A GOSPEL CENTERED LIFE
All Scripture is important. Genesis 1:1 is as important as Galatians 2:20. I believe all Scripture hangs from Matthew 22:37-40. Why is it important that we share the gospel?
Andy Stanley illustration: I know about Andy. I know the names of his kids, his wife, and the church he pastors. I read his books and listen to his sermons. However, I have never met him. I do not know Andy.
People know God but they do not KNOW God. People do not need another program. They need people that will live a transparent life and have an authentic relationship with Jesus. They need Jesus. If your church ceased to exist -Closed up shop and locked the doors tomorrow…Would your community miss you? Would it really matter? Would anyone care?
We should be amazed at the work of the Lord – in awe. We have made the gospel like birthdays. After a certain age people stop celebrating birthdays. There is no party, no friends coming over, no cake and the birthday is reduced to just another day.
The Gospel centered life is not a moral checklist. Pharisees were moral but most of them still busted Hell wide open because they were moral but they refused to have a relationship with Christ. The Gospel centered life is a relationship with God. Jesus called us to a life of repentance and radical sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice? Job? Stuff? Money? A relationship that does not honor God?
Conviction is God’s process of getting us to change. Conviction leads to repentance. Repentance leads to being more conformed to the image of Jesus. But a lot of people run from conviction like it is some kind of disease, only to return to wallow in the pit of their own pride and selfishness. Romans 10:9-13 Can the Gospel be given any clearer? All Christians are a product of the Gospel. Psalm 42:1 Angst, urgency, desperation We must be compelled to take the gospel to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. You cannot say that you love God and do not love other people. How much you love people is directly connected to how much you love God.
We have to stop making the gospel so complicated. Philippians 1:27
People that live Gospel centered lives become a church that is Gospel centered.
There comes a time in a child’s life where the parents must start trying to ween the baby off of milk and encouraging him to try other types of food. We are in this process now with our son, Bryson. Bryson is able to hold his own bottle and drink milk or his cup and sip juice from it. However, when it comes to other food, he does not yet have all the knowledge and skills to be able to prepare his food and eat it without help.
This is where we as parents step in. We can fix his food for him and we spoon feed him. This will happen until he learns to take a spoon and feed himself. As he matures and his skills develop, he will eventually move from the plastic baby utensils and he will be able to use real utensils.
Discipleship is no different. Discipleship is a process. You are advancing on your journey known as sanctification. When you are saved, the moment Christ radically changes your life, you embark on a new journey. Discipleship is a lifelong process. It does not end until you die or Christ returns. You are constantly going to be learning. You are going to be shaped, pruned, chiseled, so that God can conform you more to the image of Christ.
This process is not a piece of cake. It is not a walk in the park. The word discipleship look a lot like the word discipline. That is because you cannot be a good disciple and lack discipline.
When we fail, whether intentionally or by accident, God is there to correct us and bring us back into right relationship with Him.
Discipleship is a process. Some people mature faster than others. As you are on your journey, walk alongside someone and help them and guide them on their journey. Do life with them. Be a mentor. Show someone that they can move from the bottle to being spoon fed to self feeding.
You are not alone. You have other disciples willing to come alongside you and mentor you so that you may mentor someone else.
Who are you going to mentor?
The letter stated that the pastor of the church confessed to his church that he had been engaged in a two year sexual affair with his secretary and he had submitted his resignation to the church.
When I first read this….I was instantly crushed. Another pastor, a man of God, having to resign because of something that should never have happened.
Reading this pastor’s confession, I am instantly reminded that I myself am just as capable of succumbing to the same sin. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” My own stinking heart desires to lead me astray. My will, mind, and emotions if not transformed by the radical grace of Christ, will ultimately lead me to that which has the potential to destroy me.
This does not have to happen to you but you must take action.
- Never be alone with a member of the opposite sex.
- Cultivate your relationship with your spouse. Work at your marriage and put time and effort into seeing it become a Christ – centered marriage.
- Establish boundaries. Since your heart is deceitful, there must be boundaries placed in your life to help you in your fight against sin.
- Have an accountability partner. This person has the right to get in your face, pray for you, speak truth in your life and you have the same right to hold your partner accountable. I am thankful for having an accountability partner in my life.
- Hide nothing from your spouse. God created you and your spouse to be one flesh. There is no room in a marriage for secrets. My wife can go through my email, wallet, car, computer, etc. I would rather be the husband and father God created me and live above reproach. I have no reason to lie to my wife.
- Renew your mind. This is daily and constantly. The only way you can have the mind of Christ is to constantly be re-training your mind to think like Christ. (Romans 12:2)
- Run from all forms of sexual temptation. Lust will lure you to its door and slowly begin to devour you. Run from it before you become its prey.
- Install a filter on your computer. I recommend Safe Eyes. This filter will block sexually explicit material as well as other trash from your computer screen. It can also send reports of the sites you visit to your spouse and accountability partner.
- Get help. If you have a problem with sex or porn…get immediate help. This issue will not only destroy you but will wreck your relationships, especially the relationships with your spouse and God.
This list is not extensive by any means. These are just some of the things that I use to keep me from danger.
We are all one stupid decision away from ruining our testimony, wrecking our families, and our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
What other tools do you use to fight sin and keep yourself pure? Hit up the comments.
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I believe on occasion that most preachers fall into a belief that is not biblical. What do I mean by that? They tend to believe that the church can not function without them, they believe they have to do everything, etc. This probably happens more than we would like to believe. Here are 6 temptations to ignore when preaching:
- The temptation to compare. You are who God made you to be. Do not compare yourself to another preacher. You are not Mark Driscoll or Steven Furtick. You are you. Your church is God’s church. God did not make your church to be the next Fellowship Church, the next Mars Hill church, the next Cornerstone Church or the next Elevation Church. Your church was given God’s vision for your community. Communicate that vision to your church and seek God’s ongoing vision for your church and how to reach your community with the gospel.
- The temptation to compromise. Some preachers will give in to the popular vote. The sermon is one of the places this happens. Often times, the sermon becomes watered down or sugar coated as to not offend the people in the pews. A preacher communicates Scripture on the authority of God. The sermon is no place to compromise or have a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality.
- The temptation to be critical. Seriously. If you start criticizing people, you open yourself right back up to the same criticism.
- The temptation to be careless. The Word of God is not to be treated with disrespect and when preached it should be done as an act of worship and with an angst and urgency. The gospel is for all people. People should feel loved and appreciated. Do not be careless with how you care for the sheep in the flock that God has allowed you to shepherd.
- The temptation to commit to more than you can possibly do alone. Your main priority is the accurate communication of Scripture to your congregation. Don’t get bogged down doing things that you could easily delegate.
- The temptation to conform. You are not controlled by other pastors, deacons, committees, or anybody else. You have authority based on Scripture. You do not need to jump through hoops to please anybody. The only conforming you should be doing is conforming more to the image of Christ.
I look forward to what you have to say. Hit up the comments.