Friday, June 24, 2016

Practical Teaching on Repentance for the Believer

Practical Teaching on Repentance
for the Believer
What is repentance? The 1689 Baptist Confession defines repentance as:
An evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self- abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavor, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto well-pleasing in all things.

    Since believers are imperfect and are being sanctified, they must daily and continually repent of sins committed against God and man (Ps. 51:1-13; Matt. 6:12; 2 Cor. 7:8-11; 1 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 3:19). Believers are to repent, but they cannot produce conviction. Christians must pray for conviction of sin and grace to repent. These are works of the Spirit and cannot be manufactured by man (Jn. 16:8).
Repentance is both negative and positive. It consists in turning away from sin and toward God. The sinner, having been filled with sorrow for sin, humbles himself, renounces that sin, hates it, and runs to Christ for forgiveness and restoration.
    Several things accompany repentance. The Bible reveals that godly sorrow is present (2 Cor. 7:8-10). Also, conviction of sin accompanies repentance (Jn. 16:7-11). Brokenness and humility are present within the penitent believer (Ps. 51:16-17).   Lastly, sin will be confessed to God (1 Jn. 1:8-10).
    What are some biblical truths about repentance? First, repentance is a gift of God (Acts 5:29-31, 11:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:23-26). It is a work of the Spirit who indwells believers and is actively conforming them into the image of Christ. Where the Spirit dwells, sin cannot. Second, true repentance is ongoing; it is an attitude (Heb. 3:14; Acts 8:22). Once a believer is saved, he does not stop repenting. Oh no, repentance is a major part of the Christian life. Believers sin daily, so they ought to repent daily. Christians are not perfected in this life; we will always be dragging around this flesh. So, there will always be something to repent of. Do you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind? Nope. Repent. Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Nope. Repent. Have impure thoughts crept in, pride manifest itself, anger rush forth, apathy consume you? Repent.
    Third, true repentance must be from what we are and not just what we do (Ps. 51:1-5). We sin but that is not the main issue here. Why do we sin? We sin because we are robed in sinful and corrupt flesh, live in a fallen world, and are surrounded by evil and sin at ever turn. Not to mention, we as believers are still fallen, still depraved. So when we repent, we are not to merely focus on our actions, behaviors, thoughts, words, etc., but we must examine our hearts, motives, and affections. We sin because we are sinners. It is who we are. Granted, we are in Christ, but remember, we are not perfect, glorified, or without sin.
    Fourth, repentance glorifies God (Ps. 51:7-15). When a believer, by the influence of the Spirit, confesses, turns from sin, runs to God, begs for forgiveness, desires to have fellowship with the blessed Trinity, how could God not be honored? How could God not be glorified? This is God's work, as we have seen, and we know that God does all things for his glory! God hates sin. When his children hate sin, God is pleased.
    Fifth, repentance involves the entire person. True repentance is a change of the mind, will, and affections (Rom. 8:5-8; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 2:3-6). Every aspect of the believer is affected. The mind is changed. It no longer desires to think sinful thoughts. The will is affected. The believer no longer desires to act sinfully. The affections are changed. Christians no longer desire sin. No, the believer desires to think godly thoughts, to do good works for the glory of God and the good of man, and desires communion with God above all things. Now, it must be remembered that sanctification is incomplete in this life. Our repentance, our minds, wills, and affections will still feel the affects of indwelling sin. But praise God, he will finish what he started. There will be marked improvement. There will be growth in holiness.
    Sixth, repentance is required for all sin (1 Jn. 3:4; Jms. 4:17). This includes sins of commission and omission. This means the things that we do that are sinful and the things that we are supposed to do but don't, they too are sinful. Every sin that we take part in is an atrocity to a holy God and must be repented of. Every sin is cosmic treason and must be hated and turned from. All sin is to be repented of, not just what we deem are the “big ones”.
    What does daily repentance look like? How does a believer repent daily? Think on the magnitude, wickedness, and offensiveness of your sin. Consider the humiliation and suffering of Christ for our sin. Think on the wrath that was poured out on Christ in the place of sinners. Reflect on the holiness of God and his hatred of sin. Meditate on the goodness, mercy, love, patience, and grace of God in forgiving sinners, communing with them, and inviting them in to his presence. Read Scripture and pray for the Spirit to convict you of sin. Pray for grace to repent. Cry out to God for a new heart that hates sin and loves serving and glorifying him. Confess your sin to God, beg for mercy and forgiveness, pray for strength to resist temptation and to not commit particular sins, resolve to not sin against God, and thank God for his amazing grace.
    Repentance is a work of the Spirit in a believer, but it is the believer that repents. The believer must be active. Christians must be committed to repent. They must say, “I will turn from sins”, “I will submit to the Lord Jesus Christ”, “I will obey the demands of my King”, “I will follow Christ alone”, “I will strive to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength”.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Practical Application on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (Part 3/3)

