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Living for Jesus

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“Living for Jesus”

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Introduction: “Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do, Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free–This is the pathway of blessing for me.” Thomas Obediah Chisholm’s beloved hymn challenges us to right living.
Introduction: “Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do, Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free–This is the pathway of blessing for me.” Thomas Obediah Chisholm’s beloved hymn challenges us to right living.
Discussion of the first chapter of Colossians. Paul is writing to a congregation of believers that he may have never met, but knows some very important things about them. He has become aware of the infiltration of false teachers who are trying to corrupt their understanding of their life in Christ and the doctrine they have been taught (2:6-8). His connection with the church is that of Epaphras who may be the Epaproditus that we met in our journey through Philippians. This letter contains one of the most profound statements about the person and nature of Christ. (1:15-20). I think verses 10-12 is the key verse that expresses Paul’s hope for this congregation: “Live a life worthy of the Lord…Please Him in every way…bearing fruit in every good work…growing in the knowledge of God…strengthen by His power…for endurance and patience…joyfully giving thanks to the Father…glorious inheritance” to look forward to! So, let us glean from this letter of Paul some lessons about “living for Jesus.”
Discussion of the first chapter of Colossians.
I. Living for Jesus can be Difficult
I. Living for Jesus can be Difficult
1. Do you remember the Gospel account of the anointing of Jesus by Mary in the home of Simon the leper? Remember that she lavishly poured very expensive perfume on Jesus’ body in worship and honor and love for him? Remember how all the disciples began to scold her for what she was doing? Sometimes even doing our best for Jesus can bring negative reactions from others...even those in the church.
1. Do you remember our message from a couple of weeks ago about the anointing of Jesus by Mary in the home of Simon the leper? Remember that she lavishly poured very expensive perfume on Jesus’ body in worship and honor and love for him? Remember how all the disciples began to scold her for what she was doing? Sometimes even doing our best for Jesus can bring negative reactions from others...even those in the church.
2. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith, “All who desire to live godly will be persecuted.” It was true of the most godly of persons, even Jesus, and it will be true of His followers as well. Have you ever notice that living for Jesus often goes against the grain in this sin-affected world that we live in.
2. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith, “All who desire to live godly will be persecuted.” It was true of the most godly of persons, Jesus and it will be true of his followers as well. Living for Jesus often goes against the grain in this sin-affected world that we live in.
3. We need to remember that we cannot be secret disciples or distant followers of Jesus. There are those who are afraid to let others know about their commitment to Christ...they want to keep their faith up close to their chest like their cards. Or, they want to follow Jesus but keep their distance playing it safe in case there is trouble that they need to avoid. But we need to remember that we don’t simply worship Jesus...we also must obey Him. We are called to not only claim Jesus as our Savior (and surely He is) but He must also be our Lord (that means He’s the boss!).
3. We need to remember that we cannot be secret disciples or distant followers of Jesus. There are those who are afraid to let others know about their commitment to Christ...they want to keep their faith up close to their chest like their cards. Or, they want to follow Jesus but keep their distance playing it safe in case there is trouble that they need to avoid. But we need to remember that we don’t simply worship Jesus...we also must obey Him. We are called to not only claim Jesus as our Savior (and surely He is) but He must also be our Lord (that means He’s the boss!).
4. One day when Jesus was going down the street, a woman cried after Him, ‘Blessed be she who bore Thee, and the breast where Thy head lay!” But Jesus turned around at once, and rebuked the sentimental speech. “Nay,” He exclaimed, “say rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and do it.” An obedient response to His Word is what honors Him. John wrote in his first epistle, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (2:6). Living for Jesus means emulating His lifestyle and attitude. But we must also exercise caution here…common sense must also come into play. Ravi Zacharias recently reported about a preacher in India who wanted to demonstrate Jesus walking on the water…he was devoured alive by three crocodiles!
