Summary: First of a two-part series on living for Jesus 24/7, setting the foundation for our focus for 2011.
2011 – Living for Jesus Above All Else
December 26, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Audio of this sermon can be found at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org
Me: I’m excited to talk to you guys this morning, because I’m going to talk to you about what God has been laying on my heart as the direction I believe He wants us to take this next calendar year.
Here in 2010 we’ve been focusing on the family – the family of God and individual families.
Most of the messages this year have reflected that theme, and we’ve tried to do things outside the church service to help us develop and deepen those relationships.
I’ve had a good time doing that, and my hope is that some of you have been pushed by the Holy Spirit in some of the areas we’ve covered so that you could have better and deeper relationships both in your physical family and in the family of God.
Over the past number of months I’ve felt God telling me that what he wants us to emphasize this coming year is this whole area of discipleship.
I believe God wants us to help people become authentic followers of Jesus who live for Him 24/7.
Over the years I’ve hammered on the fact that Jesus hates “lip-service” Christianity, and that what He really wants is “life-service” Christianity.
He wants you and me to live for Him above all else.
Can I just tell you something about myself?
Sometimes I fall into the category of “lip-service” instead of “life-service.”
I gave my life to Jesus back in the fall of 1982, and I was blessed with having people in my life to help me start living for Jesus right away.
I wasn’t perfect, of course, and I’m still not.
And there have been times in my life when I’ve just been on fire for Jesus and other times when I’m just kinda “whatever” about Him.
And even some times when I’ve been rather cold about Him.
But I also need to tell you that during the times of “whatever” and the times of being cold toward Him, in the back of my mind and heart, I was still desiring Him and desiring to be more tight with Jesus.
We: And my guess is that I’m not the only one like that here today.
I’m just silly enough to believe that there are some of you here today or who will be listening to this on the website who want more of Jesus.
People who know in their hearts that there has to be more to this Christianity thing that just forcing yourself to get up for church on Sunday.
You know that God has something more for you. You know that Jesus offered a full and abundant life to those who will follow Him and you want that for yourself.
You want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.
Or maybe you feel God possibly nudging you to greater involvement in ministry in one form or another, and you want to become better equipped for that.
But maybe you don’t know where to start, or maybe you’ve just needed an extra push to help get you going.
Others maybe used to have a great relationship with Jesus, but for one reason or another that’s faded away.
I’m praying that God will give each and every single one of us a desire to live for Jesus. All the time. In every situation. No matter the cost.
And because I’m sure that I’m not the only one who wants an even deeper life-changing relationship with Jesus, we’re going to spend this next year focusing on how we can be better disciples of Jesus every year and every day.
God: Why is this so important that we are going to spend an entire year focusing on it?
Because making disciples is a command of Jesus for the Church.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Now I want you to notice a few things here:
First, you need to understand that the command in this passage isn’t “Go.”
For generations we’ve been told that Jesus is telling us to “Go.” However, that is not the case.
The phrase in the original Greek language of the New Testament is, “As you are going, make disciples.”
The implication here is that Jesus planned on us taking the gospel with us wherever we go and whatever we do.
Second, Jesus doesn’t say, “Make churchgoers of all nations.”