Practical Application on the
Unsearchable Riches of Christ (Part 3/3)

Put On
     Tenth, Put on Christ. Believers must wear Christ, put him on as a garment. We are robed with his righteousness, so to put him on speaks to acting and behaving in a righteous manner. In addition, to put on Christ has deeper meaning. When Christ is put on, a Christian is identifying himself with Christ in his death and resurrection. Believers are new creatures. The old has passed away and all things have become new. Now, we are to act like it. Live a life of purity and holiness. After all, believers are united to Christ. No longer live according to the flesh, fulfilling its evil desires. Christ, who is our life, has raised us from spiritual deadness in order to live a life that glorifies him. We are to crucify ourselves daily; die to sin.
     “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13:14). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). “Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
     Eleventh, walk in Christ. To walk in Christ, in the biblical sense, involves the entire life. It is not putting one foot in front of the other. It is a person's conduct, their behavior, how they live their life. A person who is walking in Christ walks or lives in such a way that Christ is honored. To walk in Christ, then, really summarizes everything that has come before. The Christian who is walking in Christ believes on him, worships him, preaches and teaches him, obeys and grows in him, meditates on him, and so forth.
     To walk in Christ involves every aspect of one's life. Decisions are made in light of Christ and his word. Work is viewed as a blessing and even as worship because it is a gift from God and good. Marriages and families are modeled after the biblical pattern. Thoughts and speech are controlled and Christ-honoring. Time is spent, not wasted, in prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with God and his people. Attitudes and behaviors are shaped by the truth of God's word and changed if necessary to conform to God's standard. Sin is repented of and confessed.
     Again, to walk in Christ means to live to Christ. This means that we are not our own; we are Christ's and must live accordingly. It must be noted that we do not do these things perfectly. We are fallen and full of faults and weakness, but that should not stop us from striving to walk in Christ. Sin is not an excuse. Christians of all people ought to be motivated to be like Christ. To do this requires discipline, prayer, grace, faith, desire, conviction, patience, new affections, and a host of other means. Walking is not easy, it takes effort and time. The progress may be slow at times and hills and valleys dot the landscape. But, you cannot get from point A to point B without it.
      “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7). “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn. 1:6-7). “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1Jn. 2:5-6).
     Twelfth, commune with Christ. To commune with Christ is to have intimate fellowship. It is a close and personal relationship. Communion with Christ is possible because we are united to him and our sin has been removed. Also, our nature has been transformed, so we now desire to associate with the Savior. There is a bond between Christ and us; we wish to be in his presence. Christians enjoy the relationship they now share with the Lord. There exists within every believer a desire to be in contact with Christ, to worship him, learn from him, conform to his image, walk in him, and pray to him. Christ is our life!
     “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Cor. 1:9). “[T]hat which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1Jn. 1:3).
     Thirteenth, rejoice in Christ. How can a Christian not be filled with joy? He who has been delivered from the penalty of sin, its guilt, the wrath of God, and its power- how can he not be overflowing with joy? Believers ought to rejoice in Christ. After all, Christ came to earth, dwelt among sinners, experienced temptation, was mocked, lied about, ridiculed, falsely accused, and hung to die for us. He did not deserve any of the treatment he received from the hands of sinners. He did it for us! Shouldn't we rejoice in this?
