purpose. May Jesus not come to us and say, “You are lukewarm. I want to spit you out of my mouth!” What would it look like for you to live with purpose this week? If you don’t know your missional calling, what can you do this week to begin to discover your missional calling? This week, let’s live on purpose!
1Doug Koskela, Calling Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), 48.