On this man-made holiday, there is a lot going on in the world that brings confusion, anxiety, and even fear in the Church. Confusion because the visible church doesn’t seem to make a firm stand against the pagan-centered revelry of a holiday that celebrates falsehood, false theology, and false deities. Anxiety because the church has forgotten the message of the Gospel, and in doing so have ascribed falsely some extra power of the enemy defeated by Christ on the Cross. It is finished means just that, by the way.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Next week’s OT study we will look at this finishing work of Christ on the Cross more closely, but for now be encouraged, and do not fear the defeated enemy, for Christ already finished the work of Salvation at the cross. We walk by faith, and not by sight. The enemy is a liar. Let’s look at the encouragement Paul wrote to Timothy as he faced the daunting task of leading the church while Paul was in prison.
2 Timothy 1:1-14 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,2 To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
This so-called holiday has no power over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. None. You who have believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been sealed by God the Holy Spirit, and that is not a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of self-control. Do not be conformed to this world and its fear and its customs. Speak life to those who are celebrating death. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life to those who would believe the Word of God.
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) Doxology
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
(Bonus) Voddie Baucham|”What is the Gospel?”
Today, I’d like to close by sharing a good sermon by Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Texas.
Their website makes a transcript for the sermon available: http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/42511113392.pdf
The sermon is an hour long, and the transcript is approximately 7K words long. Voddie does a great job of taking a hard look at how the Gospel is misrepresented and how we need to get back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is primarily teaching from Romans 9. The sermon can be broken down into the following major points:
- The gospel is not just how we get saved. You talk to the average Christian and you ask them what the gospel is and more than likely they are going to give you a plan of salvation. The gospel is not the plan of salvation. The gospel is not the four spiritual laws. The gospel is not just how we get saved.
- The gospel is not just the two great commandments. And that is what is popular in our day. You just boil it down to love God and love people. Listen to Carson’s word on this. “Other voices identify the gospel with the first and second commandments, the commandments to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourself. These commandments are so central that Jesus himself insists that all the prophets and the law hang on them, but, most emphatically, they are not the gospel.” Love God, it is not the gospel. In fact, here is the irony. That phrase, love God, love people, is actually a summary of the law.
- The gospel is not the moral teachings of Jesus. Ok? Listen to this one carefully, especially those of us who live in home school circles, because you hear this one a lot. The gospel is all of the moral teachings of Jesus. The third option today is to treat the ethical teaching of Jesus found in the gospel as the gospel. Yet it is the ethical teaching of Jesus abstracted from the passion and resurrection narrative found in each gospel. Think about this for a moment. If we say that the gospel is all the moral teachings of Jesus found in the gospels, then here is what we have said. You see, God in the Old Testament gave us a law, but that law either wasn’t righteous enough, wasn’t clear enough or wasn’t effective enough. So Jesus came and gave us another law so that that one could be kept, because our problem wasn’t us. It was God. Made a mistake the first time, had to come correct it. The first law didn’t work, gave us another law. All that stuff about his Son dying, don’t know how that fits into this mindset if all he came was to just give us another law. Folks, that is not the gospel.
- The Gospel is God-centered, Christ-centered, and Grace-centered.