01 July 2008

Others-Centered Living

Notes from Monday night Theme Rally
Speaker: Chris McComb
1 John 4:7-8

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God, but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We are able to forgive and love because God forgives and loves us.

We have to understand how God made us, who he created us to be, in order to live an another-centered life.

I. What We Used to Be (Ephesians 2:1-3)
A. Consumer - life and all that is in it is about what we can gain and profit'
B. Deserving - we thought that we were entitled to have all desires fulfilled
Our desires were king. We sought to fulfill them ourselves and we failed. We lived in the passion of our desires.
Self-centeredness - focused solely on oneself and his/her thoughts, feelings, and actions

II. Our New Focus
2 Corinthians 5:14-16 - we are compelled by Christ's love. We now have the freedom to trust God to satisfy our desires.
Matthew 6:33 - Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be given to you.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 - We are cleaned from sin. We are given a new heart, a soft one instead of one of stone. We are people who should be careful to obey God. We are no longer stuck serving ourselves.

III. What are God's Priorities?
#1 - his glory. (Isaiah 41:7) We are created for God's glory
#2 - people.
1 Samuel 17:46 - God wants everyone to know that he exists.
Exodus 9:16 - God raised Pharaoh up so all would know God.
Isaiah 49:6 - God wants to bring salvation to Gentiles (not just the Jews; aka everyone)
Ezekiel 36:16-31
God's heart is for people. We should relate intentionally with others - for God's purposes.

IV. Others-Centered Living
Others-Centered: being concerned solely with God's priorities, resulting in living for the sake of others (both believers and non-believers) in one's thoughts, feelings, and actions
A. Qualities of Others-Centered Person
1. Have an active faith in his/her standing, position, and promised intimacy with God given to them through Jesus.
- In relating to others, we should be witnessing to non-believers and encouraging believers.
John 13:3 - Jesus' motivation for washing the disciples' feet was that He knew where he came from and what his position was before God. His confidence in his security led him to the cross. We have a right-standing before God. We are God's sons. Nothing can separate us from him love.

Jesus didn't die on the cross to make us feel good. He did it so that we would live differently -- that we would take risks in our relationships, with our time, and with our money.

2. A willingness to die for the sake of others
Ezekiel 22:30 - God looks for someone with his heart to stand in the breach (between God's wrath and the people deserving his wrath)
- A breach fighter was an assigned position - it was someone who cared deeply for the people. People mentioned in the Old Testament as breach fighters include Moses, Phineas, and Samuel.
Isaiah 38:10-12 - Pour yourself out for the hungry, the spiritually dead; satisfy the desire of the afflicted.
Pour out the bread of yourself; give what you have to those in need.
Philippians 2:17 - Paul is excited to die for the sake of others.

V. Examples of Others-Centered Living
A. Moses - Deuteronomy 9:18-19
1. Moses was uncomfortable. He spent 40 days and 40 nights on a mountain with his face to the ground, praying to God and not eating or drinking because God wanted to destroy the people.
2. Moses was afraid. He pushed through fear because his heart for people was greater than his fear.
B. Paul - Acts 15:36
Paul went back to these cities to check on the believers. No big deal, right? Consider what Paul went through when he first visited -- would you go back to towns like this?
1. Perga: persecution; driven out of city
2. Iconium: escaped beating and stoning
3. Lystara: stoned by Jews from Iconium

What can we do to become Others-Centered people?
- Memorize verses about God's heart for people.
- Take steps to reach out to believers and non-believers.
- Pray for God to put someone in your life for whom you can have a heart.

God has saved us from ourselves. Take risks. Get uncomfortable.


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