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Jesus: The Center of My Purpose

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The title of my message is Jesus: The Center of My Purpose.
From Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection—authentic Christianity has always faced the challenge to either conform to Christ or conform to this world. There is no middle ground.
Every generation has had to face the question on who will we serve: Christ or this world?
This generation is no different. The words of Joshua of the Old Testament still ring just as loud today as when Israel took possession of the Promised Land:
Joshua 24:15 ESV
15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
We may call ourselves Christians—but do we produced the evidence of the Real Love, the Real Change, and the Real Life that exemplifies the Life, the Teachings, and the Attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ?
The Bible warns us:
2 Timothy 3:1–5 ESV
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army gave this stark warning over a hundred years ago:
“I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”
We cannot ignore the fact that there is a great spiritual challenge facing our present day.
We live in the day of great compromise, where we may profess a life changing relationship with Christ, but our lives have not changed.
Where we have become bold in our disobedience to the Scripture—living a life inconsistent with that of the life of Christ.
If we are not careful, we can be drawn to worship a “jesus” that affirms our sinfulness rather than THE JESUS who convicts our heart of sin.
The Christian life should be a life transformed to follow Jesus—where our actions and our attitudes exemplify Christ.
How does that kind of life happen?
Jesus said:
John 15:1–2 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Jesus is saying that to be His disciple, our life must be firmly connect to His. We cannot live apart from Christ.
I am drawn to John 15 because it addresses a profound problem that I see in today’s church: the belief that you can function in life without Christ.
So, it begs the question: what does the Christian life look like with Christ?

1. The Christian Life Exists within the Presence of Christ.

John 15:4 ESV
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Eleven times we see the word abide or abides in John 15.
Greek word: μένω means to remain in a place, to stay, to stand fast, to dwell.
Abide speaks of a profound, life-changing relationship—a relationship that is never ment to be detached.
The Christian abides in the presence of Jesus Christ.
The presence of Christ means that the Christian has Fellowship with Jesus. Fellowship is personal, relational; friendship, burden bearer; Savior.
The presence of Christ means that the Christian Worships Christ. Jesus is divine—worthy to be praised, honored.
The presence of Christ means that the Christian submits to the Lordship of Christ. This passage teaches us about the difference of our identity and the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. His is Lord. In His presence, we trust and obey.
The Christian life is no life without the presence of Jesus.
You cannot leave Jesus at church on Sunday morning.
The existence of the Christian life is dependence on the presence of Christ. And, through the presence of Christ, something else is afforded the believer:

2. The Christian Life Exists within the Power of Christ.

John 15:5 ESV
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
In the time of Jesus a great golden vine hung over the entrance to the Jerusalem temple.
Josephus describes it: ‘The gate opening into the building was, as I said, completely overlaid with gold, as was the whole wall around it.
It had, moreover, above it those golden vines, from which depended grape-clusters as tall as a man’ (Jewish War v.210–212).
If the second part of Jesus’ farewell discourse was given en route from the Last Supper venue to the Garden where he was betrayed, his teaching on the true vine may have been given in the temple courtyard with the great golden vine glinting in the light of the Passover moon.
As the disciples are listening to Jesus, He states again: “I am the vine.” I am to source of your strength and purpose. I am enough.
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Through Christ we will be productive—we will fulfill God’s purpose in our life—demonstrating the evidence of Christ’s presence.
It is impossible to live the Christian life without Christ’s power.
Example: Just like a lamp my look impressive, it must be plugged in to fulfill its created purpose.
Final through:

3. The Christian Life Exists within the Precepts of Christ.

John 15:7–8 ESV
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
It is easy to focus on the blessing: “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
But we can easily miss the point. The blessing is conditioned on two things: abiding in Christ and His words (His teachings) abiding in you.
Sadly, we live in a time where many view God’s Word as nothing more than a suggestion or worst, irrelevant.
Isaiah 40:8 ESV
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Our purpose is hinged on the precepts—the principles of God’s Word applied. It is not only for us to hear God’s Word, but to do His Word.
John 15:8 ESV
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Conclusion

Are you Jesus’ disciple (His follower). Can you prove it? Is God glorified in your life (and in your choices you make)?
The Christian life is a life that operates within the presence, the power, and the precepts of Christ.
Main Point: Fulfilling our purpose in life must be drawn from a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
Altar Call
We can become distracted through pride, false teaching, frustration with life--and as a result, believe that we can function and be fruitful on our own.
Question: Is your Jesus the Jesus of the Bible, or is your Jesus a Jesus of your own making—a Jesus that looks and acts just like you?
You may be a seeker, skeptic, backslider, religious, or a genuine follower of Jesus.
I am not asking you to follow me—I am inviting you to follow Christ—and experience transformation that can only come through His saving grace.
Next Week: Jesus: The Center of My Joy
Questions for Reflection and Group Discussion
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