We’ve spent the last month in a series called All That Matters. We are tackling that question that everyone has, “Does my life matter? Can my life make a difference?”
The reason we have this question is because God has hardwired us to live our lives for others. And it’s not until we live this kind of life that we find purpose and fulfillment.
The ultimate purpose for your life is to make a difference.
I want every single one of you to be able to say, “I’m living my life in such a way that is making a difference in other people’s lives.”
That’s what church is all about. That’s what following Jesus is all about. And I want to help you do that.
Which is exactly why I’ve spent the last month showing you that living your life for others is the only way to live your best life.
Culture is lying to you. Your mind is lying to you. Your emotions are lying to you. They all say that living for me is the only way to get the life that I want. When actually, this is exactly how you get a life that you hate.
Living for Others = Best Life
Living for Yourself = Worst Life
Let’s take another look at the scripture we’ve looked at every single week in this series. It forms the foundation for what we’ve been talking about, and I actually want to point out something that we haven’t yet considered from this verse.
1 Timothy 6:17-18 NLT – Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.
Did you notice it says ‘in this world’. Apparently there is another place other than this world. Yet, this scripture was written for us, who are here in this world.
1 Timothy 6:17-18 NLT – Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
These are all the things we’ve been talking about so far. Actually, if you remember, we spent an entire message talking about how and when to do good.
Let’s keep reading:
1 Timothy 6:19 NIV – In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
In other words, when you live your life for others, you are not just doing it for them. And, it’s weird to think about, but living for others is also for yourself.
Every time you do good, you make a deposit in your treasure chest for the life that is coming next. We’re talking about eternity.
And we all know eternity is going to be awesome for those who believe in Jesus. But apparently, some of us are going to have more treasure than others once we get there.
Seriously though, how cool is it that living your life for others not only gives you your best life here, but also has an impact on your eternity?
And, newsflash, you are going to spend WAY more time in Heaven than you are in this life. This life is just a blip, and then eternity in Heaven.
I bet we all could agree that we need to live our lives a little more focused on how what I am doing now is going to affect eternity.
And actually, once you know this, you find a new reason to do good. And it ends up becoming your main motivation.
Eternity is the best motivation for being generous.
Every time you give, you’re storing up treasure in Heaven. Every time you do good, you are heaping more treasure onto that pile in Heaven.
And not only that, but every time you do good, you may even be impacting someone else’s eternity. Because when they see Jesus in you, they start to believe in Jesus and transition their eternity from hell to Heaven.
It’s funny though, we don’t talk a lot about Heaven. But, I’m sure you’ve thought about it. And maybe it didn’t seem too interesting for you?
Like a lot of people think that the only thing going on in Heaven is a bunch of harp music. Nope. That’s hell. You’ve gotten the two confused.
You’re not going to be sitting up in your gold chair playing the harp all day. I can promise you that.
Because Heaven is an incredible place. Like, if you could see it, you’d jump ship right now and just look back at your family and say, “See y’all when you get there!”
It was about a year and a half ago that my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. And, during his last days here, he saw glimpses of Heaven. And let me tell you, there is nothing we could have said or done to keep him here after that.
There is more to life than this life.
And this is something that we rarely think about today because we live in a generation that is just kind of in the moment. We want it now, we can have it now, so all we think about is now.
A lot of times, we don’t even think about tomorrow. That’s why so many people live paycheck to paycheck. Because you look at what is in your bank account now but don’t think about how spending that money now will affect tomorrow.
There are even these phrases we use to justify this kind of living.
YOLO – You only live once.
If you’re young you say YOLO. If you’re old, you actually say the words.
And I’ll admit. I am one that uses real words. At this point in my life, I find myself teetering between being young and being old. Actually, I was really surprised to find out I was a millennial.
But then I find myself saying things like, “Beth, you’re looking on fleek.”
I don’t know what’s going on. All I know is that being in your 30s really seems like prime time. Beth was devastated to turn 30 but I was stoked.
So, I am going to live it up because after all, you only live once… no you don’t!
It sounds cute and we all tend to agree with it. Someone’s all #YOLO and we’re like, “Yeah man, go for it.”
Well, I say we give the young folk a new hashtag to use:
YOLT – You only live twice.
You don’t live once. Because if you think you live once, you’ll do a lot of crazy things. Like the only reason you use YOLO is to excuse destructive behavior.
But you owe it to yourself to live with the reality that you actually live twice.
And one day you are going to thank me for bringing you this series. Even though I’m sure there have been times where you thought the only reason I was bringing this stuff up is so that you would give more or clean the toilet.
