gospel

 

As for me, the cross is at the center of my faith, belief and theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the foundation to how I read, study and understand Scripture .

Without the cross and the resurrection, there is no Gospel, the Apostle Paul sums it up like this, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:14 ESV), “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV).

What Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection is central to everything to my life and faith for me. The death and resurrection of Jesus are not only central to Scripture and the Gospel, but are also central to learning who God is, what God is like, and how we are supposed to live our lives as followers of Jesus.

I believe that the key to learning scripture, about the Christian life is to see everything through the lens of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

I am still learning about the infinite ramifications of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and will continue to so all my life, and will continue to be surprised by new revelation and understanding till that which is perfect comes back, Jesus, or I stand before Him in heaven. Because I have only just began comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the gospel.

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I read this and found it of great encouragement, such a truth that I had to post it, if only that I might read it over again and again myself. This is what  Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, instructed her fellow workers as follows in the winning souls.

"Do not tell anybody they are saved. I never do. I leave that for the Holy Spirit to do. I tell them how to get saved. I try to help them to the way of faith. I will bring them up as close as ever I can to the blessed broken body of their Lord, and I will try to show them how willing He is to receive them; and I know that when really they do receive Him, the Spirit of God will tell them quickly enough that they are saved. He will not want any assistance about that. I have proved it in hundreds of cases. Nobody knows the soul but God. Nobody can see the secret windings of the depraved heart but God. Nobody can tell when a full surrender is made but God. Nobody can tell when the right hand is cut off, or the right eye plucked out, but God. Nobody can tell when a soul is whole-hearted but God, and as soon as He sees it, He will tell that soul it is saved." Catherine Booth

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In some mysterious way that we can never fully understand, during these awful hours on the cross, the Father was pouring out the full measure of His wrath against sin and the recipient of that wrath was His own beloved Son. God was punishing Jesus as though He had personally committed every wicked deed committed by every wicked sinner. And in doing so, He could treat and forgive those redeemed ones as if they had lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness. – Greg Laurie

“What does the gospel matter to my Christian life?” Or, in other words, “What do I do now? Do I still believe the gospel, or is the rest left up to me?” Everything, we are not saved by grace, by the work of Christ while we where still sinners, to them be left to earn our way, work to keep what Christ did for us.

Christ’s death was outside of me and for me. It is not primarily something that changes me. After one has been declared righteous by grace through faith, this grace will begin to change us (sanctification). God does all the work, the gospel applied to my life every day does the same work it did when I first heard it and excepted it. Accepted Christ, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:6

Any righteousness that we have, even in the Christian life, is a gift to us. It is not the result of our obedience, of our “victorious Christian living,” “living right”, or of our “letting go and letting God.” It’s Christ work alone and His righteousness alone.

Anybody who is in Christ is sanctified, because Christ’s holiness is imputed to the Christian believer, just as Jesus says in John 17:19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” God sees the believer as holy.

In Romans 6 we read we are saved unto good works, not unto licentiousness. That takes away both the license to sin, continue in sin and believe we must do works to make ourselves acceptable to God. Good works are done out of thankfulness of heart by the believer who has been saved, not by one who is trying to be saved by following the law.

The only way out is an exposition of the Scriptures that has to do with law and gospel-an exposition of the Scriptures that places Christ at the center of the text for everybody, including the Christian. All of the Bible is about him. All of the Bible is even about him for the Christian!

This is the gospel message. It’s just as important for Christians to believe for their sanctification as it is for pagans to believe for their justification; for it is the same message, the same salvation, the same work of God. It’s just as important for the evangelical church today as it was for the reformers in the sixteenth century. Without this simple, but mind-boggling message, there is no hope, not for the sinner nor for the saint.

That truth grabbed hold me, God hit me like lightning with that statement. That I am preaching to myself daily.

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Hell exists; the Scriptures reveal this with the testimonies of the apostles, and of the Lord Jesus Himself. Hell is vividly described in the pages of the New Testament, but yet I can not think of the last time I have heard a pastor preach of it in the last few years. In fact any Christian who even dares speak of it is chastised by other Christians for doing so.

Here is a great quote from Thomas Brooks on hell, thought it worth posting:

Oh, but this word eternity, eternity, eternity; this word everlasting, everlasting, everlasting; this word forever, forever, forever, will even break the hearts of the damned in ten thousand pieces…Impenitent sinners in Hell shall have end without end, death without death, night without day, mourning without mirth, sorrow without solace, and bondage without liberty. The damned shall live as long in Hell as God himself shall live in heaven.”

