A CHRIST CENTERED LIFE (revised)
Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight -- 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians could easily be titled, ‘Living a Christ centered life.” It is only 4 chapters long, but in this beautiful letter, Paul shows us that Christ should be at the heart and core of a Christian’s life. It’s important for us to grasp the concept that if we are “in Christ” and Christ is in us, then we have access to every spiritual blessing that is found in Christ Eph. 1:3. This is why Paul tells us in:
Colossians 2:10 you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Whenever you find a person who says they are a Christian yet they are always unhappy or they feel incomplete, I can promise you that person is probably not living a Christ centered life because a Christ centered Christian will realize what a wonderful blessing they have in Christ, and they will not allow day to day disappointments to keep them down.
Now some Christians focus all their efforts on attending the church services and they think it will fulfill all their spiritual needs. And it is true that the church is the body of Christ and we should be attending every service that we can, and being at church is uplifting. However, church attendance by itself is not the source of spiritual life or its power. Instead, it is the reflection or extension of that power. The true source of spiritual life and power is Christ! That’s why Paul said:
Philippians I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
There are others who rely on their own wisdom and knowledge for spiritual life. But human wisdom is vain and deceptive, and it will leave you spiritually bankrupt.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Even knowledge that comes from God’s Word can be very unsatisfying unless your heart and life is completely committed to Jesus. Paul tells us in:
Again, in order for these treasures to mean anything to you, you must have a Christ centered life. Even an atheist might read the New Testament and know a lot about Christ (history, facts, etc.), but knowing about Christ and knowing Him are two different things! I have met people whose minds are filled with Biblical knowledge and facts, but their hearts are cold and empty because Christ is not the center and motivating force of their daily lives.
This reminds me of what Jesus told some of the Jews in his day.
John "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
There are also some who think that they can find spiritual life in religious activities and a multitude of good works. However, a person can “go through all the motions” of worship and do every good work described in Scripture, but without Christ all is empty and vain.
However, if we have Christ as our main focus, every religious thing we do will be meaningful, edifying, and fulfilling. Since this is the case, don’t you think it is important that we ask ourselves what does it mean to live a Christ-centered life?
1. We need to realize that Jesus is the leader of His disciples.
He is not merely “the Head of the church,” in an executive kind of capacity, like the President of the United States, nor is the church just some institution with a Chief Executive sitting far off somewhere handing down decrees. Instead, the Scriptures show that Christ is the Head of his spiritual body, the church, and His life flows throughout His body to each individual member. So you see, the church is not just a mere organization, it is a living and breathing organism. Ever member of his church must be connected to Him and be ready to follow Him because He is our leader. Jesus has never commanded us to follow something or someone else, instead He says:
Matthew "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
This means if you want to have a Christ centered life, then you must allow Jesus to be your leader and you must follow the pattern he has left us in the NT.
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.
2. We must always remember that Jesus is the theme of New Testament preaching.
In the first Gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled Apostles preached about Christ. They showed from the Scriptures how Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies of the OT, and they proclaimed His death, burial, and triumphant resurrection. They also preached His ascension and how he was exalted at God’s right hand, reigning on David’s spiritual throne as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
As a result of that powerful message, some three thousand souls were pricked in their heart, which caused them to obey the gospel by repenting of their sins and being baptized into Christ for the remission of sin. Acts 2:37, 38. This great event marked the beginning of the Lord’s church.
Throughout the book of Acts, we can see that Jesus was always the theme of New Testament preaching. In Acts 4, we find Peter and John preaching boldly in the name of Christ.
Acts 4:10 "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 "This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Also Philip proclaimed Jesus in Acts 8.
Acts 8:5 Then Philip
went down to the city of
We also see Philip preaching Jesus to the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:35. As soon as this man heard the good news about Jesus, he wanted to be baptized immediately because he knew that he must be baptized in order to be saved so that he could begin living a Christ centered life. So, they stopped the chariot he was on, and they went down into the water and Philip baptized him into Christ. We learn that once this man had been baptized into Christ that he went on his way rejoicing because he understood that he was now free from his sins. However, there are many today who do not want to want to follow the command of Jesus to be baptized and they will say something along the lines of “it’s alright to be baptized, but it isn’t necessary.” And some will even ridicule and make light of baptism altogether.
