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Christ-Centered Celebration: A Life of Worship

 

 

Over the last three weeks we have looked at the 3C’s of Newark Church of the Nazarene. Together we studied Jesus words found in the story of the woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus.
Celebration: Jesus said, “. . .true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way.”  John 4:23 NLT
Community: Woman who shared Jesus and His message with her entire community. She said, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” They came, they saw and heard and they became followers of Jesus Christ.  
Call: Jesus said to His first disciples, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God who sent me, and from finishing His work.” He also said, “. . .the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life.”

Today we are adding a dimension to the 3C’s that is long overdue. You see you can be involved in a public celebration service (although authentic Christfollowers worship Him with their lives), you can experience community both within the church family or even in a secular setting and you can do good things for others with your life, but if you are not doing these things within the context of a surrendered life you are missing a vital link.

The fourth C or the added dimension is simply doing all these things from the perspective of being Christ-Centered.
Sounds simple but it is one of the most profound teachings of the Bible and will radically change every facet of our lives if we live it out to the fullest extent.

For the next three weeks we are going to urge you, call you, push you and encourage you in every way to surrender your lives to Jesus Christ. I am talking the most personal areas of your life. The visible and the invisible, the spiritual and not so spiritual, the public and the private and in reality every Christfollower in history that has enjoyed and authentic relationship with Christ has experienced the depth of a fully surrendered life.

To be Christ-Centered means that in all three of the C’s we will engage them by fully surrendering our lives on a daily basis. To understand this from a biblical perspective we are going to immerse ourselves into Romans 12 for the next two weeks. In this chapter we will learn together how to center our lives on Christ.

As we close this series over the next three weeks we are going to apply the concept of being Christ-Centered to the 3C’s. We will learn how to connect the 3C’s to the notion of being Christ-Centered with our lives.


For the last eight years many of us have watched
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As radical and as big of a change as the families on that show experience with their homes it is nothing compared to the change and transformation that should happen in our lives when we follow Christ. Sadly this concept is not taught very much. Most people have settled for a comfortable theology of signed, sealed and delivered no matter what you do with your life or lifestyle. Yet the Bible remains clear in both the Old and New Testament that God has always looked for a people that will surrender their lives to Him. You may remember the story of Saul in the first sermon on Celebration and how that the prophet Samuel chided him for his disobedience to the instructions God had given him to carry out in battle. His disobedience was no small, shrug your shoulder, God will forgive me kind of deal that many of us subscribe to today. Disobedience was and still is a big deal to God. He is looking for a people that will surrender their lives on a daily basis. He is looking for people that can lead others to follow Him.

What does this mean for you and I?


Be a living sacrifice:Celebration

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Acceptable

What is this language of acceptability? The writer of Romans says, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Very interesting language is it not? What have you and I done with our bodies this week that is godly or God oriented? The idea of being Christ-centered is that everything we do ought to bring honor and glory to God.
We are to allow God to direct our thoughts, our lives our actions, our conversations and all areas of our lives both private and public. All through the Bible we are taught that living holy lives is the standard that God sets for all who would follow Him and bear His name.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 we read these words: “Finally dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God. . . God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor. . . God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” 1 Thess. 4:1-8 NLT
In 1 Timothy we read Paul’s admonition to a young man, “Teach these things, Timothy and encourage everyone to obey them. . .These teachings promote a godly life. . .but you Timothy are a man of God; so run from all these things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. . .guard what God has entrusted to you.” 1 Timothy 6
Alexander the great was a great conquerer, from a young age was trained in the arts of war and battle. By his early manhood he had already amassed a great army. An army that was undefeatable and the most powerful in the world. He swept across Eurasian lands conquering all who stood in his way. He marched through the great Kingdoms of Persia and Bablyon. When he entered Babylon, the King asked Alexander to come sit next to him by his throne and as Alexander sat, the king was going to pronounce sentence on one of his soldiers. Alexander stopped the king and asked what has this man done? The king told him the soldier had fleed during the heat of the battle. This was known as desertion, a crime punishable by death. Alexander asked the king that before he pronounced sentence allow him to speak with this boy. Alexander was allowed and approached the boy, and asked, what is your name? The boy with his head down looked up at the great conquerer and said, Alexander. Alexander asked him again, what is your name? The boys name truly being Alexander answered again, my name is Alexander. This infuriated Alexander the great and he grabbed the boy by the shoulders and shook him fiercely and threw him to the ground, asking again, what is your name? The boy responded nervously, Alexander. Alexander the great thought of himself and knew the strength, courage, and fear that his name evoked. He then looked down at the boy and tells him: You Either Change Your Conduct, or YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME!
We are to our lives in a way that God will find us acceptable. As the writer of Romans says, “This is truly the way to worship Him.” You and I become acceptable to God by allowing Him to transform our lives.

Transformed

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”  
You and I can know the transforming power of God on a daily basis. I am going to be very honest with you today and I hope that you are being honest with yourself. Most of us in this room have been much more greatly affected by the culture around us than we are even aware.
There are two streams of Christianity. One is authentic biblical Christfollowing on a daily basis and the other is cultural Christianity.

Biblical Christianity
Only understood by those who are joined to Christ through the cross
 Cultural Christianity
Believed by the masses to represent genuine Christianity
 It is...  A personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, based on faith.John 17:20-26; Rom. 8:37-39 A religion based on humanist logic, "feel good" experiences,  and popular interpretations of Scriptures.
Come to God through…  Faith in Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself in His Word and by His Spirit. John 14:6  Faith that our own good works and intentions are good enough.
View the Bible as:  The absolute, unchanging, Word of God. The Bible is inspired and guarded by God --- including its honest reports about evil acts among God's people. 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet 1:25 A collection of guidelines, allegories, myths, and stories useful for good living. Offensive verses must be ignored.
 Our goal is...  God's approval. To know Him, do His will, follow His way, and live each moment in fellowship with Him -- by His wonderful grace!Gal.1:10 People's approval. To please, not offend, the world and its communities. Fun, feel-good fellowship.
Source of Strength  God's unlimited grace and power.Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:19  Our human abilities -- plus God’s help when "needed."
 See our human self as…  Weak and inadequate apart from Christ.2 Cor. 12:9-10  Strong and capable if we have confidence in Self.

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WES HUMBLE

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wes@sermonhunt.com