But after today, it’s going to hit you. Living your life for others, yes, makes a difference here in this life. But is also makes a big impact on your eternity which is where you are going to spend the rest of your life.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT – God has planted eternity in the human heart.
It doesn’t matter if you call yourself an atheist or if you’ve been going to church for years, we all know deep down that there is more after this life.
Hebrews 9:27 NLT – Just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.
In other words, we are all going to die. You can’t get away from it. Aren’t you glad you came to church today?
But we only die once, and then there is an after.
And I imagine that the judgement word scares some of you, so let’s talk about it. There will actually be two judgments.
In the first one you are going to go before God and He is going to ask you a question. He’s not going to ask how many good deeds you did, how many times you went to church, or how much you gave in the offering.
I don’t know how exactly He is going to ask it, but everyone is going to be asked this question, something along the lines of, “What did you do with my Son Jesus?”
Because He paid for all thing things you did wrong and all the good things you didn’t do. He freely gave you grace, forgiveness, healing and most of all His love. And what did you do with it?
The answer He’s looking for is, “I received it because I realized that I couldn’t do it myself. I know that Jesus paid for all my sins and there is nothing I could do to earn this forgiveness.”
At which point, you fall to your knees because the immeasurable love that Jesus has for you will just overtake you. Just like it’s tugging on your heart right now.
And then God will smile, open the door, and invite you in. But then there is a second judgement in which you will give an account for how you lived your life.
None of this will determine whether you spend eternity in Heaven or hell. You’ve already passed the first judgment because you believe in what Jesus did for you. But the second judgement will determine what your Heaven will be like.
2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT – For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
Can you earn your way to Heaven? No. Is there anything you can do or not do to get into Heaven? No. The only way to Heaven is to believe in Jesus.
But does what you do during this life matter? Yes. It is going to impact your eternity.
In this second judgement, you are going to stand before Jesus and tell Him what you did with your life. All the bad stuff will be burned up. It will be gone forever.
All the good stuff will be rewarded. Check this out:
Matthew 16:27 NIV – For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
So for all you who serve in children’s ministry even when you’re not feeling it, Jesus is going to pay you back some day.
And all you who stay after church to clean the restrooms and pick up trash so that this building is ready for the next church, Jesus is watching and He will reward you.
When you help someone at the grocery store who is having a hard time, Jesus takes note of it and you will see a reward in Heaven.
When you give to your church when you’d rather spend the money on something else, Jesus sees your obedience and it will be rewarded some day.
And you may just be sitting there thinking, but Heaven is enough. Like, Jesus doesn’t owe me anything. I do these things because I want to serve Him.
Although that is an honorable way to think, Jesus is just going to tell you, “Too bad. This is my show and I am going to reward you for all the good you’ve done and you can’t do anything about it.”
I mean, check out what Jesus says in the very last chapter of the Bible. Like, here Jesus is, wrapping up the greatest book ever written, and He feels the need to mention this:
Revelation 22:12 NLT – Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
Jesus is so excited to reward people, that when it comes back, He’s not going to make them wait until they get to Heaven. He’s going to bring the reward with Him.
And I hope this gets you excited! Jesus is bursting at the seams to reward you for all the good things you do in this life. And every time you do something good, it takes the reward to a whole ‘notha level.
What I am trying to get across to you today is that living your life for others is not just for the here and now. It has an even greater impact on eternity.
So, let me give you some eternity principles we all need to keep in mind.
I’m just passing through.
We are just visitors here. We are just passing through. So, don’t put everything you have into this life. Don’t believe the lie that you have to “live it up” while you are here as if it’s the only life you get.
The life that comes next is eternal. This one is just temporary.
Philippians 3:18-20 NLT – There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
This is explaining a YOLO type of life, when all you care about is satisfying yourself in the here and now. You’re not thinking about what’s next. All you are thinking about is your life here on earth.
Let’s keep reading:
Philippians 3:18-20 NLT – But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
You are not a citizen of earth. You are a citizen of heaven.
And when you internalize this truth, you live your life differently. You live a YOLT life instead of a YOLO life.
Hebrews 11:13-16 MSG – People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home … They were after a far better country than that— heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
In other words, living your life with Heaven in mind pleases God. And He is going to reward you for living your life this way.
Here’s another eternity principle to keep in mind:
My time on earth is short.
Sometimes it feels like it is crawling by. Other times it feels like it is flying by. Regardless, this life is really short in comparison to eternity.
James 4:14 NIV – What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Man, I don’t know about you, but that’s a little disappointing. Mainly because I get caught in the idea that this life is my only chance. It’s the only one I got.
But, if you are honest with yourself and you zoom out a little bit and look at the entire earth and the entire history of the earth, you realize that your life is just a mist on the timeline of earth.