4. One day when Jesus was going down the street, a woman cried after Him, ‘Blessed be she who bore Thee, and the breast where Thy head lay!” But Jesus turned around at once, and rebuked the sentimental speech. “Nay,” He exclaimed, “say rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and do it.”
5. There is a wide and easy road to be sure and it is the most popular...but Jesus said that the way to life is a straight way and a narrow gate that a few are willing to commit to! Yes, following Jesus may at times be difficult but it is still by far the best way to travel in this life!
6. This is a life to celebrate for while we journey there may truly be some rough spots but He is there to give us the victory. There will be some tears along this journey, but through and beyond the tears are joys abundant. There will be problems along this way, and there will be guidance through those problems. Like the chorus we used to sing, "God any rivers you think are uncrossable, God any mountains you can't tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible--He does the things others cannot do!"
5. There is a wide and easy road to be sure and it is the most popular...but Jesus said that the way to life is a straight way and a narrow gate that a few are willing to commit to! Yes, the following of Jesus may at times be difficult but it is still by far the best way to travel in this life!
Illus. A wise preacher once responded to a bitter woman’s resentful cry with words that capture the essence of Christianity as a “present-tense” religion. Angry at God over what had happened to her, she defiantly protested, “I wish I had never been made.” To which the preacher replied, “You have not been made, my dear, you are still being made.”
II. Living for Jesus can also be Fun
II. Living for Jesus can be Fun
1. Preacher and friend of mine, Jerry Gibson, who was for a time the campus minister at the University of Illinois use to say that being a Christian meant to have fun, fun, fun!!!
1. Preacher and friend of mine, Jerry Gibson, who was for a time the campus minister at the University of Illinois use to say that being a Christian meant to have fun, fun, fun!!!
2. Christianity suffered a bad rap that took years to unload during the days of the Puritans. Though they were to be commended for their high moral character...they were more often than not known for what they did not do rather than what they did. The Puritan mind-set was cluttered with a laundry list of things a Christian should not do. The result was that Christians were caricatured as people with long-faces, never having any fun...not even good clean, wholesome fun!
Illus. A Scotsman said, “I am happier now when I’m not happy, that I used to be when I was happy.” He knew the joy that God had promised. Colonel Sanders, who made world-famous his “finger-licken-good” fried chicken requested that at his death Pat Boone should be asked to sing: “He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul.”
2. Christianity suffered a bad rap that took years to unload during the days of the Puritans. Though they were to be commended for their high moral character...they were more often than not known for what they did not do rather than what they did. The Puritan mind-set was cluttered with a laundry list of things a Christian should not do. The result was that Christians were caricatured as people with long-faces, never having any fun...not even good clean, wholesome fun!
3. In reality, being a Christian is the happiest life in the world! It truly is an experience of fun, fun, fun! Notice again Paul’s remark in , “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks...”
3. In reality, being a Christian is the happiest life in the world! It truly is an experience of fun, fun, fun! Notice again Paul’s remark in , “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks...”
3. In reality, being a Christian is the happiest life in the world! It truly is an experience of fun, fun, fun! Notice again Paul’s remark in , “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks...”
4. True there are those who are Christians that lack the joy and the radiance that their connection to Christ ought to exhibit. There are those who betray their Master not with a kiss but with a lack-luster faith...and the result is that Christ is given a bad name among men.
4. True there are those who are Christians that lack the joy and the radiance that their connection to Christ ought to exhibit. There are those who betray their Master not with a kiss but with a lack-luster faith...and the result is that Christ is given a bad name among men.
5. James Stewart’s challenge is: “Don’t be put off by these gloomy caricatures of Christianity! For God’s sake don’t judge Jesus, the King of Joy, by them! Try the real thing—not that miserable parody of the reality—try the real thin, make friends with Jesus, stand where Peter and John and Andrew stood and look into His eyes, listen to the music of His voice, answer His challenge, rise and follow, and you will find it the happiest life on earth!”
