Category Archives: Gospel

Happy Ascension Day

skyThe celebrating of events that are on the traditional church calendar has been lost to many of the Protestant churches. It is too bad because the calendar is a great teaching tool. Today is 40 days after Easter and known as Ascension Day. There are several reasons we should rejoice on such a day as we contemplate the importance of Jesus ascending to the Father.

In his book The Work of Christ, R.C. Sproul explains how the disciples had come to understand why and where Jesus was going. From here he shows four great results of Christ’s ascension.

#1. Glorification. “When Jesus departed this world on the shekinah cloud, He was going back to the realm of glory. He was going to receive the glory that He enjoyed with the Father from all eternity. So, the ascension was a glorious thing. That is why, after He ascended, the disciples went back into Jerusalem and praised God in the temple. They understood that their Master was getting His glory back. His humiliation was over, and His exaltation had begun.”

#2. Coronation. “In the ascension, Jesus went up to His coronation. He did not go up simply to enter into His rest. He went up for His investiture service. He ascended to the throne, to the right hand of God, where He was given dominion, power, and authority over the whole earth. The Lamb who was slain became the Lion of Judah, who now reigns over the earth.”

#3. The Gift of the Comforter. “One of the most important reasons for Jesus’ ascension was that Pentecost might take place, that the Father and the Son might pour out the Spirit on the church to strengthen it and empower it for its earthly mission. As we all know, to witness for Christ in a corrupt world requires strength greater than our own. John Calvin said that the most important task of the church is to be the visible witness of the invisible kingdom, and for that we need the Holy Spirit.”

#4. The Ministry of the High Priest. “We have a great High Priest who offered a sacrifice for us on the cross once and for all—His own blood. That portion of His priestly ministry is finished. But His priestly work for us goes on as He intercedes for us. … Today, Jesus is in heaven, interceding for you and me, if indeed we belong to Him, and His prayers for us are equally effective. We should rejoice that He has taken up this priestly ministry on our behalf in the heavenly tabernacle.”

The ascension is often left out of the verbiage of the gospel but when you consider the importance of Christ ascending and the coming of the Holy Spirit, it comes down to no ascension – no salvation.

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he sall come to judge the quick and the dead” .. The Apostles’ Creed

HAPPY ASCENSION DAY

Will They Ever Change? A Story of Parenting with the Gospel

What do you do when your child seems to be addicted to bad behavior?  Being back at school I am reminded of the time when I was principal and there was a community of kids that wore a path out from their classroom to my office for behavior issues. My gut reaction and training was to use behavior modification on them and throw some Scripture in it to make it spiritual. The result at times was teaching them that God is pleased with them when they conform and displeased when they break school rules, which many had little correlation to the Scriptures. Though I sometimes now get involved with student issues, my approach has drastically changed. Yes, I still use the Scripture and still give consequences when it is my call, but now the strategy is to address the heart which only can be changed by the power of God.

One of my top books to recommend to parents is “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Here is a real life where the rubber meets the road story from a parent dealing with a stubborn heart and learning how grace works with the tough ones.

PARENTING A BAD KID WITH THE GOSPEL by Jon Wood

I had reached the point of exhaustion that every parent of a disobedient child eventually reaches.  I was utterly exasperated from having to explain to my 5-year old son for the hundredth time why it’s not okay to smack, hit, scratch, or spit on other children.  But day after day, my wife would discover in his backpack another red-inked note from his teacher revealing the sin of the day.  And day after day, I would recite the same speech to my little boy with the same set of warnings only to be further disillusioned by another teacher’s note.

Around that time, my wife and I started reading a book titled Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  The truth Fitzpatrick communicates through scripture forever changed the way we parent our children.  It’s a ridiculously simple concept and should have been obvious to a dad like me who grew up in the church.  Here’s the gist of the book:

Raise your children to know and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It’s that simple.  Fitzpatrick encourages parents to be strategic with their kids in generating daily encounters with the message and implications of the gospel.  As the frustrated parent of an unruly little boy, I was looking for clever techniques to get my kid to behave better.  Yet Fitzpatrick begs her readers to take the long term approach and focus their efforts on teaching children to depend on God’s grace rather than a parent’s approval.

