Thursday, January 21, 2016

Faithful to Scripture

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Last night at Red Hill we started talking about the second core value for The Red Hill Project. (I will try to get the sermon audio up for that but we are having a little technical difficulty currently). The second core value as briefly discussed last night is “Faithful to Scripture.” This core value is paramount not only to The Red Hill Project, but to everyone who wears the badge of Christian.

The all too common approach to Scripture is “I believe most of it but maybe not all of it.” This presents a problem! 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “…all Scripture is breathed out by God…”, not just most of it. We need to understand that the totality of Scripture has been given to us by God for our benefit.

As we talked about last night, the Bible talks about the promise of rest for our souls. This part of Scripture is one of those parts that we love to believe, it’s like piling on the mashed potatoes from the Golden Corral buffet. We can’t get enough of that good stuff! But the fact that Scripture is not a buffet, where we can pick and choose what we want and don’t want, becomes reality when we understand just how that rest God promises in His Word happens.

The rest that God promises comes from allowing the very Word that He breathed out to reveal disobedience in the life of the believer. Not only is it to reveal the disobedience, it gives instruction how we are to overcome it and not fall back into it. The rest comes when we align our life to the Word of God, not align the Word of God to our life.

Here comes the question that everyone asks after a time like this, “How do I do it?” I could give you the stern look and the strong statement, “Just read your dang Bible”, which works for some. Or, I can invite you to desire the rest that God wants for you when you commune with Him. You see, if you view the Bible as something you must read your likelihood of enjoying and actually doing it will be minimal, if at all. But if you approach God’s Word as it truly is intended to be approached, as a love letter from God to his children in whom He deeply loves, you will be able to enjoy the promises and even accept the revealing of things that you need to change.

God doesn’t want you to read His word out of duty, He desires to meet with you as you enjoy His commune through the pages He inspired to reveal Himself through.

As Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active..”. The reason it is “living and active” is because it contains the message of a living and active God! God is still act work in our lives today! Since He is, take some time to hear from Him. He speaks through His Word…

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Saturated by the Gospel (The Red Hill Project, Core Vaule)

Last night at Red Hill we talked about the first core value of The Red Hill Project being “Saturated by the Gospel. In discussing the importance of being saturated by the Gospel we identified the necessity to understand what the Gospel truly is.

For quite some time many of you have heard my simple definition of the Gospel that I use to keep focused amidst the huge implications of it. My simple definition is “The good news of God’s redemption for sinful humanity.” Now in this definition a deeper understanding can be attained by breaking each part of it down into doctrinal statements, but the simplicity of the Gospel must not be complicated.

I once heard a preacher explain the Gospel in four words: God, man, Christ, response. In his explanation we can see the simplicity of the Gospel to be receive, but we can also see the depth of the Gospel to be understood. Having such a great depth to it the Gospel is limitless in its affect and impact in a world corrupted by sin.

As we scratched the surface at Red Hill last night, in regards to the Gospels, a couple major factors of the impact of the Gospel manifested itself through my words and in the hearts of those present. Two major factors of the implications of the Gospel were identified.

The first one of the truths that I communicated was that the Gospel is not just something used to get non-Christians into Heaven. Too often when Christians hear the word “Gospel” they default to the thinking that their non-Christian friend needs to hear about it. Are they correct in thinking that? Yes, BUT… The problem with thinking that is they don’t understand that the Gospel is not just something that is heard then set aside after conversion to move into “deeper theological understandings.” The depth of the Gospel can never be exhausted this side of Heaven. The Gospel should be the focus of ALL theological study, without it the one “moving deeper into other areas” will find themselves detached from the plan and purpose of God. (Enough about that, I could go on for days about that.)

The second truth, and seemingly the most impactful for those who heard it last night, is the need to preach the Gospel to yourself. Too many times, too many people, feel the need to share the Gospel with someone in their life when times are tough, tragedy strikes, etc. (WHICH IS AWESOME!), but they forget to share the same Gospel to themselves when they are in the same situations. We must remember that the same Gospel of hope you share with your friend is the the same Gospel of hope you need! The Gospel doesn’t stop at conversion; it continues on for eternity! The words of the Apostle Paul should ring out in your heart, “…[the Gospel] is bearing fruit and increasing…” For something to bear fruit and increase it must be alive!

So the question that was posed to me in all of this Gospel understanding, and preaching it to yourself, was: “How do I do that?” Legit question! There are multiple ways to do this, but here is a simple prayer that I came across a few years ago that I use to make sure I am preaching the Gospel to myself. I like to break it down into four parts, but feel free to do with it what you want. All I ask is that you pray this honestly and pray this often. It will help guide you into Gospel living.

The Gospel Prayer[1]
“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”
“Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.”
“As You have been to me, so I will be to others.”
“As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”

[1] JD. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011) 73, iBooks.