Praying For God’s Purpose

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. – Rick Warren

Theme this month: Prayers For Spiritual Awakening. We prayed for a decisive faith. Also for God’s Compassion to cover our unfaithfulness. Today we pray for God’s Purpose to be alive in our hearts.

Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard is a distinctive plea for us to be aware of our need to be focused on God’s purpose and plan.

I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even dug out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes. So now, residents of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard than I did? Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes? Now I will tell you what I am about to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it will be consumed; I will tear down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland. It will not be pruned or weeded; thorns and briers will grow up. I will also give orders to the clouds that rain should not fall on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant he delighted in. He expected justice but saw injustice; he expected righteousness, but heard cries of despair.

Isaiah 5:1-7, CSB

What can we learn from this parable about the purpose and plan of God for our lives, our church, for His people?

God Has a Purpose for His People

The Vineyard in this song is God’s people Israel. God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. He desired for them to serve Him with their whole heart and to be a light to the nations.

“I am the Lord. I have called you for a righteous purpose, and I will hold you by your hand. I will watch over you, and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house. I am the Lord. That is my name, and I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”

Isaiah 42:6-8, CSB

The church has the same purpose – be light for the world to see who God is and what Jesus has done for us. We fulfill this purpose by living the Jesus life. The purpose of God: reaching the lost world. Each of us has a part in that purpose / mission.

God Gives Us All We Need For Fruitfulness

God gave the vineyard all the elements needed for a fruitful harvest – but what grew was unusable for His purpose. God has given us everything we need for life.

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3 , CSB

You do not live in a lack of ability to live a fruitful life! You have Christ – in you and with you! You have One Another – united in bringing Christ to the world! You have Wealth – goods, money, land, this facility. You have a Community filled with people who need God!

A Fruitful Christianity. Shows by its actions that it is living for Christ. Shows by its perseverance that we live by Faith. Shows by it’s commitment that Christ is in control.

God Has Expectations for His People

God had expectation of great fruitful harvest. Instead what he God was a huge disappointment.

“For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant he delighted in. He expected justice but saw injustice; he expected righteousness, but heard cries of despair.”

Isaiah 5:7, CSB

Two expectations God had for his people: Justice. Righteousness.

“The good grapes God expected would be mercy and love, stewardship of time and talents. Instead God saw the sour grapes of selfishness, corruption, wickedness.” – James D. Kegel

Is God finding Among us fulfillment of His expectations? We will talk about how to do this in a minute.

God Is Intimately Concerned About His People

He is observant about how we live our lives.
He has feelings about how we live our lives.
He reacts as he watches us live our lives.
We have a living relationship with a living God!
This should encourage us to remain focused on living out His purposes.

God Acts When We Do Not

Because the vineyard was not fruitful as was expected, this light and beautiful story becomes a damaging judgment. The hedge will be removed, the vineyard consumed and trampled. The future doesn’t look promising as the vineyard is abandoned, overgrown, drought-stricken. God takes his purpose in our lives seriously. What happens to us when we ignore his purpose and mission? We should know that He cares about this deeply.

How Can Your Purpose Mirror God’s Purpose?

*Be Attentive to those who struggle around you. Injustice / unrighteousness exist in the world around. Pain is real. Hurtful circumstances bring suffering. How can you be light in that darkness? (Benevolence, Collections, Meals on Wheels, etc.) (Daily offering care, compassion, kindness)

*Be Attentive to the need for Jesus in world around you. How can you bring the light of Christ into your world? Are we guilty of neglecting the presence of Christ?

Conclusion

God has a purpose for us, He gives us what we need to fulfill that purpose, He expects us to live in that purpose, He is concerned and watching, He acts when we do not.

We’ve been blessed to bless other – and thereby produce a harvest for the Kingdom!

When we do this we are walking in the path of purpose He has set before us – and it’s a path He has walked.

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight will be in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, he will not execute justice by what he hears with his ears, but he will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land. He will strike the land with a scepter from his mouth, and he will kill the wicked with a command from his lips. Righteousness will be a belt around his hips; faithfulness will be a belt around his waist.

Isaiah 11:1-5, CSB

God moved to relieve the world of sin by sending Jesus. Jesus lived a life characterized by righteousness / justice. He calls us to the same.


LifeGroup Questions

  1. Praying for Spiritual Awakening means (this week) praying to live in God’s purpose. How would you go about discovering God’s purpose for your life? What is the value of identifying God’s purpose for our lives?
  2. What are some of the ways that God has given us everything we need to fulfill His purpose in our lives? Why do we sometimes feel we lack what we need to live up to His purpose?
  3. God takes very seriously the idea that we should be living into His purposes. How does today’s passage inform that thought? What are the signs in a person’s life that they are living up to God’s purpose?
  4. If our church’s immediate mission was to minister to the 1 mile area surrounding our building, how would we approach being a good neighbor? What are some of the ways our church reaches out to those who need Jesus?
  5. The Vineyard Song begins in a very positive and beautiful way, but ends with a crushing pronouncement. In the
    prophets the threats of God’s wrath are often followed by the promise of restoration if there is repentance. Isaiah 11:1-5 is a Messianic prophecy – in what ways does Jesus give us an example of living in God’s purpose?
  6. What’s one thought you take away from the study of this Vineyard song – and what’s one prayer you can pray this week to help you live into God’s purpose?

Resources

J. Clinton McCann

Terence E. Fretheim

Dr. James D. Kegel

Charles Hoffacker