Monday, April 30, 2012

Paul/Jesus Conversation

I ran across this example on a blog I stumbled upon.  It is a short conversation between the Apostle Paul and Jesus, using scripture from John 1:17 and Rom 8:15 as talking points.  Very cool dialogue worth sharing.  Enjoy.

Paul: It is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Jesus: Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.

Paul: Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Jesus: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Jesus' words should be a comfort for sinners.  Because He is strong, we are free to be weak.  Because He Won, we are free to lose.  Because He came to save sinners we should come to his table and drink, as Robert Capon* called it, 2000 year old, "two-hundred proof Grace".  It's all Grace, we have nothing to offer.  Turn your religious half-hearted efforts into joyful obedience knowing that "It is Finished" by Grace alone because He loved you!

*Blog on Robert Capon excerpt link:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Last Verse.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are considered the Gospels in the Bible.  Although every book in the Bible points to Christ, these four are the historic accounts of Jesus’ life as He walked on this earth as the God-Man.  There are so many instances in these books where Jesus performs a miracle or does something so gracious.  Those times when He was doing these great things for people around Him, He was earning our salvation for us.  He was fulfilling God’s perfect and Holy Law in our place.  For example, Jesus healing the blind man was Him helping the weak or handicapped.  He did this because He knew I would walk right past people like this most of the time in my life.  He also knew that the few times I did do something for someone, I would do it out of pride or to make myself feel or look like a better person.  Even our good deeds are tainted with sin.  It took Jesus performing and living out these miracles and perfectly obeying God’s laws to replace our sinful disobedience throughout our lives.  This is just one small example of how Jesus came to earth to live this way for us.  One big example of Jesus doing something in our place is on the Cross.  He took the punishment, the penalty for our Sin in our place.  Our disobedience had to be put to death and Jesus did this for us.  What an awesome act of GRACE.  Also by the gift of Faith, we can accept the Son’s perfect obedience and death in our place for eternal life.

That brings me to my main point of this post today.  I want to take you to John 21:25.  This verse is the final verse of the four gospels.  I think it packs a BIG punch to show us how small we are and how GREAT Jesus is. 

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”-John 21:25.

 I have never closely read this verse until this morning.  God’s Holy-inspired Word is perfect.  I think by ending the gospels in this way it leaves us with a large Hope for future glory.  Not only that, but when you finish reading the four books that precede this sentence you are amazed at all that Jesus graciously did in His life through obedience and miracles, all that He sacrificed on the Cross by punishment and death, and then the power shown at His resurrection to new life.  Then this verse says there is more!  The Bible can’t hold it all!  Jesus’ life was completely full of “good deeds”, “perfect obedience”, and was the fullness of God’s Grace, God’s Will and God’s Glory.  But still, the world cannot hold the rest of the great things Jesus did in His life on earth.  We only get a glimpse in the Bible of all the amazing things He did. 

That brings me to my final question.  If the Holy Bible doesn’t include even most of it and the world could not even hold the amount of books that would have to be written to tell us about them, then what CAN hold it?  Where will we find out more about how great He is?  I believe the answer is in Heaven.  If we read John 20:30 it says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 
God knew what we needed to hear to believe.  He only gave us a glimpse of these “signs” of all that Jesus is.  Earlier in the book of John, in chapter 14 Jesus says:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.””

What a great and comforting verse for people to have that hope of a life with Christ in His father’s house.  The last chapters of John are full of places where Jesus speaks to give comfort and hope that He will return for His people.  I have peace knowing that ALL of Christ’s fullness and greatness will be held in Heaven.  When my death comes or when Christ returns we will, for eternity, be praising Him together.  I am sure, by grace alone, our sanctification will be completed at this time (Phil. 1:6).  We will see and understand everything that the Bible didn’t tell us and that this world couldn’t hold.  With this revelation, our eternity will be FULL of praise and thanksgiving to the One who is worthy of it.  I believe my Father’s House can hold it all! 
Because of Grace, go in Peace!  Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


As all of my social networking friends can tell, I love the gospel-centered tweets and facebook statuses.  I try to come up with my own most of the time based on my current bible readings or life experiences that trigger a thought, but I also share others' wisdom when I see it.  I just wanted to share some of my favorites I have read as twitter posts, quotes, or as part of a blog post by someone.  There is a lot we can use as gospel reminders everyday from places like these.  Lord knows we need it because we tend to forget and look to other places other than Jesus throughout the day for answers or our needs.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and ENJOY!

"When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, since Christ died for sinners."
-Martin Luther

"The Gospel isn't so that we can hear and then do something ourselves.  Instead, the Gospel is Jesus coming to UNDO, once and for all, what we've done.  Our 'doing' is what gets us in trouble.  So rejoice in the Gospel that you, a captive of sin, is set free!"

