Category Archives: The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Arrogance of Man & the Glorious Gospel of God

In the Bible and in current days, we see various examples of arrogance. From Genesis to Revelation, we are shown examples of many insolent men. Genesis 4 lays out the arrogance of Lamech, a man that assumed that God would cover his sin. Asaph, in Psalm 73, describes those who live in rebellion, open mockers of God. Romans 1 shows us those that sin and approve of the sin of others, making a mockery of God’s holiness. But wait, let’s rewind for a moment and define what arrogance is.

Dictionary.com defines arrogance as making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud. We can look at Lamech, the wicked that Asaph observed, and the rebels in Romans 1, and say that yes, they are indeed arrogant. But what about now? Has man come so far that he does not show this arrogance now?

It still exists. It’s heard in the confident cries of “Well, God knows my heart”, “Well, only God can judge me”, “I’m a good person”, and many more. Culture as a whole, in our arrogance, we want to think that we’re good enough to gain right standing with God. We want to think that nothing we could do could warrant being damned to Hell. Hell is for those other people. And then there are those that would say, “Well I searched for God, and I found her, and she is me.” The acknowledgment of God is relegated to a false revelation of self. We who get sick, and need sleep, food, water, shelter, raiment… how could we be God? This is pure arrogance – an arrogance that assumes that God should accept us the way that we are, or that we ourselves are God. May we take a hard, long look at ourselves and see our flaws, fallibility, and finiteness.

But praise God that Jesus died for the arrogant. Romans 5:6-8 tells us that Christ died for the ungodly, the sinner. That’s me. That’s you, dear reader. That is everyone. God’s Gospel is not that Jesus died for the good enough, for the person that is barely a sinner. Yes, God does know the heart. He says it is desperately sick in Jeremiah 17:9. What a description! Desperately sick? Let’s unpack that word – desperate.

des·per·ate
–adjective
1.reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency
2.having an urgent need, desire, etc.
3.leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous
4.extremely bad; intolerable or shocking
5.extreme or excessive

Our hearts are desperately sick. Excessively, hopelessly, shockingly, dangerously sick. That doesn’t leave us much room to boast there, does it? This is who we are. And in addition to us having desperately sick hearts, they are deceitful above all things! And with our desperately sick hearts, the same hearts that would cause us to deceive ourselves and make us believe that we are ‘in’ with God, or that we are God, there is only One Who can know our hearts! Jeremiah 17:10 shows us that it is the LORD that searches the hearts and tests the minds of man, and He gives to man what according to his ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.

Do we really want that? Romans 1:18-32 shows us what happens when the LORD gives to man according to his ways and deeds:

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Praise God that He would send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for the arrogant, the ungodly… the sinner. In the Gospel, we see the wisdom of the only One that can truly boast – God Himself. In the Gospel, man is shown how wicked his sin is, and how it truly separates him from God. Because of our great sin, there is a wide chasm that we cannot cross on our own. There is only one way to cross this chasm and that is through Jesus Christ. God’s great love for His people is shown in the Gospel, that He would send His only Son, Jesus, to die for sinful man. If we confess our sin to God, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. When one confesses their sin, and places full hope in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin, they are made righteous because of the perfect life that Christ life. The perfect life that Christ lived, a life we have no ability to live, is made ours when we place faith in Him. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that amazing? This is God’s Gospel. When we stop believing the lie that we are God, or that we are okay on our own, when we humble our hearts before Him and realize that we have no standing before God on our own, then we can embrace the truth and strength of the Gospel. We are sinful, God is holy. Jesus lived a righteous life, our lives are unrighteous and ridden with sin. Let’s embrace this Gospel!!!

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Nothing is Impossible

What an amazing God we serve!
In reading Luke 1 this morning, I marveled at how God caused Elizabeth to be pregnant with a son despite her being past child-bearing age. I also marveled at how He brought forth a baby in the womb of Mary despite her having known no man. How right Gabriel is when he says:

… nothing will be impossible with God.
– Luke 1:37

Through Elizabeth and Mary, God brought forth John the Baptist, a means of grace, and Jesus Christ, the believer’s Lord and Savior. John was sent to warn the people to repent and turn from their sins. Jesus was sent to be the One that sinners turn in their repentance. How lovely is the Gospel. What a merciful Lord we know. How great Jesus is to condescend and become a man in order to die the death that we should’ve done. This God turns the hearts of men to Himself! It’s all of grace and all of mercy and all of pure love. Though I once was lost and rebellious, this God of the impossible called me to Himself and mercifully saved me. Blessed be His holy name!

