jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Whose Eyes Do You Have?

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 at 6:56 am

Numbers 15:37-39

…tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments…And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes…

I was struck by the statement that we are not to follow after our own heart and our own eyes. I thought it might be helpful to think a bit more about what it looks like to follow after our own heart and eyes. A person following after their own ways would:

  • not see long-term
  • see the temporary and immediate only
  • not consider eternity and the brevity of this life
  • be focused on their own selfish needs
  • see the faults of others
  • not see their own faults
  • be focused on outward appearances
  • build idols and follow after them
  • gravitate towards the beautiful at the expense of disregarding the unfortunate
  • act according to their emotions at all times
  • lack stability and consistency
  • focus on the unimportant
  • lust, insatiably
  • not see God

I love God’s cure to this problem: receive a new heart and a new set of eyes. Remember, the tassels were not the cure, they were a reminder of the problem. The solution can only be granted by God through the gospel. In the gospel we see the current state of our heart as acting in rebellion towards God. God says that He “will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26, see also Deuteronomy 29:4)

Take inventory of your thoughts and actions today. Which ones come from following after a new set of eyes and a new heart?

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Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on May 6, 2008 at 6:55 pm

This week, an interesting take on the forgiveness of sins from Josh Harris.

httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=SjvelbJCoNA&feature=related

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on April 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm

It’s interesting to look at how Mark’s gospel begins and how it ends:

Mark 1:1 – The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 16:20 – And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

We can assume that if Mark set out to tell the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he would end his story once he felt he had accomplished that. Throughout the book, Mark tells the story of the life of Jesus for the purpose of conveying the gospel message and he briefly sums up that message in the last sentence of his book. The gospel is the sacred and imperishable message of eternal salvation.

There are three parts to this message. It is sacred, meant to be revered, treasured, viewed differently than all other messages. It is imperishable, it will not decay, change or lose its value, ever. It describes eternal salvation, not just a one time salvation from your sins, but an eternal existence in a restored relationship with God. Remember this is just a summary statement of the gospel, Mark describes so much more of it in his book!

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

How Do You Define Religion?

In news on April 24, 2008 at 7:30 pm

My good friend and realtor extradorinare Dave passed this article my way. It seems Florida is considering offering a license plate with a cross, a stained-glass window and the words “I believe” on it. This would be in addition to the plethora of other sports team and college university logos already offered by the state. Obviously there is opposition to this, it could be seen as state-endorsed religion (a big no-no according to the US Constitution). One law-maker was quoted saying:

“It’s not a road I want to go down. I don’t want to see the Star of David next. I don’t want to see a Torah next. None of that stuff is appropriate to me, I just believe that.”

So this got me thinking. It is easy to say that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam are religions because it’s always been that way. But when you get down to it, how do you define religion? Belief in God? There goes Buddhism. Belief in an afterlife? See ya Hinduism (sort of). So what distinguishes religion from other belief systems?

During the course of a week millions of people flock to large meeting places, some indoor, some outdoor, some capable of holding thousands, some only a few dozen, to join with each other in their common love for a particular thing. During their meetings they express their excitement in various ways, sometimes in song, sometimes in silence, sometimes with clapping, other times you’ll see arms stretched towards the heavens. There are common rules at these gatherings that most folks will follow and there are consequences for breaking these rules. But even when these folks aren’t gathered together, they still connect and read and experience whatever it is they worship. There are websites, radio stations, TV channels, books, magazines and plenty of merchandise devoted to their similar object of affection.

Is this how you define religion? Does that sound like church or the NFL to you? You really could substitute just about any passion in that last paragraph I just used sports because I see a lot of parallels between the worship of our favorite teams and the worship of God. One could argue that no one really considers sports to be of eternal consequence but what about religions that don’t even believe in an afterlife?

This seems like a difficult question, I mean let’s face it, Jedi is considered a religion in the UK so I’m not sure anyone has really nailed this one down.

So, after all that, what do I think? From a legal standpoint you have to define it somehow, otherwise everyone would claim themselves as a religious organization on their income tax forms and not have to pay taxes. But how about from an eternal standpoint? I think Tim Keller says it well when he says “religion is I obey and then I’m accepted by God”. Religion is a way to get what you want from God be it blessings, health, happiness, or a good spot in heaven. Religion turns God into a genie-in-a-bottle. Someone to give you what you want and to make everything go smoothly in your life. Here’s what Christ says about all this, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Jesus says we’re not to give up parts of our lives or follow a set of rules to gain favor, He says we’re to give up our entire lives and follow Him; a person, God.

