THOUGHTS

SHORT, THOUGHT PROVOKING ARTICLES PUBLISHED BI-MONTHLY.

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

The Gospel Makes a Difference   !

In the past few weeks, I have spoken a great deal to this Body of Christ concerning the TRUE GOSPEL of JESUS as CHRIST. So many today, in the so-called Christian world, have become focused on church (speaking of it as a structure, organization, institution, an entity unto itself, etc…); instead of focusing on the power of the single Gospel of Jesus as Christ.

This True Gospel of Christ is set forth in two main functions; conversion and doctrine.

Matthew 28:18-20And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Here, in the commission of the Lord to His chosen, we see the simplicity and power of the True Gospel of Christ. “Make disciples” = conversion; “Teach them to observe” = doctrine.

This simple instruction takes the focus away from church (as described above) and places the focus on the Gospel and its effects. The True Gospel converts an individual to Christ Jesus and places that individual into His body (only one!) – Galatians 3:26-27.

It is at this point that the doctrine of Christ begins to transform this individual in the clear and precise knowledge of cooperative work in the Body of Christ and individual service to the Lord! Transformation is the key!

True appreciation for the benefits of the love of God, will create within the hearts of individuals a desire to please the Father of Love to the fullest extent (knowledge = wisdom = bearing fruit in love; with the onus on the individual vs. church programs; Ephesians 4:16).  

To this extent, and with all this said, I came across this note today, and found within it some things worthy to share along these lines, as a Thought!

David

(Source: brandonmerrill.com)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The gospel makes all the difference. One of the clearest ways to see that difference is to begin to contrast "the gospel" with "religion".  In the gospel you find hope, peace, and joy.  In religion you find pride, judgment, and fear. Religion will continually move you between arrogance (with your achievements/goodness) and total discouragement (with your failings).  The gospel, on the other hand, will wonderfully hold you firm in the hope and joy found in Christ alone.

Tullian Tchividjian has composed a list of the differences between religion and the Gospel (taken from the sermons of Tim Keller). You can read the list in its original format here.  I've taken the list and added categories to clarify for me the areas in which the gospel changes things.  Maybe it will be helpful to you as well.

The Gospel Transforms Obedience:

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

The Gospel Transforms My View of Stuff

RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.

THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.

Make a Difference, and Transform Yourself to the True Gospel of Jesus as the Christ of God!