“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.”
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.
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.”
“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.”
“The gospel is not ‘God loves us,’ but ‘God loves us at the cost of his Son.’”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
On this day, January 22 in 1973, with a 7-to-2 majority vote, the Supreme Court of the United States of America deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 ESV)
The lawyer comes to Jesus and asks a question.
What good things do I need to do to justify myself.
How do I be right before God — how do I gain eternal life
The question was not asked to gain an answer — it was asked to test Jesus. Actually, it is not a question at all. (Have you ever asked a non question? I have! Dad to 5 yr old – “What were you thinking…?”)
Back to our lawyer and his non question.
It is a good question! We all need to do business with this question.
Jesus responds by volleying the question back into the lawyer’s court.
vs 26 Jesus: What is the law?
vs 27 Lawyer: Love God – heart, soul strength, mind and your neighbor as your self.
Good answer, right? Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor like you love yourself.
vs 28 Jesus: Good answer – do that and you will live.
vs 29 Lawyer: Seeking to justify Himself – asks – Who is my neighbor.
vs 30-37 Jesus: explains the popular “Good Samaritan”.
We know the story – we have heard it in Sunday School, taught it to our children, and failed at it many times ourselves.
But, I want us to consider a bit of a different application to Luke 10.
Let’s consider our unborn neighbor.
I confess to you that for many years I walked on the other side of the road from my unborn neighbor. I was….. indifferent.
My silence and lack of leadership in this area was….. pathetic to me.
I like Jesus’ reply to the lawyer.
Jesus reply: sure…. do that and you have eternal life!
And, the man seeking to justify himself thinks — hey I am good to go.
But this answer from Jesus was NOT meant to reveal “good job” — it should have caused him and us to shudder!
Our lawyer blows right past that — “so who is my neighbor?”
Jesus is saying: you missed it!
The answer: Love God with everything and love neighbor as self…. should leave you thinking: “oh no — I have not done that — Who has done that!?! I can’t do that. I am not self justified — what am I to do??”
Instead his reply is — “ok — love God with all of me…..done that… What’s next…”
Are you serious right now??
And it is here he jumps forward to: “Who is my neighbor?”
His assumption was that my neighbor was fellow Jews — you know — neighbors. Friends. But not Gentiles — not a Samaritan!
A Jew despised Samaritans. To love a Samaritan was socially un-acceptable!
Lawyer: Who is my neighbor?
Jesus: The broken, enemy, despised, outcast, left for dead
So the priest and Levite won’t stoop down to stop and help. They do not stop even for one of their own.
These are men who are respected and thought to have character.
They ignore him and pretend that the problem is not there.
This was my stance regarding my “Unborn Neighbor” for many years.
Martin Niemoller was a German pastor imprisoned for opposing Hitler — he writes:
“In Germany they came first of all for the Communist, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. They came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came from the Unionist and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
What Does A Neighbor Do?:
Well, he doesn’t turn away.
Christian, realize who we were and who we are.
Miserable sinners. Satan robbed you, stripped you, and left you for dead. And the law comes like a priest and Levite and offers no help, no hope, and no compassion. The law condemns you.
Christ came to heal our wounds and save us. His compassion pays for our sin. He settles our debt and provides for us.
What a Savior! This is the Gospel!
Because of what Christ has done, we become God loving, whole hearted, worshipers. Not to earn eternal life (like the lawyer is seeking to do) but to respond to the eternal life we have been given.
There is hope for sinners like me and you today.
Are you walking on the other side of the road – trying to keep your distance from your unborn neighbor?
Consider this year: How can I care for my unborn neighbor?
Many of the thoughts above are from reading John Piper over the years. While I have not read anything by him regarding Sanctity of Life for many years, I no longer know what I picked up from him and what thoughts are mine. So, credit goes to John Piper for many of the thoughts above.
Lastly, enjoy this video from Matt Chandler and the Village Church.
The cry for “relevance” in the Christian community today is deafening.
Consider: The cry for relevance is often louder than the cry for God’s Word or the Gospel!
I am not for Christians being irrelevant in society and culture!!
To be irrelevant in todays society, is to have no voice.
No voice is neither, wise or necessary.
I DO think the Bible IS relevant!!!
Whether a person realizes the relevance of the Bible does not determine IF the bible IS relevant.
Is their any caution to be given in the midst of the cry for relevance?
on and on it goes…..
Sometimes, Christians are not comfortable in their own skin…..
Paul to the Corinthians:
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:22-24).
The gospel IS a stumbling block, it IS folly to the unbeliever.
Which means: We must be careful that our desire for relevance does not = compromise.
Ours is a day that can easily be captured up in the desire to “reach” people, at the expense of remaining faithful to the Word. And…. if we are reaching people, while NOT remaining faithful to the Word…. then what exactly are we reaching people to?
Our hope is in the Word of God itself!
“And by neglecting the Scriptures, we lose track of what we are reaching people to. If it’s to a savior other than the holy, triune creator God of the Bible, or if it’s to a God other than the one in the Scriptures who died to appease God’s wrath toward sinful men, justifying completely those who repent and believe, then we’re no longer offering salvation at all, and we’re not building a ‘church.’ We might have gathered a good group of people who do good things, but it’s not the bride of Christ.” Matt Chandler
There is such a lust for relevance today. We want to be liked, accepted, thought well of in society. And it is this lust that (potentially) waters down biblical truths in the name of “reaching people”.
In the end, doesn’t it boil down to what we believe about the Bible? Is it the very Word of God??
Paul says to the Romans – I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the is the power of God to salvation.
Do you believe that?
Or does God’s Word need some “props” – do you feel the need to take the “edge” off?
Or to quote Bono of U2 – “stop helping God across the road, like a little old lady….”
“The issue of sin and depravity is as old as the fall of man. Likewise the Word we live by is just as relevant today as it ever was. God is not in catch up mode when it comes to being abreast of current trends, trials, and temptations.” David Ravenhill Read full article here.
The Word of God is where our convictions MUST lie.
The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord remains forever!
Welcome to Book Bag Wednesday. T4G is going on this week and since it is below are some great, discounted books. A few of these are for the pastors and seminary students who follow the gospel connections blog. But, if you are not a pastor or seminary student, don’t let that stop you! There are some great books below for everyone! I hope you will check them out!
Click on the book cover and it will take you to Amazon where you will find prices.
(Prices range from 99 cents to $2.99!)
Some of these book deals are only good for a few days. So, if you see something you like, grab it!