To even the most bible-based parents, the truth of the gospel seems about as useful as a plastic hammer when trying to chisel your child from a statue of sinful rebellion to a model of loving obedience.  It wasn’t until my son uttered a few tender words one night that this gospel-centered approach began to take shape in our home.

Redrawing the Battle Lines

One evening, I was berating my boy yet again for another behavior blowup.  Unwilling to show the least bit of clemency, I furiously recited a list of consequences that he would bear as a result of that day’s transgressions.  Then through exasperated and tear-filled eyes, my little boy looked up to me and said “Dad, I can’t stop.  I want to stop but I can’t.”

My heart sunk as the sincere sadness in my boy’s voice reminded me of me.  My boy was telling his dad what I had prayed a thousand times before to God.  I want to stop sinning but I can’t.

That evening, my parenting tone forever changed.  My loud boisterous threats gave way to a restrained and determined demeanor.  I was no longer trying to convince my son to behave better, I was now determined to show him his need for Jesus.  While it takes many people a lifetime to understand their need for grace, my boy had discovered his corruption at an early age.  For this little 5-year old, Total Depravity was not just some theological topic to ponder, it was a quiet war that he had been waging in his mind.

From that point on, each time he came home with a teacher’s note I would sit with him to pray and confess sins.  Granted, I still delivered a similar set of consequences which occasionally included a spanking but it never ended with that.  We’d talk about our desperate need for Jesus to change us from the inside out and ask for His supernatural power over temptation.  The battle lines in our home were completely redrawn.  No longer was it Parent versus Child.  It was God versus Sin, and we were co-warriors in this battle.

Eventually my son’s behavior improved.  It’s likely that he would have eventually just matured out of that phase regardless of our parenting style or he would have found more socially-acceptable ways to harbor sin.  Yet without those red-inked teacher’s notes declaring my boy to be a rebel, my son might only understand the cross of Christ as an historical fact to be learned and not a soul-sustaining truth to be treasured.

I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:18-19,24-25 (ESV)

http://thoughtsofthecross.wordpress.com/author/jhwood714/

 

Words From The Cross

From Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross (Wheaton, 1986), pages 168-170.

“To whom does the invitation of this cross come?  It comes to the failures, the people who know they have gone wrong, the people who are filled with a sense of shame, the people who are weary and tired and forlorn in the struggle. . . .

Do you despise yourself, kick yourself metaphorically, and feel you are no good?  Weary, forlorn, tired, and on top of it all, sad and miserable?  Nothing can comfort you.  The pleasures of the world mock you.  They do not give you anything.  Life has disappointed you, and you are sad, miserable and unhappy, and on top if it all, you have a sense of guilt within you.  Your conscience nags at you, condemns, raises up your past and puts it before you, and you know that you are unworthy, you know that you are a failure, you know that there is no excuse, you are guilty. . . .

And then on top of all this, you are filled with a sense of fear.  You are afraid of life, you are afraid of yourself and your own weakness, you are afraid of tomorrow.  You are afraid of death, you know it is coming and you can do nothing about it, but you are afraid of it. . . .

This is the amazing thing about the cross.  It comes to such a person, and it is to such a person above all others that it brings its gracious and its glorious invitation.   What does it say to you? . . . You are not far off, and the cross speaks to you with sympathy.  That man dying on that cross was known as the friend of sinners.  He was reviled by the good and the religious because he sat down and ate and drank with sinners.  He had sympathy. . . .

Not only that, he will tell you that he is ready to accept you.  The world picks up its skirt and passes by.  It leaves you alone, it does not want to associate with you, you have gone down, you belong to the gutters, and the world is too respectable to have any interest in you.  Here is one who is ready to receive you and to accept you. . . . Sit down, he says.  Wait, stop, give up your activities.  Just as you are, I am ready to receive you.  In your rags, in your filth, in your vileness.  Rest.

What else?  Pardon.  The cross speaks of benediction, of pardon, joy and peace with God.  It tells you that God is ready to forgive you.  It says, listen to me, your sin has been punished.  I am here because this is the punishment of sin.  Listen to me, says the blood of sprinkling.  I have been shed that you might be forgiven, pardoned, at peace with God.  Oh, thank God, there is also cleansing here.”

