Last week we talked about the importance of a surrendered life for the Christian. Tonight I want us to consider the importance of a ‘centered’ life. Actually every person in the world lives a ‘centered’ life. The distinguishing thought is what is our lives centered upon? Some live lives that are centered upon themselves or what this world has to offer.
As believers in Christ we have an identity, purpose, and direction for our lives. That means that our lives are to be centered upon different things than those who are not Christians. To be totally surrendered to the Lord, to live a godly life in obedience to Him, we must live centered on Him, not on ourselves or others.
(2 COR 4:7) "BUT WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS, THAT THE EXCELLENCY OF THE POWER MAY BE OF GOD, AND NOT OF US."
A. Paul compared a believer to a clay pot.
1. He pointed out that we bear the testimony of Christ in a sinful world.
2. Because we are mere "earthen vessels," our ability to accomplish anything for God is in His power.
3. He has gifted us (1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:1-16) and will enable us (2 Cor. 12:9).
4. Therefore, we do not lack gifts or ability.
B. We are handicapped only:
1. When we don't yield ourselves to God.
(ROM 6:19) "I SPEAK AFTER THE MANNER OF MEN BECAUSE OF THE INFIRMITY OF YOUR FLESH: FOR AS YE HAVE YIELDED YOUR MEMBERS SERVANTS TO UNCLEANNESS AND TO INIQUITY UNTO INIQUITY; EVEN SO NOW YIELD YOUR MEMBERS SERVANTS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO HOLINESS."
(JAMES 4:7) "SUBMIT YOURSELVES THEREFORE TO GOD. RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU."
2. When we don't walk in the Spirit.
(GAL 5:16) "THIS I SAY THEN, WALK IN THE SPIRIT, AND YE SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH."
3. It is futile to attempt to serve with only our talents and training apart from God's superintending and enabling.
A. God wants first place in our lives.
B. We must not let other things get in the way of our service for Him.
1. It is true that there are some who sinfully neglect their families.
2. But there are also those who allow their families to hinder their service to God.
3. Dr. James Dobson has built an entire ministry around the theme ‘Focus on the Family’.
4. Focusing on the family works only when our larger focus is squarely upon the Lord.
(HEB 10:25) "NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, AS THE MANNER OF SOME IS; BUT EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER: AND SO MUCH THE MORE, AS YE SEE THE DAY APPROACHING."
C. It is not just families that hinder us from our service to the Lord.
1. Sports…fill in the blank
3. Laziness…nap time
4. Anything that keeps us from the assembly is wrong.
D. The first church was the hub of the believers' lives.
1. It was the place where they gathered to worship, learn, fellowship, encourage one another and serve together.
2. The local church that honors God's Word in its message and methods is God's revealed plan for our ministry today. (Heb. 10:24-25).
A. Christ-centered living completely changes our priorities.
1. The goal Paul described in Phil. 3:7-14 does not apply only to pastors, and other full-time ministers.
2. It should be the goal of all believers.
3. We are all stewards and should daily surrender to Christ.
B. We should seek the blessings of obedience to the responsibilities of stewardship under Christ the Lord.
1. Note: Phil. 3:7-14 (Read text)
2. What words or phrases in this passage reveal that Paul did not base his life on his own motivations or desires.
a. "…counted loss for Christ…"
b. "not having mine own righteousness"
d. "…I follow after…"
e. "…forgetting those things behind…"
f. "…press toward the mark…"
Spirit-centered; Service-centered; and Christ-centered. Our lives as believers should be both surrendered and centered! A word that comes to mind is ‘balanced’. What about us tonight? Are we balanced in our Christian life? Are we both surrendered and centered? Is our lives Spirit – Service – and Christ—centered?