Hell should make every Christian want to weep, and what to preach the gospel to every living soul. Maybe it is time for us to revisit what the scriptures say about it, let it sink in that it is real. And the final destiny of everyone not found in the Book of Life, whom rejects Messiah Jesus as LORD. Maybe it is time to put Hell back in Sunday morning messages and Christian conversations with others.

2-5-10364 Days and Acts of Mission, that is for 365 days I will do at lest one act of Mission. Be Missional.

As I mentioned Wednesday when I blogged about my new commitment to doing 365 Days & Acts of Love, that it had brought to mind other things I wanted to do for the next year.

Project two is 364 Days and Acts of Mission, that is for 365 days I will do at lest one act of Mission. That is the mission of Jesus that was passed on to His people, to His church. Living missional as we say, but now with deliberate actions and intent daily just as I am also pursuing deliberate acts of love each day. (read here)

This will be doing things like sharing the gospel with strangers, make disciples, baptizing others, bringing healing to others, planting a church, acts that bring and build the kingdom of God to earth. That spread the gospel to the world.

I am not seeking to add another thing to my schedule, but rather making my existing schedule, life style missional. Everything from eating meals, going to the gym,  work, grocery shopping, trip to the library, getting a haircut and playing basketball, will all be done with a missional intent. It is simply looking at what Jesus did and do what He did, looking for what Jesus is doing each day and  join Him in it.

Simply put, mission and the gospel will be part of every activity I do, but I will do at least one distinct, intentional, bold act of mission a day, and I will try to blog about one of the acts each day to share with you.

The gospel component can be added in a natural but intentional way as I converse throughout the activities of my day. The mission is simply me living as Jesus did, everything He did and said was to further the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom message of reconciliation and healing to the world. (He said we will do everything He did and “even greater things” John 14:12 I am simply holding Him to His promise)

To sum it up ~ I will do 365 acts of Mission for 365 days of the next year.

The purpose ~ To not just talk about the mission of Christ, but be about doing the mission of Christ.

The goal ~ To live a life on mission that will spread the Kingdom of God and the gospel, the work of Christ on earth and inspire others to live the same.

manor_043 This is a great story showing what happens when a church planter focuses on getting the gospel out instead of getting in a building. Here is a church planter who sole focus was getting the gospel out and God proved the free building.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Mat 6:33

Here is the email sent to me:

Dear fellow believer,

Many of you know when my wife and I came to New York five years ago to assume the responsibility of directing the New York Mission to the Jews. Having a facility in Manhattan has furthered our ability to share the gospel not only with New Yorkers but people from all over the world who visit here.

I am writing to you to share an incredible miracle from the Lord. Several months ago the Lord providentially brought me in contact with a corporation which owns one of the oldest, historic church buildings in Manhattan.  That corporation is the American Protestant Defense League, and the building they own is the Manor Community Church located at 350 West 26th street in Manhattan.  This church was started in 1852 and has had quite a history in the City.   Their location is incredible.  They are a few blocks down from Penn Station and Times Square, and 26th street has direct access to the West Side Highway.   A subway stop is just around the corner making travel around the city very convenient.

The leadership of the American Protestant Defense League visited our web site after our first meeting and observed our ministry.  Because of the gospel outreaches which we have had around the City, as well as our desire to share the work of Christ with the Jewish community, they approached us and offered to let us use their facility rent free forever just as long as we remain true to the gospel. They are right in the middle of a very large housing project called Penn South.  That project was built many years ago to aid the garment workers, and the population surrounding the church building was nearly 100% Jewish in the beginning.  Now the surrounding community is still 50% Jewish.  Once our building sells the headquarters for the New York Gospel Ministries and the Jewish Mission will be in Manor Community Church.  Tompkins Square Gospel Fellowship has been offered the use of the facility as well.  The current pastor of Manor is Chris Ascension.  He has been in discussions with me about the possibility of my assuming the Senior pastorate of Manor and perhaps merging our church with theirs.  We are seeking the Lord about these decisions.  I covet your prayers in all these endeavors.  We are in the midst of one of God’s miracle provisions in this great City, and we praise His glorious Name.  The church has a sign inside with God’s name, Jehovah Jireh.  Truly He is the one who provides.   It is our desire to honor the gospel of His dear Son as we take it to the Jewish community and nations of the world, and God’s grace is enabling us to remain in the City to do so. The church building is three times the size of the Angel Memorial House, and we will be able to establish an International Training Center for the gospel which will enable us to continue to bring teams to the City and equip them in Jewish and Ethnic evangelism. There is housing for my family in the residential and office area of the building.  We will have the responsibility to pay the insurance on the building as well as utilities and maintenance.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done, and we will need help.  I will share more with you in the future.