5. James Stewart’s challenge is: “Don’t be put off by these gloomy caricatures of Christianity! For God’s sake don’t judge Jesus, the King of Joy, by them! Try the real thing—not that miserable parody of the reality—try the real thin, make friends with Jesus, stand where Peter and John and Andrew stood and look into His eyes, listen to the music of His voice, answer His challenge, rise and follow, and you will find it the happiest life on earth!”
6. There is a misconception that has influenced many when we speak of having fun as a Christian. Tony Campolo addresses the problem in his book The Kingdom of God is a Party!” He writes that a misconception that is easily promoted is “that Christians should be smiling and happy all the time. There are some who suggest that those who have been ‘saved’ have no right to be sorrowful. Such people can make us feel guilty if we show any signs of being downhearted. Let it be herewith declared: Christians cry. They are followers of One who was Himself a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Christians go through the valley of the shadow of death. They are followers of One who trembled and sweat blood in a place called Gethsemane. Christians know that the shortest verse in the Bible simply says, ‘Jesus wept’ ().” What is different about Christians is that their sorrow does not lead to despair. They do no wring their hands as do those who have no hope. In the midst of their sorrow they are able to reassure each other that a better day is coming. They are able to encourage one another that the sting of tragedy will one day be swallowed up in a great victory party!” (pg. 125, 127)
6. There is a misconception that has influenced many when we speak of having fun as a Christian. Tony Campolo addresses the problem in his book The Kingdom of God is a Party!” He writes that a misconception that is easily promoted is “that Christians should be smiling and happy all the time. There are some who suggest that those who have been ‘saved’ have no right to be sorrowful. Such people can make us feel guilty if we show any signs of being downhearted. Let it be herewith declared: Christians cry. They are followers of One who was Himself a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Christians go through the valley of the shadow of death. They are followers of One who trembled and sweat blood in a place called Gethsemane. Christians know that the shortest verse in the Bible simply says, ‘Jesus wept’ ().” What is different about Christians is that their sorrow does not lead to despair. They do no wring their hands as do those who have no hope. In the midst of their sorrow they are able to reassure each other that a better day is coming. They are able to encourage one another that the sting of tragedy will one day be swallowed up in a great victory party!” (pg. 125, 127)
III. Living for Jesus Has many Rewards, Now and in the Future
III. Living for Jesus brings many Rewards
1. In addition to the fun there is in being a Christian...it is a life that has many wonderful benefits. Paul’s term: “hope laid up for you in heaven.” And, a “share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Illus. I like the story about the Sunday School teacher who was telling her class of youngsters about the “crowns of glory” that await people who love Jesus. “Now tell me,” she said at the close of the lesson, “Who will get the biggest crown?” There was silence for a moment, then one bright youngster piped out, “The one who has the biggest head.”
2. There is no greater reward than to know that what we do is of eternal significance!
1. In addition to the fun there is in being a Christian...it is a life that has many wonderful benefits. Paul’s term: “hope laid up for you in heaven.” And, a “share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
2. There is no greater reward than to know that what we do is of eternal significance!
2. There is no greater reward than to know that what we do is of eternal significance!
3. Of course, the greatest reward for the Christian is to live in the Kingdom of God for eternity! The Bible speaks of rewards...but I’m not interested in any other joy than just to be there and to know that I’ll be there forever! That’s what’s at the end of the road of following Jesus! That’s the destination to which the Christian is heading and that as the final destination is reward a-plenty!
3. Of course, the greatest reward for the Christian is to live in heaven for eternity! The Bible speaks of rewards...but I’m not interested in any other joy than just to be there and to know that I’ll be there forever! That’s what’s at the end of the road of following Jesus! That’s the destination to which the Christian is heading and that as the final destination is reward a-plenty!
