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The Implications Between The Gospel And Everyday Life

workplace

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…” 2 Timothy 2:1

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Ephesians 5:2

“But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel…” Galatians 2:14

“Abide in me and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

I have come to believe that finding pleasure in Christ is an absolute do or die proposition. If I fail to find joy and happiness in Christ my sin nature will lead me to lesser pleasures that are sure to leave me in despair and bondage. I desperately want to finish the race that I have started and I know that the only way to do that is to immerse my heart, mind and soul in the life of Jesus Christ. To stay focused on Christ I have been thinking more and more about the implications between the gospel and everyday life…

  • Salvation: When you think about the implications of the gospel you have to start here. Entering into the kingdom of God is not accomplished through religious activity (Ephesians 2:8). Instead, Jesus freely gave up his life on the cross and offers us the gift of eternal life.
  • The antidote to our over-active sin nature. Our souls are constantly seeking pleasure; something that will make us happy. The song “Constant Craving” by K.D. Lang comes to mind when I think about my old nature. If we are not daily feeding our soul with the Bread of life, Jesus Christ, then we will find pleasure in things that only bring pain, bondage and disillusionment.
  • Workplace: What role does the gospel have in the workplace? When I rededicated my life to the Lord at the age of 20 I would take my Bible to work (literally) and set it out in obvious places for people to see. Effective? Not so much. Was I a bit of a Bible-thumper back then? You bet. Taking the gospel to work does not mean we have to try to sneak Jesus into every conversation. The gospel is the foundation for how we see the workplace. I think this quote from Every Good Endeavor will explain what I mean: “While from the outside there might not be immediately noticeable differences between a well-run company reflecting a gospel world-view and one reflecting primarily the world-story of the marketplace, inside the differences could be very noticeable. The gospel-centered business would have a discernible vision for serving the customer in a unique way, a lack of adversarial relationships and exploitation, and extremely strong emphasis on excellence and product quality, and an ethical environment that goes “all the way down” to the bottom of the organizational chart and to all the realities of daily behavior, even when high ethics mean a loss of margin. In the business animated by the gospel worldview, profit is simply one of many important bottom lines.” P. 168
  • Everyday, routine, mundane life: Frequently you will hear people talk about how we should live radical lives for Jesus. Who can argue with that? Jesus has certainly called us to lay down everything in order to follow him. No question. Sometimes I believe that within this idea of living a radical life there is this subtle notion that radical means being a missionary overseas, working full-time in the church, or para-church ministry. What about the rest of us? What about the single mom who is balancing a job and taking care of three kids? The high school student who is trying to walk with Christ in a very secular environment? The business owner who is slugging it out in corporate America? Is it possible to live a radical life for these “ordinary people.” Absolutely. If we have our lives firmly grounded in the gospel then we will be living as salt and light in everyday life. We realize that in each context, of every day, that we are ambassadors for the good news of Jesus Christ. Because of the gospel everyday life has new meaning and purpose. Radical is living everyday life with gospel intentionality.
  • Community: Part of our gospel identity is that we have been saved into the family of God (Ephesians 2:19). We have to resist the tendency to see salvation as merely a private transaction between ourselves and God. We are more than saved individuals, we are now brothers and sisters living for the kingdom of God! Are we opening up our lives to deep, messy relationships within the church family? Community is part of our identity in Christ but it is also the greenhouse whereby discipleship flourishes.
  • Trials: Most of the time we seek ways, understandably so, to avoid pain in our lives. We want the pain to end or the circumstances to get better.  We only have to look at the way God used the suffering of Jesus on the cross to be reminded that every struggle we experience leaves us with the option of becoming bitter or more like Christ. In James 1:2-4 we read, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The “perfect” and “complete” that James writes about is his way of saying that the thorn in our flesh is there to make us more and more like Jesus Christ. We seek escape from our trials, God’s seeks our redemption.
  • Contentment: One of the most counter-cultural words I can think of is contentment. Our culture is absolutely rigged to leave us with the nagging feeling that we don’t have enough or that we don’t measure up. The gospel reminds us that we are so loved by Jesus that he laid down his life on the cross for us. We have the greatest gift that could ever be imagined; an ongoing, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. As we prayerfully reflect on these gospel truths we will find that we develop a deep sense of gratitude regardless of life’s circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).
  • Marriage. I must admit, I am amazed by people who seem to have a strong marriage yet they do not know Christ. How do they do it? Thinking about the gospel on a daily basis reminds me to put the needs of my wife first.
  • Parenting/children: If I fail to give my children more grace than law I am making it a foregone conclusion that they will sin and rebel. Do we remember this during the daily grind of parenting? Law highlights sin, the good news of Jesus Christ is the remedy.
  • Politics: The gospel reminds me that although it is good to be involved in politics nothing has the power to change the heart or the world like the good news of Jesus Christ. Loving our neighbor is much more subversive than an angry political rant.