Glorify our God with us for His incredible gift, and share His goodness with the saints!  You have been a part of this miracle as you have prayerfully and financially helped us spread the gospel in this place for many years.  We thank God for you.

We have had many wonderful outreaches in the parks and street corners this summer.  Many churches have come to help us take the message of righteousness to the world.  Knowing that we will have permanent space as we move into the future will allow us to continue to schedule teams and expand the ministry.

For the Sake of His Name,

William R. Jones

time 

Take this quick quiz . . .

How much time did you spend this past week:

  • Watching  TV shows and movies?
  • Playing video games?
  • Watching sports on TV or at a game?
  • Surfing the Internet, or hanging out on Facebook?
  • Have conversations about meaningless worldly things?

Add all those hours up______:

Now how much time did you spend:

  • Reading, studying and meditating on the word of God?
  • Praying?
  • Worshiping God?
  • In community and fellowship with other believers? (and I do not mean just setting in same pew)
  • Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mat 16:15
  • Going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded you. Mat 28:19-20
  • Fulfilling Matthew 25:31-46………
  • Feeding the hungry?
  • Giving drink to the thirsty?
  • Taking in a stranger?
  • Clothing the naked?
  • Visiting the sick?
  • Visiting those in prison?
  • Visiting orphans and widows in their affliction? James 1:27
  • Delivering the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him? Job 29:12 

Add all those hours up______:

If our total hours is larger on the first than the second, then our lives are out of sync with Jesus, with His calling for every follower of Him, and things must change. All the things on the second list are the things Jesus said if you love Him you will be found doing, daily. All those things are what the life of a true follower of Christ should looks like, what it means to truly imitate the life of Christ. The difference between confessing who Christ is and truly being a follower of Christ.

It is time to reevaluate our lives and what we spend our time doing. Is it following Christ, obeying His commands, living for Christ or our selves and our own pleasures, just like the rest of the world? Is our life being spent to reach the lost, spread the gospel, make disciples, heal the sick, take care of the needy, orphans & widows, or it to obtain and maintain the American dream, be rich, happy and comfortable?

3043675198_52ec03c72a In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus tells us;

“Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

But yet so many pastors and church’s are preaching the gospel of the Wide Road, they are teaching that all one has to do is make an intellectual decision, that is agree with the fact that Jesus is Lord, and you are saved. Then live however you want, believe whatever you want about who Jesus is, who God is. Pick and choose what every scriptures you agree with, and cut out the ones you do not like. And adopt any theology you want about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation and life.

So many pastors, churches and even study bible today teach that there are no absolute truths when it comes to God, Jesus, salvation and the word. That God is an individual experience, interpretation and understanding as to who He is and what He requires of man.

There is a great difference between what men teach today and what Jesus taught.

This must change.

The bible is not a collection of stories about people and their lives that say "And they lived happily every after". Stories about people who lived rich and happy lives. No where do you find lives that prove the life taught by people like Osteen, that it is every follower of Christ destiny to live a happy and rich life, get every material desire of you heart. Live comfortable rich and happy lives, getting everything you want if you just have faith.

Instead it is a book filled with stories of tragedy, hardship, sacrifice and suffering, even unto violent death for the people of God. People who left all comfort and position to live lives of poverty and suffering for God’s cause, for the spreading of the the Kingdom of God. Pretty much the only people who had a "lived happy every after" was after they died and left this world and entered heaven, that was the only way that was archived for the vast majority.

Just read the Fox’s Book of Martyrs and how the lives of the disciples ended up as well as other church saints, do you read any "And they lived happily every after" about their lives, and if anyone was entitled to such a thing it was them.

In fact in Rom 8:17 it tells us "And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together." Indicating that in order to be glorified with Christ we must suffer as He did. That in order to be heirs of Him we must partake in a life of suffering for Him, suffer as He did.

I think the church needs to reread the bible, take a real good look at the real call of Christ on His people, take a closer look at the lives of God’s people in history.