Sunday, August 3, 2014

Preach the Gospel to yourself.

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.

My new friend asked me...What does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself?  Then she commented, "Deborah tells me to preach the gospel to myself.  But I do not know what this means."  I have been thinking since she first asked me, Exactly what does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself every day?

I hesitated to answer my friend because I had never really heard the concept put into words, and I wasn't sure I could do that.  I have come to my own conclusion of what it means through years of observing several teachers, but had never actually heard someone say:  "This is the gospel for living the Christian life."  Most of us know what the gospel is in relation to becoming a Christian...That Jesus died for our sins.  That our sins are forgiven.  We have been given eternal life through faith in Jesus. You have heard things like:  "It is just as if I have never sinned."  "Jesus lived the life I could not live, and died the death I should have died."  "He took my sin upon Himself and gave me His righteousness, His goodness, His life, His perfect record."

Billy Graham preached the same gospel message over and over again but in different ways, not just for the lost, but for the saved.  He preached Christ crucified for sinners.  Paul said the same way we began the Christian life, we are to continue in it.  To begin the Christ life, we repented of our sins and by faith believed that Christ died for our sins.  That we were forgiven and put our faith and trust in Him.  We trusted Him as Lord of our life.

This is the same way we live the Christian life.  We believe this over and over again.  We repent of our sins and we trust in the finished work of Christ for us.  But the gospel, I have realized, goes deeper and wider.  Wider than we can imagine.  All of Scripture is about Jesus and His coming to rescue us. It all points to Him.  Every story whispers His name.  We are told that to see Jesus is to see the Father. By Him we understand certain things of who the Spirit is.  I think we will spend eternity and still will not come to an end of the knowledge of the Gospel because it is Jesus.

So what I am learning to do is to bring all of Scripture into the fold of the gospel.  I make Scripture relevant to the gospel and to my everyday life.  I think this is what the Word of God does.  It can be as easy as "Christ died for sinners and gives us eternal life," or as deep and as wide as all of Scripture goes. Our knowledge of the gospel will keep going and growing.  The application of Scripture, which points to the coming of Christ, speaks to our everyday struggles of life and pleasures.

Let me give you an example.  You may doubt God's love for you.  Oh, not in your head but by the way you live.  The Gospel and Scripture answers this.  We are children of God with whom the Father is forever pleased because of the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins.  The Father's anger that we deserve was taken out on Jesus.  This, so the Father could bring us near in intimate, personal relationship as His children.  He is not angry with us.  We have His favor forever.

If you are caught in legalism.  In trying to earn God's favor you can know because of the death and resurrection of Christ you are totally approved by God.  You can know He is forever pleased with you. You cannot earn salvation and you cannot loose it.  It is freely given by Grace.  It cost Jesus His life to purchase you.  Nothing can separate you from the Love of God.  When the Father looks at us He sees the righteousness of Jesus.  Jesus said upon the cross, "It is Finished."

Another example is, Who are we?  What is our identity? We are not orphans but now sons and daughters of the King.  We have been adopted into the family of God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The Father wanted a family and He chose us to be His. We are forgiven, righteous, loved, accepted, justified.  We are given purpose and given His Spirit.  We are one with God.  Christ is in us and we are in Him.

The more I understand what Jesus did on the cross...the more I understand Scripture...the more I understand God's love me for in sending His Son...the more I see this in light of life...the deeper and wider my understanding of Jesus grows.  Don't be overwhelmed by this.  Start small.  Begin with these two truths in light of the gospel: Jesus died for my sins. Jesus gave me eternal life.  Repent of your sins as the Spirit gently convicts you.  Believe and trust in Christ who is the Giver of Life.  Go and love your neighbor.  Love God and rejoice and dance and sing for your King has come.  So we can know happiness in our sadness.  Peace in the midst of turmoil.  The calm in the center of the storm.  We can know Him in the midst of suffering.  It is Him.  The Gospel is Jesus.  Jesus is the Word of God.  So may we better learn who He is, and look to His Word to guide us into the truth of the Gospel not just for salvation, to begin the Christian life, but to live it everyday.

So if you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  If you have not trusted Jesus for your sins, for eternal life.  I pray you do that right now through this gospel message. "For God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son to die for your sins."  Confess and turn from your sins and follow Him.  Be broken over them and ask God to forgive you and give you His Spirit.  You can be forgiven and righteous in Him and have eternal life by trusting Him as Lord and Savior of your life.  Now go tell someone what you have done. Tell a pastor.

Get into God's Word and into His body--the Church. Spend time with Him.  Enjoy Him and others.   He wants to be your Father and your best friend.  Your power, strength, and wisdom.  Now live this gospel message everyday.

If you find you have turned away,come back to the heart of Jesus.  He welcomes you with open arms. You may have left Him but He never left you if you are truly His. Make sure now.  If you have lost hope, return home and let Him renew your strength and love you.  If you are walking with Christ remember the Gospel everyday. Grow in your faith and knowledge of His love and grace for you.

To all, may you go in peace and preach the gospel to yourselves and to others.  I pray for you now.  I pray that my message, Gods message of the Gospel,  has been clear.  If not pray and read again.  Feel free to contact me here or on the Facebook Desperate Delight page.