Sunday, July 9, 2017

Everything is about Jesus: All Things To, For, and By Christ

Accompanying Video:

Message Audio:

We’ve talked about topics like theology, sociology, philosophy, government, and other topics, looking at a litany of spheres of life to discover how our Christian faith impacts all of our lives. As the final message of this series, we address this simple fact: Everything is about Jesus. The scriptures say everything was made by Him, for Him, and through Him.

We worship, adore, fear, and love this righteous God who reveals himself to us as Father God of the heavens, Holy Spirit ministering within us, and Jesus Christ, God coming into human history to set us free from our own sins.

To understand the depths of what Jesus has done we must understand the terrible nature of sin. I’ve watched a wife lose her husband to cancer. I’ve seen drug addicts overdose and die. I’ve seen hurricanes devastate entire communities. I’ve seen young people choose suicide. I’ve seen broken families, hopeless people. These are the effects of sin. So we can only understand the weight of what Christ has done when we understand the full horror of sin. But it’s much more personal than that. See each of us have been enemies of God. We were rebels, and one day we decided to set down our weapons, and stop tearing apart the world He gave us.

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation“ -Colossians 1:21-22

I know Christ has purchased my redemption, yet I feel the sorrow of the fact that I fall short of God’s righteous standard. I love God’s standard. I love His holy nature. I love his laws and his commands. I love the savior Jesus Christ. And for those reasons, I lament my nature, and how I live my life, even today. Especially today. Having been given the Holy Spirit to be with me, I feel it now, everyday.

If you constantly feel like you fall short, that your sins drive you nuts, because you love God and you want to obey His way, that is a very good sign. That is a sign that your saved. Romans chapter 8 says We all groan internally, along with nature, creation itself, because of the sin problem. We feel the sorrow of it, we groan and eagerly await the perfection of all things.

If your constantly worried that you might lose your salvation, that you fall short of God, that your weak and trapped in the flesh, then stop worrying, God isn’t going to lose you. He is going to uphold you along the journey. Nothing can separate us from Christ. Our part is to remain in faith. Keep nurturing your faith, keep attending church, and you’re gonna do great. This is a lifestyle. And if sin upsets you, that means your growing closer to God.

Because as the famed preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “The nearer a man lives to God, the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart.”

Yet it is right that we should tremble before a holy God. The only reason every single one of us don’t go into outer darkness is because Jesus Christ did something very special for us. Because we are all justly exposed to the wrath of God. The justice of God was justly raised up against us because of our many, many grevious sins. And I love the justice of God, within I want His justice to reign.

We’ve each fallen short of God’s standard. And to me, when I’m feeling the depths of my own sinfulness, I know I deserve hell. I know it. In fact it would be just for God to send me there, apart from Christ.

Jesus said that the faithful and the unfaithful will be separated, the faithful will go to eternal life and the unfaithful will go to eternal punishment. So we should always seek to be found as one of the faithful.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop walking the walk. It is common for us to feel discouraged along the way, I’m encouraging you to not grow weary, but to continue. God will not forget your hard work. It’s all building up, as treasure in heaven.

So we are called to speak for Christ. To be called to carry His gospel, the good news of his life, death, and resurrection is an overwhelming concept. To live missionally seems overwhelming. It seems like too much at times. Why? Because of my own weakness. Because when things start going well for a while, I tend to begin to push Jesus aside. I tend to want to do things my own way. As much as I try to forsake myself and live for Christ, my own selfishness always seems to be pushing in.

But the amazing thing is that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. That’s exactly how God set it up. In fact the Apostle Paul was asking God to remove a burden from him, something that made Him feel weak, and God said to Him, “2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Our own weakness, neurosis, and instability is in fact a gift from God, the result being that God is glorified through our weakness. Why? Because in our infinite weakness we know we are in desperate need for God to sweep in and save us time and again. Christ’s power rests on me in my deepest weaknesses and in my worst burdens. And it’s the same with you. He is glorified through our struggles.

Well we could ask, why do we have to have all these struggles? Why can’t the world just be ok? Well, the human race at the beginning chose to rebel against God. And part of the consequence of that fall was creation being cursed. And the fact is, the way we struggle with creation: our car breaks down, we catch the flu, a loved one betrays us, our spouse argues with us or our boss is harsh with us, all of these effects of the curse of sin are actually God showing us how it feels for Him to have to deal with us. The curse upon earth, nature, ourselves and other people is a reflection, something that shows us how it feels for God to have to chase after us. Probably one of the starkest reminders of this is trying to raise children. They’ve got that sin nature just like we do, and often they just won’t play by the rules.