  • Preaching: Exhortations to greater obedience and to live radical lives will yield little lasting fruit if we are not continually pointing people to the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who empowers, inspires and sustains us into a new way of living. “Grace inspires what the law demands.”
  • Missional living: The passion to love our neighbors, care about social injustices and to see everyday life as our mission field only comes (and sustained) when we are amazed by the grace Jesus Christ has shown to us on the cross. Without heavy doses of the gospel we will crash and burn instead of living a life for the good of others.
  • Money and stewardship:  Reflect on the generosity of our heavenly Father sending his precious Son to a world that was going to reject and kill him. Meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus taking our sins upon himself, dying in our place so that we could have eternal life. As we make the gospel central to our daily thoughts we will increasingly become people of generosity in every area of our lives.
  • Training and equipping leaders: Are we equipping our ministry leaders to point others to the only one who can truly bring spiritual transformation? We want to equip our people to do more than give good advice, we want them to give the gospel. We need to listen, care and read the bible but we must always be speaking the truth in love. In John 14:6 Jesus makes it very clear that he is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life…” Our greatest spiritual need is always more Jesus.
  • Our house: Are we opening up our homes and our lives to our neighbors/strangers? By God’s grace some people will come to know the Lord by attending a worship service and hearing the Word of God. With that said, there are many people who will never show up to “church” but they are willing to share a meal with us. For many people in our post-Christian culture our house, our relationships with them, is the only place they may ever learn just how amazing Jesus is!
  • Curriculum in Children’s and Youth Ministry: Are we teaching our children and youth good moral stories from the bible or are we teaching them good moral stories that continually point them to their ongoing need for Jesus Christ? Big, big difference!
  • Weakness: It is not uncommon for people in the church to put up a front and and act like everything is OK. The result of this posturing is that we end up hiding our brokenness from the very ones who are there to encourage us and help us grow in our faith. In 2 Corinthians 12:29 Paul writes this, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The amazing thing about this is that it is when we finally admit that we don’t have it all together and admit our weakness that the power of Jesus Christ is strong in and through us.
  • Dealing with conflict: I’m a PK, which means I have seen my fair share of church conflict. When you open up your heart and life to others in the church there is a good chance that you will get hurt. Sheep bite. If a church does not have a culture of forgiveness then their spiritual growth will always be stunted due to bitterness, divisions and in house fighting. How do we respond when we have been offended or sinned against? The gospel gives us the answer. As Jesus is dying an agonizing death on the cross he asks his Father to forgive the very ones who are in the process of murdering him. Nothing empowers or inspires us to forgive others like the gospel. Not sure who to credit for this quote, but it certainly is true, “Avoiding conflict = cowardice. Enjoying conflict = arrogance. Redeeming conflict = Christian.”
  • Pornography: Quote taken from “Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free” by Tim Chester. “One Christian who’s struggled with porn concludes: Modern conservative evangelicalism fuels sexual addiction because it has come to focus on the externals of religion, not the affections. By externals I mean such things as confessions, dogmas, personal priorities, church growth strategies, church attendance, training courses, evangelism, Bible study groups and so on: things that are visible in the believer’s life. By affections, I mean those things that cannot be heard or seen directly-fears, loves, joys, delights, hates, anxieties: the currents that swirl in the waters of a believer’s heart; the hidden desires that lie deep beneath our decisions…If we are going to help people struggling with sexual addiction, we need to recognize that the manger in which their sin is cradled is not the intellect, but the heart, the seat of their desires. They therefore need something more than mere information: they need to be wooed by the true and pure lover that their heart secretly seeks. Jesus offers living water. Battling porn in our lives is not an exercise in denying pleasure. It’s about fighting pleasure with greater pleasure.”
  • How we feel about our relationship with God: Am I good enough? Am I measuring up? Is God unhappy with me? Maybe I can be on my best behavior for awhile and get back into God’s favor. These types of questions and thoughts can haunt us and leave us feeling like a spiritual failure. The gospel tells us very clearly that when we have been saved that we are declared righteous (Romans 5:11). We read this. We say this. We may even think we truly get it, but we desperately need to be reminded that when God looks at us he sees the righteousness of his precious Son Jesus Christ. God’s love for us does not waver based on whether or not we have had a solid week of bible study or if we have seriously sinned. God’s grace abounds and you and I are deeply loved by our Father!
  • Does it really matter if we connect every day life with the gospel? In John 15 Jesus tells us this, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” I believe that when we are prayerfully thinking about how the gospel relates to everyday life that we are abiding in Jesus Christ. As we abide in Jesus we are strengthened and empowered to live the life that he is calling us to. Overcoming temptation, being filled with the Spirit, and living in such a way that brings God glory is all dependent on immersing our hearts and minds on a daily basis in the gospel.

