Monday, March 21, 2016

Ten Reasons To Saturate Your April With The Gospel

In April, I'll be focusing on the gospel--preaching the gospel to myself--each and every day. I'd love for you to join me. I'm calling it the Live Like You're Loved challenge/event. (Perhaps I should call it an experiment! For that is what it is.) I would love your help spreading the word about this 'experiment' and your prayers as well! It is all about embracing and experiencing the gospel.

10) You may have gospel amnesia.

 Stephen Um writes,
How do you overcome a gospel identity crisis? How do you get over gospel amnesia? When we lapse in our identity, the answer is not to learn a new one, but to relearn who we already are. Our identity is not ours to form; it has already been formed for us and given to us as a gift. In what is our identity grounded? 
Our identity is grounded in being found IN CHRIST.

Joe Thorn writes,
To preach to yourself is to challenge yourself, push yourself, and point yourself to the truth. It is not so much uncovering new truth as much as it is reminding yourself of the truth you tend to forget. 
9) You may need to be more deliberate. After all, you are not likely to be accidentally nourished each day with gospel truths. 

C.S. Lewis writes,
Make sure that some of its [Christianity's] main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day…We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. 
J.C. Ryle writes,
How blessed are the hopes which the Bible holds out to the believer in Christ Jesus! Peace in the hour of death, rest and happiness on the other side of the grave, a glorious body in the morning of the resurrection, a full and triumphant acquittal in the day of judgment, an everlasting reward in the kingdom of Christ, a joyful meeting with the Lord's people in the day of gathering together. These, these are the future prospects of every true Christian. They are all written in the book--in the book which is all true! 
A.W. Tozer writes,
The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God.
8) You may be listening to the wrong voice.

J.D. Greear writes,
Each day Jesus says to us, "You are my beloved child. I am well pleased in you. Now live that way." Satan, on the other hand, says, "Look at you. Look at the condition of your circumstances. Look at how poorly you're living. There is no way you are God's beloved child." Which voice are you going to believe? There's an eternity of difference between them. 
D.L. Moody writes,
Man lost spiritual life and communion with his Maker by listening to the voice of the tempter, instead of the voice of God. We get life again by listening to the voice of God. The Word of God gives life.
7) You may be so focused on what other people think of you--what other people expect of you--that you miss what is important.

Matt Chandler writes,
Your approval before God is woven into the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, not what other men and women think about you. 
Martin Luther writes,
We who confess Christ should always walk in fear and grow in faith. We should realize that we all carry in our hearts a horrible religious fanatic, who will destroy our faith with foolish delusions of good works. The Holy Spirit provides us with a way to counter this godless delusion. We need to hold tightly to what we have received through the grace of God. God’s approval doesn’t come to us by what we do. Rather, it comes through the holiness of Christ, who suffered for us and rose again from the dead.
Charles Spurgeon writes,
Let us believe all that God has revealed, for every truth is precious and practically useful.
6) Your desires may be misplaced. Your heart may be divided.

John Piper writes,
The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God It's a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don't want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel. 
Matthew Jacoby writes,
The more we seek God, the more our desire for God will grow. And if we keep on seeking God, if we refuse to give up until we have found God and even then keep seeking a deeper knowledge of God, if we stubbornly persist in seeking God in the face of all doubt and discouragement, then our desire for God will gradually outgrow our other desires. By seeking God, we exercise our desire for God, and as we exercise our desire for God, it grows. And when our desire for God grows to a place of supremacy in our hearts, then God is truly the God of our hearts. Seeking, therefore, creates within us the capacity to know God as God. It is by seeking that we are able to find God because seeking enables our hearts to receive God. If we don’t desire God above all things, then we are still blind to God. God cannot be known and depreciated. To know God is to know his supreme worthiness. To know God is to desire him above all. The more we cultivate a desire for God, the more our hearts are able to know him for who he is.
J.D. Greear writes,
I want you to see the gospel not only as the means by which you get into heaven, but as the driving force behind every single moment of your life. 
5) You may be in need of transformation, or more of a transformation. 

