Monday, November 22, 2010

Is our Focus on the Cross?

In our fast paced lives, we can easily forget about the things that are the most important. Many times in our relationship with God, we tend to lose grasp of one thing; the life, death, and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. Many times Christians can get caught up in the latest end-times book released or caught up in the politics of the day that our focus is not on Jesus. Because the Gospel is the nucleus that holds biblical Christianity together, it is important that we have a strong grasp of it.

To start off with, we need, time and time again, to be reminded of what the Gospel is. It starts with that fact that we are totally depraved sinners that need a savior. Psalm 53 says, “God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” No one does good and no one is able to save himself. We have broken God’s law and we have to pay a penalty for it.That is why God the Father send his son, Jesus, to take the penalty we deserved by dying the most gruesome form of death imaginable. It was not just the most horrible form of death because he had been whipped, had his hands and feet nailed to a piece of wood, and was severely beaten, but He forebeared the wrath of God. The wrath you and I deserved was placed upon that cross. John Newton in his hymn said, “I saw my sins His blood had spilt and helped to nail Him there. But with a second look He said ‘I freely all forgive. This blood is for your ransom paid. I died that you might live.’” Jesus died so that we can live. We were dead in our transgressions and sins, but through Christ we were made alive. Not only did Jesus die, but he rose again from the dead. If Jesus did not rise, The Bible and the Gospel would be meaningless. He rose again and ascended into heaven and is reigning at the right hand of the father. One day, Jesus will return to judge the world. Oh let us not show our filthy hearts on that day. If you are not a believer, I would encourage you to repent of your sins and get things right with God. You do not want God saying to you on that day “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”(Matthew 7) This is the Gospel in a nutshell. Never lose grasp of it.

Pastor C.J. Mahaney once said, “Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust." Not only do we need to understand the Gospel, we need to apply into every area of our lives. Even though the questions of what constitutes biblical economics or government will not be addressed in this article, but the Gospel must be applied in those areas. We must place every area of our lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ. It is not enough to just go to church on Sunday, we must be out there preaching the Gospel, taking back the universities and educational institutes for Christ, and ministering to others. Why do we do this? It is because of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is so wonderful that we need to live it and show others that. We need to proclaim that true not only to ourselves, but to the whole world.

How do we apply this glorious gospel to our lives? First, we must preach it to ourselves every day. Read the scriptures and learn more about Christ and his work on the Cross. All other Christian doctrines have their foundation on the Gospel. Can you not think of any doctrine that is not connected to the Gospel? In Eschatology, it is more concerned about the return of Christ than about what is going to happen. One scholar put it this way, “eschatology is thoroughly Christological. It’s about Jesus. Christ’s return is like the hub of a wheel, and all the other stuff is like spokes coming off that wheel. And they only have meaning relative to the hub, relative to Christ’s return.”1 It is consummation of the whole of redemptive history. In one part, Christ came down and died for the sins of those he loved. In the next, He will return to put an end to wickedness and bring home the people He redeemed. Concerning the doctrine of total depravity, we are sinners, unable to do any good, and we need a savior. That is simple enough. How about the church? If Christ did not die, there will be no need for a church because the blood of the lamb was never poured out. We would most likely be sacrificing animals prescribed by the levitical laws rather than enjoying the Lord’s supper or embracing baptism. I am sure you get the point by now. The main theme of the Scriptures is the redemptive work of Christ. It has been predicted and hidden in the Old Testament and reveled and fulfilled in the New Testament. Another way to apply the Gospel is to go out and tell it to others. This is a must for all Christians. If you do not have resources to teach you how to evangelize, look up “Way of the Master” (Led by Kirk Cameron, also known as Buck Williams in the Left Behind series, and Ray Comfort) or take a look at “Proclaim” (An evangelism program developed by pastors within Sovereign Grace Ministries). So now you do not have any excuses for not evangelizing! You need to get over your fear of man. People around the world get killed for proclaiming the Gospel. Here in America, the worst thing that can happen is a person rejecting the Gospel. People rarely get killed for evangelizing in the United States. Thirdly, we as Christians need to take back all social institutions for Christ. Rather than withdrawing from the culture and forming a Christian subculture, we need to reach out and take the Universities, our government, the press, and the culture for Christ. If we do not do this, there can be severe consequences. This mission will not be easy and it may be accomplished within a couple hundred years. These things are what Christians are called to do.

In closing, the Gospel is what our focus is on. Without it, all that we do will be meaningless. If Christ did not die, we will be lost and running as far as we can from God. Rather than getting focused on end-time charts and predictions, we must put our focus on the One who has the end in His hands. He is the reason for our existence. We should be thankful for the One who died for the sins of His people.

1. Purswell, Jeff. “The Last One”. Sovereign Grace Ministries.

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