Preaching the Gospel to Yourself (with Martin Smith)
Friday, March 8, 2013
Are you one of the most of us who missed out on buying into Google or Apple or Microsoft? You could have made an 820 percent gain by buying into the search engine running the world. All of us want to come in first, but what is first?
My mailbox has been replaced by my e-mail box, offering me the next, the best, the most profitable. One recent pitch I received, and I quote, “With the profit I’ve made from this one investment alone, I could take 156 of my friends with me to the Super Bowl. And still have money left over for hot dogs.” Intrigued to get in first on this money-making deal of a lifetime? You bet.
All of us want to be first. But what is first? The Bible is pretty clear. Paul reminds Corinth that what is of first importance is that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according the scriptures. That is first importance, that is our first love. Not just how do we find Christ as Lord and Savior, how do we keep Him? Welcome to HT, I’m CM sharing the GS that’s all about Jesus and a final program on Preaching the Gospel to Yourself. We’ve had on this program earlier in the week a pastor who after several years in ministry was ready to give up. Who knew all the answers. He knew the original biblical languages. He had taught Hebrew at a seminary but ten years ago he had hit brick wall and realized he was living and working on spiritual fumes. And that’s when the Lord led him to first things for Christians in Romans 5. He Lord broke him, but that’s when he found the Gospel is also for Christians. Too often as the late Howard Hendricks said, “Our problem is that we are in the Word but not under the Word.” And therefore the power of the Word, the power of Jesus Christ does not live in us. In a few minutes we’re going to explain a little more about what it means to preach the Gospel to yourself, how to live in freedom after hitting those brick walls. This isn’t for everyone, but if you are identifying with me, then I want you to have Milton Vincent’s book A Gospel Primer for Christians, Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love. Ranita in Michigan
“I am also one who recently was saved after a lifetime of "Christian" living. A whole lot of head knowledge but lacked heart knowledge.”
Why don’t you call us after the program on the last day we are offering this leather-bound Gospel Primer for Christians. Make your gift to the ministry and ask for the book. Call us at 1-800-654-2836. That’s 1-800-65-HAVEN. Or go online at haventoday.org. That’s haventoday.org.
All week, we’ve been listening to a song by Martin Smith who founded the group Delirious in England. I’ve asked Martin to join us later on the phone from his home to tell us how he wrote the song that one more time opens HAVEN Today …
OPEN – I Could Sing of Your Love – Delirious (Martin Smith) Farewell Live in London album
From the Farewell Live in London album … Martin Smith and Delirious and I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. That’s what happens when you preach the Gospel to yourself. Martin will join us in a few minutes and we’ll talk about his life and this song.
What does the Bible mean when it speaks of “first importance.” What you do for God (or try to do), but what God has done for you in Jesus – taking your sin to his grave and rising again – is the most important thing to be reminded of. What is it we preach to people who have yet to find faith in Christ and what is it then as believers that we preach to ourselves every day the rest of our lives? A good place to go is found in 1 Corinthians 15. Here is a tight description by the Apostle Paul of what is the Gospel. Verses 2 through 4:
“2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Once you get hold of this preaching the Gospel to yourself, you can find freedom that you have been lacking, especially trying to live the Gospel out of your own strength, which really is no strength at all. How do you preach it? Well it starts by the Spirit of the Lord speaking to you through the Word of the Lord. For Milton Vincent ten years ago, for Martin Luther 500 years ago, and for me a few weeks ago it was the opening of Romans 5 that the Lord used to break through.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
God’s Word speaking to you and me from Romans 5:1-2. Case in point, a listener in Florida. I’m not going to use his name. He identifies his church affiliation as LifeChurch TV on the Internet. He was born again on September 1979, but ready to be UnBorn-Again this week on March 6.
“I have worked for many ministries over the years including (he mentions a famous seminary and one of America’s most famous churches).
Over the years, I have found myself more dissatisfied with being a born-again Christian. I could not figure out what was missing, but I did know I was not happy with the answers I was receiving from brothers and sisters in the Lord. Pray more, fast more, repent more, sin less, tithe more than 10%.
I have felt like I've been serving a God that is totally disconnected from the realities of life.
Sad to say if I had not heard your program last night, I would have become an atheist.
I'm not saying I'm 100 % better. I'd say I'm 5% better at coming around to knowing and trusting God again. I'm not sure when I'll read the bible again, but I know what you say on your program is true! Sad to say I've never really heard the message of grace and mercy being presented- like you have been doing on Haven Today. I am forever grateful!
I’m not going to mention your name, but I wept when I you're your e-mail. I’m with you and so many other Christians are with you. Some are still too busy trying to strive to live the Christian life apart from the Spirit of Christ, but cheer up, they’re worse than they think and so are we. All of us Christ followers are recovering Pharisees, in need to God’s grace every day. That comes from preaching the Gospel daily to ourselves. But what does this means?
The Gospel isn't just a means of salvation, but it’s the very way we grow as Christians. When Paul writes his letters to the Galatians or Corinthians, he addresses each problem in the Christian community with the gospel. For example, Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles. Paul reprimands him for this, but doesn’t just tell him to stop it and eat with everyone, but is that his actions aren't walking in line with the gospel. His motivation for change is a reminder of who Christ is and what he has done for us and how that sets us free by grace.
The two critical events are repentance and faith. Some people commonly fall into errors of (1) only dealing with the surface sin instead of the root sin. For example, churches have been founded on not wearing certain clothing or not dancing or not drinking and then spend more time dealing keep the rules, rather than exploring the deeper root of spiritual pride and idolatry of self. There’s also a second error we can fall into and that’s preaching moralism to ourself instead of the gospel. Try just following a set of rules to grow as a Christians and you’ll shrivel up and think you’re going to die. You’ll never taste grace by preaching this false gospel to yourself.