And as we pray for family and friends that don’t know Jesus, let us remember that nothing is impossible with Him. Even though we may look at them and think it is close to hopeless, be encouraged — The same God that called us out of our mire can call them too. He is GOD!

The Christian Gospel

// spied at Theology for Women:

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”

Tim Keller, The Reason for God

In my place, Jesus died…

In my place, He stood condemned
He who knew no sin
Became sin for us
That we might become
His righteousness

Bearing all my sin and shame
The punishment and blame
He conquered the grave
That we might become
The heirs of grace

In my place, Jesus died
The spotless Lamb laid down His life
The wrath of God was satisfied
In my place, Jesus died

In my place, He stood condemned
He who knew no sin
Became sin for us
That we might become
His righteousness

Bearing all my sin and shame
The punishment and blame
He conquered the grave
That we might become
The heirs of grace

In my place, Jesus died
The spotless Lamb laid down His life
The wrath of God was satisfied
In my place, Jesus died

Nail pierced hands, bleeding side
His body bruised, my God crucified!
A crown of thorns, dying cries
His flesh was torn, my God crucified!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!!!

In my place, Jesus died
The spotless Lamb laid down His life
The wrath of God was satisfied
In my place, Jesus died

– “In My Place”, The Village Church

Purchase:

The Black Church

When I think about the state of the Black church, it grieves me. Growing up in a Black church, I heard people say that the preacher wasn’t really preaching unless he was ‘hooping’. No one ever actually applauded the Word of God going forth. They applauded the antics of the pastor. The more he yelled and screamed and pranced about the stage, the more you saw the waving of hands, the yelling of “Amen, Pastor!” and the more ‘holy ghost dancing’. That was when I was in my pre-teens. Now, at 30, I can’t say much has changed; I can almost say that it’s gotten worse.

Now, not only does the above happen, but everyone is rebuking everything “in the name of Jesus”. Everything from issues with equipment, coughs, colds, check engine lights, bad drivers, and more is attributed to the devil. Sunday mornings have people running around the church like Flo-Jo, screaming, speaking in ‘tongues’, and greetings of ‘sister’ and ‘brother’ abound. But, let’s fast forward 1 or 2 days. These same people are at work with poor work ethics, involved in fornication, their mouths spew profanity like broken fire hydrants in the Summer time, and the only time you hear about Jesus is when they are upset about something. You know what adds to this? There’s no conviction of sin (1 John 3).

Why is this the common theme of the Black church? Christianese, yet no Christ? So many Blacks in the church think they are ‘in’ with God because they attend church and serve on the usher board. The Gospel is rarely preached, and when it is, Jesus’ death is shown to have been so that they can have riches, prosperity, and perfect health. We hear that ‘by His stripes, we are healed’ and we cling to it as a promise that Aunt Jackie won’t die of cancer and Paw-Paw won’t die of emphysema although now 89, he’s been smoking since he was 16. And when this promise doesn’t ‘work’, Jesus becomes an object of anger as if He let us down, though this is never what He promised in the first place.

When Truth is attempted to be shared, it’s ignored. You’re frowned upon. You’re accused of being a tool of the Enemy. You’re even told you’re ‘too serious’. But – isn’t Christ the One we are to be the most serious about? The Black church perishes in its ignorance, showing it to truly be bliss, and attendees don’t know Jesus and don’t really believe in the Gospel. Solely attending church never got anyone anywhere. It actually desensitizes us to our true need.

It’s a man centered theology. Well – it’s not even really theology because if God was truly the object of this study, lives would be changed. But they aren’t. And there’s no desire. It’s basically, “Let me get my Word”, “I hope they sing my song today!”, “I paid my tithes; I’m good”, yet Jesus isn’t grasped for. He isn’t reached for. He isn’t treasured. He isn’t loved.