I plan on updating this list from time to time…what would you add?

31 Of My Favorite Quotes from “One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace For An Exhausted World” by Tullian Tchividjian

 

onewayloveIt’s possible to push people onto the mission of God and leave them exhausted because you have not immersed all of your work in the gospel. This is one of the things I believe God has revealed to me about the last place I was pastoring. I desperately wanted to see our church push beyond the church walls and make an impact within the community all around us. Yet, as I look back I don’t think I did a good enough job when it comes to leading people to experience the power, beauty and inspiration that is found in the good news of Jesus Christ. When our Christian life becomes focused on what we do and not our identity in Jesus Christ we soon experience burn out, fatigue and disillusionment. The book to your left, “One Way Love“, by Tullian Tchividjian is a needed call to go deeper into the sustaining power of the gospel for every area of life. The book helps us to see the implications of the gospel when it comes to ministry, marriage, parenting and overcoming the insatiable appetite of the sin nature that lives inside each one of us. Here are 31 of my favorite quotes from the book…

  • Anxiety, sleeping pills and performancism. The average high school student has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. It turns out the problem was not limited to an age group. In 2007, The New York Times reported that three in ten American women confess to taking sleeping pills before bed most nights. The numbers are so high and unprecedented that some are calling it an epidemic…What I see more than anything else is an unquestioning embrace of performancism in all sectors of life. Performancism is the mindset that equates our identity and value directly to our performance and accomplishments. Performancism casts achievement not as something we do or don’t do but as something we are or aren’t. Those colleges those teenagers eventually attend will be more than the place they are educated-they will be the labels that define the students’ values as human beings in the eyes of their peers, their parents, and themselves. The money we earn, the cars we drive aren’t merely reflective our occupation; they are reflective of us; period. How we look, how intelligent we are, and what people think of us are more than descriptive; they are synonymous with our worth. In the world of performancism, success equals life, and failure is tantamount to death. This is the reason why people would rather end their lives than confess that they’ve lost their jobs or made a bad investment. P. 19-20
  • Is Christianity about what we do? Sadly, the Christian church has not proven to be immune to performancism. Far from it, in fact. In recent years, a handful of books have been published urging a more robust, radical, and sacrificial expression of the Christian faith. I even wrote one of them-Unfashionable:Making A Difference In The World By Being Different. I heartily amen the desire to take one’s faith seriously and demonstrate before the watching world a willingness to be more than Sunday morning churchgoers. That Christians would want to engage the wider community with God’s sacrificial love-living for their neighbors instead of for themselves-is a wonderful thing and should be applauded. The unintended consequences of this push, however, is that if we’re not careful, we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him, rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. The hub of Christianity is not “do something for Jesus.” The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.” P. 21
  • People leaving the church. Too many people have walked away from the church, not because they are walking away from Jesus, but because the church has walked away from Jesus. P. 22
  • The undomesticated gospel. It is time for us to abandon, once and for all, our play-it-safe religion and get drunk on grace. Two-hundred-proof, unflinching grace. It’s shocking and scary, unnatural and undomesticated, but it is also the only thing that can set us free and light the church-and the world-one fire. P. 25
  • Working hard to keep the love of God. Or maybe it is more subtle than that. Maybe you are a Christian, and you rightly believe that God forgave you your past indiscretions-that was what drew you to him in the first place. But once you made that initial Christian commitment, it was time to get your act together and be serious. We conclude that it was God’s blood, sweat, and tears that got us in, but that it’s our blood, sweat, and tears that keep us in. We view God as a glorified bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on His cosmic ledger. We conclude that in order for God to love us, we have to change, grow, and be good. P. 30