I don’t like thinking of Christianity as a religion but yet I can’t escape it. I just hope that, given the animosity that seems to exist against organized religion, my practice of following Christ will be seen as so different it doesn’t even have the smell of religion.

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on April 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

This week, have a listen to Kirk Cameron share the gospel with a stranger

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWcDXT6pH7A

And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on April 15, 2008 at 6:55 pm

“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” 1 Timothy 1:3-11

There is a doctrine that is in accordance with the gospel and a teaching that is not. Jesus entrusted this teaching to the apostles to spread to the entire world (Matt. 28:20) and the other came about as a result of speculating and guessing. How do you tell the difference? How do you know what to listen to? One simple test is this: is it in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God? Teaching in accordance with the gospel will always be Christ-centered, Christ-exalting, Christ-loving, and Christ-glorifying. It will never add to the gospel or take away from it; proper doctrine is drawn from the gospel.

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

D.A. Carson Lectures

In links on April 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

D.A. Carson spoke, along with Steve Lawson and Tim Challies, at the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology. These are from back in February but I just now got around to listening to them. (HT: Andy Naselli)

I was particularly helped by Carson’s We Preach Christ Crucified which outlined the gospel very well.

ipodAlso, if I may, I’d just like to point out what a blessing it is for me to have sermons/lectures/conference audio to listen to while I’m in the car. I’m sure everyone has their methods for doing this but here is how I go about it, hopefully this encourages you to make good use of your time sitting in traffic:

  1. Get yourself an MP3 player and a cassette adapter for your car stereo, it doesn’t have to be an iPod, any device will do
  2. Find some preachers/teachers you enjoy listening to and download them to your computer (try here, here, or here for some help)
  3. Create a playlist on your computer and call it “unheard sermons” add all the sermons you downloaded to that playlist
  4. Sync your MP3 player with your computer and select your unheard sermons playlist next time you hop in your car
  5. As you listen to sermons remove them from your playlist so that you know which ones you’ve listened to in the past
  6. As you download more sermons, be sure to add them to the end of the list so that you don’t skip any

Please let me know if you have found a different or better way of doing this, I’d love to hear of better methods!

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on April 8, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Jude 3…the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. There is something I have in common with Peter the apostle, and Paul the apostle, and Augustine, Justin Martyr, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley and George Whitefield. We all became believers of the gospel message. When I read about the sacrifices these men made to preach the gospel to people who had not believed, I feel a sense of unity with them, a common bond, because of the gospel message. The message hasn’t changed over the years. God hasn’t been refining the gospel since it was first preached as if it were something that means different things to different people. The truth that Peter believed is the same truth I now believe.

All of these men came from different backgrounds, lived in different cultures, spoke different languages and had different careers. Yet, each one believed he had sinned against God and that only Christ’s atoning death and resurrection could save him. The gospel is universal, it is not exclusive to certain races or educational backgrounds. The gospel is for everyone because all are guilty of sin. This message was entrusted to the apostles that they should teach it and pass it down from generation to generation regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, geographic location, or lifestyle. All those who believe are united in Christ according to the same gospel message.

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on April 1, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Do you ever think about how much it delighted Jesus to serve us? Do you ever consider that Jesus rejoiced at the idea of becoming like us and suffering as he did? Listen to what John Owen said:

As then we lay under the eye of Christ in our misery, we were the objects of his pity and compassion; but as he looketh on us as recoverable out of that state, his love worketh in and by delight. It was an inconceivable delight unto him, to take a prospect of the deliverance of mankind unto the glory of God; which is also an act of love. See this divinely expressed, Prov. viii. 30, 31, as that place has been elsewhere explained.

Don’t miss what’s being said here, Christ delighted in his life, death, and resurrection. In the gospel, we see that he did not leave his father begrudgingly with an attitude of annoyance at having to come down from his throne; he came because it was his joy to do it. He finds his pleasure in us! Jesus said he did not come to be served, but to serve. God serves us? The maker serves the created? The only explanation for this is love. God loves us with such a passion that he was not only willing, but excited, to come and take on our sins so that he could restore our relationship with him.

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives

Acts 14:7

In acts_14_7 on March 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm

This week, R.C. Sproul explains the gospel. Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxX3kEJT88g

Click here if the above link does not work

“And there they continued to preach the gospel” – Acts 14:7

Each Tuesday a different reflection on the gospel and its continual effect on our lives