Yet, we often live our lives as if we have bookoos of time. Like it doesn’t matter if I waste my time at a job that I know isn’t what God called me to do. I have plenty of time to do something different later.
But, when you realize how short time really is on this earth, you live your life differently. You start focusing on what truly matters and say no to the things that don’t.
Psalm 90:12 TLB – Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.
Time on earth is short. And don’t let this make you think that this life doesn’t matter, because it does.
But let it motivate you to value your time more than you ever have before, because it doesn’t last long and you don’t get it back.
So, it’s very important for you to go to work tomorrow and look for opportunities to do good. And live every day that way, always asking the simple question, “Holy Spirit, is there anything you need me to do while I’m here?”
There’s one event that really brings home the importance of living your life this way. And I remember exactly where I was the day it happened, even though I was only 13 years old. I’m talking about 9/11.
Any time a documentary comes up about this day, I feel compelled to watch it. I don’t know what it is, but I am still extremely intrigued about what happened that day, even though it was 18 years ago.
There’s a documentary out there about the phone calls made from people trapped in the towers before they collapsed. And so many were calling to say things that they wish they would have already said.
I imagine there was probably a couple that got in a fight that morning because the trash wasn’t taken out, or something trivial like that. But in this moment, no one was thinking about the trash. They just wanted their loved one to know how much they loved them.
And that’s why we named this series All That Matters. Because it’s time to shift our perspective and live our lives in a way that matters.
We shouldn’t waste time getting mad because the waitress messed up our order, or because someone is blocking the aisle at Walmart, or because your spouse didn’t complete their chore list.
We should shake off that nonsense and remember that our best life is lived for others. We are not here for ourselves, we are here to make a difference in the lives of those around us.
The Bible says it this way:
Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT – So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
In other words, don’t make the little things big things. Keep the little things little and focus your time and energy on the things that matter.
Remember earlier when we talked about the two judgements you will go through? The first one is simply a question of if you believed Jesus or not.
And please don’t forget, this first judgment has nothing to do with how good you are, or how many things you did right, or how many things you did wrong. No, salvation is a free gift. All you have to do is believe in Jesus.
The second judgement happens after you are in heaven. Like, no matter what, when you believe in Jesus, you are spending eternity in heaven. But there is still a time when what you did here on earth will be judged.
And here is how it will go down:
1 Corinthians 3:13-14 NLT – But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
So, how do we know what is going to survive this judgement. How do we know if the things that we do have value?
Well, we can’t just do good because we want to look good or because we want to be nice. Because if you are nice to someone but they still go to hell, that’s not what it looks like to survive.
But, if you do good because you want Jesus to look good, those are the things that are going to survive. In other words, you do good not in your own strength, but by letting God’s mighty power work in you.
Doesn’t that bring a new dimension to our core scripture here at NoLimits?
Ephesians 3:20 NLT – Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Like we can live our lives with God’s mighty power working in us to do good to all those around us. Our short life here on earth can make a big difference when we allow God’s mighty power to accomplish its infinite work.
And here’s what it all boils down to:
All that matters is eternity.
Because if we live our lives only for what happens here on earth, a lot of people are going to go to hell simply because we weren’t paying attention. We put our focus in the wrong place and totally missed it.
So, how do we live our lives for eternity? Let me give you three practical steps.
Go through life looking up and around, not down.
Here’s the deal. And brace yourself because I am going to just let it out there.
If you go through life consumed with your job, your money, your kids, your house, your vacations. And don’t get me wrong, God gave you all of these things to enjoy. The problem is when you get consumed with them.
Like when the things of this earth are all you think about, and you fall in love with earth. Let me tell you, earth will disappoint you.
It will disappoint you in this life, and you’ll be really disappointed when you have to tell God how you wasted your time living only for yourself.
So quit looking at your problems, quit looking at your failures, quit looking at what this world can do for you. And look up!
And ask yourself, “Does this matter in eternity?” And if it doesn’t shake it off and put your focus on something that does matter.
And that’s why the Bible points this out about Moses:
Hebrews 11:25-26 NLT – Moses chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
Moses got it, and now we get it. Don’t fall in love with earth; fall in love with heaven.
And here’s the second way to live your life for eternity:
Give up something now for something I want later.
This is something that even works on earth. Like if you want a six pack instead of a muffin top, you give up the cookies now for something you want later.
And this is usually a requirement for anything that is of value, even on this earth. You almost always have to give up something now to reap the benefit later.
But it is not just an earth principle, it was actually an eternity principle first.
Everything we do on earth has an impact on eternity. And there are things you can give up now that won’t just make your earthly life better but will also have an impact on eternity.