HT:  Ray Ortlund; The Gospel Coalition

IT’S FRIDAY – BUT SUNDAY IS COMING!

Here is the original version of “It’s Friday, But Sunday is Coming” by Shadrach Meshach (S.M.) Lockridge (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000) who was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, in San Diego, California from 1953 to 1993. It is a Good Friday tradition for me to listen to this several times.

Do You Know What “Maundy Thursday” Means?

I just finished asking 4 high school classes at our Christian school what is Maundy Thursday. No one gave the right answer. Most of our students come from independent Bible churches that do not celebrate the church calendar other than a few events. In one way it is too bad for the calendar was set up to be a teaching tool. Well, just in case you don’t know either, Kevin DeYoung, Pastor to the University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan gives this very helpful explanation.

“Like millions of Christians around the world, we will have a Maundy Thursday tonight. If you’ve never heard the term, it’s not Monday-Thursday (which always confused me as a kid), but Maundy Thursday, as in Mandatum Thursday. Mandatum is the Latin word for “command” or “mandate”, and the day is called Maundy Thursday because on the night before his death Jesus gave his disciples a new command. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 [1]).

At first it seems strange that Christ would call this a new command. After all, the Old Testament instructed God’s people to love their neighbors and Christ himself summarized the law as love for God and love for others. So what’s new about love? What makes the command new is that because of Jesus’ passion there is a new standard, a new examplar of love.

There was never any love like the dying love of Jesus. It is tender and sweet (13:33). It serves (13:2-17). It loves even unto death (13:1). Jesus had nothing to gain from us by loving us. There was nothing in us to draw us to him. But he loved us still, while we were yet sinners. At the Last Supper, in the garden, at his betrayal, facing the Jewish leaders, before Pontius Pilate, being scourged, carrying his cross, being nailed to the wood, breathing his dying breath, forsaken by God–he loved us.

To the end.

To death.

Love shone best and brightest at Calvary.”

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal life.My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might for ever live. (The Valley of Vision, “Love Lustres at Calvary”)

 

 

Don’ t Worry: Be Happy – 40 JOYS IN CHRIST

Compiled by David Murray

“And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:4).

Christ’s nearness: For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

Christ’s coming: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. (Matt. 2:10)

Christ’s birth: And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. (Luke 1:14)

Christ’s availability: Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. (Luke 2:10)

Christ’s Word: This is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. (Matthew 13:20)

Christ’s value: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44)

Christ’s home: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21)

Christ’s resurrection: So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. (Matthew 28:8)

Christ’s reproach: Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:23)

Christ’s power: Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17)

Christ’s salvation: Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Christ’s too-good-to-be-trueness: But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” (Luke 24:41)

Christ’s ascension: And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  (Luke 24:52)

Christ’s marriage: He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. (John 3:29)

Christ’s joy: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).

Christ’s re-appearing: Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. (John 16:22)

Christ’s answers: Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)

Christ’ prayers: But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:13)

Christ’s healings: For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:7-8)

Christ’s conversions: So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. (Acts 15:3)

Christ’s finishing line: But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

Christ’s Kingdom: For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Christ’s hope: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Christ’s people: That I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. (Romans 15:32)

Christ’s servants: Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

Christ’s Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)

Christ’s faith: And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith. (Philippians 1:25)

Christ’s unity: Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)

Christ’s strengthening: Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Colossians 1:11)

Christ’s Spirit: And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Christ’s return: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

Christ’s love: For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. (Philemon 7)

Christ’s refreshing: Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. (Philemon 20)

Christ’s reward: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Christ’s trials: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. (James 1:2)

Christ’s faith: whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:8)

Christ’s sufferings: but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings. (1 Peter 4:13)

Christ’s glory: that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)

Christ’s sanctification: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 4)

Christ’s preservation: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. (Jude 24)

HT: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2014/04/02/40-joys-through-jesus/

PRAYING LIKE JOB FOR YOUR KIDS FOR THE “WHAT IFs?”

The following article is by Pastor Tahbiti Anyabwile of the First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman Island.