IV. When We Live for Jesus We bring Joy to God
IV. Living for Jesus brings Joy to God
1. Throbbing throughout this entire passage of Colossians chapter one is God’s joy at seeing his people living for him!
1. Throbbing throughout this entire passage of Colossians chapter one is God’s joy at seeing his people living for him!
2. Paul writes in verse 10 that their walking “in a manner worthy of the Lord” pleases God in all respects! In the OT during one of the most wicked times in the history of the world...a time when God became sick at his stomach because he had created man...there was one man who brought a smile to God’s face....”Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord!” , “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God.” As God looks upon planet earth today can He take pleasure in what He sees in your life?
2. Paul writes in verse 10 that their walking “in a manner worthy of the Lord” pleases God in all respects! In the OT during one of the most wicked times in the history of the world...a time when God became sick at his stomach because he had created man...there was one man who brought a smile to God’s face....”Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord!”
3. and are two great passages that talk about God’s smile.

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24  The LORD bless you and keep you;

25  the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26  the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Also, the refrain found in ,, is a call for God to “smile” on his people, “Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!”
One of our greatest desires should be to bring a smile to God’s face! in the Message says, “Smile on me, your servant; teach me the right way to live.” James wrote, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” ()
One of our greatest desires should be to bring a smile to God’s face! in the Message says, “Smile on me, your servant; teach me the right way to live.” James wrote, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” ()
One of our greatest desires should be to bring a smile to God’s face! in the Message says, “Smile on me, your servant; teach me the right way to live.” James wrote, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” ()
4. When we live for Jesus we bring God pleasure. In the film Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” Later he said, “To give up running would be to hold Him in contempt.” The life that you live should reflect your relationship to Christ...that brings a smile to God’s face...to fail to reflect Christ in your life...displeases Him!
4. When we live for Jesus we bring God pleasure. In the film Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” Later he said, “To give up running would be to hold him in contempt.” The life that you live should reflect your relationship to Christ...that brings a smile to God’s face...to fail to reflect Christ in your life...displeases Him!
5. Living for Jesus is not something we turn on when it’s convenient and turn off when it’s not. Living for Jesus must be a life-style because our life has been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. We are not our own...we have been bought with a price and therefore we are to glorify the God who loves us and saves us and live daily and nightly for Him!
5. , “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God.” As God looks upon planet earth today can He take pleasure in what He sees in your life?
Living for Jesus is not something we turn on when it’s convenient and turn off when it’s not. Living for Jesus must be a life-style because our life has been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. We are not our own...we have been bought with a price and therefore we are to glorify the God who loves us and saves us and live daily and nightly for Him!
Living for Jesus is not something we turn on when it’s convenient and turn off when it’s not. Living for Jesus must be a life-style because our life has been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. We are not our own...we have been bought with a price and therefore we are to glorify the God who loves us and saves us and live daily and nightly for Him!
Note the third verse of our hymn, Living for Jesus...
Note the third verse of our hymn, Living for Jesus...
Living for Jesus thru earth’s little while,
Living for Jesus thru earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure the light of His smile,
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
And the chorus,
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou in Thine atonement didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master—my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
Conclusion: Ivan Albright painted a picture that now hangs in the Chicago Art Institute of an eight-foot door shaped like the lid of an old casket. The door is scarred and bruised, supposedly by the difficult experiences of life. A funeral wreath of wilted flowers hangs on the closed door. The colors are dull and somber. The painting is entitled, “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do.” What a sad thought!
But that doesn’t have to be your experience at the end of the road. No. Because of Christ and living for Him there is joy, real joy, wonderful joy and truly the best is yet to come!
Conclusion: Ivan Albright painted a picture that now hangs in the Chicago Art Institute of an eight-foot door shaped like the lid of an old casket. The door is scarred and bruised, supposedly by the difficult experiences of life. A funeral wreath of wilted flowers hangs on the closed door. The colors are dull and somber. The painting is entitled, “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do.” What a sad thought!
As a result, we are able to sing...
Until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold that city,
Until the day God calls me home.
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