Posts Tagged ‘Gospel


Love From The Heart

There is no better way to define the message of Christianity than in a single word: love. The very last command Jesus gave His followers was to love one another. He summed up three years of teaching with this one command. The apostle John and the apostle Peter both reiterated this command in their letters. Peter wrote:

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV)

When we obey the truth of Jesus’ message, we have true, unconditional love for each other. Peter wants us to take it a step further. We are to love each other deeply and from the heart. We bear each other’s burdens. We serve one another in love. We sincerely forgive one another and we don’t hold grudges. We pray with and for one another. Love is not optional for the followers of Jesus. It is a result of a life transformed by the love of Christ.

No Favorites In Church

Jesus said it and James did too, God doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. This is what James said:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. – James 2:1 (NIV)

James gives the example of two people coming into a gathering of believers. One is obviously wealthy and the other is obviously from the poor side of the tracks. The wealthy believer is shown preferential treatment and the poorer person is not shown the same attention. This should not be the case.
If a church plays favorites, they are directly in violation of God’s commands. God’s grace is the same for all regardless of age, gender, economic status or past. We cannot show favoritism to the wealthy just because they’re on a higher rung of society or to garner some kind of favor from them. We may be tempted to kowtow to the wealthy to fund our ministries or to reach their wealthy friends. The key is to devote ourselves to the truth of the Gospel first and foremost and not play favorites. Otherwise, we’ll be tempted to water down the Word of God so as not to offend those who may be living high on the hog.

Living Consistently

After asking the Colossians to pray that Paul might be able to communicate the Gospel clearly with those who don’t know Christ, he turns his attention to living a life consistent with the Gospel. He says:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – Colossians 4:5 (NIV)

We need to make sure that we don’t harm our message by living inconsistently. If you post hateful things on Facebook followed by messages about how God loves you, that’s not very wise. If you say that you believe in Jesus, but act like He never existed nor taught us how to live, that’s inconsistent. If you tell people to “go to hell” while you’re so confident that you’re going to Heaven, that’s not making the most of every opportunity. We need to live authentically consistent lives that are in keeping with the Savior. Otherwise, we do harm to our witness. People won’t believe in the One who has saved us if we don’t act like we’ve been saved. That is the tragedy of hypocrisy. Let’s live consistently so that we’ll be able to tell people about the love and grace we’ve found in Jesus.

Investing Your Time Wisely

Good Tuesday morning to you!  While we are to be careful how we judge our brothers and sisters, there are some judgments that we have to make when it comes to those who will not receive the good news of Jesus. He said in Matthew 7:6 (NIV):

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Some people will not only treat the good news with contempt, but they will actually be hostile and violent toward those who attempt to share it. Jesus said that we must make a careful judgment and we need to know when enough is enough. We must continuously pray for those who need to hear the good news, but at some point we must move on when it comes to sharing that good news. Not every seed that is sown will bear fruit. So keep praying for those who have yet to accept the good news, but be wise about the time you invest in sharing it. Some will respond, but tragically many will reject it.

Do Not Condemn

John 3:16-18 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Perhaps the most famous words of Scripture are found in John 3:16. Words that are slightly less well known are found in verses 17-18. Jesus was talking with Nicodemus and He tells him that those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will have the gift of eternal life. That’s why Jesus came. He came to seek and to save the lost. He did not come to condemn anyone to Hell. He came to give eternal life. Yet, there is a statement of condemnation in verse 18. Those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned.
I find it interesting that some in Christ’s church are quick to condemn people to Hell. They’re taking it upon themselves to do something that not even Jesus would do. If Jesus wouldn’t condemn people, then why do some Christians believe that it is their job? Jesus came to save the world. That’s the good news of the Gospel! Yet some of His representatives only focus on the bad news of condemnation. Yes, we must warn people about verse 18, but I do not believe that our job is to tell people that they’re going to Hell. Our job is to tell people how to get to Heaven – you must be born again.
So when you are tempted to condemn someone to Hell, please remember that not even the Son of God took that job upon Himself. He laid down His life to keep people out of Hell and to get them into Heaven. Let’s tell people the good news of Jesus and His love and grace and do everything we can to keep them out of Hell.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for rescuing me from an eternity separated from You in Hell. Thank You for sending Jesus, not to condemn the world in judgment, but to save the world through His death and resurrection. Help me to be an ambassador for You today so that someone may hear the good news and begin a journey of faith that leads them to their heavenly home. Amen.

