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God-Centered Christianity Illustrated

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Exalt His Name; Live His Purpose

“God-Centered Christianity”

Colossians 4:7-18

I.          Introduction

A.        Year in Review

            1.         God loves His glory!

                        a.         Rudy movie clip - “There are two essential truths – there is                                a God, and I am not him.”

                        b.         God acts for His name sake – for his glory – lest we think                                  that we are the center of His universe.

                        c.         Creation, Flood, Covenant with Israel, sending Jesus, the                                  church – all are for the glory of God.

            2.         God doesn’t need us, but we desperately need him.

                        a.         Ontological Distinction

                        b.         God is completely other and needs no one – He is perfectly                               sufficient in himself.

                        c.         We, on the other hand, desperately need God.

                        d.         Thankfully, God has made himself known and desires to                                    have relationship with His people.

            3.         However, we tend to make Christianity all about US!

            4.         Study in Colossians – Paul is calling a Colossian church back to a                      God-centered Christianity.

            5.         Theme Verse – Isaiah 26:8 – Indeed, while following the way of            your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for you eagerly; Your         name even your memory is the desire of our souls.”

B.         Just as we conclude a school year of youth ministry, so we come to the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae.

II.         God-Centered Christianity Illustrated (4:7-18)

            A.        Paul’s ministry was to encourage others, despite his personal suffering                            1.         Paul was sending Tychicus to share with the Colossian church all                                      that was going on with him.

                        2.         The letter was not about Paul – his trials and suffering.

                        3.         The letter was to encourage this church in their faith commitment                                                to Jesus Christ.

            B.         Paul’s ministry was to maintain unity for God’s glory

                        1.         He was sending Onesimus back with Tychicus

                        2.         Who was Onesimus?

                                    a.         He was a runaway slave who stole from his master,                                                                   Philemon.

                                    b.         Though, we have no details, Onesimus, the fugitive,                                                       encounters Paul and asks Jesus to be the Lord of his life.

                                    c.         Now, Paul is sending him back to Philemon with the                                                      encouragement to welcome him back as a brother in Christ.

                                    d.         Onesimus is still responsible for his action, but Paul                                                        encourages Philemon to treat him as a brother not as a thief                                                       deserves.

                                    e.         This is recorded in the book of Philemon.

            C.        Paul’s ministry was a team effort

                        1.         Paul was not a spiritual renegade or loner.

                        2.         He was a team player, and demonstrated how dependent he was on                              the help and ministry of others.

                        3.         In order for the gospel to spread world-wide, he needed a network                                           of prayer support and ministry support.

                        4.         The same guy who wrote “Run the race” is the same guy who                                        would say that to run the race alone is foolish.

                        5.         Paul is a perfect example of a man who could not have done what                                             he did for the early church without the support of his brothers and                                      sisters in Christ.

            D.        As a team, their ministry was purposeful and intentional.

                        1.         Who was Epaphras again?

                                    a.         Convert of Paul

                                    b.         Started the Colossian church

                                    c.         Now, Paul’s ministry partner

                        2.         His prayer for the Colossian church…

                                    a.         Stand firm in all the will of God

                                    b.         Be mature and fully assured

III.       Our prayer for the teens is the same

            A.        Stand firm in the will of God

                        1.         Cling to God’s revealed truths – even when all circumstances and                                              your personal feelings say contrary

                        2.         Hold fast to God and His Word.

                        3.         God is good all the time…and all the time God is good!

                        4.         God will never lead you astray

                                    a.         See the world’s enticement’s for what they really                                                                       are…TRAPS that lead to destruction.

                                    b.         Know God’s Word – memorize His Words.

            B.         Be mature and fully assured

                        1.         Maturity and assurance are action words that occur in the                                                          context of community.

                        2.         I demonstrate maturity when I am living in harmony with others,                                                 living out the virtues of Christ (fruit of the Spirit)

                        3.         I demonstrate full assurance when I take God at his word in the                                                 context of relationship.

                        4.         This prayer comes within Paul’s application context of how to live                                              the God-centered life in the context of relationships.

            C.        Recite our theme verse

            D.        May our ultimate purpose be this summer – to Exalt HIS Name and Live                                   according to HIS Purpose!

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