Friday, June 27, 2014

Saturday 6/28 Disciples of Jesus need to hear the Gospel everyday

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

When Paul wrote his first letter to the Church at Corinth, he had to deal with quarrels and divisions that had arisen in that congregation. (1 Corinthians 1:11)  In dealing with those issues, Paul proclaimed to the church the only remedy - The Gospel.  As you read 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5, you quickly discover that the Gospel must not only be heard and believed by sinners in order to be saved, but it must be heard daily by the saints so that they can be more effective in their lives after getting saved.  In todays blog I want you to see the various names the Apostle Paul uses in describing the Gospel that he preaches.  If we can see other names given in scripture for the Gospel message, we can then understand better why as Christians we need to hear the Gospel everyday.

1. In content "The Word of the Cross."   
1 Corinthians 1:18a

2. In its strength "The power of God".     
1 Corinthians 1:18b, 24

3. In its resource "The wisdom of God."
1 Cor 1:21, 24b, 30 

4. In its focus "Christ crucified".   
1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:2

5. To the world "foolishness of God."    
1 Corinthians 1:25

6. To us who believe "testimony of God".
1 Corinthians 2:1

7. Changes lives "demonstration of the Spirit and of Power"
1 Corinthians 2:4

As Paul preaches this Gospel to these Corinthians, he knows that only the Gospel can change their hearts, call them out of their compromise and reinforce their identity in Jesus Christ.  The purpose of preaching this Gospel and hearing it daily is spelled out in 1 Corinthians 2:5 "so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." Christians need the Gospel, so that they can operate not on the wisdom and power of men, but of God." 

Jesus Christ - Your Wonderful Fullfillment

Colossians 1:13-14 "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Introduction: The year I saw the Milky Way
It was not long after my family and I had moved to Florida in 2004 that 3 hurricanes barreled their way across the terrain of Central Florida where we lived. Our house was located in the storm paths of the three storms.  The first one in particular, Charley, came to where we were as a strong category 2 storm, with sustained winds of between 115-120 m.p.h. Power was knocked out for over a week in a 150 mile radius.  It was in the heat of August and we had some families staying with us who had been displaced by the storms. I can recall one night after a particularly long and hot day going outside to get some fresh air.  It was so dark outside you could hardly see your hand in front of your face.

As I looked up I was awestruck by what I saw. I could not believe my eyes, but their, stretched across the sky was the Milky Way Galaxy in all of its pristine glory. Every star, every color was present.  I literally felt like I had been taken up in a spacecraft and set in orbit around the earth. With no light pollution, I could behold a celestial object that only one in seven people can still see on our globe today. For hours I stared until my neck hurt from the strain. Stars, cosmic dust clouds and various dark and light bands were seen across the night sky. I could had spent an entire month if possible, staring at the Milky Way's vastness, not exhausting the estimated 400 billion stars that comprise our galactic home.

When I peer into Colossians 1:13-20, I feel like I am peering into an endless galaxy of Divine revelation.  Paul's point for writing Colossians was to convey the fact that Jesus is enough.  He is fighting against a group of heretics who believe you have to add ritual or experience or pagan practice to the equation.  Anytime you and I try to add to Christ we end up subtracting. As foolish as it would be to think of lighting a match to improve upon the experience of witnessing the brightness of the Milky Way Galaxy, so it is in thinking we can ever add to Jesus Christ.  Yet in our everyday world and Christian lives, we find ourselves attempting to try out different fads in the hopes of feeling better and avoiding what we perceive to be boredom.

A word on applying the scriptures to your life
Today's post is all about seeing Jesus Christ as you wonderful fulfillment. Here is a question: why do people go on vacations to spots such as the Grand Canyon or Disney world? Do they go with the expectation of taking away 2 or three bullet points that they can plug into their everyday lives once they get back into the normal routine? No. The point of such trips is to become smaller and to be blown away and get away from it all.  Have you ever tried sharing with someone, say a co-worker, your time away at a vacation? It is impossible to capture the experience in a short 30 second conversation, and yet the impact of the experience makes you feel exhilarated and refreshed.

I think too often in today's church world we only think of Bible application in terms of life application.  Now don't get me wrong, life application is very important, and there ought to be some point in a lesson or a sermon where a "take-away" or "point of application" is easily discerned.  Yet the scripture isn't only about applying principles and formulas, it is also about blowing us away and bring us to the point of worship.  

Such "worship points of application" are necessary, otherwise our Christian life becomes nothing more than "duty, duty, duty". Whenever we look at sections such as Colossians 1:13-20, we ought not to approach it from the stand point of "what can I get out of this" in so much as "how much can I tell Jesus that I delight in Him." We need both "life-points of application" and "worship-points of application".  We need practical and awe-inspiring, and books of the Bible like Colossians give us both.

Worship point of application
As we consider Colossians 1:13-20 in brief, let me suggest to you the following worship point of application: Jesus Christ's Supreme Revelation is your Wonderful fulfillment. Let us take a few moments and gaze in wonderful at this galaxy of revelation - Colossians 1:13-20.

Jesus Christ is your wonderful fulfillment in what He does. Colossians 1:13-14
Jesus Christ is the Divine King in 1:13, Who became man in 1:14.

Jesus Christ is your wonderful fulfillment in what He is. Colossians 1:15-17
Jesus Christ is the New Adam Who is also the Creator of all things with the Father.

Jesus Christ is your wonderful fulfillment in Who He is. Colossians 1:18-20
He  is Lord over His church in 1:18-19. He is the Savior of His church by the blood He shed as Perfect Man in 1:20.

Closing thoughts
Being that the point of this post was to convey the sense of awe and worship over Jesus Christ - your wonderful fulfillment, and being that the Revelation of Himself is the wonderful fulfillment of the Christian life, I leave you with the lyrics of the hymn: "O Worship the King" by Robert Grant, who lived from 1737-1806:
1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God's power and God's love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

2. O tell of God's might, O sing of God's grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is God's path on the wings of the storm.

3. The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy power hath founded of old;
hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
and round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

4. Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

5. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.