  • What is one-way love? Grace doesn’t make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person. We see this over and over again in the Gospels: Jesus is always giving to the wrong people-prostitutes, tax collectors, half-breeds. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’ day receive his most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head. It refuses to play it safe and lay it up. Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous. It doesn’t use sticks, carrots or time cards. It doesn’t keep score. As Robert Capon puts it, “Grace works without requiring anything on our part. It’s not expensive. It’s not even cheap. It’s free.” It refuses to be controlled by our innate sense of fairness, reciprocity and evenhandedness. It defies logic. It has nothing to do with earning, merit, or deservedness. It is opposed to what is owed. It doesn’t expect a return on investments. It is a liberating contradiction between what we deserve and what we get. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. It is one-way love. P. 33
  • Stories from Tullian’s rebellious days. Grace and Law. My parents were loved in our community, and their friends could see the heartache they were going through with me. I remember two separate instances of people caring enough to ask them for permission to talk with me one-one-one to see if maybe they could get through to me. The first time was early one, when I was still living at home. Their friend picked me up after school, brought me to Burger King, and read me the riot act. “Look at all that God’s given you. You’re squandering everything. Your making your parent’ life a living hell, acting so selfishly, not considering your siblings. You go to a private school. You have this remarkable heritage. Shape up man! Snap out of it! Of course, he was 100 percent right. In fact if he had known the full truth of what I was up to (and what was in my heart), he would have had every reason to be even harsher. But in the first five minutes of this guy talking to me, I could tell where it was going, and I just tuned out. As far as I was concerned, it was white noise. I could not wait for it to be over and for him to drop me back off at home. This first friend was the voice of the law. He was articulating the standard that I was falling short of-and what I should have been doing-and he couldn’t have been more correct. The condemnation was entirely justified. His words have an accurate description of who I was at that moment. But that’s the curious thing about the law and judgment in general: it can tell us who we are, it can tell us the right thing to do, but it cannot inspire us to do that thing or be that person. In fact, it often creates the opposite reaction than the one that is intended. It certainly did for me! I don’t blame the man in question-he was trying to do the right thing. It’s just that his methods completely backfired. The second experience happened about a year and a half later, and by this time I was out of the house. This man called me and said, “I’d love to meet with you.” And I thought, Oh no, another one of my parents’ friends trying to set me straight. But I didn’t want to make things worse between my parents and me, and the free meal didn’t sound too bad either, so I agreed to get together with him. Once we were at the restaurant, he just looked at me and said, “Listen, I know you’re going through a tough time, and I know life must seem very confusing right now. And I just want to tell you that I love you, I’m here for you, and I think God’s going to do great things with you.  Here’s my phone number, If you need anything, call me. I just want you to know that I’m here for you.” And then he switched the subject and started talking about sports. That guy-the second guy-is still a friend of mine to this day. He will forever be marked in my personal history as an example of amazing grace. P. 45-46
  • For people that think they’re good, grace is frustrating. P. 47
  • It’s when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of grace. P. 55
  • Steve Brown once told me something I will never forget. he said, “Children will run from the law, and they’ll run from grace. The ones who run from the law never come back. But the ones who run from grace always come back. Grace draws its own back home. P. 57
  • I’ll never forget hearing Dr. Doug Kelly (one of my theology professors in seminary) say in class, “If you want to make people mad, preach law. If you want to make them really, really mad, preach grace. I didn’t know what he meant then. But I do now. P.72
  • Hearing the voice that rids us of anxiety. The gospel of grace announces that Jesus came to acquit the guilty. He came to judge and to be judged in our place. Christ came to satisfy the deep accusation against us once and for all so that we can be free from the judgment of God, others, and ourselves. He came to relieve us of our endlessly exhausting efforts of trying to deal with judgment on our own. The gospel declares that our guilt has been atoned for, the Law has been fulfilled. So we don’t need to live under the burden of trying to appease the judgment we feel; in Christ, the ultimate demand has been met, the deepest judgment has been satisfied. The internal voice that says, “Do this and live” get drowned out by the external voice that says, “It is finished.” P. 73
