Gospel Discovery

Note: This is Part 2 of a series of sermons based on Pastor J.D. Greear’s study, Gospel Revolutions.

Part 1, Gospel Change
Part 2, Gospel Discovery
Part 3, Gospel Acceptance
Part 4, Gospel Approval
Part 5, Gospel Response
Part 6, Gospel Faith (Coming March 11, 2012)
Part 7, Substitute Gospels (Coming March 18, 2012)
Part 8, Gospel Depth (Coming March 25, 2012)

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Text: Matthew 17:1-8

We are continuing this week our look at the Gospel and what it means for us as believers. Last week, we talked about how the Gospel seeks to change us. Too often, we try to get people to look like they are Christians in an effort to make them Christians, but that’s not how the Gospel works. The Gospel is not an outside-in effort. The Gospel changes us by working from the inside-out. God works in the Gospel by starting with our hearts. Once the transformation is accomplished there, the rest flows out as a result.

Today, we are talking about Gospel Discovery. When I was growing up, my mom’s parents built a second home on the side of a mountain in Ashe County in northwestern North Carolina. We spent a number of our summer vacation trips traveling from our home in New Orleans area up to this mountain retreat. The front porch of their home was a wide, covered place with a number of rocking chairs and a swing. The scenery was gorgeous, with a view of three other mountains. We spent much of our time relaxing there, morning, noon, and night.

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How

A lot of my thoughts turn to praxis – how to live out faith in everyday life. It is one of the reasons my attention diverted from academia to the church while in seminary. I got frustrated while writing an exegetical paper, wondering about the point of writing thirty pages on two Greek sentences. Anyway, the HOW of Christian faith I finally hear catching up to the WHAT and WHY of Christian faith. We are moving from elaborating systematic theologies to embracing the understanding and asking HOW. And I think it is wonderful.

Todd Hiestand has a great post on HOW that I highly recommend.

Of plots and theories

Well, as anyone who watches the news, listens to the radio, or spends any time looking at web sites (and thus blogs) knows, the world has changed again.  Overnight.  Literally.  Nothing like packing your bags for that week-long European tour and having your goodie bag carry-on perfectly arranged only to get the airport and find that two-thirds of it you can’t take with you because some people on the other side of the ocean thought it might be a good idea to use similar-looking items to kill untold numbers of their human peers.

What a world we live in.

I am glad that the plot was uncovered beforehand. And I am glad that in the end, the worst harm was to the UK traveler intending to head to the US who could not fathom spending eight hours separated from her IPOD.  Pity.

Matthew 24:3-14 

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.  Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

It has been fashionable in especially conservative and fundamental Christian circles to say that we are living in the end times. Personally, I believe that we have been living in the end times since Jesus spoke these words. I think time and dates are relative to God’s work and we are no closer or farther away from the end of all things than John was on Patmos. But I will say that it seems our world reflects very clearly the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew.

As believers, we have nothing to fear, for our assurance is not of or in this world or its goings on. But it is our duty to go and tell. To go and spread the good news of the Gospel to all the world. The damnation of any should not hang over our heads, so it is our responsibility to tell all that we can what we know and believe and live for.

Copyright notice: Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.