October 29, 2010

The Gospel Is NOT... A Set of Rules

Sometimes, I think it is helpful to understand what something is through negative understanding, or by understanding what something is not. Particularly, the more complex and important an issue is, the more beneficial it is that we hear something taught in a variety of ways. Therefore, I will be posting several posts on what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT:

1. A set of rules: Commonly, it is said that Christianity is not a religion. By this most people mean that true Christianity is not simply a list of things that one must or must not do, which is entirely correct. While God's law certainly is still valid, those who try to abide by the His law will certainly die (1 Cor. 15:56). You see, the law was and is meant to show us our sin, because we could never keep it no matter how hard we try. This should lead us to depend on Jesus because He is the only one that was able to obey the law perfectly. It is by faith in Him that we are saved, not by anything we do or don't do (Eph. 2:8-9).

Does this mean that if we place our faith in Jesus, then we can do whatever we want? Paul asks it this way:
"Shall we sin that grace may abound more?", a question he then answers with an emphatic "By no means!" (Romans 6:1-2). You see, if we truly have an understanding of God's grace within our lives and the gravity of our sin, our failure to keep the law, then our faith will be real, and as James tells us, our faith will produce works as a result (James 2:26). In other words, it is out of our love for Christ that we will obey His law, not because we are seeking to prove ourselves to God or make ourselves good enough, because we never could. Jesus did what we never could, took our punishment for breaking the law and offers His free gift of salvation to all who believe.

October 25, 2010

Sam Harris Believes in God?

Newsweek has just come out with an article on the well-known militant "new atheist", Sam Harris and his belief in "God". The article explores how Sam Harris is not so willing to go by the label atheist because he "concedes he believes in something certain people call 'God'." While the article goes on to explain Sam Harris' belief in "spirituality" and that this belief is not in "God, but consciousness", the most troubling aspect I found was the statistic that "a quarter of Americans believe that God is 'an impersonal force'", and as Newsweek goes on to explain:
When polled about God, “people substitute in their own ideas,” says John Green, senior research adviser at Pew. “People have a vague, fuzzy notion of transcendence, and they substitute God for it...When you try to make the definition more specific, fewer people answer in the affirmative.” Or put another way, “If you let the concept of God float a little bit, almost everybody is a theist,” says Stephen Prothero, author of God Is Not One. What Sam Harris believes in—rationality, morality, transcendence, humility, awe, community, selflessness, and love—meets a fairly common definition of God.
My friends, this is the reality of living in a postmodern world. As time goes on, I believe that the real challenge to the Church will not be convincing people that there is a god, but showing people that the God of the Bible is the only true and living God.

October 11, 2010

Loving and Thinking

Here's a good quote from John Piper's new book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
 The main reason that thinking and loving are connected is that we cannot love God without knowing God; and the way we know God is by the Spirit-enabled use of our minds. So to “love God with all your mind” means engaging all your powers of thought to know God as fully as possible in order to treasure him for all he is worth.

God is not honored by groundless love. In fact, there is no such thing. If we do not know anything about God, there is nothing in our mind to awaken love. If love does not come from knowing God, there is no point calling it love for God. There may be some vague attraction in our heart or some unfocused gratitude in our soul, but if they do not arise from knowing God, they are not love for God.
HT: Zach Nielsen

October 7, 2010

Treasuring Him- Sermon Jam



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