Like instead of hoarding all this stuff for me, I live a generous life and give up something now for that reward in heaven later.
And listen to me. We are not talking about earning your way to heaven. That is a free gift by believing in Jesus. But once we get to heaven, there will be rewards for those who choose to keep their eyes on heaven even while here on earth.
Jesus says it this way:
Matthew 6:19-21 NLT – Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
In other words, you don’t need an investor to tell you the best place to invest. Jesus gave you the answer. Invest your time and resources with heaven in mind, and nothing will be able to destroy it.
But store it all up here on earth, and something is going to happen to it. You may have it for a little while, but it will get destroyed or stolen at some point.
And this is why I am an advocate for you being intentional about giving to our church. This is why giving 10% and beyond is so powerful. Because it is the best investment strategy you can make.
The Bible tells us it will bring a return on earth. And on top of this, you are even going to get a return in heaven. This trumps anything else you can do with your money!
Now go ahead and relax. We’re not taking up another offering. Because this has to be your decision, not something I pressure you into doing.
But let me show you this next verse:
Matthew 6:19-21 NLT – Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
When you struggle to share God’s heart, like maybe you look around and wonder why you aren’t as motivated to live for God as the person next to you, then you need to take a look at where your treasure is.
And if you are storing all your treasure on earth, make a change. Because it will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
Alright, here’s the last way to live your life for eternity:
Intentionally make a difference.
In other words, you can’t just sit around and wait for opportunities to do good.
Like you can’t wait for the next mission trip, the next community outreach, or the next time someone asks for your help. You have to be intentional, and you have to do it on purpose.
Let me give you three ways to be intentional.
#1 Intentionally share my resources.
You need to have a plan for how you are going to share your resources. Again, this is why tithing, or giving the first 10% of your income, is so powerful. It’s a plan that grows as your income grows.
That way, you don’t find yourself making more but giving less. Because when you put a percentage on it, you are intentional about being generous.
Another idea is to put a certain amount of cash in your wallet every month to give to those in need. Maybe to pay for someone’s meal or buy their groceries. That way you are always ready when the opportunity presents itself.
#2 Intentionally share my time.
In other words, you can’t wait until it’s convenient, or until it feels good, or until you want to. You need to make a commitment and honor it.
Make a decision to join one of our teams here at church, not because we told you to, but because you have heaven in mind.
And put it on your calendar, make it a priority and show up on time. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it’s not convenient.
You come to church determined to serve the team and serve your church, not because you want to make the leader happy, but because you have heaven in mind. So you make it a priority, and you do it intentionally.
#3 Intentionally share Jesus.
This is what brings this whole series home for me. Just a couple of months ago, the Holy Spirit gave me direction for our church. In short, He set me on a mission to change our church culture.
And this is something that I imagine He is doing in every church, because it’s not just our church that needs a shift. It’s the American church as a whole.
We’ve gotten to this place where the goal as a Christian is to invite people to church and then let the pastor lead them to Jesus. And this has worked for many years, but now we are having a problem.
Just a few years ago, the American population valued church even if they did not go to church. So, when someone would invite them, there was a good chance they would actually come.
Well, culture has shifted. The church is no longer valued or seen as important. And I am not just talking about non-churchgoers, I am even talking about those who go to church.
Church has become something that you go to if its convenient, or if it gives me something that I need, or if it entertains my kids. Otherwise, what’s the point?
And I don’t say this to get on to you. Although, if you were just corrected by the Holy Spirit, make a change. Don’t waste time in regret. Just change course.
But the reason I bring this up is because inviting people to church is no longer the right strategy for us to lead people to Jesus. We all need to be leading people to Jesus in our daily lives.
We need to be intentional about sharing Jesus, not just inviting people to church.
Do I want you to bring people to church? Of course I do! But start by sharing Jesus with them first.
Take them to lunch. Invite them to coffee. Text and encourage them. Show them the love of Jesus by serving them without asking for anything in return.
Don’t have an agenda. Like, don’t feel like you have to bring out the salvation prayer during your first time having lunch together. Simply be there for them. Be the most loving person they’ve ever been around.
And then one day, they will open the door. And when they do, be bold and lead them to Jesus. And when the opportunity arises, invite them to church. Because they do need to be here. But first, they need you to share Jesus.
Now, let me prophesy about our church.
We are going to be known as people who make a difference by living our lives for others. We will live our lives with heaven in mind realizing that everything we do has an impact on eternity.
God’s power will continually be at work in us accomplishing the good things He planned for us long ago. And because of this, people all around us will believe in Jesus and come to know God in a real and relational way.
We are pursuing limitless life in Jesus. Our lives will impact the world. And it’s going to blow our minds and leave an unthinkable legacy.