  • How to alienate your spouse and children. Most parents and spouses, siblings and friends-even preachers-fall prey to the illusion that real change happens when we lay down the law, exercise control, demand good performance, or offer “constructive” criticism. We wonder why our husbands grow increasingly withdrawn over the years, why our children don’t call as much as we would like them to, why our colleagues don’t confide in us, why our congregants become relationally and emotionally detached from us. In more cases than not, it happens because we are feeding their deep fear of judgment-by playing the judge. Our lips may be moving, but the voice they hear is that of the law. The law may have the power to instruct and expose, but it does not have the power to inspire or create. P. 81
  • Guilt and fear can be powerful motivators in the short run. What they cannot do is change a heart from self-seeking to self-sacrificing. P. 89
  • Pastors who resent their congregations. It makes me sad that some pastors invoke Mr. Crews’s tactics from the pulpit. Frustrated with their congregation’s failure to come to church enough, get involved enough, give enough money, pray enough, read their Bibles enough, invite their friends enough, so many pastors use their position to send verbal letters. “How can you afford your fancy SUV but not give more to the church? How can you take your kid to their soccer game every Sunday but never bring them to youth group?” Pastors who resent their congregations are just like husbands who resent their wives-the resulting guilt may produce some modified behavior for awhile, but estrangement and rebellion are inevitable. P. 89-90
  • What you didn’t know about Utah. We live in a country where the state most known for its wholesomeness and frugality, Utah, also leads the country in rates of pornography consumption and antidepressant prescriptions. P. 91
  • The one-way love of God meets us in our failures. Our failures make His one-way love that much more glorious. What qualifies us for service is God’s devotion to us-not our devotion to Him. This is as plainly as I can say it: the value of our lives rests on God’s infinite, incomprehensible, unconditional love for us-not our love for Him. Such relief! We can finally exhale! P. 115
  • Love and grace given to the least likely candidates. Zacchaeus was essentially the Bernie Madoff of Jericho. P. 124
  • Grace and preaching. I know what you’re thinking. If the key to inspiring altruism and moral behavior and general well-being is fostering an “attitude of gratitude,” and gratitude is the natural response to the good news of the gospel, why don’t more churches preach grace every week? The common misunderstanding, especially in the church, is that moral compliance comes through responsible instruction and exhortation, that in order to ensure good behavior in our fellow man, we need the law. One of the church’s main tasks, therefore, is to tell people what to do. But that’s not what we see in the story of Zacchaeus, and that’s not what we see in our own lives either. P. 128
  • Behavioral modification. Sadly, while attacks on morality typically come from outside the church, attacks on grace typically come from inside the church. The reason is because somewhere along the way, we’ve come to believe that this whole enterprise is about behavioral modification, and grace just doesn’t possess the teeth to scare us into changing, so we end up hearing more about what grace isn’t than we do about what grace is…Where disobedience flourishes, it is not the fault of too much grace but rather the failure to grasp the depth of God’s one-way love for us in the midst of our transgressions and greed. Grace and obedience are not enemies, not by a long shot. P. 129
  • We attend and promulgate churches that preach “humanity and it improved” rather than “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). P. 131
  • Grace inspires what the Law demands. P. 135
  • Who am I? Such self-reflection never finds peace in itself. (quoted from German Theologian Oswald Bayer) P. 148
  • Earrings, grace and a cool story about Ruth Graham! For example, I wore earrings back in those days. One in the left, and one in the right. It used to drive my parents nuts. Every time my grandmother-Ruth Graham-came down to visit, she would bring me fresh earrings to wear…It may sound trivial, but it meant the world to me. Everyone else was on my case, and instead of giving me one more thing to rebel against, my grandparents drew me in closer. P. 156
  • We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away. (quoted from Walker Percy) P. 157
  • As Doug Wilson put it recently, “Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame. In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.” P. 180
  • But if a person can be given the space to bask in the Good News for a while (without being hammered with fresh injunctions), we just as often find that the Gospel of grace, in the long run, actually empowers risk-taking effort and neighbor embracing love. P. 188
  • There seems to be a fear out there that preaching grace produces serial killers. P. 190
  • The fact is, the only way any of us ever start to live a life of true obedience is when we get a taste of God’s radical, unconditional acceptance of sinners. The message that justifies is the same message that sanctifies. P. 193
  • The Gospel is not a command to hang on to Jesus. It’s a promise that no matter how weak your faith and how unsuccessful your efforts might be, God is always holding onto you. P. 211
  • For many, their experience in church, theoretically a sanctuary from striving, has perpetuated, not relieved, their exhaustion. P. 213