I was just at camp, and some of those kids were a bit naughty. They’d find ways to be disruptive, and push the buttons of their counselors and leaders. They need Jesus, because of sin. Just like we need Jesus because of sin.

Thankfully Jesus Christ reveals himself to us, and to the children. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with the children during the morning session at camp. And I asked for hands to be raised if kids wanted Jesus in their hearts and lives, and dozens of hands went up. Again that evening I saw the children huddled at the altar at camp, praying, crying, I saw cheeks flush with tears over sin and struggle in their lives.

Here are pictures from that evening.

This is amazing grace, I thought to myself. That I get to witness things like this. That I get to be a part of stuff like this! I got down on my knees after that, and cried to God, saying Lord why me, how could you be so good to me, a sinner, a drug addict, Lord I’m not anyone special, I’m just some guy, some average joe and Lord you’ve given me the chance to carry your gospel, to preach to children, and to watch them kneel before you and call out to you in need. Lord, thank you so much.

That’s all my soul can do is cry out “thank you!” He paid the debt of all sins on the cross, Not only that but he caused me to be born again to rise up out of a 2 dimensional dark world of delusion, drug addiction, caught in the same repeating loop of self destruction. And for me, someone so undeserving of mercy, He not only grants mercy, the remission of sin, He also grants grace, which is relationship with God almighty the sovereign father of life, the mighty Holy Spirit of God living in my very own soul, Jesus Christ as my own personal friend and savior, and even a calling to ministry, to serve and carry the wonderful gospel of salvation. What could be more important? What could be of greater meaning and value? Nothing else. There is nothing else in life. There is nothing but Jesus. Everything is about Jesus.

I encourage you in your life. Do you see everything in your life through the lenses of Jesus Christ and the living gospel of Christ? We’ve looked at Truth, society, philosophy, government, history, and eternal future. Do you see Jesus in everything? Jesus Christ our glorious savior is alive right now. We could see the holes in his hands and feet from where he bore my sin, our sins, on the cross. They were nailed to Him, though He was perfect. God stepped in to take my sin and transmitted it to Himself, and transmitted His righteousness to me. All of this through the conduit of faith. Faith is the pipeline that traffics Christ to us, the Spirit to us, and our sin to Christ on the cross, where it is fully eliminated.

They call that penal substitutionary atonement. Penal, in that we were subject to the penalty of damnation because of our many sins. Substitution is that Jesus Christ the God-man stepped in to take the punishment for our sins. And atonement in that Christ’s sacrifice of dying on the cross, forsaken of God, deleted the list of sins standing against us in eternity. We would’ve been subject to judgment, but Jesus Christ stepped in and received the penalty for us.

Finally, given that Jesus has done it all, given that Jesus holds all things together, and that everything in life is about Jesus, we ought to live missionally. This world is not all there is. Sadly most people in or out of church still live like this world is all there is. They’re busy living for themselves and they aren’t living for Jesus. Don’t be one of those people. Really live for Jesus, really live missionally. Show up to church every Sunday, if your out of town, find a church wherever you happen to be. That’s what I do. Make sure you do pray twice a day and that you’ve got a daily devotional and a good study Bible that you read from regularly. Most importantly, carry the gospel. Think of yourself as a one man, or one woman army for Christ. You’ve got people in your sphere of influence.

Bob our CSM works at McDonalds, one might think how could I possibly witness at Mcdonalds? Bob does it all the time. He’s prayed with people, he’s listened to people when they were lost and upset. He’s been a closet prayer warrior, praying people into the kingdom from the shadows. You can do the same thing. You can be a soldier for Christ, living missionally. Basically, living as if Jesus Christ is alive right now. Good news, that is actually true. Live in light of the fact that people around you are doomed to hell, because they’ve sinned against God. Realize that, pray for them, everyday, hand out Bibles, leave tracts around town, and talk to people about God. Share your faith. Everything is about Jesus Christ, so our lives should reflect that. 

In conclusion, the Apostle Paul wrote in our scripture today: “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Christ, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” -Colossians 1:20-23a

Once we were enemies of God, now we are His friends. Therefore stand firm in the faith. Everything is about Jesus. 

A Philosophical Transformation Series
1. What is Truth? A Battle of Worldviews
2. Science & Faith: The Existence of God
3. God's Overarching History: The Big Picture
4: Theology: Understanding God
5: Sociology: The Divine Image, the Family & The Social Order
6: Redemption of Man: The Cross (Paradise Regained)
7: Practicing our Faith: Principles to Live By
8: Government & Law: The United States: A Dream Realized
9: The Future Destiny of Man: The New Heavens & New Earth
10: Everything is about Jesus

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