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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gospel of Jesus - Part 2


Last August I started a new position as Assistant Pastor at a church in Suburban Chicago. Listening to the Senior Pastor preach and teach, I heard a new way of articulating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The GOSPEL of Jesus Christ:

… He was BORN – to be our SUBSTITUTE;

… He lived the PERFECT life – to be our RIGHTEOUSNESS by faith;

… He DIED – to earn the FORGIVENESS of all sin;

… He ROSE from the dead – that we too might RISE from the grave one day; and

… He ASCENDED with the promise to return and give all believers in Christ eternal life in HEAVEN.



2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


St. Paul makes an absolutely incredible statement. In saying God made Jesus sin in order that we could become the righteousness of God is a tremendously awesome event. Look at what God has done for us! We have been reconciled to God by Jesus actually become sin!

While it is true that Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was tempted to sin, He actually never sinned. Yet He was punished by God for sin. In fact, all the sin of the world – starting with Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden and including my sin.

That is absolutely incredible!

That is absolutely incredible love!


Matthew 3:14-15

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”Then he consented.

The key to Jesus becoming sin for us and we becoming the righteousness of God is found in the baptism of Jesus. Matthew records Jesus saying, “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

What is happening is that Jesus is making the Sacrament of Baptism connected to His perfect life, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection from the dead.

Rather than Jesus needing  baptism to wash away sins – because He didn’t have any sin to wash away – He put His righteousness in Holy Baptism.

When we are now baptised, we are buried with him into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

This newness of life is the righteousness of Christ that we have been given when Christ became sin for us.

Here is your heartwork for this week:

Ezekiel 18:32               God Wants Us to Live

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.

2 Corinthians 5:21         Jesus Lived Perfectly

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Matthew 3:14-15           Jesus’ Baptism

John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Romans 1:16                 The Gospel is the Power of God for Salvation

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:17                 The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Gospel of Jesus - Part 1


Last August I started a new position as Assistant Pastor at a church in Suburban Chicago. Listening to the Senior Pastor preach and teach, I heard a new way of articulating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The GOSPEL of Jesus Christ:
… He was BORN – to be our SUBSTITUTE;
… He lived the PERFECT life – to be our RIGHTEOUSNESS by faith;
… He DIED – to earn the FORGIVENESS of all sin;
… He ROSE from the dead – that we too might RISE from the grave one day; and
… He ASCENDED with the promise to return and give all believers in Christ eternal life in HEAVEN.
He gives the Gospel in five points that can be learned quickly so as to be able to share with others. I am now writing a Bible study series based on this 5 point Gospel presentation.
The first point is the Christmas story. But it is also so much more. Christmas is, for many people, a wonderful time of year. The music, the feelings, the get-togethers, and the traditions help many people celebrate Christmas.
But at the heart of Christmas is the Christmas Story. The Christmas story – true in all its glory – is the fulfillment of thousands of years of promises and prophecies. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem He was born to be our substitute. Our sin separated us from God. The only way to remove sin is through shed blood and death. But if we shed our own blood and die we cannot survive. While we would pay the cost for our sin, we would not live. We need someone to take our place if we hope to live. The Good News is that God loves us so much that He provided that someone!
Jesus, the Son of God, was born as a human being to take our place, to be our substitute. He was born to fulfill the requirements of God’s Holy Law for us, because we could not do so.
I’ll be leading this Bible study on the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the next five Wednesday evenings here. I invite you to join me – either through my blog, byweekly devotion, or in person.
Each week there will be five Bible passages for our “heart work.” These are passages of God’s Word that we can lock away in our hearts so that they are “at the ready” when we are given opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus with someone else.
This week, the heart work is:
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Matthew 1:21
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Word


In response to my earlier post about not making New Year's resolutions, I'm now following "My One Word."

In setting goals instead of making resolutions, I've been able to narrow down what I'm trying to accomplish in 2012 to one word.

That word?

Listen.

I've got two ears and one mouth. So I should be listening twice as much as I speak.

My goal is to listen to what people say to - and around - me. I think it may be that I'll get to know them better and build stronger relationships.

My goal is to also listen to what God is saying to me. I tend to fill my world with a lot of noise. I'm going to try cut back on the noise so I can hear better what God is saying to me and others.

That's my goal in one word.

What's your one word?

Check out this blog for information on how to choose your word. My One Word.

In the Name of God


24The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26 ESV.

Happy New Year!

This is the day where we all get to start out fresh. I gave up resolutions years ago and switched to setting goals for myself. What’s the difference? My friend Sharideth taught me this one: The difference between a resolution and a goal is eight letters. And how it makes you feel when you don’t get it 100% right. In other words, the moment you miss the mark on a resolution, you feel like a failure and the resolution is over.  
But when you miss the mark with a goal, then that’s just a setback.  The difference is mental.  One is devastating, the other can be mobilizing.

So, no resolutions for me, only goals!

My number one goal in this New Year is to wear the name of God like it was a brightly painted necktie! My goal is live my life so that everyone knows that I bear the name of God on me.

The Bible verse at the beginning of this devotion is known as the “Aaronic Blessing” or the “Benediction.” It is usually spoken to God’s people at the end of a worship service.

But it is more than a simple “amen, let’s get going” type of thing. It is the Word of God spoken to His people that literally puts His name on them. As God’s people leave the sanctuary, they head out into the world wearing the name of God.

The name of God is a powerful thing. In the name of God or the name of Jesus people are healed, raised from the dead, forgiven of their sins, saved from death and hell.

My goal for 2012 is to live my life in the name of God. I will fail at times. But that’s the beauty of living in the name of God, the name of Jesus – which means “The Lord Saves.” When I fail, God forgives me for the sake of Jesus! Living in the name of God is living in the awesome power of God.

I believe that now, more than ever before, we need people living in that power. 2012 is going to be an interesting year. Some people believe that this is the year the world ends. Who’s to say? It could happen. But an ancient calendar that happens to run out of dates on December 21, 2012 doesn’t really scare me. After all, Jesus Christ Himself said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36 ESV). So if that’s the case, there’s really nothing to get worked up about, is there?

Instead, live in the name of God in 2012. Make that your goal (not your resolution)!
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