London Grammar-Wasting My Young Years

It’s fairly easy to look out our culture today and empathize with the sentiment of this song. The movie Boyhood had scenes that made me think of Ecclesiastes, the same can be said for this song…striving, working, pursuing pleasure and yet getting no where. Chasing after the wind…

Lara Landon-There is Grace

Reasons To Rehearse The Gospel Daily. Day 31-To Him Be The Glory

REASONS TO REHEARSE THE GOSPEL DAILY

Day 31-To Him Be The Glory

“To the praise of the glory of His grace…to the praise of His glory…to the praise of His glory.”159 These refrains fly as banners over the gospel truths parading through the early verses of Ephesians. They herald the ultimate motive of God in all His gospel acts on behalf of those whom He has saved. They also announce the effect which the gospel will most certainly wield upon those who experience its fullness. It is no surprise, then, that the apostle ends his gospel review in Ephesians 3 by bowing his knees in worship and ascribing all glory to God.160 “Unto Him be the glory,” Paul exclaims at the end of Ephesians 3. “To…Him be the glory,” he cries after his gospel meditations through Romans.161 “To the king…be glory,” he urges in 1 Timothy after speaking of God’s merciful saving of him.162 Clearly, the gospel generated in Paul an enormous passion for God’s glory, and the gospel does the same in me as I make as I make it the meditation of my heart each day.

Understanding that I am not the ultimate end of the gospel, but rather that God’s glory is, actually enables me to embrace my salvation more boldly than I would otherwise dare to do. For example, when my timid heart questions why God would want to love one so sinful as I, I read the answer, “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” I figure, then, that my unworthiness must actually be useful to God, because it magnifies the degree to which His grace might be glorified as He lavishes His saving kindness upon me. This line of reasoning makes perfect sense to me and convinces me to embrace the gospel with greater passion so that God might glorify Himself through me, an unworthy sinner.

Indeed, the more I embrace and experience the gospel, the more I delight in the worship of God, the more expressive my joy in Him becomes, and the more I yearn to glorify Him in all I say and do.163

159-Ephesians 1. “(5) He predestined us to adoption as sons…(6) to the praise of the glory of His grace…(10)…In Him (11) also we have obtained an inheritance…(12) to the end that we…would be to the praise of His glory. (13) In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit…, (14) who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

160-Ephesians 3. “(14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…(20) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

161-Romans 11. “(33) Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable are His ways! (34) For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? (35) Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? (36) For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

162-1 Timothy 1. “(15)…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the foremost of all. (16) Yet for this reason i found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (17) Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

163-1 Peter 1. “(6) In this [salvation] you greatly rejoice…(8)…you greatly rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9) obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

Reasons To Rehearse The Gospel Daily. Day 30-My Manifesto

REASONS TO REHEARSE THE GOSPEL DAILY

Day 30-My Manifesto

Boldness is critical. Without boldness, my life story will be one of great deeds left undone, victories left unwon, petitions left unprayed, and timely words left unsaid. If I wish to live only a pathetically small portion of the life God has prepared for me, then I need no boldness. But if I want my life to bloom full and loom large for the glory of God, then I must have boldness-and nothing so nourishes boldness in me like the gospel!

