Sunday I attended a small group Bible Study. Someone questioned whether our focus should be on commandment keeping. The thesis is that the Bible does talk a lot about keeping the commandments. That got me thinking and I asked myself, “Does my relationship with God boil down to a set of rules? Does the gospel have anything to do with rules or laws?
I believe I need to understand what the gospel is to answer these questions. Gospel means good news. What exactly is the good news? Isn't it the good news of Jesus Christ? The King of the Kingdom. If we try to understand the gospel without going down the narrow path, Jesus Christ, we won't have any understanding of the gospel.
If we try to understand the gospel without the Light of the World, then we won't have any understanding of the gospel. How can we understand the scriptures unless the Light of God shines on them? Isn't this exactly what Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day? (John 5:39).
Paul said he was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). Crucified means dead.
Christ lives in Christians and it is Christ who lays down his life for all human beings. His very nature is love and we read that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). The law never covered a multitude of sins. The law pointed out sin and our need for a Savior. If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain (Gal. 2:21).
The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ saves us by faith in Him not by anything that we do. The gospel is all about Christ and what He has done. The focus is not on us but on Him. The gospel is centered on Jesus not on us, lest we boast (Eph. 2:8-9). The inheritance of all of God's children is a gift. We can't earn our inheritance. We can't earn a gift. Jesus lives in Christians and He lives by the nature of God, not by human nature. So if He lives in us, His nature will be apparent-the nature of love.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
|Worldwide Grace Fellowship Clarksville, Tennessee|
At 8:46a.m. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the N. Tower at full throttle. Ms. Harris began evacuating the building shortly thereafter. The rescue team of Ladder Company 6: Mike Meldrum, Tommy Falco, Matt Komorowski, Bill Butler, Sal D'Agostino and Captain John Jonas, met up with Ms. Harris on the nineteenth floor. The group stopped to help her down the stairwell. They moved at a slow pace until they reached the fourth floor. That's when Josephine said, “That's it. I can't take another step. Go on without me.” However, the men of Ladder Company 6 waited patiently for her while she rested.
A short time later the building began to rumble. The N. Tower was imploding. There was a terrifying noise. An incredible rush of wind blew through the stairwell. The group lay covered with ash and debris, but miraculously everyone was alive. There was smoke and fires were raging nearby. They were encapsulated between the second through the fourth floor of stairwell B for more than four hours.
When the smoke began to clear they saw a light. Fire Chief Rich Picciotto who met up with the group around the twelfth floor and was also trapped with them, followed the light and climbed out of the wreckage. Soon the entire group made their way from darkness, ashes and death to life. Josephine Harris was carried in a rescue basket by Ladder Company 43 and Ladder Company 53.
Salvation is a journey in Christ likened to a journey down stairwell B. It's transformation and salvation through tribulation (for reference see: John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rev.7:9-17). We need both Light and Water (Living Water) for our journey.
Satan the devil pretends to be an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), but he is the Prince of Darkness and can distort our view of God. Similar to someone trying to recognize another person in a darkened room, his identity can be mistaken. The devil offers humanity a water-slide ride, but at the end of the ride there is no water, only a lake of fire!
The religious leaders of Jesus' day rejected him as the Christ and thus rejected the Light that would open up their understanding of the scriptures and lead them on the journey to life-salvation. They murdered Jesus and tried to bury the Living Word in a dark tomb. But he is the Living Word, not the dead Word! Instead they buried the truth in the darkness of their hearts.
As we head down stairwell B, our journey to salvation, we cry out to God, as those trapped in stairwell B cried, “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! If we see God through the darkness, without the Light, we will hear him say, “Get out of my way. You're not moving fast enough. You're blocking up the stairwell.” So we might cry out again and receive another rebuke from him saying, “You again. I'm tired of your wining you sluggard. If you don't get moving, I'm going to kick you right down that stairwell into hell fire!”
It's only when we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6) and not a perverted view of who he is, that we hear him say, “I'm coming for you my brother! I'm coming for you my sister! Here put your arm around my shoulder and lean on me. I'll walk with you down the stairwell. I won't let you slip or fall. I will be your Light. Drink some of this Living Water for your journey. Be refreshed. My tomb wasn't dark enough, the stone in front of my tomb wasn't large enough, the guards weren't powerful enough, to keep me from rising or to prevent me from saving you!”