"Christianity is not about working hard to gain something you don't have.  It is growing in the knowledge of everything you already have In Christ."-Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus+Nothing=Everything

"God's Law reveals our desperation; God's gospel reveals our deliverer!"
"While the Law demands and directs, only the gospel delivers and drives."
"I am the sinner that the Law exposes, Jesus is the Savior that the gospel extols.  He is my hope, my only hope!"-Pastor Tullian

"Before creation, Almight God by His sovereign purpose, set His sights on your soul!"-David Platt

"When you are finally free enough to admit you can't please a Perfect God, you'll be free enough to rest in Christ's righteousness."-Elyse Fitzpatrick
Worry and anxiety is a result of a LOW view of God's sovereignty.  "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's! - 2Chron. 20:15-16"

"He has already won your victory; Christ announced, "It is Finished." This is the Gospel and grace for your race."-Tommy Boland

John Calvin: "Hell reigns when there is no Peace with God.", "God indeed forgives freely, but in such a way that the facility of MERCY does NOT become an enticement to sin."

Behavior, good or bad, is a second thing, C.S. Lewis: "You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first!"
(Your effort and obedience should not be an effort to please God, but it should be a RESPONSE to your FAITH in God.  Jesus Christ alone pleases God.  He came to do the will of the Father and He completed that task perfectly.  The Father received the finished work of the Son and now a way has been made for us to PLEASE the Father by accepting the Son's work!)
"We should not be conscerned with bad to good adjusments.  We should be more conscerned with moving from Death to Life!" (Mark 7:15, Gen 2:17, Romans 6:23, 1 Cor. 15:22, Eph 2:1, Romans 6:1-11)

"Sanctification is NOT arriving at some point where we need Jesus less as we improve.  It is GROWING in the KNOWLEDGE and reality of how utterly dependant we are on Christ's cross and mercy."-Tullian

"To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see ONLY HIM who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us."-Deitrich Boenhoffer

Ok, so after reading through these a number of times I realize one thing:  because of the Holy Spirit in me, I never get tired of the redundancy of the Gospel.  "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" is the freeing truth of the gospel.  There is nothing we could do or can do to earn what we have in Christ alone.  Put your effort going forward, not in trying to earn God's favor or please Him, but put the work towards believing better that "It is Finished."  Like I said before, our focus should be on Jesus and His finished work.  When Jesus was walking on water and He called Peter out to walk too, Peter was doing fine when his eyes were fixed on Jesus.  As soon as he looked down, lost trust, and focused on himself is when he started sinking (Matthew 14:28-33).  Don't focus on how you are doing, we get better when our focus is on God's grace and mercy in what Jesus has already done in our place!  Constant gospel reminders, from Scripture and like these quotes, help me to do that.

Go in Peace Christian, you're free to share this Grace with others!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Easter is special for everyone.  Even unbelieving friends and neighbors treat this Sunday with some respect.  Obviously they don't hold it as special as those of us in Christ, but they still know it is a day of life and love.  You may even be able to see them pick up a Bible or visit a church on this one Sunday of the year.  I think most churches would say Easter is a day they expect the pews to be packed.  I think this is a great thing.  The message a pastor should put out for his congregation every week, and tomorrow for sure, is one that is for everyone, a true complete message of Grace Alone.  It is the story of the gospel.  Easter Sunday brings a feeling of "Wow, this is real."  Had Jesus lived His perfect life of obedience, bravely and willingly died on the Cross, but failed to roll the stone away and rise (Luke 24:2), there would be no HOPE in the good news of the gospel (Romans 15:4). 
It would fail to be the gospel if any one of these three parts were left off.  So as we celebrate the GOOD NEWS this weekend, remember that Easter is the culmination of the fullness and completeness of the Gospel of grace.  Jesus perfectly obeyed God's Law for us.  He then willingly and intentionally walked the hill of Calvary and put up His life for a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28).  Then, on the third day, Jesus defeated the grave, death, and the bondage of sin over us by RAISING us to new life IN HIM.  This means we are now eternally His and He is our mediator and righteousness at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33).  Now we can say "To live is Christ and to die is gain! -Phil. 1:21" and "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? -1 Cor. 15:55).
Remember this everyday, not just this weekend.  It is the only way we can love the Lord our God with all of our heart/soul/mind/strength and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34).  When you forget and fail to do it (and you will), remember that His grace is enough and you are still loved more than you can imagine.  Those constant reminders give us the freedom needed to fight the good fight free from the bondage of sin.  His Holy Spirit does not convict to guilt and shame, He convicts to make us RUN to JESUS' finished work.  He is Risen! It Is Finished! (John 19:30) Hallelujah, What a Savior!  Amen.