The gospel gives me boldness first by banishing my greatest fear, the fear of God’s eternal wrath. Indeed, Christ bore God’s wrath upon Himself, not simply so I could escape that wrath on some future day, but also that I might be released from the daily fear of such wrath as I think ahead to judgment day. Because this fears hinders the ongoing work of God in me, the love of God continually expels this fear (whenever it appears) and nurtures within me a confident eagerness to face God on judgment day.151 Living in the daily relief of this frees me up to continue being perfected in confidence by the love of God, and it also serves to put all other fears, especially the fear of man, into perspective.152

Additionally, the more I experience the life-transforming power of the gospel, the more confident I am in speaking it to others, both saved and lost.153 I know what the gospel can do in people’s lives if they would believe the fullness of it, because I see what it is doing in me and in others. Therefore, I have increasing boldness to speak the whole gospel to others, 154 even amid opposition.155

Also, the more I comprehend what God has done for me through Christ, the more I find myself confidently coming before God in prayer,156 speaking to Him in situations in which I normally would have shrunk from Him, and offering requests that I normally would have been too timid to offer (due either to the largeness of the request or my own sinful unworthiness). With greater boldness in prayer comes an increased enjoyment of God and the bounty that He gives, due simply to the fact that I was daring enough to ask for what was needed.157

Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what he offers, and do what He commands. Admittedly, I don’t deserve to be a child of God and I don’t deserve to be free of sin’s guilt and power. I don’t deserve the staggering privilege of intimacy with God, nor any other blessing that Christ has purchased for me with His blood. I don’t even deserve to be useful to God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and I have what I have, and I hereby resolve not to let any portion of God’s grace prove vain in me!158 And to the degree that I fail to live up to this resolve, I will boldly take for myself the forgiveness that God says is mine and continue walking in His grace. This is my manifesto, my daily resolve, and may God be glorified by this confidence that I place in Him.

151-1 John 4. “(17) By this love, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

152-Matthew 10:28. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

153-Romans 1. “(15) So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”1 Corinthians 1:18. “…to us who are being saved it [the word of the cross] is the power of God.”

154-Acts 20. “(26) Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. (27) For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”

155-Acts 4. “(29) And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence…(31) And when they had prayed…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”

156-Hebrews 4:16. “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 10. “(19) Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh. (21) and since we have a great priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”

157-James 4:2. “…You do not have because you do not ask.”

158-1 Corinthians 15. “(9) For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (10) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

 

 

Reasons To Rehearse The Gospel Daily. Day 29-The Ultimate Prize

REASONS TO REHEARSE THE GOSPEL DAILY

Day 29-The Ultimate Prize

In the New Testament, the gospel is several times referred to as “the gospel of God.”142 Such an expression should be understood in the fullest sense possible. The gospel is called “the gospel of God,” not simply because it is from God, nor merely because it is accomplished through God, but also because ultimately it leads me to God, who is Himself its greatest prize. Indeed, what makes the gospel such great news is God, who brings me to Himself 143 and then gives Himself so freely to me through Jesus Christ.144

The essence of eternal life is not found in having my sins forgiven, in possessing a mansion in heaven, or in having streets of gold on which to walk forever. Rather, the essence of eternal life is intimately knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.145 Everything else that God gives to me in the gospel serves merely to bring me to Himself so that this great end might be achieved. Christ died for the forgiveness of my sins so that I might be brought “to God.”146 Christ is preparing a place for me in heaven so that He might receive me “to [Him]self” and have me forever with Him where He is.147 And yes, there is a street of gold in heaven, but is there any doubt where the street leads? Unquestionably, it leads straight to the throne of God Himself,148 as do all of God’s gifts to me in the gospel.

As I meditate on the gospel each day, I find my thoughts inevitably traveling from the gifts I’ve received to the Giver of those gifts; and the more my thoughts are directed to Him, the more I experience the essence of eternal life. The “gospel of God” is from God, comes through God, and leads me to God;149 and it is in him that my soul finds its truest joy and rest.150

142-Romans 1:1; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 8, 9; 1 Peter 4:17.

143-Ephesians 1. “(4)…He chose us in Him…that we should be before Him…(5) He predestined us to adoption as sons…to Himself…”

144-Romans 5:5. “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” John 14:21. “…he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

145-John 17:3. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

146-1 Peter 3:18. “For Christ also died for sins once for all…so that He might bring us to God…”

147-John 14. “(2) In My Father’s house are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you. (3) If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, and there I am, there you may be also.”

148-Revelation. “(21:21)…And the street of the city was pure gold…(22:1) Then he showed me a river of the water of life…coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, (2) in the middle of its street…”

149-Romans 11:36. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

150-Psalm 16:11. “…in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 37:4. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 73. “(25)…besides You, I desire nothing on earth. (26)…God is…my portion forever…(28)…the nearness of God is my good…”

 

 

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