FULL Of Grace And Truth

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was FULL of grace AND truth. A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that this is not a 50/50 balance of grace and truth. He was FULL of grace and truth. It was 100/100! Jesus always told the truth in a grace-filled way. 
As followers of Jesus, we have so far to go. We often error on one side or the other. We’ll preach the truth of the Gospel, but we’ll forget the grace. We’ll be so loud and bold that we actually turn people off to Jesus because we think that it is our job to convict the world of sin. Jesus said that that is the job of the Holy Spirit. 
Or we will preach good news of love, forgiveness and grace and forget about the truth that there is bad news, too. We’re all sinners and deserve to spend an eternity separated from God in Hell. That’s the truth! 
How can we be more like Jesus when it comes to telling people the truth (we deserve Hell) in a grace-filled way (but God wants to save us because He loves us)? We have to keep our eyes on the cross. Jesus went through hell so that we can go to Heaven. The cross is that perfect balance of grace and truth. Without the cross, there is no good news. Jesus suffered and died so that our sins could be washed away in His blood. Without Him we have no hope. But we do have hope because Jesus came and laid down His life for our forgiveness. O praise His name!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son. Help me to be more like Him in my interactions with people. Help me to tell the truth in a grace-filled way. Thank You for saving me by Your grace. Amen.

Partners In The Gospel

I love the book of Philippians.  It was a letter written by Paul to the church at Philippi.  It was a major city in what is now northeast Greece.    It was a city founded about 400 years before this letter by the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II.  In Acts 16, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke (the author of Acts) traveled to Philippi in order to establish the Christian church there.  On the Sabbath, they went to the river where Jews would gather to pray.  It was there that they met Lydia and she and her household became the first converts to Christianity, not only in Philippi, but in Europe.
It is clear from Philippians that Paul had a great deal of affection for the Philippian Christians.  Look at what he says to them at the beginning of this letter:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now… – Philippians 1:3-5 (NIV)

He loved the Philippians and was grateful for their “partnership in the gospel.”  We see later on that the Philippian Christians were generous toward Paul and his ministry.  They had a real heart for people who did not know Jesus throughout Macedonia.  So they supported Paul’s ministry of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We need to have a heart like the Philippians.  We need to understand that the most important thing we do as Christians is to share God’s love with those who do not know Christ.  We do this through the ministry of outreach from our local churches.  We do this by supporting missionaries across the world.  Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV) says:

…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

We who are followers (disciples) of Jesus are to be making others what we are: disciples.  We do this in a variety of ways.
  • Invitation of co-workers, family members or neighbors to come to  church events or worship services (most people will say yes, but just haven’t been asked)
  • Praying for opportunities to share the Gospel
  • Giving to missionaries
  • Volunteering your time in your church’s children’s ministry so that little kids can hear about Jesus and their parents can, too
  • Tithing to your local church to keep the lights on, the building warm and to pay the staff
  • Sharing your testimony with someone who doesn’t know Jesus
  • Leading a small group Bible study to teach others about Christ – both Christians and those who don’t believe yet

What steps will you take to become a disciple-maker?  How will you partner with God to share the Good News of Jesus?  How will you be God’s partner in the Gospel?  The world needs to know Jesus.  We know Jesus.  We need to make sure that they meet.

PRAYER: Father, I want a heart of evangelism that beats for lost people.  I want opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.  Thank You for the people in my life who brought me to faith in Jesus.  Bless them today in Jesus’ name, amen.
Philippians 1:1-11 (NIV)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

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