If there is one thing in a Christian’s life that is of the up-most importance that would be to preach the gospel to yourself daily. There are a number of reasons why… in fact there is a wonderful book that I have been reading called The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent and this book is full of great reasons to preach the gospel to yourself. I highly recommend the book. I am finding that when I dwell on the gospel it helps me so much in my everyday life. Especially when I am dealing with guilt. I seem to deal with guilt a lot. It is hard for me to see my sin, all of my screw-ups and failures, and be able to look at the gospel. I am amazed at how easily my mind and heart are captured by something other than God. Yet the gospel is still true. What it says about me is still true. I am still His son. I am still an co-heir with Christ. I am still loved by Him. I am still completely forgiven. This is so hard for my little works-based mind to grasp. And preaching the gospel to myself has helped a great deal. Last week my guilt was building up so much that I was having difficulty praying. It was so hard to believe the gospel, but finally God came. I wrote this one night last week and it has been so helpful for me. So to those struggling with sin. To those who feel so guilty. To those who have a hard time believing God’s glorious gospel. Here is some encouragement:
Come to Him
On what basis?
My mind races
Several different places
Stealing my heart
Driving me apart
From my King
Who took death’s sting
Given heavenly riches
Without any glitches
Adopted by Him
Wooed by Him
Reconciled to Him
Loved by Him
Bought with blood
By His grace
I can come
How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts that we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!
Life seems to go by so quick. It seemed like yesterday I was being dropped off by my parents at Tennessee Tech University with no friends and not a clue with what I wanted to do with my life. Now five and a half years later I find myself in Nashville, TN beginning the next chapter of my life. I have just started work with a company called edo Interactive (there is suppose to be a line above the o). I have enjoyed my first two weeks a bunch. I currently am living in Smyrna, TN which is about twenty-five miles from work. That doesn’t seem to far, but in Nashville traffic that equates to about an hour drive. So the commute has been a little rough, but nothing terrible. I have been thinking a lot about my life and where I would like to see it go and one big question that I’ve have been faced with is “Am I playing games with Christianity?” When Apostle Paul wrote Romans 6-8 he was addressing one big question and that question is “How does grace work in a person’s life?” The answer Paul gives is simply: Grace works by changing a person from the inside.
Paul first says that grace has completely saved them through the blood of Christ. Making them perfect through what Christ has done (this is called justification). The second is through sanctification (which is the process by which God makes us into the image of Jesus). Once Paul establishes this concept in Romans 6 he then lays out two different concepts in Romans 7, one being sin and the other the Law (or Ten Commandments). He then declares a very simple statement that says, “The Law is good, righteous, and holy. And sin is utterly wicked, enslaving, and debasing.” Now for us this may be common sense, but when we go deeper into these statements there is much more than meets the eye.
For me this has been something I have been challenged with quite a bit because Paul is trying to get me to see that I must be fighting sin and not just killing sin, but doing righteousness. Living out Christ’s obedience. And the crazy thing is I don’t obey the Law simply because I want to be moral, but because sin keeps me from loving, focusing, and cherishing God. Sin keeps me from a deeper intimate relationship with God and so when I am pursuing righteousness (the Law) my relationship with God grows deeper. I can focus on Him and begin to really see and experience the love that He is giving me through the blood of Christ. This perspective has helped me so much lately. Not just with seeing my need to fight sin. But helping me see that I have been playing games with Christianity. I toy with sin and do not run to Christ as treasure.
God has been showing me that my life should be about One person. God. And not because He is “whipping” or “making” me, but because there is nothing better to run to. So now I have begun to walk through Psalm 119 simply because I need better perspective on the Law of God. I want to truly believe and be convinced that this Law is exactly what I need to pursue in order to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with God… completely free from sin! Because if we are not convinced that the Law is here for our good then we will never go to it. We must truly be convinced that the Law is not a burden and Psalm 119 has really challenged me to see that. I don’t want to play games with Christianity. I want to honor and love God with my life and observing the Law is one of the main ways that can happen.
Here is chapter 4 in the letter from Luke:
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, journeyed into the wilderness. There in the wilderness for forty days, he ate nothing, and when the forty days had ended the devil came to Jesus and began to persuade him saying, “If you are really the Son of God, say to this stone, ‘Become bread,’ that you may eat and be satisfied.” Jesus quoting from Deuteronomy said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil, not willing to give up to easily continued to attempt to persuade Jesus, “I will give you all the kingdoms of this world and all their glory, all I ask is that You worship me.” But Jesus was still not persuaded once again quoting from Deuteronomy he said, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” Still the devil continued to persuade Jesus and in a final attempt the devil took Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and said, “If you really are the Son of God then throw yourself down from here.” And just like before Jesus responded from Deuteronomy saying, “It is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” The devil would then leave Jesus, until an opportune time later.Jesus returned to Galilee and many began to hear news of Jesus’ returning. Jesus would begin to teach in the synagogues and was praised by everyone who came to listen. He would arrive at Nazareth, where he was raised, and would enter the temple on the Sabbath. He began read from the prophet Isaiah about his calling and his purpose. How he would preach this gospel to the poor, release the captives, give sight to the blind, and set free those who are oppressed. These were great times for Jesus he seemed to be praised by everyone.
But Jesus knowing there hearts and what was to come rebuked the people in the town reminding them of their wicked ways in how they treated the prophets, Jesus also reminds them of some prophets who came only for Gentiles. And this drove the people in the synagogue to anger and they drove Jesus out of the synagogue. From there he came to Capernaum and began teaching on the Sabbath. There he taught with authority and many were amazed. There, in the synagogue Jesus would rebuke a demon dwelling inside of a man commanding the demon to come out of the man. Jesus would show such authority over the demons.
Later, Jesus would leave there and go to Simon’s house. There Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a fever and they asked Jesus to help. Jesus then rebuked the fever and the fever left immediately. Jesus would continue to heal those who were sick for the rest of the day and throughout the night; He would heal those who were demon possessed as well. Finally when day came Jesus fled to a secluded place. And crowds tried to follow him and when they found Him Jesus told them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities, for this is my purpose.” So he continued in the synagogues preaching and teaching those who were willing to hear him.
And so we continue through chapter 3:
While the crowds were being baptized, Jesus was also baptized, except when He was baptized the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form and then a voice came out and said, “You are My beloved Son in You I am well pleased.” Jesus would begin his ministry when he was about thirty years old. And this is not the ministry of an ordinary son of David. This would be the ministry of the son of God, the One who is before Adam.
Here is the second chapter in the thrilling tale of the life of Christ. If you haven’t part 1 I urge to read it.
Now Jesus would grow up to be as ordinary as possible. He would be circumcised on the eighth day and they would take him to the temple to be presented to the Lord, for this was the custom of the Law of the Lord for every firstborn male. And while they were there, there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, and this man was righteous in the sight of the Lord, now the Lord had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. And so when Simeon went into the temple he finally would get to see and hold the Messiah and when he did joy filled his heart and an outpouring of praise saying, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart in peace, according to Your Will. For my eyes have seen the Christ who is the salvation for the world. He will reach all peoples. He will be a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel.” Simeon would then tell Mary of the suffering that will take place in life of Christ.
Also in the temple would be Anna, the prophetess. She is a widow, eighty-four years of age. Very devout always in the temple fasting and praying constantly. And she also came up and began praising God along with Simeon. Once everything had finished in the temple the young couple would return home to Nazareth.
Jesus would continue to grow and would increase in wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. Soon after, his parents would travel to Jerusalem for the yearly Feast of the Passover. Jesus, who is now twelve years old, would journey with them and they would spend several days there. It would be on the way back that Joseph and Mary would discover that Jesus was not with them. They would return to Jerusalem and search for three days only to find their son in the temple listening and questioning the teachers who were gathered around him. All who had gathered around Him were amazed at both His understanding and His answers. But Mary was very upset, “Son why have you treated us this way? We have been worried to death about where you had been.” But Jesus replied, “Why were looking for Me? Did you not know that I am to be in My Father’s house?” Many did not understand this statement. And so Jesus continued with his parents and submitted to them. He would continue to grow in wisdom and stature finding favor with God and men, and His mother treasured all things in her heart.
One of the greatest things that anyone, especially Christians, could do is study the character, or attributes, of God. They are essential to the growth of any Christian and essential in the understanding of the gospel of Christ. And so I wanted to put up this awesome resource that has been used mightily in my life. It is the HeartCry Conference from 2005 where Paul Washer and several other men got the chance to speak on the different attributes of God. They are as follows:
- The Holiness of God
- The Justice of God
- The Power of God
- The Sovereignty of God
- The Truth of God
- The Love of God
- The Mercy and Grace of God
- The Glory of God (Part 1)
- The Glory of God (Part 2)
- The Ability of God
- The Wrath of God
Hope you enjoy. If I could recommend a couple: Holiness, Glory, Truth, and Wrath of God are my favorites.