BY HIS GRACE - FOR HIS GLORY
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (ESV)
March 03rd, 2014
This is my humble attempt to contribute Christ honoring blog posts to the internet. For me, writing is a struggle, but that encourages me, because in my weakness Christ is glorified (1 Corinthians 1:20-31). I am not much for the internet either, and am Social Media adverse, but I’m learning.
But, this is what I would like to do for the body of believers banded together at GRACE CHURCH in Lebanon, Indiana and our small community of Lebanon.
I would like to commit a part of every Monday, reflecting on the Word of God, preached the day before. I will try to be consistent on MONDAYS. Don’t expect me to post every day., as that would be way too time consuming. And, please don’t expect me to comment on the comments, if there are any. Let’s use this blog to encourage one another for the GLORY OF GOD and to reach the lost with the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ
Yesterday’s passage was our continuing study in the books of Acts. We started at the beginning of 2013 and have taken some detours along the way, but are back in it for a short time, before we begin our series in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Actually, yesterday’s sermon, and the next two, will set up our series in Philippians, because we are in Acts 16.
Almost immediately after the sermon, God placed on my heart a thought that has stuck with me. So often, in our attempts to penetrate our community, we strategize on how we can attract them to the gospel. Often times it is more about adding that denial. Most often, it is with the implementation of some new program or some addition to our physical building. Maybe we feel we need to add a New Praise Team, or a new youth room, or new signage and a web presence, or a new blog. The list could go on ad infinitum (forever).
But, in our passage yesterday (Acts 16:1-10), we saw that Saul and Silas were not preoccupied with attracting people to the gospel, but attracting them with the gospel. It is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the good news that God gave up his Son for the sake of sinners ( I Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul, Silas, and Timothy (especially) were literally willing to forsake a little piece of skin (Acts 16:3) for the sake of the gospel. Jesus said that the gospel is denying yourself, taking up the cross, and following Him (Mark 8:34). To them it was less about adding that giving up.
We like the "feel good" strategy of attracting people to the gospel. If we are honest, new programs, buildings, praise bands and blogs are often more about ourselves, than the lost. Not always, of course, but search us, O God (Psalm 139:23-24).
How willing are you and I to give up something that reflects the true nature of the gospel that transformed us? What are we willing to do for the sake of our neighbors? What are we willing to give up (time, money, comfort, reputation, or personal preferences)?
It is quite possible that when our community sees that GRACE CHURCH of Lebanon, Indiana, is living out the gospel, by being willing to lay their lives down for the sake of others, instead of building it up for ourselves, Christ Jesus will be truly magnified in changed lives.