“And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.” (Job 1:5)

family-prayingIt seems Job suffered for his children before he suffered for his children. Before the calamitous news of their death, Job worried about an even greater potential tragedy–their spiritual death.

This righteous man longed for his children to love and honor God. It’s the desire of all godly parents.

But Job lacked the one attribute most parents wish they had: omniscience. How could he know what his adult sons and daughters did when he was not around? How could he know what lie in the hearts of his children? Had they “cursed God in their hearts”? What a terrifying set of questions for any parent. This is why we don’t sleep until all the children arrive home safely. This is why we ask questions about friends we don’t know very well. This is why we sometimes inspect their rooms or ask searching questions while hoping not to offend. What if our children live double lives? What if they curse God in their hearts?

How does this righteous man deal with the questions and worry? how does he deal with not knowing? He appeals to the One who does know, who sees all. The very God Job feared His children might have cursed is Job’s Great Ally in the war for his children’s hearts. Job wants what God wants–a godly offspring (Mal. 2:15). God, then, is Job’s Warrior in this battle.

So, Job does two things. First, he consecrates his children. He sets them apart for God. His children do not belong to him; they belong to the Lord of life. If children are arrows in a parent’s quiver, Job aims His directly at the courts of God. One can only speculate about how much greater Job’s suffering and difficulty would have been if he maintained an idolatrous hold on his children. Certainly losing all his children in one day was as unimaginable a disaster possible. But would he have maintained faith and sanity had he prized his children above God, or built his life on his children, or found his ultimate joy in his children? Consecrating his children was not only right and godly, ultimately it provided a measure of protection. This is how Job could reply to his wife, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (2:10) Or, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Second, Job interceded for each of his children. Notice “he would rise early in the morning.” The earliest business of day was prayer for Job. He made his offerings to God on behalf of each child’s soul. For if they cursed God in their hearts, only God could renew their hearts. If their offense was against God, only God could relent and forgive them. They needed help from God, and Job the faithful father went to God early, interceding for their deliverance. Notice: “thus Job did continually.” Here’s a portrait of a persistently pleading parent. He conquers his helplessness by appealing to the Almighty.

These things are written for our instruction (1 Cor. 10:6). How kind of God to leave us in His word such a compelling and clear example to follow. Let us set apart our children to the Lord, and renew our prayers on their behalf. Conquer parental anxiety with petitions to our covenant God who knows our children and renews the heart.

A Gospel-Centered Home: Are You Qualifying Your Children for Earth but Not for Heaven?

A home may be of Christian parents, but it does not mean it is a gospel-centered home. When we are governing our homes by parenting with behavior modification techniques and throwing in Scripture, we can produce “perfect” children who may end up breaking our hearts. Consider the rich young ruler of Matthew 19: 16-20. And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Wow! Who would not want that resume’ for their teenager? He even asked a very spiritual question! However, the narrative does not end there. In verses 21 and 22 we read, Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The perfect teen breaks your heart. A young man so close, yet so far away!
Newtown2
John Angell James, a British Pastor in the early 1800s wrote in his book, The Christian Father’s Present to His Children, “But how it would embitter our last moments, and plant our dying pillow with thorns, to leave you on earth in an unconverted state; following us to the grave, but not to heaven. Or should you be called to die before us, how could we sustain the dreadful thought…that the very next moment after you had passed beyond our kind attentions, you would be received to the torments which know neither end nor mitigation? And when you had departed under such circumstances, what could heal our wounds or dry our tears…O! no: they may qualify for earth but not qualify for heaven.”

Charles Spurgeon once wrote this about his mother:

“I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scriptures for us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading: there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat around the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord.”

“Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is gray. I remember on one occasion, her praying thus, “Now Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” That thought of a mother’s bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience, and stirred my heart.”
…..Spurgeon, Autobiography, The Early Years, Banner of Truth Trust

“My mother said to me once, after she had long prayed for me and had come to the conviction that I was hopeless. “Ah” said she, “My son, if at the last great day you are condemned, remember your mother will say ‘Amen’ to your condemnation.” That stung me to the quick. Must the mother that brought me forth and that loved me say ‘Amen’ to my being condemned at last?’ …….. Spurgeon, “The Chaff Driven Away.” Sermon October 23, 1859

Is the gospel being proclaimed in your home or are you leaving that up to others?

