gospel clarity

HOW A CHURCH INFLUENCES PEOPLE DOES MATTER

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Today’s blog is not meant to be a smear or a rant against the Roman Catholic Church.

However, what a church teaches and practices shapes its members in ways that have eternal consequences.

In other words – it matters that we get church practices right

To get them right means we must be biblical. There is nothing wrong with traditions “if” they are biblically rooted. But if they are unbiblical, they can become hellish in their affect.

I read this fascinating article by John Piper which presented 7 lessons he learned in a recent trip he made to Europe.

The first point is the one I hope you will take the time to read (the rest is extra credit).  Piper describes the “shackles” that the Roman Catholicism has placed upon millions of people over centuries.

Some of the issues he describes have lessened over the years, but their influence on people remain obstacles to the gospel.

Think about that reality for a moment.

When an institution which claims to be the church actually keeps people in darkness about the gospel, which is the only hope we have for salvation – what spiritual force is truly in charge of it?

 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.18.12

Is the gospel clear in our home?

Acts 15:1-11

In Acts 15 people were confusing the essential truth of the gospel. We know the Church must remain clear and faithful with the gospel; but it is just as important that our families remain clear and faithful with the gospel

Parents be clear about the gospel

Often our description of the gospel is vague especially when dealing with children. Children can handle the truths of the gospel. We should not short change them in this most essential area

An example of being vague: “Accept Jesus into your heart”

That is not the gospel; it is a response to it. People can respond to that statement and still reject the central truth of the gospel, because it was not even presented

The gospel is God’s answer to our sin problem. The gospel tells us what Christ has done to save us (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

In his outstanding book “What is the gospel?” Gilbert Stuart gives 4 points that should be included in presenting the gospel. We don’t need to be slavish in using this terminology, but it is a very important guide

1.  God – we are responsible to God; and He is Holy

2.  Man – we have rebelled against God and are guilty of sin

3.  Christ – he is God’s only means to save us through his death and resurrection

4.  Response – repent of sin and trust in Christ as our hope

If we are clear and comfortable with the gospel, then we can be conversational with it whenever needed

Parents be led by the gospel

What do you want to accomplish as parent?

Question:  what do you think your children cannot live without?

Answer: a personal and growing relationship with Christ

Verse 10 warns against upholding standards that cannot save

As parents we can hold up many good things for our kids to pursue, but if we pursue empty things, that is what we get

Some parents may respond “my children accepted Christ”, so we can move on from the gospel with life

But Colossians 3:3-4 tells us “Your life is hidden with Christ” and “Christ is your life”

We find life and all its potential fullness in Christ and his gospel

However, we cannot lead where we are not going

We can only lead by the gospel if our life is saturated in it

The reality is that at times we will fail our children, but the gospel never will, so lead them by it

Our children will regularly face times of difficulty and uncertainty, but we can lead them to the gospel which is a path that never goes dark, misleads or fails

Parents love the gospel

We generally fill our life with the people and things we love. Does the gospel fill our life?

Our children need more from us than truthful facts about the gospel; they need to see we are deeply impacted by the gospel

If you are not a parent, you can still be a shining example to children of love for the gospel

What are you excited to share with your children?

Does the gospel have “the” place of preeminence?

Satan will probably not ask you to deny the gospel, he will encourage you to be less zealous. He wants the gospel to fade into the background of life’s stuff. Instead let our children see when it comes to the gospel we are “all in” (Matthew 13:44)

Is the gospel and life with Christ your treasure?

If you slowly read Ephesians 1, you will see we have much to share about the wondrous graces we have “in Christ”

We give our children a precious gift when we are excited about Christ. Let our homes show that to us there is no one like Jesus!

MASTERED BY THE GOSPEL

This is an excellent video from the Gospel Coalition that is worth watching more than once, because so many different and vital issues concerning the gospel in our churches are addressed. Two points I greatly appreciated: (1) When unchurched people visit a church, they expect to find church, so don’t try to give them an experience that matches the world;  (2) Don’t just master the gospel, even more “be mastered by the gospel”.

Mastered By the Gospel from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Clarity In The Gospel We Share

What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert is an outstanding and easy reading book on the gospel.  I found that Gilbert presents the gospel with great clarity.  Since the gospel is the most important reality facing every person in existence, I though it would benefit all of us to consider over the next couple days,some of Gilbert’s thoughts on the gospel:

At the heart of the gospel are the answers to four crucial questions:

1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?

2. What is our problem? In other words, are we in trouble and why?

3. What is God’s solution to that problem? How has he acted to save us from it?

4. How do I—myself, right here, right now—how do I come to be included in that salvation? What makes this good news for me and not just for someone else?

We might summarize these four major points like this: God, man, Christ, and response.

It’s become fashionable lately to present the gospel by saying that Jesus came to save humanity from an innate sense of guilt or meaninglessness or purposelessness or emptiness . . . To talk about salvation being from meaninglessness or purposelessness without tracing those things down to their root in sin may make the medicine go down easier, but it is the wrong medicine . . . It allows a person to continue thinking of himself as a victim and never really deal with the fact that he himself is the criminal.

Do we have this clear understanding of the gospel?  If not think through what Gilbert shares so that we can share it clearly with others.