Mankind has lost the story that connects us all. There is a lot of noise, but no context to give life meaning. So, we drift through life without a true meaningful purpose — a story that connects us to something bigger than we are. Aristotle observed, “When the storytelling in a culture goes bad, the result is decadence.” We see all around us the result of the collapse of mankind’s story. We have tried to replace it with small, narcissistic stories that have no lasting impact. It has turned us inward. The moment trumps both the beginning and the end.
In the beginning, God gave mankind a grand narrative, and we have become disconnected from it. An overall impact of this disconnection is a loss of purpose.
When God created mankind, He had a great purpose in mind. God created man in His own image — male and female. At that time, He also instituted marriage where the man and woman would become one. This became the basis of the family unit. Connected to God’s story, the basic building blocks of society, like marriage and family, take on a new meaning.
The Apostle Paul would note at a later time that the marriage of man and woman typified the relationship between Christ and the Church. Mankind was created in God’s image, to grow into a spiritual likeness of God — the Elohim God family. The ultimate purpose was the creation of an eternal spiritual family composed of a natural body to be changed into a spiritual body in a resurrection.
Scripture is also quite clear that there is an adversary to this plan. Following the rebellion of the archangel Heylel, he was removed from God’s presence and confined to the earth. His name was changed to Satan — the arch enemy of good, the adversary. He is further revealed as the “god of this world.” He is the spiritual enemy of God’s purpose for creating man.
In this position, Satan the Devil can wield great influence upon the human mind. As Paul states, “… whose minds the god of this age has blinded …” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Man is held, “… in bondage under the elements of the world.” (Galatians 4:3). He is blind to the existence and purpose of God. This provides a massive disconnect. Mankind is disconnected from any understanding of God’s purpose for human life.
However, God’s purpose will prevail. “The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand:” (Isaiah 14:24).
Into the vacuum we refer to as “the world”, God has raised up His Church. This is composed of people who have been called by the Father, redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and form the body of Christ – His Church. “And He [the Father] put all things under His [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Church of God has a God-given purpose.
We are directed to this purpose in the book of Isaiah, chapter 43. Verse one identifies the connection to the New Testament teaching of redemption and being a purchased possession. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1). The Church is comprised of those who have been redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice and have become God’s purchased possession. “In Him we have redemption through His blood … you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:7, 14).
As Isaiah continues, these redeemed people are for the purpose of being witnesses. “…Therefore you are My witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God … this people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise” (Isaiah 43:12, 21). “Witnesses” is from a root word meaning to duplicate or repeat. These witnesses are to be transformed into the spiritual image of God – just as God intended when He created the original man and woman in His image. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
This focus is not a narrow one. In Isaiah 54:5, we read of the Redeemer being “the God of the whole earth.” God’s concept with calling us as individual components of the body is to be witnesses of Him to the whole earth.
God’s duplicating of Himself is brought out by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians. “… put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). This is a powerful connection which pushes against all the powers of disconnection swirling around us. True evidence of the fact that God’s purpose has never deviated.
There is an interesting end-time prophecy in Daniel, chapter 12. Verse 3 refers to those who turn many to righteousness. “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). The Commentary on the Old Testament explains, “those who … by instructing their contemporaries by means of word and deed, have awakened them to steadfastness and fidelity … those who by their fidelity to God’s law, led others … showed them by example and teaching the way to righteousness.”
This is a very positive statement about this group of people who have a purpose to help others come to know God and to come into a relationship with Him because they have established a relationship with God themselves. They are living it, not just saying it.
The Eternal God’s purpose for those redeemed is to be a witness to others by allowing God to duplicate Himself in them.
John the Baptist’s work was to prepare the way before Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ Himself linked John’s work with an Elijah type work, which is to precede Christ’s second coming. The angel announcing John’s birth ties both together. “And he [John] will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:16-17). The word “turn” indicates a purpose.
We are instruments—witnesses—in God’s hand to turn people to God by example and teaching. God’s purpose changes us to serve Him. It has an outward focus designed to eventually turn all of mankind to Him.
In a disconnected world, the purpose of the Church is to turn people to God who will become living examples of God’s purpose.