Those who have this type of attitude towards God’s Word have faith problems because they are not truly ready to follow Jesus all the way. In the First Century, when Jesus was taught, we find those that heard this good news and gladly received it were eager to follow after Christ and be baptized for the remission of their sins. They never tried to put baptism off to a later time. Instead, as soon at He was preached whatever the hour, they submitted themselves to baptism in Christ because they understood that is was necessary for their salvation. For example, the Philippian jailor and his family were baptized in the middle of the night in Acts 16.
Anyone who is not eager to obey Christ and be baptized as those in the first century has either been influenced by false teaching or they are not yet fully convicted by the true message and love of Jesus Christ! So, if we want to live a Christ centered life, we must make Jesus our leader by obeying the gospel call, which includes being baptized for the remission of your sins.
Becoming a Christian is just the beginning of living a Christ centered life because:
3. We must also “walk in newness of life.”
As Paul said:
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When we submit ourselves to baptism, by our faith we know that our old self has died and that we have been clothed with Christ and raised as a new creature in Christ. Since we are a new creature in Christ, and we have gone through a spiritual change, we are to start living our life anew. Our concerns should be shifted from earthly things to Christ and heavenly things. For the first time in our lives, we can have true peace, and we can put our faith and trust in God. For the first time we can have hope of eternity in heaven. The main goal of every Christian is to remain faithful to Christ and to look forward to the day of Christ’s coming so that we can spend eternity in heaven.
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
So we can clearly see that living a Christ centered life means following after Jesus by living faithfully and keeping our hope on things above and not on things of this earth.
Our last point this morning is:
4. Living a Christ-centered life means that we look continually to Jesus as the only source for a life that is spiritual and productive.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In these verses, the inspired writer compares the Christians life to that of running a foot-race. In order to run this race successfully to the finish, we must do two things:
1. We must lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.
2. We must continually look to Jesus as our help and savior because He is the author and finisher of our faith. Anything that might hinder us or hold us back must be cast aside.
For some, this might be some sort of worldly entertainment, which they allow to come between them and serving God. Others allow themselves to get into habits, which keeps them from running the race as they should. In order to become Christ centered, sometimes it might mean giving up a friendship or association if they are influencing you to pull away from the Lord. The point is this, whatever the weight is in your life, if it is holding you back and keeping you from running the race of Christianity it is important that you lay that weight to the side if it will keep from attaining the crown of life.
We need to look at one more section of Scripture in connection with this.
John 15:1 "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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Jesus is the true Vine, and each of His disciples is a branch in that Vine. This is a powerful illustration that shows us that we must look to Jesus and “abide in Him” as the sustaining source for our spiritual life if we ever hope to be productive and fruitful because without Him, verse 4 states that we cannot be productive. So, it is imperative that we always maintain our connection with Him who is the source of our spiritual life. This not only includes faithful worship and fellowship with the church, it is also a daily personal communion with Christ in prayer, in meditation, and in studying His Word. Remember without Jesus we can do nothing.
Paul sums up my lesson well, and He teaches us what it means to live a Christ centered life in:
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
In this lesson we have learned that in order to live a Christ center life you must:
1. You must allow Jesus to be your leader and follow His commands.
2. Every time Jesus was preached to those who accepted the good news they: believed, repented, confessed Jesus as their Lord and they were baptized, which is the starting point of living a Christ centered life.
3. We learned that become a Christian is only the beginning of living a Christ centered life and that we must continue to remain faithful to God by walking in the newness of life.
4. Finally, we learned that we must continually look to Jesus as our only source for a life that is spiritual and productive.
With this being said, if there is anyone here that has been struggling with running the race of Christianity because you have some weight that is holding you back, why not free yourself from that weight right now. Please consider Jesus invitation in:
Matthew 16:24 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. 25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
If Christ is not the center and core of your life, then why not make him so right now because nothing is worth losing your soul over. So, if you need to repent of something publicly or just need the prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ, why not come forward or if you are here and if you have never become a Christian and you realize that you need to follow Jesus then why not take that first step. If you believe that Jesus is the son of God, then why not repent and confess Jesus as you Lord and follow Jesus all the way by allowing yourself to be baptized for the remission of your sins in the name of Jesus Christ and then begin your race of Christianity.