This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Spring! by Pastor Art Georges

It’s spring!  Spring is a time of growth.  Christian, are you growing?  What do I mean?  At the beginning of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul states that his ministry was aimed at bringing about the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5).  If you meditate on that statement, its implication is that faith in Jesus Christ brings about an obedience to the things of God.  Paul says nearly the same thing at the very end of Romans when he states that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is able to lead to obedience of faith.  We might even think of the statement at the beginning, and the same statement at the end, as serving as bookends to all that is said in the book of Romans.  So a fitting summary to Romans would be: A right standing before God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and that faith in Jesus Christ leads to obedience to God.
When we talk about saving faith, what we are really talking about is a faith in Jesus Christ that changes the way we live; saving faith transforms us from those who formerly practiced disobedience to God’s laws into those who obey God’s laws from the heart (Romans 6:17). 

Now, when I talk about obeying God’s laws, don’t simply think of the Ten Commandments.  Think more simply of the two greatest commands, to love God and to love one’s neighbor.  In fact, you could reduce those two down to one: love your neighbor.  The reason you can reduce is because God’s word teaches that if you love your neighbor as self, you are loving God, and if you don’t love your neighbor, you don’t love God (1 John 2:9-11).

So, when you think about what it means to be growing as a Christian, you want to think in terms of growing in your faith in who God is, all that He has promised to you who believe, and how He is more than able to deliver on His promises to you.  And growing in your faith in His promises, you will correspondingly grow in your obedience to His commands, His ways, to love.

For example
, you have enough, just enough, but enough to be warm, filled.  You have a place to lay your head, clothes on your body, enough food.  And you have money in your pocket, not a lot, but some.  What is more, your faith understands that God is behind your having enough.  Praise Him!  And then you see a need, but it is a bit disconcerting, because you fear that if you help to meet that need, then there might not be enough to cover your own needs.  Unbelief forgets that God gave what you have, and fears that you can’t cover your own needs.  FAITH believes that God gave what you have, and trusts God’s promise to provide for all your needs as you seek to live out His kingdom here on earth.  And kingdom ethics that depend on faith are to love others, and help where there are needs, and let God care for your own.
When you act in faith, you have an opportunity to see God work in your own life, thus growing your faith for the next challenge (yes, they continue until we are home).  Equally as important to God, you get to show the person you are helping that God is enough for you, and He wants to be enough for them, if they don’t already know that or need to see Him in work!

When we gather together to worship and to be taught, the Bible reminds us that the goal of our instruction is to bring about a greater measure of love, from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  And that is how we can grow.

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