Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Gospel of Grace

1 Cor continues to surprise me with its impact as we work our way through it. Chapter 15 has its challenges and unexpected delights just as the other chapters have.

We started our study in ch 15 last week and I was arrested in my preparation by the first three verses. At first, it seems Paul is merely relating the gospel. The more I thought about it and the more I read, the more I realized Paul was providing, for the Corinthians and us, what would amount to the most complete version of the gospel and the resurrection ever recorded.

It's the full gospel.

The full gospel is something that's been on my heart for quite some time as I've watched watered down versions of it rise up in the church.

About a year ago, when Ron Onks from Australia was visiting us, he handed me a copy of "The Way of the Master", a book I had breezed through a few years ago with the thought that it was nice but not particularly relevant to where I was with the Lord. When he handed it to me, I handed it back to him and said, "I've already read this." He responded by handing it back to me again saying, "Read Chapter 9 again."

I did and was deeply moved by the idea that we will never understand God's grace until we fully understand our sin and the nature of our sin. I'm convinced most if us view sin as a behavior, thinking that if we can change our behavior, we won't sin anymore. This boils the gospel down into a list of do's or don'ts and self improvement methods that strips it of its power and impact and reduces God's grace to some kind of reward for being good and doing the right thing.

The Body of Christ needs to hear and live the full gospel.

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to explore all this over the next few weeks as we look at the gospel, including our need to repent and acknowledge our utter hopelessness before the Father and our inability to do anything at all to save ourselves. When we begin to grasp this, we see that grace is not a reward for making the right decision, doing the right thing or being the right kind of person. It's the sovereign act of a totally sovereign and merciful God (Rom 9:15).

I am convinced that it is by God's design that the Women's Bible Studies (led by Betty Aiello on Tuesday morning and Kimberly Hunt on Wednesday night) and the Adult Sunday School, led by Jeff Turner have begun at the same time this teaching has risen up in the pulpit.

I'm looking forward to a deeper understanding of God's grace.

Here's the PowerPoint for last Sunday's sermon. The audio should be up on our website within the next few days.

The Gospel of Grace - Pt 1
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