This is our second article learning how to share the gospel. In the first, our pastor established the importance of starting a gospel presentation with defining who God is. Now, in this second article, we see the importance of establishing God’s authority over our lives. God’s perfect rules measure all of our actions and attitudes. We are to love God perfectly and love others completely.
Our last article asked who is God, and this article is about life. What is the true meaning of life? What is our true purpose? Why have we been created? What have we been designed for? What does it mean to live life to its fullest?
The answer is life equals God-centered living. That’s the second point in the come-home presentation. Life is God-centered living.
One of the primary questions worldviews ask is how should we live? What should we do? What’s the point?
And so God has given us the answer. We don’t have to go searching for it. We find it in His Word, life is God-centered living. And when we take ourselves through it and we speak about how God has called us to live, one goal in sharing the gospel is trying to show what the abundant, fruitful, and joyful actually is. What God has created us for?
But number two, we’re actually exposing people to God’s high standard and the fact that they do not, indeed nobody, live up to it.
What is God-Centered Living?
God-centered living, in a nutshell, is this love God perfectly and love others completely. The Bible really speaks about that in a more whole way.
When Jesus states that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. And the second commandment flows out of that love your neighbor as yourself and Jesus says, that’s a summary of the law and the prophets, the entire picture and story.
The Old Testament was pointing to Christ and Him fulfilling the command to love God and love others. And so Will Metzger puts in terms of life equaling God-centered living, and that means to love God completely and love others perfectly.
Will Metzger unpacks that with an idea, an image that is this life is like a road. God is the builder of that road and we as people on this road of life, this journey of life, are tasked with going in a forward direction. God built the road and God put us on that road. And so if you think about anyone who’s ever driven, you can’t just do whatever you want on the road.
The Rules of God-Centered Living
There are rules in life and if you break the rules like texting and driving or you’re under the influence of some substance or you’re not looking or not paying attention to traffic rules, traffic lights, you will soon wreak havoc for yourself and others. And so thinking about life as a road is helps.
In the come-home presentation, there are two rules of the road, two rules for our journey. And that’s what we talked about in God-centered living, love God, and love others.
And that means to love God and love others completely, not just in action, but also in attitude. In our evangelism, in sharing the gospel, it’s important to keep in mind that God-centered living is not simply what happens on the outside in our actions.
It certainly affects that. But in Bible Jesus says the mouth speaks from what the heart is full of. And so whatever we do, whatever our motivations are, whatever we fulfill, all of it starts in the seat of our desires. And the Bible calls that the heart. And so we have to keep that in mind as we’re speaking to friends, neighbors, coworkers about who God is.
Because God looks at the heart, God looks at our underlying motivations. And it’s not just about what you’ve done, but it rather is about your underlying attitudes.
Examples to Think Through
Here are some good examples to think through for yourself and when speaking to friends and neighbors, people that you want to share Christ with are really talking about different categories in life and really just asking the question of how do you think about these people?
For example, if you have a boss, in terms of action, have you always done what your boss tells you to? But in terms of attitude, have you always done what your boss has told you with a good attitude?
Do you have respect for your boss or are they just someone that you can’t stand? And maybe with your boss, your employer, maybe there are those times where even fantasize about them being fired. That’s wishing something malicious on someone. The Bible would call that hatred, which is Jesus even equates with murder. That’s something else to talk about.
So your boss, parents, your children, what is your attitude not only in action but your attitude and your heart toward your children? Are they children to be cherished and loved and brought up to know who God is? Do you care about them? Or at times, are they basically little burdens in your life, and it’s easy in our culture to view children that way. So asking someone who’s a parent like how have you done with raising your kids? Have you missed the mark? And then flip the coin. You might be an employer. You’re obviously someone’s child. Where has your attitude been toward those people?
Asking about those basic categories gets people thinking about their attitudes. Any honest person will have to say they absolutely do not measure up. I’ve not loved these people completely. And that’s what we’re trying to get to in some way when it talks about when we’re talking about God-centered living.
Todd Friel says we’re opening up the law, essentially. We’re exposing people to the reality that God’s standard is infinitely high and that we infinitely missed that mark, and so the more we talk about heart motivations, the more people will see that.
God's Standard is Perfection
And one last thing about these realities, God-centered living means loving God perfectly and loving others completely. God’s rules must be perfectly kept. The Bible says that if we’ve broken one commandment, we’ve broken all of them, the reason for that is because whenever we break any part of God’s law, it’s revealing that I don’t love God, that’s why breaking one equals breaking all of it is because we’ve sinned against God himself.
We need to realize that God is holy and he’s perfect and that his standard, is that way. Now, He’s not just calling us to see ourselves as doing okay or that we got 85 percent of the way there. God’s not calling us to that. And even in that case, we’re way overestimating what we’ve done because of our sinful nature, what we learned about earlier about motivations and attitude.
Jesus on God-Centered Living
In Mark 10:17-27, Jesus exposes us to this reality of inner living and the fact that we do not live by God’s standard. Even when we think we’re living by that, we’re overestimating ourselves.
It’s about the rich young ruler if you’re familiar with this text. Jesus shows us important principles when we’re thinking about these ideas.
Jesus is not denying His divinity because later in this passage, in the end, Jesus says, follow me. But what He’s doing is turning the question back on this young ruler to say basically, have you really considered the implications of calling me good teacher? And then Jesus shows him the implications of what that would mean. Apparently, this young ruler is ticking and checking a lot of boxes. He’s not committed adultery. Apparently, he’s not stolen.
He’s not murdered. He’s not born a false witness. And so Jesus just asks one more thing of him. He says you lack one thing. Go sell all that you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.
We’re speaking about the love of God and others today. It says Jesus looking at him. Loved him. Jesus loved him. And then spoke something.
We would say that’s a little harsh, perhaps Jesus said something that was not going to sit well, and so love does not always mean telling people what they want to hear at all. So Jesus in this case proves that. But Jesus says one thing you lack and one thing only sell all you have and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. So what Jesus is doing here is exposing the true idol or the true God of this young man.
And what we see here is the one thing that he’s not willing to give up is his treasure, his wealth. It’s the one thing that he was going to keep no matter what. And what does that reveal? It reveals that functionally speaking, God to this man was his money, was his means.
And so even all those things he had been doing. Not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, those weren’t enough, and those really, from what Jesus exposes, were not for the love, the true love of God, but we’re actually probably for self-protection, maybe self-righteousness, perhaps even if there are some good motives in there.
Jesus exposes for him that he doesn’t love and worship the true God, come. The man wasn’t willing to follow Jesus.
Jesus gives us this principle of really getting to the heart of. Ultimately. What are you really all about? It’s not just in action but also attitude.
Have you checked these boxes, but your underlying heart motivations, where your time is going in this case and in many cases where your money is going, that’s really going to expose what or who you worship.
This is a good example to keep in mind, really thankful that you guys got to tune in here. That is point two of the Tell the Truth Come Home presentation. What is God-centered living? It is loving God perfectly and loving others completely.
Together, let’s make God’s name famous.