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It's All About Our Values

The Gospel and the Teenage Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction: Introduce series. Read Jaquelle’s bio.
There are people all across our world— from magazine cover celebrities to the soccer mom down the street to perhaps that person who occupies the locker next to yours— who claim to follow Jesus but actually don’t. While saying they have hearts devoted to a passionate pursuit of God, they live unchanged lives. Indifferent lives. Lives that blend in, conform to, and meld with the world. Jesus changed nothing in their lives.
And this problem is getting bigger. Drew Dyck, a Christian author and editor, once heard this message at a youth conference: “Being a Christian isn’t hard.  .  .  . You won’t lose your friends or be unpopular at school. Nothing will change. Your life will be the same, just better.” Drew was stunned, but apparently the teenagers weren’t. In fact, they weren’t even listening, instead they were flicking Doritos at each other. Drew couldn’t help but think, “And why should they?”
If Jesus changes nothing, they’re right. Who cares about Christianity? But the opposite is true too. If Jesus changes everything, following him is worth risking all. And that’s the truth. If you take away one thing from this book, let it be this: Jesus has no half-hearted followers. He demands all. And when he saves you, he changes it all.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 18). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (pp. 18-19). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 18). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

The Example of Paul

Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 18). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 18). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
From our study in the book of Acts, what do we know about Paul before he was saved?
What do we know about Paul after he was saved?
When Paul met Christ, everything in Paul’s life dramatically changed. He was drastically changed from the enemy of Christ and his church to becoming the church’s greatest champion who still serves as an example for us today of leaving all in pursuit of sharing the gospel with those who will listen.
This is how Paul describes his life change.
Philippians 8:1-11
Philippians 3:1–11 NKJV
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
What changes occured in Paul’s life? 1). His priorities changed. 2). He put his faith for righteousness in Christ alone. 3). He pursued a relationship with Christ. 4). He was willing to suffer for Christ. 5). He had a desire to become like Christ.

His Priorities Changed

He devalued the things of this world.
What are some things that we are tempted to value other than Christ?
Although we should value some of these things, the problem is that the world tempts us to value them more than we value Christ.
C.S. Lewis put it this way:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Not only did Paul claim to value Christ, but he proved that he valued Christ with the way he lived his life.
2 Corinthians 11:23–28 NKJV
Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
The challenge for us is this: do we live like the things of this world are more important than Christ?
Jaquelle asks this
Do I live like Jesus is better than my phone? Is Jesus better than my body? Is Jesus better than makeup? Is Jesus better than sports? Would I gladly give it all up, without hesitation, for Jesus?
Jesus put it this way
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (p. 22). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Matthew 10:34–39 NKJV
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
How can I devalue the things of this world?
He treasured Christ above all else.
Paul says that everything out there looks insignificant when compared to Christ. He describes knowing Jesus as having surpassing worth.
How many of you would be willing to die for Christ?
Are you currently living for Christ right now?
Philippians 1:21 NKJV
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
As Christians in America, we may not be called to die for our faith, but if Jesus is worthy then we will surely live out our faith.

He Placed His Confidence for Righteousness in Christ Alone

Paul was a rule follower. Any other rule followers out there? I am a rule follower. Because I am a rule follower it can be a temptation for me to believe that following rules makes me okay. If we can keep enough rules, it means we are good right? If we look good, it means we are good?
Ironically, for Paul, being a rule follower made him even that much more dangerous and evil. Because Christians weren’t keeping the laws of the Pharisees they deserved to be punished and thus he became a persecutor of the church. Thankfully, through God’s grace Paul realized the truth.
Galatians 2:16 NKJV
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Let’s be real. We live in a feel good Walt Disney world where we are taught that “if you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.” We are told that we just need to muster the courage to be ourselves. We are told to find confidence in ourselves. We are taught that we can be the hero of our own story. We are told to believe in ourselves because there is no one from anywhere else who is coming to save us. Our only hope is ourselves.
Here’s what Paul says concerning this philosophy
Galatians 1:6–9 NKJV
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
So, in our American context today, Paul is saying this, “Those who preach a gospel of self-help, denying that Christ is our only Saviour, let them be accursed.”

He Pursued A Relationship With Christ

Christians know God. It is not good enough to know about God.
James 2:19 NKJV
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
You must know God through Jesus as your only Savior.
Example: Our relationship with God is not like our relationships with our social media friends.
God desires an actual relationship with us. He wants us to trust Him with our dreams, our goals, our desires, and our heart. Not only that, but he wants to share with us His dreams, His goals, His desires, and His heart. Not only that, but he wants to make our dreams and goals the same as His dreams and goals. He wants you to live your life in fellowship with Him, not knowing about Him but knowing Him.
How does God reveal his heart to us?
How do we share our heart with God?

He Was Willing To Suffer For Christ

When we choose to follow Christ we must realize that earth is enemy territory and we are abandoning the culture in which we live. In other words, to live for Christ is to reject and denounce the values of the world. As a result, how do you think people react to that? Our responsibility in the midst of suffering is to glorify God.
Matthew 16:24 NKJV
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
In fact, we should not be surprised when we suffer.
1 Peter 4:12–14 NKJV
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

He Had A Desire To Be Like Christ

As Christians it is the goal of our lives to become more like Christ.
1 Peter 1:15–16 NKJV
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Paul said it this way
Philippians 3:10–11 NKJV
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Since we’re young, now is the time we ask ourselves the ageless question: Who am I? Every person aches to know why they’re here. We ask: What is the thing that defines me? How am I supposed to live? We look around and see all these people who call themselves Jesus-followers yet find their identity in material success or good grades or popularity or clothes or their bodies or their interests or their parents’ expectations. The truth for us is that Jesus-followers, young and old and anywhere in between, can only find their identity in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NKJV
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Crowe, Jaquelle. This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (pp. 26-27). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
The gospel changes who we are. Jesus literally changes everything.
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