Glad Tidings

Gal 1:11-12 (NKJV) 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Greek for “gospel” is defined as:

The glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God.

Webster defines “glad” as:

1 : having a cheerful or happy disposition by nature
2 a : experiencing pleasure, joy, or delight : made happy b : made pleased, satisfied, or grateful — often used with of c : very willing
3 a : marked by, expressive of, or caused by happiness and joy b : causing happiness and joy : pleasant
4 : full of brightness and cheerfulness

Webster defines “tidings” as a piece of news.

So the question this morning for me is this: Is the Gospel message a piece of news that makes me cheerful or of a happy disposition by nature?

If I look like a I was “weaned on a pickle” and constantly seeing the worst in everything and everyone, has the bit of news about Jesus made me full of brightness and cheerfulness?

Am I experiencing pleasure, joy, or delight in the understanding of what Christ has done? Have I been made happy, pleased, satisfied or grateful by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my sins?

Am I marked by or expressive of joy and happiness because of the message of Galatians 2:20 and John 3:16?

Am I causing happiness and joy in the lives of others?

If I cannot answer those questions in the affirmative, then I have a disconnect between what I have received and what I deserve.

Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of the woman described as “a sinner” breaks the alabaster jar of oil over Jesus’ feet and washes his feet with her tears and hair. The self-righteous Pharisees were judging both Christ and the woman in that moment. In a parable Jesus draws the picture one who is forgiven much, loves much.

How much has God forgiven me of?

I need to remember that more often. I need to occasionally catch a whiff of the cesspool of my humanity and sinfulness and what an offensive and repulsive stench it must be in Father God’s nostrils.

When I come into the understanding of how offensive my sin is – any sin – as God has no grading scale for sin; it is either sin or it isn’t – I gain an appreciation of just how undeserving I am of the grace and mercy He has shown and given to me.

THIS is the “glad tidings” of Christ! That I am able to come into the presence of the one and only Creator God for all of eternity, is more than enough to make me glad.

But God gives us more than that. He has provided that one-on-one relationship with Him while we are still here on this earth. We don’t have to wait to die to be with Him, He desires to be in personal relationship with Him NOW. God has promised his Spirit to live in, dwell in, and guide us through this life. This should put “glad” in overdrive!

He has forgiven me much more than I even realize.

He has saved me from eternity without Him.

He has made a way for a daily, personal relationship with him that is not based on my performance or actions.

He loves me unconditionally – forever.

He has provided peace in the midst of trouble and strength in exhaustion.

He never changes!

Now THAT is glad tidings!

Running After Papa…

Purposing

Paul makes a pretty bold statement that – when I really let it sink in – has affected me in a much greater way. “If I were worried about pleasing people – I wouldn’t be serving Christ!”

Galatians 1:10 (NLT) “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

Quick hit today.  Paul makes a pretty bold statement that – when I really let it sink in – has affected me in a much greater way.

“If I were worried about pleasing people – I wouldn’t be serving Christ!”

This tells me that “the approval of man” and “serving Christ” are mutually exclusive.  There is no cross over, gray area, or bleeding between the two. So I struggle with why then, in serving Christ, I (we) sometimes get the approval of man.  As I asked the Lord about it, He showed me that its because He loves people so much and often times those things I do in serving him, bless other people.  The important delineation is the motive behind what I do.  Why am I doing “ABC”; is it out of devotion and service to Christ – regardless of the accolades (or condemnation) I could receive from other people? Or is it in order to gain some accolade under the guise of “serving Christ”; to fill and satisfy my own selfish pride? It is something that cannot be seen or judged from the outside.  Motives rarely can.  It’s a total matter of the heart – as are most things concerning us and the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NLT) 9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards,according to what their actions deserve

It is also has become obvious that “serving Christ” or “man’s approval” not “an event” or exercise.  Serving Christ or receiving men’s approval is a mindset, a lifestyle, an attitude of the heart, mind, will, and emotion.  It is what I purpose myself to do.  It encompasses my whole being, not just one part of me.  This is why salvation isn’t just a feeling, or a just a decision.  Salvation is complete surrender of everything I am to the lordship and control of Jesus Christ – my mind, my will, my emotions, my desires, my rights, and the list goes on in perpetuity – each item prefaced with the word “my”.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Running After Papa…

Irrevocable…

Romans 11:29 (ESV) “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

gifts” – charisma – 1 a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own. 2 the gift of divine grace. 3 the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue. 4 the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith. (Rom 1:11; 5:15; 6:23; 11:29; 12:6; 1Cor 1:7; 7:7; 12:4; 2Cor 1:11; 1Tim 4:14; 2Tim 1:6; 1Pet 4:10)

call” – klesis – basically means vocation and a divine invitation, but comes from the word kaleo, which implies to receive a name or to bear a title.

irrevocable” – ametameletos – Strong’s Lexicon says “Two occurrences; AV translates as “without repentance” once, and “not to be repented of” once. 1 not repentant of, unregretted.