      Christians may not always be happy because of their circumstances, but they can always rejoice in the fact that they are known by God and that they know him. Believers have an inner joy that rises above everything that is happening on earth. This joy bursts forth from Christians and results in praise to our great God and Savior. For the believer, this happens during all seasons, during the good and the bad, in times of persecution and times of peace. We rejoice when we think of Christ and his sacrifice, of our inheritance in heaven, that our sins are forgiven, that the veil has been ripped in two and we have been granted access to the Father, that we are indwelt by the Spirit, that all the promises are yes and amen in Christ, that he is coming again, and so many more privileges and hopes that become ours through Christ. Rejoice in Christ!
      “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and safe for you” (Phil. 3:1). “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). “Rejoice always” (1Thess. 5:16). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:11). “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Rom. 5:11).
     Fourteenth, persevere in Christ. Our perseverance is in Christ. He is our all, our everything. He saved us and keeps us saved. He will see his salvation through until the end. It is the grace of Christ working in us that causes us to keep going, to strive for the prize. We cannot quit or give up. Something inside compels us. The Christian life is filled with peril and difficulties, but we press on.
      This is the reason why believers endure such hardships and misery. The grace to persevere explains why Christians never renounce Christ and suffer for his sake. It is the only thing that can make sense of forsaking all to follow him, which may include physical death. So, persevere. Keep going. Go forward. When you fall, get up, repent, pray for grace, and proceed. Progress. Remember that we are pilgrims passing through. This world is not our home. No matter what befalls us here and now, nothing can compare to when we see our Lord face to face. It will be worth it. He is worth it!
      “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:27-30). “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30). “...Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor. 1:7-8). “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). “[W]ho by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pet. 1:5).
      This is the Christian life. Do not let anyone tell you that it is easy. On the contrary, we will have trials and tribulations, heartache and pain. The remarkable thing is that even in struggles, Christians have joy and can worship their Lord. This is the great paradox of the Christian faith- joy in suffering. We can't explain it, it isn't always fun, but we rejoice knowing that our God is in control and has a plan and purpose.
      We have come full circle; we are back at the beginning. It is all about Christ. He is rich beyond belief. Not physically, of course, but rich in glory and beauty and majesty and supremacy and mercy and love and grace. He is rich in and of himself. We have seen that though he is rich, he became poor for us. He came to us! In a sense, he became us by uniting a human nature to his divine.
      This is a great truth, but we must beware of making it all about us. He did come to earth and die for sinners. Ultimately, though, it is about the glory of the Godhead. God is not an idolater. So, first and foremost, Christ and his death are centered on the glory of God. Christ did what he did for God first, and then we benefit. But, we do benefit! I say this to make us aware of the fact that we do not live for ourselves. We as Christians are to live for Christ. Everything must be done for him and his glory. If it is not, and it won't be on this side of heaven, then it is sin, and sin needs to be repented of.
     With that said, we always have something to repent of, be thankful for, and to be more Christlike in. Christ is at the center. He is there regardless if we acknowledge it or not. We have the privilege as believers to be near him and to know him personally. So do not take him or your salvation for granted. Believe. Trust. Seek to know Christ more intimately. Don't waste the life he has given you; it is a precious gift and sovereignly ordained by a holy God. Be more like Christ. Pray for grace. No matter what happens, no matter the circumstances, worship and adore him. He is worth it. He alone is worthy!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Practical Application on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (Part 2/3)

