Monday, February 25, 2013

We Must Have The True Gospel

Perish the thought, but what if our church failed to preach, teach and breathe the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  We would certainly wither spiritually, would no doubt become completely irrelevant to the work of God in the world, and our worship would be pointless.  However, the more we embrace, long for, and uphold the true Gospel, the more we will thrive:
An emaciated gospel leads to emaciated worship...The biblical gospel, by contrast, is like fuel in the furnace of worship.  The more you understand about it, believe it, and rely on it, the more you adore God both for who he is and for what he has done for us in Christ.  "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!" Paul cried (Rom. 11:33), and it was because his heart was full of the gospel.  Greg Gilbert, What Is The Gospel

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Birth Of Christian Fellowship

Ever thought much about what was happening beneath the cross when our Lord entrusted his dear mother to his beloved disciple John? The ultimate precedent for Christian fellowship was being born.
"Beneath the cross Christian fellowship is born, a fellowship wholly different from all purely human fellowship based on natural kinship, mutual sympathy, or a common outlook upon human affairs. The great and distinctive characteristic of this new fellowship is that all who enjoy it are drawn to one another by the consciousness that they are all brothers for whom Christ. died." ~ R.V.G. Tasker
"Dear woman, here is your son.  John, here is your mother," are words that birth the fellowship that marks the true body of Christ.  More than mere suggestion or recommendation...they are words by which we are legally declared to be brothers and sisters in Christ just as surely as we are legally adopted as the children of the living God by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Becoming "Vivified"

We should be careful not to dwell overly much on our sinfulness - though it needs to be acknowledged and dealt with - but along with that type of introspection, we should also be encouraged by and participate in the work of the Spirit in our lives that is forming us daily into the image of Christ.

In addition to killing sin (death), there must be a corresponding rising to new life: "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).  Older theologians called this twofold process mortification...and vivification....Killing sin and pursuing holinesss are acts of the Holy Spirit in cooperation with the believer.  Christians "live by the Spirit" and "walk by the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25).  Derek W. H. Thomas, How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Change Your Heart, Change Your Behavior

If we as believers are going to get serious about dealing with sin, we need to deal directly with our own hearts, and not focus merely on behavior modification.

[S]in expresses itself in different people in different ways.  That's why measuring external behavior in one area alone simply isn't enough to determine the state of one's heart.  The only way to kill sin is to mortify the roots of sin in the motives, desires, and drives of the heart....So, mortifying sin is not merely changing behavior, but rather addressing sinful desires in the heart. ~ Brian Hedges, Licensed to Kill - A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin. Emphasis added.