So how do you preach the Gospel to yourself?
PART I DOWN THE SLOPE OF REPENTANCE - Objective: To see and confess that I am a bigger sinner than I thought.
1. See and Own Your Sin: Examine yourself in the mirror of God's Word, your negative emotions and attitudes, and the responses of others to you. Guard yourself against sin's deceitfulness: the tendency to water down God's standard, compare yourself to others, shift the blame or commit ourselves to trying harder.
2. See the Sin Beneath the Sin: Don't move too quickly to confess and receive forgiveness for the surface sin (cheap grace, "I'm just a sinner" attitude. If you are anxious, yes go to Phil. 4, but what is causing your anxiousness?) Push the 'Why?' question until you find what you are looking to other than Jesus (your functional messiah) for meaning and value in life.
3. Expose the Idols of your Heart: Idols always disappoint
They are weak: They can't deliver when you succeed; they can only raise the bar. They can't forgive you when you fail; they can only lower the boom. They are harmful: They hurt you spiritually, emotionally and physically. They hurt others by undermining your ability to love. They are Grievous: Most importantly, by going after these idols/other lovers you are saying to God: "Jesus is not enough. I also need _________ in order to be happy.
EXAMPLE: Athletics Sin: I get frustrated when I don't win at sports. Sin beneath the sin: I need the approval of others to feel better about myself. IDOL: ACCEPTANCE of others/Self Worship
Weak: The approval is always based on your performance. If you fail, you get angry/rejected. When you succeed you need more/to continue to perform and receive value.
These idols will lead you into slavery James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
CONCLUSION: I am a much bigger sinner than I thought. I am a worthy recipient of God's judgment. Trying harder won't cut it. I am helpless and hopeless in myself. BUT there is One…
PART II UP THE SLOPE OF FAITH - Objective: To thank God that Jesus is a much bigger Savior than I thought.
1. Repentance is a gift: Pray for the gift of repentance. Do not 'try' to stop sinning, but ask God to change your heart. If the Holy Spirit does not address your heart, your repentance is only 'horizontal' and true gospel change will not happen. You may change for a season by your own 'will-power' but eventually you will become resentful or fall back into worshiping your false idols, which are your true 'functional messiahs'.
2. See Jesus as the only true Savior
Jesus lived for me. Think about and give thanks for specific ways Jesus has lived obediently where I have failed.
Jesus died for me. Think about Jesus' death on the cross for my specific sins and idolatry. Thank God that my sin has been punished once and for all.
God sees me in Jesus. Think about how God sees me in Jesus, clothed with His perfect righteousness. Thank Him specifically for how He provides for me in Christ that all my idols promised but could not deliver.
Jesus lives in me. Thank God that He does not leave me to live the Christian life on my own, but the Spirit of Christ now dwells in me. Ask Him to live His righteous life through me, specifically in the areas where I have confessed sin.
3. Gospel-motivated living: Embrace and know that the gospel is how you change (2 Cor. 3:18b) We’re all being
“being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
It is the gospel that empowers you to serve (2 Cor 3:5)
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
And it is through the gospel that you meet God (2 Cor 4:6)
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
If you’ve hit the brick wall and you’re ready to chuck your faith as Milton Vincent says … GREAT! You’re now ready to preach the Gospel to yourself. And Romans 5 is a great place to start.
On the line with us from England is the founder of the group Delirious. Martin Smith, welcome for the first time to HAVEN Today?
CLOSE – You Carry Me … psalm for the broken - Martin Smith from an upcoming April album God’s Great Dance Floor
As I sat down in the car and turned on the radio to stream music from my phone, I had to pause what I was doing because the conversation on the radio was aimed directly at me. I forsook my music and listened the whole way home to the host of this radio program and a pastor discuss Romans 5 and what it means to be justified by faith. I have been going through a terrible time spiritually for the past 5 years and counting (ever since I committed my entire self to Christ) and have been struggling enormously to gain God's good favor and blessing in my life. I was born and raised a christian but realized early in my young life that being born into a christian family didnt automatically mean I had Christ living in me and so I accepted Jesus into my heart and wholly committed my life to Him. Ever since then my life has become a personal hell, I dont remember what it is like to be happy just to be happy. Slowly God has been leading me through the pain and trials to rest entirely on Him but lately I had been feeling like I hit a brick wall and was utterly isolated again. My mind felt like it was splintering and I started becoming angry with God (which scared me to pieces!) because I couldnt figure out what I was doing wrong (I thought I was doing everything right!) that caused God to utterly hide His face from me. I so longed to feel God in my life and have Him bless me that I had been going out of my way to "do" things that would ensure His love (i.e. tithing 30% of my paycheck, being active in the church, doing my best to witness wherever I was planted, etc etc) But in reality, I wasnt seeing blessings at work, I wasnt seeing blessings at home or in the church and I was so utterly worn out and weary of being weary that just yesterday I texted a person close to me and told her I am ready to just give up. Being Christian is downright impossible. And tonight, I happened to hear your radio program about a pastor who experienced the exact same thing and how he found grace; I broke down and started sobbing. It was just what I needed to hear. I just wanted to thank you and thank God for your ministry that helped at least one worn out and lonely soul - mine. God bless.
A Gospel Primer for Christians (Leather Bound)
For a gift of any amount
Preach the Gospel to Yourself Daily...
[Get It Now]