Jesus: Teacher, Example, or Redeemer??

 

“While the Gospel is something worth contending for, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this business.”  D.A. Carson

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Mystery of Mysteries

I like a good mystery!  Not the predictable sort; I like the ones that challenge the mind and stretch the imagination. The kind you almost feel like you have to work for to understand.

There is a mystery found in God’s Word. It is the ultimate mystery – A mystery of mysteries. No earthly mystery compares to the mystery of the gospel! Sadly, we do not dwell on the contents or the characters of the mystery enough. But when people do, I find the response is either worship or rebellion. Some behold the mystery and worship, while others grow angry and defiant.

In considering both responses, let’s first unpack the mystery.

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Gospel Things

“As a pastor, I constantly pray and engage the people of the Village Church to keep what is “of first importance” at the center of their thinking, in both their justification and their sanctification. Over the years, I have become painfully aware that people tend to drift away from the gospel soon after their conversion and begin to try their hand at sanctification. In other words, they operate as if the gospel saves them but doesn’t play a role in sanctifying them. In the end, people become exhausted and miss out on the joy of knowing and walking with the Spirit of God. They miss out on intimacy with Jesus.”

Matt Chandler

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A Theology Of Hurricanes

Hurricane Matthew

I live in Brevard County. Last week, Hurricane Matthew, a giant storm with a powerful category 4 eye, was aimed directly towards us here in east central Florida. Sadly, this same hurricane took the lives of 1,000

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15 Things That Self – Atonement Says

Bridge

I “know” the gospel. I know it factually. And while that may be good (we need to know the gospel) I realize I often do not live in the good of the gospel. I regularly do not “own” it. Whenever, I find myself seeking to self-atone (seeking to earn God’s favor and salvation), I have lost my way from the truths of the gospel. Don’t misunderstand. I believe in “effort”!  Paul said to the Ephesians that we were saved “for good works.”

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Gospel Hope In A World Gone Crazy

 

Republican Debate

The start of another year kicks off with yet another disappointing Presidential debate. More, Ridiculous banter, pathetic ridicule, and pre-planned talking points. Ugh!

In the midst of the presidential banner, the turn of the calendar also has me preparing sermons on racial unity and the Sanctity of Life. Sadly, in 2016, babies continue to be born clinging to life as a result of a botched abortion. Born living and breathing, these babies are then denied proper care and are left to die and ….it’s legal!  Pouring over Psalms 139 and mingling among the massive statistics of dead babies leaves me angry, sad, numb, and oddly enough…. full of hope.

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The Almost Church

Church

 

The “Almost Church” – Almost loves the gospel.  The “Almost Church” sings songs about the gospel, reads the Bible, loves Jesus, and genuinely desires to see the gospel advance.  But, at the “Almost Church”, the gospel becomes a “help” to the “Almost Christians” who are seeking to build the church. Friends, the gospel is not an additional “help” to building the church, it is the ONLY “hope” of building the church.

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Welcome To The (Starbucks) Bandwagon

Bandwagon

Ok, so I will jump on the bandwagon of being critical of the Christians, who have jumped on the bandwagon of being critical of secular society (in this case Starbucks), which creates reasons for secular society to jump on the bandwagon of being critical and dismissive of Christians in general.

How is that for a run on sentence?!?

Confused yet?  Well, hang in there…

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Image is Everything

Andre-Agassi

 

In the early 90’s, tennis star, Andre Agassi endorsed a certain type of camera and did so with a catchy attitude. The “attitude” and the Cannon Rebel camera soared into the psyche of American culture.  If you are old enough to remember the ad campaign, you will remember its’ slogan.  “Image is Everything.”

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Gospel Fumbles….

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 21: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins fumbles and then recovers the ball after being hit by Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs on September 21, 2014 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Chiefs defeat the Dolphins 34-15. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tamba Hali;Ryan Tannehill
Fumble!!   (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

“FUUUMMMMMBBBBLLLLE!!”

I yelled at the TV screen that hung on the wall. I yelled again as if it would help my team to somehow realize that the pig skin was on the ground and now having heard my yelp, certainly they would be more inclined to jump on the ball.

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Quick Post From India

india
Elephant walking down the middle of the street.  This pic was taken out of our front window.

