Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's the point?

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord..."

I've been wondering if we are really getting the point. If God is who he says he is and he does what he says he does, then why aren't we putting all our treasures in him? Are we really taking him for what he is worth? Are we getting the gospel?

More importantly: Are we missing the whole entire point?

Here is an excerpt from David Platt's newest book Follow Me: "Do you desire to reproduce? Deep down inside, do you long to see people come to know Christ through your life? If the answer to that question is not an unhesitating, unapologetic yes, then I encourage you to search your heart. Is Christ in you? Do you believe his Word--his Word that claims that Christ alone is able to save sinners, that God alone is worthy of worship, and that all who do not receive God's grace in Christ will spend eternity in hell? Are you experiencing his affections--delight in knowing him and a desire to proclaim him to the people around you? Ultimately, are you abandoned to his will for you to be his witness in the world? If these things are not a reality in your life, then no matter what decision you made however many years ago and no matter what church you attended last week, you may not actually be a Christian, for these features are the fruit of followers of Christ."

Ouch. While his words are definitely raw, maybe even harsh, and straight to the point, I think it's necessary to do a heart check-up to see if we actually are following Christ- not by just our words, but by our actions. By our fruits. It's important to evaluate what we are treasuring. Because as Christians, we each should have as our treasure the spreading of the gospel and the salvation of lost souls. 

This is what the ministry of Jesus is all about. If he is our example, shouldn't it be ours too? We cannot follow him while treasuring worldly things above him. Going back to something mentioned earlier, if God is who he says he is, shouldn't we be delighting in him? What is even the point of delighting in so many worldly things? As Christians, what's the point in having sex outside of marriage? As Christians, what's the point in being full of jealously and hate? As Christians, what's the point in going out and getting drunk? As Christians, what's the point in chasing pointless relationships that do nothing but drag us away from God? What's the point in wanting more money that will be spent on unneeded possessions instead of furthering the kingdom? What's the point in this or that? Name it. Anything that distracts us from God. What's the point?

What is the point in anything that is not bringing God glory? 

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."-Galatians 5:19-21

As Nicky Gumbel says, "In the long run instant gratification leads to disillusion, emptiness and despair. Listening to God and building a relationship with him leads to deep spiritual satisfaction, joy, and purpose."

We can chase after gratification all day long in this world full of "instant," but the bottom line is that if we aren't chasing after it in the name of Jesus, we will never be completely satisfied. Complete satisfaction will come only through Jesus.

God wants us to experience him and have a deep relationship with him, but we have to treasure it. He can't just be our emergency contact for special occasions, such as when we have a big test coming up, when we need a certain situation to turn in our favor, or even when we lose a loved one.

At the point of salvation, we repent of our sin. That means we completely turn away from it. Yes, we will sometimes sin, but we no longer life in a lifestyle of sin. There is a difference. It's time for us to realize the importance of turning away from our old life. We cannot live our old life while claiming salvation. We learn in Galatians that if we belong to Jesus, we crucify the passions and desires of our flesh (5:24).

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age." Titus 2:11-12

From the verses in Titus, we have two very important tasks as Christians: abandon ungodliness and pursue godliness. That's what it's all about.

If we are call ourselves Christians and identify with Christ, then our lives should revolve around God and what he did for us through his Son and the cross. We should find pure joy in that fact that God loves us SO much that we don't have to suffer for eternity in hell because of our sins. We should serve him with great gladness because we are able to, not because we have to. We should love everyone, especially the least, because that is the model of Jesus. We should rejoice that God, who is so powerful and holy, desires a personal relationship with you and me. Let that one sink in for a minute. We should live undaunted because fear does not come from God and he desires to give us a future. Most importantly, we should live sold out for Jesus. He saved us and he deserves so much more of us than what he give to him or what parts of us we allow him access to. He deserves us as much on Friday night as he does on Sunday morning. We should share what Jesus has done for us at every chance we get in the hopes that the Good News would be spread to others. We should be the hands and feet of Jesus. Loving and serving others always.

We try to make the gospel into a heart-warming story that fits our needs and we tend to leave out the part that actually requires anything sacrificial on our part. We have adjusted the gospel to where we have crammed it as a puzzle piece in the American Dream, but that puzzle piece was never meant to fit there. That was never God's intention for the gospel. It is so much simpler than we make it. It's really only about a Savior who walked this earth as we did and then hung on a cross for the sake of our wrongdoings. So I believe we need to readjust the mind frame that we have placed in the gospel in, and focus more on it's truthful foundations. In her book Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker describes it precisely: "If the kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the bottom dwellers, then rich American Christians are going to have the hardest time finding it. The whole filthy engine is designed to benefit the top, and that is our zip code...the needy world isn't interested in God because He might secure their promotion or deliver an offer on their house in a wilting market. By the millions, they are running to the cross because the love of a redeeming Savior is too intoxicating to resist. Jesus is their hope and inheritance, and they glory in Him despite crushing poverty, political upheaval, and endless instability. They already live at the bottom, in Jesus' zip code."

So what's the point? The point is the gospel. And it's time for us to live it out.

"If the gospel is good news to all, then it's not just an idea to consider, a time slot on Sunday, or a task assigned to a select few - it's a life to love. And it's bigger than all of us."-Jen Hatmaker

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

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