This is interesting because “to repent” means “to change one’s mind.” It basically means to do a 180 and go the other direction.

Substituting those meanings into this verse makes it read much different.

God’s divine gift of grace – my eternal salvation – and my calling – my vocational call, my title, my position in life, my destiny – if you will – is something that God has given me, granted me and will not change His mind on… ever.

The cool – and freeing – thing to me is that I can’t do anything to “undo” His gift.  I can’t remove myself from his list.  I can’t do anything that will make Him rescind his gift or my calling.  Those things that affect my relationship with Him (sin, unforgiveness, disobedience, etc) can greatly affect my effectiveness in my calling, but it can’t change my calling.

So, how do I become as effective as possible?  How do I walk in and know what my calling is?  That is the question.

Sent with a purpose

Romans 10:13-15a

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

Paul lists a backward progression to the salvation of all. The meaning of the word “call on him” means to place their trust in; to identify themselves with.

Someone must be “sent,” which implies for a particular purpose, in order to “preach.” “Preach,” is the same word as “proclaim” found in verse 8, “...the word of faith that we proclaim.”

Someone preaches in order that others might hear and believe.

When someone hears and believes, then and only then can they call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

So what? That’s great! I’m not the one who is to be “sent” with a purpose! It’s easy for me to say “that’s not my job or calling.” I’m not an evangelist. My spiritual gifts don’t include evangelism or mission work.

Ah… but wait. I Tim 4:2 says “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Notice there is no qualifying statement around it – check the references.

I am to be prepared in season and out of season. Convincing, rebuking, exhorting… that sounds a lot like being “sent” – to be sent with a purpose. In season and out of season, i.e. all the time, I am to be prepared with a purpose for proclaiming the Truth. What is the Truth? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

In the wit and wisdom on Golden Child… “What does that look like?

For me it is being in His presence daily. What about you?

Abundance of good treasure

Romans 10:8-10 (ESV)

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Lots of words with much deeper meanings that we describe in their English translations here.

heart – the word kardia – means “inner self, never the literal body part called the “heart,” this is a reference to the areas of the inner self, including: the volition, the mind, the desires, etc., though the facility of the intellect make be slightly more emphasized.”  The volition (will), the mind (mind), the desires (emotions) all make up the soul… that battleground between the spirit and the flesh.  This is where we store up good treasure OR we store up bad treasure according to Jesus in Luke 6:45.

Luke 6:45 (ESV) 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

It is the same word used in Luke as is used in this Romans passage.  The interesting part to me in these passages is that heart (kardia) and mouth (stoma) are both used together in the same sentences.  Stoma (the mouth) literally means the fleshly mouth that utters sounds.  So, in a way, it could very well represent the flesh.  That would mean to me that the condition of my soul is reflected in what comes out of my mouth and my flesh.

Back to the Romans passage…

near – can mean “be close to a place“, but can also mean “be close to a time.”  Which changes everything in the context of this verse.

proclaim – means “to proclaim with the goal to persuade, urge, warn to comply”, “to announce publicly”.

word of faith – doctrine, trustworthiness, Christian faith, what can be believed

confesses – According to Strongs (homologeo) – “1 to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent. 2 to concede. 2a not to refuse, to promise. 2b not to deny. 2b1 to confess. 2b2 declare. 2b3 to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of. 3 to profess. 3a to declare openly, speak out freely. 3b to profess one’s self the worshiper of one. 4 to praise, celebrate.

OK.  THAT is a drastically different meaning than to “utter” something.  I think we’re too quick to assume someone is a follower of Jesus based on our Western definition of “confess.”  I’ve always struggled with this verse because only God can know if a person truly believes in his heart.  The heart and someone’s belief is hidden.  All we look for is someone to say “Jesus is Lord,” and that’s good enough.

What we need to be looking for now is the NEW definition of “confess.”  When someone truly believes and understands the grace Christ afforded them, they cannot help but “confess” Jesus is Lord with praise and celebration and declaring themselves both by word and action to be a worshiper of Christ.  This worship comes from adoration and thankfulness, not out of duty or because someone said so.  Everything about salvation is about relationship, not religion.

I’ll try to tie it all together.  First – His Word is near me- near in location and near in timing.  He wants to use me at any place, at any time to proclaim publicly that which is trustworthy, with the goal of persuading and urging others to the Truth.  However, there is something that can influence my vocal utterances – my heart (my soul, if you remember our definition).  In my heart I can store up good treasure or bad treasure.  That is my choice.  What I store up, is what will come out.

How can I persuade others of the truth, if I’ve stored up bad treasure?

I can’t just put “enough” good treasure in either.  Jesus was very specific in the word “abundance” and it means exactly what it says, “in excess”, “scraps left over”, “overflow”, “plenty.”

So today’s exercise for me is “How do I store up an abundance of good treasure in my soul (mind, will, and emotions)?”