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Archive for February, 2013

According to Scripture, God deliberately designed the gospel in such a way so as to strip me of pride and leave me without any grounds for boasting in myself whatsoever. This is actually a wonderful mercy from God, for pride is at the root of all my sin. Pride produced the first sin in the Garden, and pride always precedes every sinful stumbling in my life. Therefore, if I am to experience deliverance from sin, I must be delivered from the pride that produces it. Thankfully, the gospel is engineered to accomplish this deliverance.

Preaching the gospel to myself each day mounts a powerful assault against my pride and serves to establish humility in its place. Nothing suffocates my pride more than daily reminders regarding the glory of my God, the gravity of my sins, and the crucifixion of God’s own Son in my place. Also, the gracious love of God, lavished on me because of Christ’s death, is always humbling to remember, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Hell I deserve.

Pride wilts in the atmosphere of the gospel; and the more pride is mortified within me, the less frequent are my moments of sinful contention with God and with others. Consequently, humility grows lushly in the atmosphere of the gospel, and the more humility flourishes within me, the more I experience God’s grace along with the strengthening His grace provides. Additionally, such humility intensifies my passion for God and causes my heart increasingly to thrill whenever He is praised.

(A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent, pp. 27-28)

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on the subject of church discipline (my theme – a healthy church understands and practices biblical church discipline). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God is the ultimate example of church discipline because He disciplines those whom He loves.

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“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

God’s Word is full of precious promises for His children, and this is one of them. In Psalm 34, David praises God for His protection and care of those who trust Him. Verse 16 proclaims that God is present in a special way with those whose heart is broken, and the He delivers and heals them. We could say that God, in His nearness, helps and heals those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.

We know what it means to have a broken heart. We know what it means to have our spirit crushed. Very little explanation of the terms in necessary. It may come in the form of a broken relationship, a prodigal child, the loss of a job we loved, the death of someone we loved, a serious illness or disease, chronic pain, a dream that died, or a myriad of other things, but we know it – we’ve lived it – and we know it hurts.

It’s at that moment that we ‘re tempted by the Evil One to think that God has left us, that He doesn’t care, or that He’s gone away on holiday to the Bahamas – but He hasn’t! David’s words – inspired by the Holy Spirit – are clear: God is near to us (He’s never left us) and He will help and heal. It may be immediate or take a bit of time, but He will help and heal – we can count on it!

Is your heart broken? Has your spirit been crushed? Go to God and claim this precious promise for His glory and your good.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on the subject of church membership (the second half of what I began to present last week). What follows is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Christian life is best lived-out in the context of committed, formal relationship between believers, a specific local church, and the Lord.

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Every time I deliberately disobey a command of God, it is because I am in that moment doubtful as to God’s true intentions in giving me that command. Does He really have my best interests at heart? Or is He withholding something from me that I would be better off having? Such questions, whether consciously asked or not, lie underneath every act of disobedience.

However, the gospel changes my view of God’s commandments, in that it helps me see the heart of the Person from whom those commandments come. When I begin my train of thought with the gospel, I realize that if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son’s life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me. Viewing God’s commands and prohibitions in this light, I can see them for what they really are: friendly signposts from a heavenly Father who is seeking to love me through each directive, so that I might experience His very fullness forever.

When controlling my thoughts as described above, the gospel cures me of my suspicion of God, thereby disposing me to walk  more trustingly on the path of obedience to His commands. (Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians, pp. 17-18)

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