This is why men like Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Eddie Long, and Rickie Rush thrive in the Black church. It’s everything people want to hear. It’s a feel good message, and motivational speaking at best. There is no talk of sin, wrath, holiness, judgment… The Gospel isn’t preached in its fullness. What is ‘preached’ is what makes people feel good. But, you will feel good and be on your merry way to Hell without truly knowing God, trusting in Jesus, and being forgiven of your sins, which you need to be. We all need to be.

The Gospel is not that Jesus died to make me rich and healthy. If that were true, I’d BE rich and I’d BE healthy. But this is the Gospel – Jesus came to save sinners. Who are these sinners? Every human being alive on this planet. Sin is breaking God’s law, and sinful is the state that we are born into. We are sinful. None is good, not one, and none of us on our own seek to know this Holy God who created us. Because of our sinful nature, we stand condemned before God. We need an ‘out’. We need a way to be set free from this sin. We need a way to be made right before God so that we no longer stand condemned, but forgiven and free. Enter Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life – the life that we should live – yet died a gruesome death, absorbing the wrath of God. This is the death and the ending that we should all have. We should all incur God’s wrath and anger in its fullness. But Jesus was hung on a cross, and as He died on that cross, He, the perfect Son of God, absorbed the wrath of God so that for those who believe in Him by faith, there’d be no wrath left. This is good news! What is required of us? What we must do is repent of our sinfulness and wickedness and turn to Jesus. We must place all of our faith in Jesus Christ, and depend on Him for our forgiveness and our right standing before God. We cannot depend on participation in ministries, church attendance, or grandma’s faith. It’s you turning AWAY from your sin and turning TO Christ. And because Jesus lived the perfect life that we should have lived, when we place faith in Him, because He died our death, we receive His life. Isn’t that beautiful?

Satan is thriving in the Black church due to ignorance. Please trust in Jesus and be truly saved, lest you be like those in Matthew 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Recommended Post: Recovering the Gospel… in the Black Church

Killing Pride

From “A Gospel Primer” by M. Vincent:

Nothing suffocates my pride more than daily reminders regarding the glory of my God, the gravity of my sins, and the crucifixion of God’s own Son in my place. Also, the gracious love of God, lavished on me because of Christ’s death, is always humbling to remember, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Hell I deserve.

Sin Added to Sin…

Think of the weight of sin added to sin added to sin added to sin. How long do we have to say that to begin even to approach the burden that Jesus bore?
– W. Robert Godfrey (Holy, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming the Perfections of God)

Perspective in Trials

From “A Gospel Primer” by M. Vincent:

More than anything else I could ever do, the Gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them. For the Gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God because it serves His Gospel purposes in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the Gospel is just not one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere along all the bad. I realize that the Gospel makes genuinely good news out of every aspect of my life, including my severest trials. The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His Gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ.

Preaching the Gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for rejoicing that exists in them. I can then embrace trials as friends and allow them to do God’s good work in me.

Scriptures referenced:
Romans 5:1-5
Romans 8: 28-29
James 1:2-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Colossians 3

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Gospel

I absolutely dig John Macarthur’s Bible studies. I own at least 10 of them. They are study booklets with 12 lessons each, designed to complete over a 12 week period.

While doing lesson 2 in the guide for 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude, a question was asked in the beginning of the study:

If a stranger approached you on the street corner and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” how would you respond?

My response:

I would inform them of how their natural state, as a sinner, places them at odds with an infinitely holy and just God. Because of this, we deserve His infinite and unbridled full wrath. Because of this, we cannot do anything at ALL to remedy our situation. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take on our sins so that we might take on His righteousness. How do we receive this righteousness that comes through Christ alone? How might we have each and every one of our sins – past, present, and future – forgiven? We must repent, which means to turn away from our sin, and turn TO Jesus. We must forsake worldliness and trust Christ. We must recognize that we are indeed sinful and that we need a Savior. We cannot clean ourselves. We cannot justify ourselves. By placing saving faith in Jesus Christ, we are made right with God, therefore being seen as righteous in God’s eyes. This is CRAZY! And it is hard to believe. But it is true. God has made it so.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!