INTERNET HOME-LAND SECURITY

I have been on my new job site now for just over one month after being away from the high school setting for 13 years. Several people have asked me about the changes and there have been many since leaving. The biggest change is the advancement and use of technology. I am part of the generation of teachers who thought the invention of the whiteboard where we could use multiple color markers was a big breakthrough in teaching. Now computers and interactive video screens are tools of the classroom and it is all mind-boggling.

These are wonderful ways technology is being used. However, I am also witnessing the downsComputer Lockdownide of technology with deep concerns. After the many years of ministering to families, I dealt with dozens of situations regarding deep struggles with pornography by men, women, and teens. I also dealt with many adults who struggled with sexual immorality of all types. The one common denominator to all of them – every one of them – was they all struggled with pornography as a young person.

This leads to my concern of what I see with the young people at school and outside of school. I see kids all day long have free and uninhibited access to the internet with their own personal devices. The school has set-up adequate safeguards but the students can circumvent the systems with their own devices. They bump into each other in the hallways like we are the school for the blind, use them while going to the bathroom, and after school it seems I see more tops of heads than eyes.

From my experience, parents are giving their child a weapon when they give their child unrestricted access to the internet. Pornography is the dehumanization of another person for your pleasure and gives no consideration to their heart, soul, or mind nor the damage that is being done to them. It denies that the person being viewed is made in the image of God and so has certain dignity. Watch enough pornography and you will see and treat others the same way.

If you are a concerned parent in this area, please take time to read Tim Challies post, The Porn Free Family, http://www.challies.com/christian-living/the-porn-free-family  In this, Tim gives excellent counsel on how to continue to use technology with prudence and care for the spiritual welfare of your family. It includes goals, acknowledgements about the realities of technology in our world, and an action plan.

To ignore this topic is to invite spiritual terrorism. Set up you own homeland security for the well-being of yourselves and your children.

WHY OUR KIDS DON’T NEED THE “LITTLE g” GOSPEL

Here is a great reminder of preaching the gospel to our children daily and to evaluate what gospel you endorse in your interactions. The article is by Erin Davis at True Woman:

Newtown2 I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).

There are all kinds of little “g” gospels. These are messages we preach to ourselves citing the (false) reasons God will surely love and accept us.

  • There’s the gospel of association: “I’m a Christian because I was raised in a Christian home.”
  • There’s the gospel of achievement: “God loves me because I do so much for Him.”
  • There’s the gospel of comparison: “I am holy because I’m not as messed up as she is.”

These are all false gospels. Association, achievement, and comparison will never give us victory over our sin.

But there is another little “g” gospel that is particularly dangerous and tempting as we parent. It’s the gospel of goodness. “God will love me if I am a very, very good boy or girl.”

We preach this gospel to our children when we give them the impression that church is about sitting quietly through a sermon. We do it when we try to spackle over our own junk whenever we head into church or gather with other Christians. We do it when we reduce the Bible down to a list of don’ts. We do it when we believe the lie that parenthood is about raising well-behaved children rather than radicals for Christ.

When Paul wrote this first letter to the church in Corinth, he wanted to get one thing straight—there was only one gospel he cared to preach. It was the only gospel with any power after all. It’s Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way you and your kids can:

  • have power over sin.
  • be reconciled to God.
  • live holy lives in a corrupt and godless generation.
  • be salt and light to your lost neighbors and friends.

The good boy/good girl gospel will never get you or your kids there. Only Jesus Christ and Him crucified ever can.

I realize there are levels and ranges of spiritual maturity with our kids and grandkids. I’m not advocating you show your two-year-old The Passion of the Christ or try to explain propitiation to your preschooler. But I think Paul’s creed is a good one: I am here to preach Christ and Him crucified. No little “g” gospel will work instead. The message my children need to hear me preaching most often is that Jesus paid the price for their sin. His love and acceptance of them is not rooted in their ability to be good.

As we seek to influence children who know Christ and ultimately devote our lives to Him, let’s seek to preach the gospel of grace, not goodness.

HT: http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2637