Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Christ Centered Life


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 17th 2022  by Manesh Peter. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


Last week we looked at the early church - what the early church practised and what happened as a result. Today I would like to share about three key elements of a Christ-centered life.

1.     Fixing our eyes on Jesus
2.     Following Jesus
3.     Sharing Jesus
Before I elaborate on these elements, I would like to read a story from the bible.
Luke 18:35-43 NIV - 35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
We were like this blind man. We were spiritually blind (1 Corinthians 2:14). But by the grace of God, when we turned to Jesus when we became born again, our eyes were opened (2 Corinthians 3:14).
As soon as the blind man received sight, he followed Jesus, praising God. He received the gift of sight from Jesus. He saw Jesus as his healer and as a response to the goodness of Jesus, he followed Jesus. Similarly, we should see Jesus. We should see His goodness, His love for us. The result of this seeing would be following Jesus.
When all the people saw what happened to the blind man, they praised God. Similarly, when people see our blessings, they should know about the source of those blessings – Jesus. We should share about this wonderful Jesus to the world through our life and through our speech.
1. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2b NIV - 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
We all have a race marked out for us. We are to run this race by fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
NKJV says looking unto Jesus. In the original language of Greek, the actual meaning of the word ‘looking’ used here is ‘looking away from everything else and looking’. So, we are to look away from everything else and look unto Jesus.
We should not be fixing our eyes on the sins that entangle us. We should not be fixing our eyes on the cares and worries that hinder our run. Instead, we should be fixing our eyes on Jesus always.
Now, how to fix our eyes on Jesus?  We fix our eyes on Jesus: -

i. By seeing Jesus in the scriptures.
Luke 24:27 NIV - And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
The whole bible is full of Jesus. All scriptures point to Jesus. In fact, Jesus Himself is the Word of God. But we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us see Jesus in the scriptures (John 14:26, 15:26).
We can see in the scriptures the nature of Jesus - His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His majesty, His compassion, His love and on and on. 
We can see in the scriptures the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the great blessings we have as a result of this sacrifice.

To see Jesus in the scriptures we should read and study the bible and we should listen to the wonderful Christ-centered sermons preached here on Sundays. So, I urge you to read the bible daily and also try and attend the Sunday meetings every week.
ii.     By taking our eyes off ourselves.
When we thank Jesus for all the blessings and when we worship and praise Jesus for who He is, then we take our eyes off ourselves and set our eyes on Jesus. Do this in your fellowships and in your alone time.
We have a meeting called ‘Living room’ every Thursday at 7:30pm where we just worship the Lord for one hour. Do attend this meeting.
iii.     By remembering the finished work of Jesus on the cross during the breaking of bread.
iv.     By relying on Jesus for all our needs through prayers.
v.     By asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the great perfect love Jesus has for us.

Romans 5:5 NIV - And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  
It is through the Holy Spirit that God’s love has been poured into our hearts. So, ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you more and more, the perfect love that Jesus has for you.
Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV - The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Lord rejoices over you with gladness. The Lord rejoices over you with singing.
How can Lord rejoice over us? Only because of Jesus. Since Jesus took the punishment for our sins, God says in Hebrews 10:17 that He will not remember our sins.
As a result of the obedience of Jesus on the cross, we are righteous (Romans 5:19). It is like this - If marks were given to Jesus for His obedience, He would get 100 out of 100. But that mark 100 out of 100 has been given to us without even taking the exam.
This is GOOD News. Isn’t it?
1 John 4:16 NIV - 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
In stead of relying on our love for Jesus, we should rely on the perfect love God has for us. It can neither increase nor decrease. His love for us is perfect forever - even on the days when we don’t love Him much.
In the Gospel of John, John addresses himself as the disciple Jesus loved five times.
John 21:7b NIV - Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Notice John does not call himself ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved the most. The word ‘most’ is not there. We always think that John is the disciple whom Jesus loved more than others. John does not say so and it is not true. Rather, John identified himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He saw himself so. That was his identity. He did not say other disciples are loved less by Jesus.
Like John, we should identify ourselves as the disciple whom Jesus loves. That should be our identity. 
Now, why should we fix our eyes on Jesus?
i.     Transformation
2 Corinthians 3:18 AMPC - And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendour and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
In other words, when we behold Jesus in the scriptures, we become more and more like Him, and we are transformed. Eyes are the lamp of our body (Matthew 6:22). If your eyes are always on dung, you will be filled with dung. If your eyes are always on Jesus, you will be filled with truth and life.
ii.     Multiplication of grace and peace
2 Peter 1:2 KJV - grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord
When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we get to know Him more and more. This growth in knowledge will result in the multiplication of grace and peace.
2 Peter 1:2 AMPC - May grace (God's favour) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
The word ‘Peace’ used here, in the original language, Greek, not only means peace of mind, but it also means wholeness, and rest. So, we begin to experience more and more of God’s blessings, a wholeness which is perfect well-being and rest when we grow in the correct knowledge of Jesus.
These wonderful things are already ours in Christ in the spiritual realm. However, these things begin to manifest in the physical realm when we grow in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2. Following Jesus
John 10:27 NIV - My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
If you are a believer, then you are a sheep of Jesus. Following Jesus means listening to His voice and doing all that He wants you to do. The natural progression of fixing your eyes on Jesus is following Jesus. Be careful! If you follow Jesus without fixing your eyes on Jesus, you might end up following someone else.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV - 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When we go to Jesus, He gives us rest.
Those who are burdened and weary because of the yoke of law will find rest when they come to Jesus because He has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).
Those who are burdened and weary because of the worries and cares of the world will also find rest because we can cast all our care upon Him as He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Now rest here doesn’t mean doing nothing sitting on a beach watching the sunset. This rest is for our souls – Rest for our minds. Along with the rest, he gives us His yoke and He expects us to learn from Him. He is gentle and He teaches us gently.
If you think it is easy because it does not involve any physical effort, ask Philip. Acts 8:30 says he had to run with the chariot to share Gospel. However, the result was a saved Ethiopian.
The yoke Jesus gives you may not be the same as He gives another disciple. But always the end purpose is a saved soul.
Notice when the yoke is used, there are two animals working together to pull the load. When there is an experienced weak ox, the farmers put a stronger experienced ox along with it in the yoke.
One person carrying the yoke is you. The other person carrying the yoke is Jesus. Remember Jesus is with you in all that He wants you to pull, and we also learn from Him along the way. That is why the yoke that Jesus gives is easy and light.
If the yoke you carry is burdening you, then check whose yoke you are taking. Check whether Jesus is in it with you.
When we follow Jesus, He takes us on an exciting joyful journey. Joy and peace are an integral part of following Jesus.
What is it that He is making us into when we follow Him?
Matthew 4:19 NIV - Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
When we follow Jesus, He makes us fishers of men.
3.     Sharing about Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NIV - 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
The natural progression from fixing our eyes on Jesus and following Him is to share with others about the wonderful Jesus who rescued us and blessed us so much.
We are Christ’s ambassadors. God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. In other words, He has committed to us the Gospel.
Romans 1:16 NIV - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, and this has been committed to us. That is a big responsibility. You have tasted how beautiful Jesus is. You have received blessings. Why would you not share this joy with others?
So, I urge you to look for every opportunity to share the Good News. Always remember the end purpose of all that we are doing on this earth, should be saving souls.
Jesus is beautiful beyond human comprehension and beyond description. Fix your eyes on Him and be transformed enjoying His beauty. When you see His beauty, you would want to follow Him, and you would want to share about Him with everyone. Do it. Live a Christ-centered life.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

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