I wanted to shoot out a quick post from India. Our schedule is very full so perhaps I can make a few quick posts when there is time.

Taxi cab leaving Mumbai airport. The traffic is indescribable! The luggage goes on the roof.... and yes, it is monsoon season.
Taxi cab leaving Mumbai airport. The traffic is indescribable! Luggage goes on the roof…. yes, it is monsoon season.

The road to arrive in Ahmedabad, India was long (Travel time was in excess of 26 hours) As you might imagine, it is an exhausting trip and yet, we have felt the Lord’s strength. Upon arriving at the ministry (the

 

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Double Shot of Gospel (Part 2)

notepad and coffee

Would you like a gospel refill?

Yes, Please!

 

By Grace Through Faith And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV

 

 

“We have an unchanging gospel, which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay; but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah.”

C.H. Spurgeon

 

“As the early church fathers delighted in saying, Christ took what was ours so that we might receive what was His.” 

Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

 

“The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.”

C.H. Spurgeon

 

“The gospel is not ‘God loves us,’ but ‘God loves us at the cost of his Son.’”

Derek Thomas

 

“Preaching the gospel to myself each day mounts a powerful assault against my pride and serves to establish humility in its place. Nothing suffocates my pride more than daily reminders regarding the glory of my God, the gravity of my sins, and the crucifixion of God’s own Son in my place. Also, the gracious love of God, lavished on me because of Christ’s death, is always humbling to remember, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Hell I deserve.” 
Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians

 

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8 ESV

 

“Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it. Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his heart until he has achieved success. This is a very different pursuit than simply wanting to be good. It is the result of having transferred one’s affections to Jesus. When God’s love takes hold of us, it powerfully pushes out our own love for other gods and frees our love to flow back to him in true worship. And when we love God, we obey him. The moralist doesn’t operate that way. While true obedience is a result of love, moralistic legalism assumes it works the other way around, that love results from obedience.”

Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel

 

“Never lose heart in the power of the gospel. Do not believe that there exists any man, much less any race of men, for whom the gospel is not fitted.”

C.H. Spurgeon

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 ESV

 

“Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching – where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.”

C.H. Spurgeon

 

“When I begin my train of thought with the gospel, I realize that if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son’s life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me. Viewing God’s commands and prohibitions in this light, I can see them for what they really are: friendly signposts from a heavenly Father who is seeking to love me through each directive, so that I might experience His very fullness forever.”
Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians 

“If God does not save men by truth, he certainly will not save them by lies. And if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival.”

C.H. Spurgeon

A Double Shot Of Gospel, Please

coffee beans

It’s what I need. I wake up in the morning and my dry soul must have it. “A double shot of Gospel, please”! Because, I am dull and I forget the glories of what Christ has done for me. Today is a new day in which I am inclined to drift towards my works and efforts. I want to trust in myself. And so…. I need to be reminded of Christ’s work on that cross! The gospel is a double shot for my soul. I need it daily, regular, and often. “Why”, you ask? Because it seems that while I slept last night gospel truths began to lose its grip on me. Like the sand I hold in my hand at the beach, it slips through my fingers.

So, join with me and refresh your soul with the truths of the gospel.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

1 Timothy 1:15

“If the Lord’s bearing our sin for us is not the gospel, I have no gospel to preach.”

C.H. Spurgeon

“The man who does not glory in the gospel can surely know little of the plague of sin that is within him.

J.C. Ryle

Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.  

Ravi Zacharias 

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…

Romans 1:16 ESV

The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.

John Piper

“If we think the main mission of the church is to improve life in Adam and add a little moral strength to this fading evil age, we have not yet understood the radical condition for which Christ is such a radical solution.” 

Michael Horton, Christless Christianity

The Righteousness of God Through Faith But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Romans 3:21-25 ESV

“If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Augustine

 

“The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” 

Timothy Keller

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV

“My work with teenagers has convinced me that one of the main reasons teenagers are not excited by the gospel is that they do not think they need it. Many parents have successfully raised self-righteous little Pharisees. When they look at themselves, they do not see a sinner in desperate need, so they are not grateful for a Savior. Sadly, the same is true of many of their parents.” 

Timothy D. Lane, How People Change

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…

I Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV

“The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death.”

Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel