Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Prov. 10:3 says "The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry." I wonder if we believe this? My suspicion is that we risk little for the sake of the Kingdom because we live as if our survival depends mainly on us. After telling a crowd to store treasures in Heaven rather than on earth, Jesus immediately told the same crowd not to worry about their necessities. He knew their tendencies and He knows our. They (and we) would be more worried about survival than obedience. Of course Jesus informs them that all of their worrying will not add a single hour to their life. I have no doubts about the future. The One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow is the same One who holds the future securely in His control. He is also the One who has made promises to provide food, clothing, and everything else we need (including Resurrected bodies). We just need to seek Him above seeking survival. I'm not saying that we should never "save" or "store for the winter," but my guess is that we do more "storing" than "trusting." Scripture informs us: "The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry." So do you really believe Him or not? Our lives will demonstrate the level of our trust.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The content of the Gospel matters. Paul said that it's so important that anyone who tries to change it should be accursed (Gal. 1:8). In case you miss it - He's saying this person should be "cut off," "forsaken," or "damned." In case they missed it - He repeated it (1:9). And in case you are totally unaware, people have tried to change it for over 2,000 years. Some attempt to alter the Gospel blatantly and others subtly. Some outside the Church, but many inside the church. Some on TV and some in your Sunday School class. Paul's strong warnings should sober us to the gravity of the content of the Gospel. It should also lead us to ask two questions: "What Gospel have I believed in?" and "What Gospel am I sharing?" Paul gives a great picture in 1:3-5 "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." Do you see it? Jesus freely gave Himself (despite those who think the cross was cosmic child abuse). Jesus willingly was our substitute. He gave Himself for our sins. In many pagan religions, you must do something to appease "the god" and "earn his favor." How stunning is it that the One True God had all of our dirty, rebellious acts placed upon Him and He bore the punishment (the wrath of God)? Which today - if you are struggling with guilt from some act of disobedience to God - might I remind us all that each of our sins were nailed to the cross. He loved you in your most heinous state. He still loves you today. Christ also delivers us from this present evil age. The Gospel is our only hope for both justification and sanctification. Christ does not set us free and then say "Now the rest is up to you." We would be hopeless in the fight against sin, the world, and the devil. Christ is your hope on the day of your conversion, but He remains your only hope every day that follows. And do you see who planned all of this? God the Father. Is it any wonder why Paul Goes on to say that He gets the glory forever and ever? He is the One who has done the saving. He is the One worthy of the glory. This is the Gospel. Salvation is not found in Jesus plus something else. Salvation is found in Christ alone. So make sure even in your sanctification you are not trying to earn salvation. Place your trust in Christ alone and not a single "good work" that you do (or all of them collectively). The world is desperate to hear the true Gospel. Are they hearing it from you? Can they see its effect in you? Let anyone who preaches anything else be accursed. May we contend for Christ and His life-giving Gospel.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Last week I read in the news about two suicide bombers in Pakistan. It was as if the Lord gripped my heart and brought into crystal clarity that the only hope for Pakistan is the Gospel. The country is 98% muslim. It does not have a great affinity for Americans or Christians much less Christian Americans. Yet - if the hearts of suicide bombers are going to be changed it will come through the Gospel and not the UN. The question then arises - who will go? May the Lord raise up a generation that fears disobedience to God more than they fear death.