JESUS CENTERED LIVING - PART 1
“For in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
Jesus is the focal point of every Christian life. Jesus is the reason for every local expression of His Church. As we begin our journey through the Jesus Centered Living Series, the vision, aim and purpose of this series is to equip each person to get to a place of committed discipleship through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Through this series I am confident that through personal application and the effective outworking of God in your life you will be empowered into a radical lifestyle of Jesus Centered Living!
We are living in a society today that glorifies sin, praises violence, abuse and every sort of vice. It celebrates selfishness, the taking advantage of others and takes great delight in the destruction of lives on so many different levels. This has become the "new" normal.
The Christian on the other hand stands diametrically opposed to the way of the world. The disciple of Christ has discovered something incredibly beautiful—a relationship with Jesus. The supernatural miracle of the Gospel is simply that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and on the third day was resurrected back to life, which through this supernatural occurrence empowers the believer to live out a life that shows off the D.N.A. of the Kingdom. It has now become possible for the Christian through the infusing power of the Holy Spirit to live out a counter-cultural Kingdom life in love, self-sacrifice and power.
A Jesus centered life should be identified by five unmissable areas:
Radically rooted in His finished work
Living out a Holy Spirit led life in power, signs & wonders
Understanding everything is worship
Burning vision of taking the Gospel into all the world
Absolutely focused on Kingdom culture
We are all in stages of God’s glorious process of transforming our lives into a Jesus centered masterpiece. This takes a lifetime of consecration, commitment and absolute reliance on the Holy Spirit to bring this to pass. There are three things you need to be aware of before we embark on this journey together:
BE OPEN TO CHANGE - as you love Jesus more and more, there always needs to be an open heart for you to be taught by the Holy Spirit through the Word. Change isn’t always easy but the moment you open yourself up to Him, transformation into a Jesus centered life will be visible for all to see.
BE OBEDIENT - as you begin to grow and understand more of God’s revealed truth, faithfulness to its application is required. Faithfulness, obedience & practical application to God’s Word are paramount in growing into a Jesus centered life.
REMEMBER WHO IS IN CHARGE - Jesus is Lord of your life. He has not left you alone to do this thing called “life”. The Holy Spirit has been given to you as a helper, councilor and guide. All we have to do is allow Him to teach and lead us into all truth.
Having said all that, lets embark on a supernatural adventure that will change the world we live in.
YOU ARE A LIGHT IN A DARK PLACE:
BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH, THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT CONFLICTING VIEWS OF WHAT LIVING A JESUS CENTERED LIFE REALLY IS. IN THIS FIRST PART YOU WILL DISCOVER HOW GOD’S CHURCH IS MADE UP OF UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS, WITH A UNIQUE PURPOSE. AND YOU WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO LIVE OUT A JESUS CENTERED LIFE.
What is a Christian?
When a lost world looks at a Christian, what do they see? An irrelevant outdated stooge, a hypocritical viper or a judgmental weirdo? Some of these accusations are very true but this should not be the reality of a person that has been infused with the love, grace and power of God.
Let me ask you a very important question that needs to be defined. What is a Christian?
There are a variety of correct biblical answers you could give me but I want to quote the words of Jesus found in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
The world is a dark and broken place. It is full of pain, devastation and death. People are dead in their sins, they have no hope, no vision and no future. A person who has switched onto living a Jesus centered life is a person that has been empowered by the new birth from above to “shine” out the grace, love and mercy of a redeeming God. You are like a bright city set on a hill shinning in the darkness pointing people to safety and refuge. You are a supernatural light empowered by the Holy Spirit for people that are groping around in darkness. You have become a beacon of hope to an enslaved world. They start walking toward you…you are the light of the world! This is a great portrait of what a Christian should be like. We have been called to be magnetic.
A UNIQUE PEOPLE
You are extremely unique. Jesus centered living makes you vastly different from everybody else! Why?
