Monthly Archives: February 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

1 Peter 4:1-6:

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”

In the midst of suffering, we are often tempted to revert to our former way(s) of life. Yet, the saving work of God tenaciously refuses to leave us in such futility. He transforms every soul that He saves–even when the purification is best accomplished by the providential furnace of His persevering love (1 Peter 1:3-9). There has never been a more beautiful, though seemingly brutish, sort of love. The mysterious beauty of divine love is that suffering typically precedes the sweetness that it procures. This was the reality of Christ’s death for us in the pursuit of His Father’s glory; and much will be the same for us when we endeavor to follow in His footsteps. As we share in the sufferings of Christ, we incarnate His love as “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1). May we suffer and die well as we remember that He alone is our Life.

This past weekend, my pastor gave the following points of application when faced with the peer pressure of returning to former passions:

1. Remember WHOSE you are.

We belong to Jesus ,the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross….

2. Remember your motivation.

We live to honor Christ rather than self.

3. Ask God for help… Employ the means that He’s given.

The Word of God is our sword and the prayer of Faith is our shield of defense!

The Body of Christ are our fellow soldiers who provide support, accountability, and love.

4. For those who have fallen back into their former ways…

A. Remember what Christ has already done and that He has secured God’s love and forgiveness for you.  You’re accepted in Christ, not in and of yourself.

B. Confess your sin to God and fellow believers as you repent of it.

C. Get into God’s word and get God’s word into you.

D. Pursue open, honest transparency with others in spiritual community.

5. When others are struggling, come alongside them and offer: Humility, Hope, and Help.

Humility: You’re capable of sinning in the same way, if not worse, given the right opportunity.

Hope: God’s saving love has the power to change and restore even the worst of sinners.

Help: God’s people need one another to stir up and minister His sanctifying grace to one another in time of need.

 

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A Worship Video that Melts the Heart

Justin Taylor posted this video on “Between Two Worlds,” and it totally melted my heart with gratitude for God:

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Preaching the Gospel to Myself Everyday

Reality Check:  This much I know…

“I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

John Owen said those words and therein revealed that he knew my heart just as well as his own. My only hope is found in perpetually running back to the Cross and clinging to the saving grace that first clung to me. God, through the finished work of Christ and the ongoing work of the Spirit, awakened my soul to life. I too easily forget those truths that saved and continue to sanctify me, or at least, functionally-speaking my life evidences a forgetfulness as I grow entranced by the things of the world. Knowing my propensity to forgetfulness, I need daily reminders of the grace I have received. So, a few weeks ago, I composed the following brief overview of the gospel in an attempt to aid myself in rehearsing the gospel message to myself daily. Lord willing, this recitation will be accompanied by the Spirit’s power as I seek to mortify the flesh and magnify Christ in my heart before each day unfolds. I share it in hopes that some of you may benefit from a similar course of action. Lord willing, it will serve the body of CCC in a similar way in the future. Blessings in Christ, Gabe


Preaching the Gospel to Myself Everyday

God: He is holy and just, sovereign and good.  He created all things—including me—for His pleasure and glory. He made me in His image so that I might worship and reflect Him. I glorify Him most when I find my joy and satisfaction in Him. (Gn. 2:7-18; 18:25; Ps. 34; Mt. 25:31-33).

Man: Adam rebelled against God, and so have I. My heart is deceitful above all things and has caused me to fall short of God’s glory. I sinned against His holy character and righteous law. As a result, I was separated from God and found deserving of His holy wrath and eternal condemnation. In my sin, I was an enemy of God, spiritually dead, and destined for hell. Apart from God’s grace, I am hopeless and entirely helpless to save or change myself. (Gn. 3; Jn. 3:36; Rm. 3:10-23; 5:12-23; Eph. 2:1-4).

Christ: He is the beloved Son of God, fully-man and fully-God, sent into the world to save sinners, among whom I am the worst. He lived the perfect life that I should have lived and died the death that I deserved. He became the curse for me—the Righteous for the unrighteous—so that God might punish my sin in Him and forgive it in me. In death, He bore the wrath reserved for my sin, and in being raised to new life, He caused me to share in it. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I have been given a new, obedient heart, clothed in His righteousness, freed from sin to do good works, and empowered to bear the fruit of the Spirit as I resist all ungodliness. (Jn. 1:14; Rm. 3:21-26; 5:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:20; 3:13; Eph. 2:4-10; Titus 2:11-14).

Response: The only saving and sanctifying response is repentance and belief. I must daily turn from my sin and turn to God by faith in Christ.  In doing this, I forsake the idols of my heart and worship Christ alone as my ultimate Treasure. He redeemed me from sin and death, and through Him I have been forgiven and reconciled to God.  He has promised eternal life, provided living hope, and given an eternal inheritance that will never perish—all guarded securely by Christ Jesus, my Savior. Through Him, I have received all that I need for life and godliness. As I grow in the grace and truth that He provides, I am transformed into His image, and He causes me to bear the fruit of His righteousness. When He returns to set all things right, I will live with Him forever in His eternal kingdom. In the new heavens and the new earth, creation will be restored to perfection and the redeemed will give Him glory forever and ever! Amen. (Mk. 1:15; Lk. 3:7-9; Jn. 3:16-17; 20:31; Gal. 5:17-25; Rv. 20-22).

(A Guide for Preaching the Gospel to Myself Everyday)

*Disclaimer: This overview is not comprehensive nor is it intended to be. The goal is to provide a brief overview of the essential elements of the gospel in order to begin-and-end each day with Godward focus so that each moment in-between might be more gospel-saturated than it would have been otherwise.

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