Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Two Years Ago Today...

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we to all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."        ~ Ephesians 1:1-10

Two years ago today, the Lord Jesus Christ, opened my blind eyes to His truth, saved my lost soul, forgave me of my sins, gave me a new heart, and became my Saviour.
It was two years ago that I attended the Rebelution Conference with Brett and Alex Harris where I was given the gospel and asked to examine my heart and my life.
The Lord was so gracious and showered His mercy upon my life and saved my soul from an eternity separated from Him in hell, wasting my life on my selfish ambitions, blinded to my self-righteousness, calling myself a Christian when living only for self and the pleasures of this world.

"For the grace of God has appeared, brining salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."      ~Titus 2:11-14

To know that I am His child...that I am called, beloved, and kept by my Saviour for eternity.
That He would love me....a sinful wretch like me.
That He chose me before the foundation of the world.
That He predestined me to adoption as His daughter.
That He would grant me forgiveness of sins.
That He would grant me salvation.
That we would obtain an inheritance through Him.
That He would enlighten the eyes of our hearts to know Him.
That one day we will live with Him for all eternity in heaven.
How can I ever grasp such love? How can I love Him more?

How can I thank you, O Lord
For taking my place on the cross?
And how can I thank you, O Lord
For all of your mercy and kindness?
For drawing me to you
For letting me hear you
For opening my heart
to the gospel...

As long as I have breath, I will praise You
As long as my heart beats I will sing
As long as life flows through my veins
I will bless Your name!

by Mark Alrogge

I thank you, Lord, for all of your mercy and kindness! You are my God, and I thank you for your gift of salvation! You are worthy of all my praise and adoration, and I will serve You forever!

The Character of Genuine Saving Faith

I.  Evidences That Neither Prove Nor Disprove One's Faith

A. Visible Morality:                       Matthew 19:16-21; 23:27
B. Intellectual Knowledge:            Romans 1:21; 2:17ff.
C. Religious Involvement:             Matthew 25:1-10
D. Active Ministry:                        Matthew 7:21-24
E. Conviction of Sin:                     Acts 24:25
F. Assurance:                                 Matthew 23
G. Time of Decision                      Luke 8:13,14

II. The Fruit/Proofs Of Authentic/True Christianity:

A. Love for God:                    Ps.42:1ff; Matt. 22:37; Rom.8:7
B. Repentance from Sin:    Ps.32:5; Rom. 7:14ff; 2 Cor.7:10     
C. Genuine Humility:             Ps.51:17;James 4:6,9ff
D. Devotion to God's Glory:   Ps.105:3; 115:1; 1 Corin. 10:31
E. Continual Prayer:               Luke 18:1; Eph.6:18ff;
F. Selfless Love:                      1 John 2:9ff; 3:14; 4:7ff
G. Separation from the World:    1 Cor.2:12; James 4:4ff
H. Spiritual Growth:       Luke 8:15; Eph. 4:12-16; John 15:1-6
I. Obedient Living:            Matt.7:21; Rom.16:26; 1 John 2:3-5

If List 1 is true of a person and List II is false, there is cause to question the validity of one's profession of faith. Yet, if List II is true, then the top list will be also.

III. The Conduct of the Gospel:

A. Proclaim it:                         Matthew 4:23
B. Defend it:                            Jude 3

C. Demonstrate it:                   Philippians 1:27
D. Share it:                              Philippians 1:5
E. Suffer for it:                        2 Timothy 1:8
F. Don't hinder it:                   1 Corinthians 9:16
G. Be not ashamed:                 Romans 1:16
H. Preach it:                           1 Corinthians 9:16
I. Be empowered:                   1 Thessalonians 1:5
J. Guard it:                              Galations 1:6-8

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living the Cross Centered Life

Amazing how time has flown by!
I haven't written on here for about two months now and oh, how I've missed it and how much I've learned in that time!

My older sister has organized for a group of young women, mainly college and career age, to read through C.J. Mahaney's book "Living the Cross Centered Life". Last night was our first gathering, and it was so encouraging that I can't wait to see everything we're going to learn through this book and God's Word! My sister wrote out a short summary of his introduction and first chapter that I'd like to share with you, along with a list of Bible verses that focus on the gospel.

At the Core: Life's Most Important Truth Can Be the Easiest to Forget

"The Cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough for its sparks to fall on us." - John Stott

  • What is your life centered on? What are you most passionate about? What defines you?
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." This is the one transcendent truth that should define our lives. It should "motivate all our work and affect every part of who we are."
  • Nothing greater or more important than the fact that "God sent His Son to the Cross to bear His wrath for sinners like you and me."
  • "The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history. Yet we allow thousands of professing Christians to live their entire lives without clearly understanding it and experiencing the joy of living by it."  - Jerry Bridges
  • The Cross must remain our MAIN focus.
  • Things that cloud out our focus on the Cross:
1. Subjectivism - basing our view of God on our changing feelings and emotions.
2. Legalism - basing our relationship with  God on our own performance.
3. Condemnation - being more focused on our sin than on God's grace.
  • If the Gospel is not the main thing in my life, am I willing to repent to God and reorder my life with His help?
  • We never get over the Cross!
  • Grace is more amazing when we look intently at the Cross!

Chapter One
The Climax and the Key: Why the Cross Should Define Our Lives

"The Gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough...Moreover, our greatest task is to keep you faithful to this article and to bequeath this treasure to you when we die." - Martin Luther

  • Am I held captive by the Gospel?
  • In order to live a cross centered life, I must have a life that is saved and transformed by the Cross.
  • Do I minimize the seriousness of sin?
  • Do I understand that God is fiercely opposed to sin and that He must punish it?
  • Aware of God's wrath so amazed at God's grace!
  • The Gospel is the key to joy, growth, and passion!

Psalm 5:3-6, "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells in You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all those who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit."

Nahum 1:3, "The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished."

Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 5:6,8, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly...But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Psalm 103:8, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness."

Acts 4:12, "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been give among men by which we must be saved."

Acts 3:19, "Repent and turn, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

Romans 10:9-10, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Mark 8:34-38, Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and he gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

2 Corinthians 5:21 "God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Isaiah 53:10 "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief."

Philippians 2:8-11 "Being found in appearance as a man, Christ humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Some others are:
Ephesians 1:13-14
Titus 3:3-8a
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
Ezekiel 18:31-32
Acts 17:30-31

"Grace is more amazing when we look intently at the Cross!"
May we always be found kneeling at the feet of Jesus, honouring Him with our lives, obeying Him whole-heartedly, and spreading the good news of the Gospel!

May we be found pleasing in His sight!!