The answer is found in the writings of the Apostle Peter, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
This is just amazing. We were once living in darkness, until we heard and believed the good news about Jesus. Now we have been made into a special “chosen race”: a whole new category of human being. You and other Christians have been saved by Jesus’ finished work and are the only community of relationships that will last forever in God’s presence. You have been enrolled into Heaven’s “spiritual welfare” program with its many benefits and adopted into God’s family which forms the basis of your new identity forever. Therefore, we are to be holy or “set apart” for His purposes. You have been empowered to live apart from the dominance of a worldly culture but not separate from it. You have become the people of God and have obtained mercy.
WE ARE A UNIQUE PEOPLE BECAUSE:
We are born-again (John 3:3-7)
Adopted into a new family (Ephesians 1:4-5)
We have moved from darkness to light (Col 1:13)
We are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
We have eternal life (John 5:24; 1 John 5:13)
Peter emphatically states that God has called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Why is it so important that we do not forget what we have been saved from (the darkness)?
Once again there are many correct answers to this question but I want to focus on you being the “light of the world”. It’s a whole lot easier to sympathize with people that are hurting, broken and languishing in Satan's kingdom in total spiritual darkness because you were once a captive to the kingdom of darkness yourself. Praise God that through the grace and favor of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, you have been liberated into freedom. A Jesus centered life shines forth the light of Christ into a dark world drawing hurt, broken and bound people toward a city burning ablaze on top of a hill with the love, grace and power of the Gospel. You have been called to set the captive free with the amazing testimony that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. You truly are a city set on a hill.
A UNIQUE PURPOSE
As you live out a Jesus centered life as a bright city on a hill blazing God’s truth into a dark world, you are a unique person operating out of a chosen and special people, with a unique purpose for you to discover.
The individual Christian has been placed into a royal priesthood. You have direct access to God and you are called to represent Jesus as King to the rest of the world. The purpose of the individual priest/believer is to realize that you have been called to fulfill a very specific ministry within God’s family. Yes, every Christian that wants to live a Jesus centered life has been called to ministry. There are no shortcuts. The fundamental ministry of every Christian is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us have been empowered to testify before a dark world that Jesus is the only way in which man can be saved. The Jesus centered life testifies to the finished work and ongoing grace of God in a yielded person's life. The beauty of Christ can be made visible in our every day activities to people that are alienated from God. Your unique purpose is to declare from the rooftops how wonderful Jesus really is.
So often Christians talk about being different from the world. They often focus on things they shouldn’t do, like majoring on external problems that are visible to the naked eye like – getting drunk, watching porn or stealing stationary from work. Christianity is not a bunch of do’s and don’ts? There is a real down side to such an approach:
We can become very religious and legalistic by focusing on things that need to be avoided.
It can produce an attitude of self-righteousness by looking down on others.
This message can come across as just about rule keeping or living a boring life.
People might see us as different but not find the difference attractive in any way.
There is a vast difference of living by the law (ministry of death - 2 Cor 3:7) and living by grace (ministry of the Spirit - 2 Cor 3:8). The Jesus centered life is firmly rooted in grace— the undeserved loving kindness of Jesus. Paul teaches us in Romans 5:20-21, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Jesus centered life abounds in grace received as well as grace released. We have been called to reach people that are bound in darkness by the revelation of truth that grace has been fully manifest in the person of Jesus.
This is the reality of a life positioned in Jesus, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17). We are no longer under the law of do’s and don’ts but under the amazing principle of grace which allows the disciple of Christ to be fully led by the Holy Spirit, whose law has been engraved on the tablets of a new heart.
What really makes a Christian different is that he or she can fully function in the supernatural unconditional love of God toward those that are alienated from God , “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
In fact the Jesus centered life can be summed up in the amazing words of Paul found in Colossians 3:12-14, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
This is what a dead and dark world needs to see. They need to see your light blazing forth the truth that you have been consumed with the grace of God. Scripture then tells us that they will then see your good works that emanate out of the leading of the Holy Spirit and in turn will worship God. You are the light of the world, you are a very unique being, created and designed for a unique purpose.
Just as Jesus was loving, so you are to love others. Just as Jesus came to serve, so you will serve others. Just as Jesus obeyed the Father in all things, so the person who has discovered the Jesus centered life will want to walk just as Jesus walked! (1 John 2:6)