Sam Storms writes,
Crave the word of God. Be desperate for it! Seek it. Yearn for it. Long for it. Desire it. Tolerate nothing in your life that might diminish your hunger for God's Word. And apply it with vigor and spiritual energy! The Word of God, whether it is preached and heard or read and memorized is more than simply true. It is effectual. The Word of God does more than merely announce: it accomplishes! It doesn't just impart information: it creates life!
J.D. Greear writes,
Always "begin again" with the gospel. Abide in it; swim in it; make your home in it. See more and more of your life through it. Be absolutely convinced at every moment of every day of the goodness of God in your life. That's the only way you'll ever really grow. 
J.C. Ryle writes,
Let us often ask ourselves whether we are doing good or harm in the world. We cannot live to ourselves, if we are Christians. The eyes of many will always be upon us. Men will judge by what they see, far more than by what they hear. If they see the Christian contradicting by his practice what he professes to believe, they are justly stumbled and offended. For the world's sake, as well as for our own, let us labor to be eminently holy.
4) Ask yourself if you are functional or dsyfunctional in your spiritual life…

J.D. Greear writes,
Whatever spiritual dysfunction you have in your life, the cure is the gospel. Do we want to be filled with passion for God? We should drink from the gospel. Do we want to get control of our bodies? We must be captivated by the gospel. Do we want to be content with what we have? We need to feast on the gospel.  
Tullian Tchividjian writes,
Once God rescues sinners, his plan isn't to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it. After all, the only antidote to sin is the gospel--and since Christians remain sinners even after they're converted, the gospel must be the medicine a Christian takes every day. Since we never leave off sinning, we can never leave the gospel. 
3) You may be living with guilt and shame, when God wants you live like you're LOVED, live like you're FORGIVEN, live like you're FREE.

J.D. Greear writes,
Right now, if you are in Christ, when God looks at you--regardless of your situation--He sees the righteousness of Christ. If we really believe that--not only with our heads but also with our hearts--it would change everything in our lives. 
Tony Merida writes,
When you open the Bible, there is grace coming to you--through personal devotion, hearing the Word read and preached, and singing it. Meditate on the gospel daily because you never outgrow your need for it.
Joe Thorn writes,
Until a person knows his guilt, he cannot know pardon. Until you feel the bondage of your guilt, you cannot find the freedom of forgiveness. In this sense, guilt is not your enemy. Yes, guilt before God is the greatest problem a human being must face. That guilt will destroy you. But the sense of that guilt is itself a gift that should lead you to the only one who can deal with it. Do you see? Your guilt can ruin you, but your sense of guilt can guide you. Your guilt before God is your own. You have no defense for your actions. There is no self-justification for your thoughts and choices. But your sense of all this should lead you not to an empty despair that ends in death, but to a hungry despair that seeks and feasts on grace! It’s good that your sins bother you. They should. They are an offense and affront to God. But your tendency to lose hope in light of them is not of faith, because faith believes and receives the pardon of God. He forgives his people. Read that again: God forgives his people. He sees your guilt, takes it from you, and gives it to his Son, who willingly received it and its punishment on your behalf. This is what it means to be saved. You have been pardoned for crimes you have committed, rescued from the justice of God to rest in the mercy of God. Despite what so many are saying these days, you do not need to forgive yourself. You need to be forgiven.

2) Your faith might be weak, prone to doubting; you may be struggling with if you're really saved, with if God loves you. 

Timothy Keller writes,
You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith: the Redeemer, the God who is fighting for you.
Horatius Bonar writes,
The quality or quantity of faith is not the main question for the sinner. That which he needs to know is that Jesus died and was buried, and rose again, according to the Scriptures. This knowledge is life everlasting.
Martin Luther writes,
When I feel anxious about sin and hell, I remind myself that when I have Christ, I have all that is necessary. Neither death, sin, nor the devil can hurt me. If I believe in Christ, I have fulfilled the law; it cannot accuse me. I have conquered hell; it cannot hold me. Everything that Christ has is mine. Through him, we obtain all his possessions and eternal life. Even if I am weak in faith, I still have the same treasure and the same Christ that others have. There’s no difference: we are all made perfect through faith in him, not by what we do.

1) You might be be thinking too much of yourself and too little of Jesus.

Tullian Tchividjian writes,
The hard work of Christian growth, therefore, is to think less of ourselves and our performance and more of Jesus and his performance for us. Ironically, when we focus mostly on our need to get better, we actually get worse. We become neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with our effort instead of with God's effort for us makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.
Our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves--on our obedience (or lack thereof), on our performance (good or bad), on our holiness--instead of on Christ and his obedience, his performance, and his holiness for us. We all possess a natural proclivity to turn God's good news announcement that we've been set free into a narcissistic program of self-improvement. When we do this, we fail to see the needs of our neighbors and serve them. After all, as Martin Luther said, "God doesn't need our good works, but our neighbor does." My greatest need and yours is to look at Christ more than we look at ourselves.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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