Saturday, August 17, 2019

Key points to remember about your identity

Key points to remember about your identity (continued)

Scriptures command God’s people to hold on to the hope of the gospel 

Pain, suffering, hardships, brokenness plague our existence. Jesus told us, “In the world you will have tribulation.” But He did not stop with a focus on the negative, He spoke words of hope…”But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Solomon recognized the devastation that lack of hope has on the human heart, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).

If you are going to persevere through your trials, for the glory of God, you will need to fight for hope in the promises of the Gospel.

Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel 
Col 1:23  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Heb 3:6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Heb 4:14 Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess [i.e., the Gospel].
1Thess 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.
1Pet 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Consider the ramifications of lives lived without a focus on the Hope of the Gospel: 

  1. When I fails to understand the death of my own sinfulness, (i.e. depravity), I am tempted to try to be reconciled to God through my own efforts, good works or through perfectionism. Perfectionism a natural response to failure without the hope of the Gospel. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will inevitably create my own set of rules and a system of achievements and performances to attain the self-made standards of acceptance, approval and a sense of well-being. Perfectionism is a self-deceptive label for a gospel-less worldview, devoid of hope and deliverance.
  2. Without the hope of Christ’s complete atonement for all my sins, past, present and future, I will be tempted to attempt to somehow  appease God’s wrath on my own. However, the hope in the Gospel enables me to rest in the promises of Christ’s perfect sacrifice which totally appeases God’s righteous anger toward me.  1Jn.2:2 - He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Jn. 4:10  - In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  3. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will think of myself as a hired servant. And yet Jesus calls me his friend!  Jn 15:15  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
  4. Without the hope and truth of the Gospel regarding my God-defined identity, I will think/act/function as though everything revolves around me and my felt-needs. I will forget that everything is for Him and through Him.  Rom 11:36 - For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
  5. Without the hope of the Gospel, I will live in the present and forget the future. Paul’s focus was clearly on knowing Christ, even when he suffered. Paul never lost the hope of the Gospel because his focus was the eternal promises contained in the Gospel. Phil. 3:7-16 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

“Failing to concentrate on God’s love for us in Christ [i.e., the hope of the Gospel] isn’t a trivial thing.  It will always eventuate in apathetic living.  Only the gospel can so invigorate us that we burn with ardor for him in all that we do.”  Elyse Fitzpatrick 

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