The Lord’s Message May 31, 2015
Intro: For those who missed the special event last Wednesday one the songs that was sang was from Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” I’m glad that we were reminded of this truth because without the gospel we have no hope of spending eternity with God. Before Jesus returned to heaven, He left two ordinances to be faithfully observed by His church, the believer’s water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both these ordinances focuses’ in the death of Christ.
In the believer’s baptism, Jesus fulfilled this as God’s righteousness that would picture His death, burial and resurrection. In the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember the life He gave up as a sacrifice in accordance to His Father’s will in order to atone for the sins of man. He was punished for sins He did not commit by being nailed to the cross. After He gave up His spirit and died, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear to make sure He was dead bringing sudden flow of blood and water. So what is the heart of the gospel? Christ was crucified and died. But the gospel was not complete until God accepted His offering by raising Him from the dead. By His death and resurrection, God the Father gave Him all authority to save and to give eternal life. No wonder Paul always start with this truth and never left the focus of Christ as crucified. “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with fear and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Cor. 2:2-5
With Christ crucified as the center of Paul’s preaching the message therefore was powerful. So then if that was the focus of Paul’s message as empowered by the Spirit, how much more would be the life he were to live when centered on Christ crucified will he not be empowered by the same Spirit? He later wrote this to the Philippian believers just as he did when he came to them and admonishing them. “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:12c
So to those who have already been saved, the working out here is not to gain your salvation but to work out what is already yours by living it daily. Here’s the key in living out our salvation by the Spirit’s power in victory to the glory of God.
“Living Daily the Gospel”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb. 12:1-3
But what do you and I struggle with every day? Of course when everything is going well there is no struggle. But with the many temptations to sin which is common to man, unpleasant circumstances, physical sickness, weaknesses, and on top of these, Paul’s experiences that he went through in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and the difficulties in life, how do we overcome these? And what about the temptation Jesus went through and was subjected to? When He was getting successful in the ministry when people were starting to flock to Him, He could have fallen by basking in the glory He received but would fail to do His Father’s will in reaching out to people in the other villages. Jesus never lost sight of the cross that He was to fulfill as the goal of his life. Yet, on the night of His crucifixion, He struggled in agony and pleaded with His Father if there was any other way to avoid the cross because He already knew what He was to go through described in Isaiah 53. But there was the joy that He would receive after the cross if He endures the pain and scorn the shame to sit at the right hand of God. And this He would receive when He fulfills the purpose He came to earth for, to do the will of His Father and bring glory to Him. Thus He was determined in accomplishing. “4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:4-5
When Jesus prayed this, He has not finished the work the Father gave Him to do. It was only when He was victorious over the Devil and sin when He took all the pain and shame on the cross as payment for the sins of the world, and then He cried out “it is finished.” God the Father was glorified and Jesus received the glory that He had before the world began when God raised Him from the dead. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
What would be the purpose of everyone whom Jesus has saved if they are to follow His example? Shouldn’t it be to live for the glory of the one who saved them? Here’s how Paul summarized it. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:15
Many preachers today present a gospel that is self-serving. Come to Jesus and you will go to heaven and everything will be alright together with all the blessings that you missed out before. They even promise that God will pour out His blessings pressed down and overflowing and enjoy good health. They hide the reality of what it means to be a co-heir with Christ after one is saved by Christ. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Rom. 8:17
Is this the cost of being saved by the gospel? In fact right from the start Jesus said this is what it will cost the one who believes and follows Him. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24
Losing one’s life here means having to die to sin and self. At conversion, one has to give up all his sins to Christ for Him to pay. This is Biblical repentance by turning away from all known sins and hating them with a resolve never to do it again. Yet after one’s conversion there may be times when tempted, we succumb to the temptation. That’s why God has given us another provision in order to be restored in fellowship with Him that is temporarily broken by sin. “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
But is there a way of keeping us from sinning especially the sins we have already repented of? When I was a brand new Christian and spiritually immature, the things I did not want to do, I did. I had no power to resist the temptation. Later I found that Paul had the same problem as I continued to read and study the Bible. “…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:18b-25
No wonder I kept falling and had no power to say no to sin until the Lord revealed to me why I fail because I was relying on my own strength to resist sin. Jesus said. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Later as I grew in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ there is more to just remaining in Him especially in bearing much fruit. As He drew closer to the cross, some Greeks wanted to see Jesus but He said this to His disciples. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:23-26
There are many lessons we can learn from this statement but the most important is His reference to Himself that when He dies He will have many offspring. So how does this apply to us? Again He mentions about those who love their lives will lose it. In contrast those who will inherit eternal life are those who hate their lives. Why do they hate their lives? Because there is nothing good in them as was revealed to David in the Psalms as well as to the apostle Paul. “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Ps. 14:2-3
And so did Paul when he looked deep inside himself admitted that, ”I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” Rom. 7:18a
Do you love yourself and your life? If we can only see the full extent of our sinful nature and what we are prone to do, will you not hate it? That’s why when Paul saw himself as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, what was he willing to do with his sinful nature? Put it to death. By the way our sinful nature will remain with us until our physical body dies. So when one is saved he now has two natures – the divine nature and the sinful nature. So for the Christian how should he live his life? This brings us back to the title of our message, “he lives the gospel daily in his life.” This means that if Christ died for our sins to give us life what must we do with the life of sin brought about by our sinful nature? That old self with the sinful nature must die. Who must decide that? This is an individual act of the will since our spirit is now alive and able to will and choose, either to obey and follow Christ or not. And here’s Jesus’ invitation for us to choose every day. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
The cross means death and everyone is to take up his cross daily to follow Jesus. And with this decision we are brought back to the gospel by faith that we have died with Christ to our sinful nature and trust that Christ will be the one living in us. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
Here’s the word of truth that affirms that this will be true. “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.” 2 Tim. 2:11-12a
Is this the way you are living your life daily until He comes? If not, why not start today? It’s never too late and Christ will work through you and bear much fruit for His glory. Isn’t this the reason He saved us, to live for His glory?