Practical Application on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (Part 2/3)

    Fifth, obey Christ. Christ is to be obeyed. He is God and King, Lord and Savior. He is worthy of perfect submission and obedience. Our desire should be to obey our Christ. He is a good, loving, gracious, merciful, patient, and kind God. Why wouldn't we obey him? Christ makes it extremely easy to obey him. Our flesh, on the other hand, makes it difficult, but praise God for his grace that conforms us into the image of Christ.
    We obey Christ because he is our master. Upon conversion, we become slaves of Christ. This is not slavery as we think of it. On the contrary, we as slaves of Christ enjoy freedom which was provided by our great God. We are now free from sin and its penalty and free to worship our Creator and Savior. Before, we hated God and could not approach him. Since Christ has saved us, we have been ushered into his presence and reconciled by Christ's blood. Now we serve and obey him out of a grateful and transformed heart. It is not burdensome. It is a joy.
    “Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him'” (Jn. 14:23). “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith- to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Rom. 16:25-27). “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you” (1Pet. 1:1-2).
    Sixth, grow in Christ. When Christ saves us, he doesn't save us so we can remain unchanged. We are to grow, to mature, to develop, and to make progress. A tree must grow and produce fruit. No growth equals no life. We grow in our love for God and our hatred of sin. We grow in Christlikeness. We are to mature and not act as we once did. Christians must increase in their love for the word of God and communion with him.
     As we grow, we learn how sinful the world is, so we try to be in the world but not of it. Some other areas of growth are: love for fellow believers, a desire to sacrifice and serve, growing in grace, grow in holiness, growing in knowledge of Christ and Christianity, learning from failures and mistakes, learning how to pray, learning how to trust no matter the circumstance, seeking to glorify God in all things, renewing our minds, mortifying our flesh, not worrying, recognizing pride and other sinful tendencies, and sharing what Christ has done. Christ is the key. Believers, Christians, are to be like Christ. Pray that God will grow you. We have a responsibility to grow, so grow by praying and studying the word of God. Pray for conviction, illumination, and guidance.
    “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2Cor. 3:18). “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:15). “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2Pet. 3:18). “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1Jn. 3:2-3).
    Seventh, meditate on Christ. A big part, an often underrated aspect, of the Christian life is the mind. Believers are to be thinkers. Our thoughts must be transformed and conformed to Christ. We think when we read the word. We think about our salvation. We think about our great God and all of his wonders. Christians often think through their day and ponder where they sinned and how they disgraced Christ. At other times, believers think about how they served or glorified Christ. We think.
     Perhaps one of the most profitable exercises we can do as believers is to meditate on Christ. This is not Eastern meditation. We don't repeat a mantra over and over, neither do we empty our minds. No, Christians think about Christ and fill their minds with scripture. Meditation is deep and contemplative thought. We concentrate on Christ. We may read and reread a passage in the Bible to seek to better understand it, then we think about the verses and its application. We may ask questions to think about the text such as: what does this verse teach about Christ? Does this reveal anything about man or sin? How may I glorify Christ with this text in mind? Am I to obey or do something; is the text calling me to an action?
     Another approach is to simply think about Christ. Just stopping, being alone and in the quiet, and thinking about the Lord is a great way to grow and worship. What should you think about? Some suggestions are: think about the person and work of Christ, think on how he has gotten you to this point in your life, ponder his providence, think about your testimony and how Christ made himself known to you, focus on the cross, meditate on the enormity of your sin and the vastness of God's grace, think of ways you could serve Christ and honor him, rehearse the gospel and how you could share it, or contemplate a doctrine or teaching of Christ. There is always something to meditate on; we cannot exhaust or infinite Savior. Just think about something.
     “But that is not the way you learned Christ!- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:20-24). “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).
    Eighth, evangelize for Christ. Evangelism is sharing the gospel with others. It is telling people that mankind is fallen, hopeless, doomed, and cannot please God. It is also proclaiming that what man could not do, God did by sending his Son to take on flesh and become a substitutionary sacrifice for sinners. Now, sinners are commanded to repent and trust Christ for salvation. Sinners have to hear the gospel, the good news, in order to know that they offended a holy God and to repent and have faith in Christ. God has ordained the preaching of his gospel to call sinners to believe. No proclamation means no salvation.
     “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent” (Rom. 10:14-15). “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2Cor. 5:20). “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).
    Ninth, minister in the name of Christ. Christians are to do everything in the name of Christ. One enormous task we have is to minister. Believers are to serve other people, and by serving others, God is glorified. This can be done in a myriad of ways. Actually, anything we do can be viewed as ministry. We are ministering to people all the time- it just might not be a good ministry. So, in the name of Christ and for his glory, serve other people. Give of your time and use your gifts to benefit others. Help other people. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Minister by sharing the gospel (what could possibly be more important?). Serve anyway that you know how, just do it unto the Lord.
     “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Lk. 24:46-47). “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2Cor. 5:18-20). “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12). “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

Friday, June 3, 2016

Practical Application on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (part 1/3)

Practical Application on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ (Part 1/3)

   The person of Christ has always been controversial. He is either loved or hated, adored or despised, worshiped or blasphemed, followed or spurned. It has been this way since the beginning. Some brought gifts to the newborn King while others sought to kill him. A few believed him to be the long awaited Messiah, and others thought he was possessed by Satan himself. A handful worshiped Jesus as Lord and cried tears of joy, but most just cried “crucify him.” A small number obeyed Christ, but the majority hurled insults and reviled him.
    Yet, martyrs die for him, the timid confess him, the weary run to him, and the lost trust him. Whatever the case may be, you may hate him or love him, but you cannot, however, ignore him! All of history revolves around Christ. He is at the center of everything. His person, life, and death are monumental. He changed everything by coming in the flesh, teaching what he taught, doing what he did, dying the death he died, rising from the grave as predicted, and then ascending to the Father, but that is not all. He commissioned a band of men to preach his message to the world, and preach they did! The entire known world was turned upside down in a matter of years.
     The importance of Christ, his person and work, cannot be underestimated. Since his death and resurrection, the world is different. Christians, his followers, are willing to die for Christ. They do all things in his name, for his glory, and for the good of mankind. It is, for the most part, Christians who started schools, built hospitals, provided orphanages for children, helped the poor and hungry, erected shelters for the homeless, and a number of other ministries. Granted, non-Christians do these things, but it is not as consistent and worldwide. Believers go all around the world to minister.
     Christ is a believer's all. He is our identity! Christ is our everything. With that said, what do we now do? These next points should summarize what we do as Christians. These ought to define who we are. Nonetheless, we are imperfect and fail often, but, we should be motivated to repent and strive to glorify God in all things. We don't do anything perfectly, and that includes living the Christian life. There should be growth and maturity, though; we should desire to live in such a way that Christ is honored. We should be inclined to: believe on Christ, preach Christ, teach Christ, obey Christ, grow in Christ, meditate on Christ, evangelize for Christ, minister in the name of Christ, put on Christ, walk in Christ, commune with Christ, rejoice in Christ, and persevere in Christ.
    First, believe on Christ. Trust him. Look at all that the word has revealed about him. He is God and man. He lived and died for sinners. He taught and preached astounding messages. Disease and death were no match for the Lord; he healed the afflicted and raised the dead. Christ is perfect, holy, gracious, just, faithful, and loving. He fulfilled the entire Old Testament. Christ saves his people; he is salvation. Christ gives eternal life and forgiveness to those who repent and believe on him. Think about this, Christ actually saves his people from the just penalty of their sin. He wipes their sin away and removes the wrath of God from them. Christ is amazing. He is believable. Even when it is dark and life seems unlivable, believe on Christ. His grace is sufficient. Your problems may not vanish, but Christ will be with you and see you through. Don't trust yourself or others, trust Christ. He cannot fail.
     “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (Jn. 3:36). “Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent'” (Jn. 6:29). “Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst'” (Jn. 6:35). “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:40). “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1Jn. 5:13).
     Second, worship Christ. Those who have believed on Christ, assuming that they have been regenerated by the Spirit and converted, cannot but worship Christ. How does a person not worship the one who took their place on the cross, absorbing the wrath of God for their sin? How can a believer not adore the one who put on flesh, hungered, thirsted, sweated, and bled; him who was tempted, mocked, blasphemed, hated without cause, watched, examined, judged, persecuted, tortured, cursed, beaten, slapped, tormented, and murdered? We have to worship Christ because we have been transformed. We used to be natural, dead in our sin, and separated from God. Nevertheless, God did a supernatural work in us, and now it is natural to worship Christ. It is our nature. We can do nothing less.
     The amazing thing is that even if Christ did not come to earth and die, he would still be worthy of all worship and praise because of who he is. He is worthy! He does not have to do a thing, nothing is diminished, nothing is taken away, and he is still beyond words! He is God. That says it all. As God, he deserves every verse of song, every utterance of prayer, every syllable of praise, every note of music, and every joy-filled exultation simply because he is.
     “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col.3:17). “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks the oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1Pet. 4:10-11).
     Third, preach Christ. If Christ is our Savior and Master, then he must also be our message. We are to proclaim Christ and tell of his excellent greatness. Share with others his splendor and majesty. Tell of how he saves from sin and its penalty, brings life out of death, gives gifts of repentance and faith, feeds the spiritually hungry, blesses with eternal life, imparts peace and purpose, and renders joy unspeakable to them who trust and believe on him. We are to preach at work, in the streets, to our children, in the church, and as we walk and talk; everywhere and anywhere is our venue.
     It is because of who he is that we believe in and worship him. Because we believe and worship him, we also preach him. All of these go hand in hand. Something is not right if one of these is missing. We proclaim what we believe and worship. You do not have to be an ordained minister to proclaim the message of Christ and witness for him. We are ambassadors for Christ. We speak his gospel on his behalf. We are diplomats and representatives of the King. We have to speak about him; we are compelled. If we don't preach about Christ, the very rocks will cry out. Go proclaim!
     “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent” (Rom. 10:14-15)? “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1Cor. 1:22-24). “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake” (2Cor. 4:5). “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem'” (Lk. 24:45-47). “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2Cor. 5:20).
     Fourth, teach Christ. It follows that if we are saved by Christ, we are to worship him. Then, since we worship him, it follows that we seek to worship him in all things in everything we do. To do this, we preach and teach Christ. We not only teach Christ as an act of worship, we teach Christ because of who he is and what he has done for us, in us, and through us. Teaching Christ ought to summarize our lives. We can teach Christ at home, to our kids, at work, at church, at the ball field- anywhere can be a schoolhouse in which Christ is taught. And since he is infinite and eternal, you will never run out of things to teach about. Learn and teach; teach of his existence and work in the Old Testament, his names and attributes, his doctrine and ministry, his deity and humanity, teach of his amazing salvation.
     Teach Christ to those who do not know him. Teach him to them that do. Christ is to be taught in order to remove errors from people's thinking. Teach Christ in order to warn of the judgment to come and the salvation that is in his name. Teach Christ to the young and old alike. Teach Christ to combat all the false teachings of today. Teach Christ so that others will be equipped to teach him. Teach Christ because he is the Truth, and a world that is consumed by lies needs truth.
     “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1Cor. 2:2). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2Tim. 3:16-4:4).

Christian, Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Christian, Preach the Gospel to Yourself

     A summary of the gospel is found in Romans 3:19-26. Paul wrote,

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it---the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    The gospel declares that no one is righteous before God by observing the law (vs. 19-21). But, there is a righteousness from God that is apart from the law (vs. 21). This righteousness is only received through faith in Christ (vs. 22). This righteousness is available to everyone who believes, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (vs. 22-23). All who trust in Christ, who believe, are justified freely (declared righteous) by the grace of God (vs. 24). This justification is only through faith in the redemptive person and work of Christ Jesus (vs. 24). How can this be? Because God presented Jesus as a propitiatory sacrifice (Christ died in the place of sinners in order for him to bear the wrath and punishment due our sin) (vs. 25).
     So, what is it to preach the gospel to yourself. It must first be noted that, believers need the gospel. The gospel is not only for the lost. Oh no, Christians of all people still need to hear the good news. Notice in the New Testament, each author rehearses the gospel to his audience. And as you might know, the writers of the New Testament wrote to believers and churches. Believers need the gospel!
    Preaching the gospel to yourself should be done daily. Why? Because we are sinners. As sinners, we sin and need forgiveness. When we reflect on the gospel, we ought to be convicted, which results in repentance. We need to hear the gospel daily to reveal our sin and drive us to repentance. To do this, focus on the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and mediation of Christ- in a word, focus on the person and work of Christ our Savior (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
     To preach the gospel to yourself means that you own your sin, repent, flee to Christ, and trust in his sacrifice and righteousness. Not your own. Do not depend on your abilities or works. It also means that you think on the Trinity and their amazing work of salvation. This entail concentrating on the Father who initiated salvation and sent his Son. It means thinking on the Son who took on flesh and died as a substitute for sinners. And it means thinking on the Spirit who applies the work of the Son to those who repent and believe on Christ. 
    Preaching the gospel to yourself is deliberately and intentionally thinking on the great truths of God's salvation and our continual need of God's grace and forgiveness. Preaching the gospel to yourself will produce thankfulness and praise. When you dwell on God's grace and mercy, his forgiveness, the gift of Christ and the Spirit, and God's amazing salvation, how could that not overflow in worship? When a believer focuses on the gospel praise ought to bubble up inside and flow forth. Preaching the gospel to yourself will also bring to remembrance certain truths that will aid us in our daily walk. We will remember that we are set free (Jn. 8:36; Rom. 8:1), redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), forgiven (Col. 2:13), and holy and blameless in the presence of God (Col. 1:22).
     If people preached the gospel to themselves, it would make it more likely that they would be motivated to live according to the gospel. They may depend more on the Spirit's guiding and convicting work. They might also share the gospel more with others. People who reflect on the gospel will be more likely to seek to glorify God in all things throughout the day. When a person focuses on the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion of God, they too may live their lives demonstrating these attributes more often. 
    The gospel is for believers. We need it. Daily. We must always live repentantly before the Lord. We must meditate on the works of God and thank him. We must be dying to sin and that is made possible by the gospel and the Spirit's work. We must be conforming to the image of Christ. This is done by reflecting on the gospel of Christ and submitting to the Spirit's work. The gospel is glorious. I hope that you, reader, will never stop wondering and standing in awe of the glories of God's great gospel.