The Habit of Generosity

 
The Scriptural Basis
Psalm 37:21
The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;
Proverbs 14:21
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
Proverbs 14:31
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Proverbs 19:17
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Isaiah 58:6-8
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Luke 3:7-14
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves…10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
Acts 2:45-47
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Galatians 6:6
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.
Ephesians 4:28
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Philippians 2:1-5
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
1 Thessalonians 2:8
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with          you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life
 
Definition
“Generosity is an attitude of surrender, humility, gratitude, stewardship and service that is expressed in compassionate action. It is not restricted to material stuff or money but encompasses the willingness and eagerness to give of ourselves and share with others everything that God has given to us; our time, our talent, our treasure, our love, our very lives.”
 
Summary Principles
1.     Generosity reflects the heart of God
When we are generous we are being like God
2.     Generosity glorifies God
Our generosity reflects God to others therefore it glorifies Him
3.     Generosity blesses people
Generosity is expressed towards people, usually people in need and they are blesses by our gifts
4.     Generosity demonstrates a humble and grateful attitude
Generosity is action that is produced by an attitude of humble acknowledgement that everything we have is a gift from God therefore we should hold on to it loosely and always be willing to share it with others
5.     Generosity is the action of Biblical stewardship
Generosity is the faithful stewardship of what we have in service to others for God’s glory
6.     Generosity gives us joy
We have the joy of glorifying God, blessing others and making a contribution to God’s Kingdom.
7.     Generosity is God’s strategy to accomplish God’s Kingdom plan
God’s Kingdom is established and grows as servants generously share what they have in Christ with others.
Be generous with your time, talent and treasure!
 
Prayer of Commitment
Lord, I confess that sometimes I am too casual, too cavalier about giving to You. From now on, according to Your Word, I want to give deliberately and generously, from a heart of faith and with open hands as an act of worship to You. So I ask for Your help- whether my gift will involve money, time, attention, service or prayer, I want to give to you generously with passion and purpose, never squandering an opportunity to sacrifice for you. Help me see that everything I share with others I am really giving back to You. Help me be a generous giver.

The Habit of Spiritual Breathing

1 John 1:5-2:2
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
 
1.           The Character of God
 
A.   God is light-(5)
 

  • God is holy and completely separate from sin

 
Isaiah 6:1-5
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

  • God is perfect

God’s Perfection
Defn: God completely possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no part of any qualities that would be desirable for him.

  • Matthew 5:48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
  • Psalm 18:30 “His way is perfect.”
  • God lacks nothing in his excellence!
    • He is absolute and infinite in every aspect of His being, there is no flaw, weakness or shortcoming
    • In Him is no darkness at all
    • Example of Perfect goodness, perfect power, perfect wisdom, perfect justice, perfect plan, etc.

 
 
2.           The Problem of Humanity
 

  1. We claim things that aren’t true-(6,8,10)

 

  • We walk in the darkness

 
John 3
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God
 

  1. We are self-deceived-(8)

 

  • We sin; sin is a violation of God’s commands; sin is falling short of God’s glory

 
 

  • The wages of sin is death

 
 
3.           The Provision of Christ
 
1Jn. 2:1-2
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
 

  1. Christ is our Advocate with the Father

 

  • He is the Righteous One

 

  • He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins

 
1 John 4:10
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
 
Hebrews 2:17
17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
 
Romans 3:23-26
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
 
 
 
4.           The Key to Fellowship
 

  • We can deny our sin passively or actively and we remain in the darkness
  • The only way to be in the light and have fellowship with God is confess our sin
  • When we confess our sins we have the assurance that God is forgiving and cleansing us, we are walking in His light and we experience fellowship with God and other believers who are walking in the light
  • Confession essentially means to agree with or say the same thing; there are 3 elements to confessing our sins

 
1)   Ownership
2)   Repentance
3)   Surrender
 

  • To be indifferent, to rationalize, to defend or to deny is to be in the darkness
  • To walk in the light of God’s forgiveness and to have moment by moment fellowship with God, we must confess our sins (own-repent-surrender)

 
5.           The Practice of Spiritual Breathing
 
A.   The illustration of breathing
 
B.   Exhale-confess our sins
 
C.   Inhale-surrender to God and ask to be filled with the Spirit
 
D.   Conscious/unconscious/hyperventilation
 
E.   The promise of 1 John 1:9
 
F.    The habit of moment by moment fellowship with God
 
Walk in the light; confess sins immediately whenever you are convicted; repent and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit; keep short accounts with God; live a cleansed life; stay in moment by moment fellowship with Jesus

Praying like Jesus

Jesus Teaches Us to Pray
Matthew 6:5-8
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
 

  • Don’t be a hypocrite when you pray only to be seen by men
  • Pray in secret to your Father and He will reward you
  • Don’t babble like pagans

 
Matthew 6:9-13
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

  • Pray with authority
  • Pray for God’s glory, kingdom and will
  • Pray for your personal needs
  • Pray for forgiveness
  • Pray forgiving others
  • Pray for spiritual victory

 
Matthew 7:7-11
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.

  • Keep on asking, knocking and seeking expecting God to answer
  • Ask your Heavenly Father for good gifts expecting God to give you what you ask Him

 
Matthew 9:36-38
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

  • Pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers to be sent out into the harvest field

 
Mark 11:22-25
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “TrulyI tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

  • Ask in faith expecting to receive what you ask
  • Pray and forgive those who have wronged you

 
Luke 11:1-13
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

  • Pray with shameless audacity
  • Keep on asking seeking and knocking expecting God to answer
  • Ask God for the help of the Holy Spirit and He will hear and answer

 
Luke 18:1-8
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

  • Pray and don’t give up

 
John 14:12-14
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

  • Pray in Jesus name expecting God to do greater works

 
John 15:7-8
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

  • Pray with an abiding relationship to Jesus expecting God to answer

 
John 15:16
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

  • Pray in Jesus name expecting God to answer and give what you ask

 
John 16:23-24
23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

  • Ask in Jesus name expecting God to answer and complete your joy

 

  1. Pray about everything
  2. Pray all the time
  3. Keep on asking, seeking and knocking
  4. Pray with shameless audacity
  5. Pray in Jesus’ name
  6. Pray for God’s Kingdom and God’s will
  7. Pray for your daily needs
  8. Pray for the help of the Holy Spirit
  9. Pray for greater things
  10. Pray for workers to be sent out into the Harvest
  11. Pray for spiritual victory
  12. Pray for forgiveness of sins
  13. Pray with an attitude of forgiveness
  14. Pray in faith
  15. Pray with expectation
  16. Pray out of an abiding relationship with Jesus

Take Away
Start each day with a focused time of prayer and mediation. Talk to God and listen to God.

Weekly Prayer Guide

Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
 
Weekly Prayer Guide
Start off each day this next week with 10 minutes of focused prayer and meditation. Follow this prayer guide for each day:

  1. The Scripture and prayer focus of that day
  2. Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  3. Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Monday

  • Read Psalm 150 and praise God for His attributes and character
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Tuesday

  • Read Psalm 100 and give thanks to the Lord for His blessings, provision and for your current circumstances
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Wednesday

  • Read Psalm 32 and confess any sin that is affecting your relationship with God and others, thank Jesus for His forgiveness
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Thursday

  • Read Psalm 25 and prayerfully commit all areas of your life to God
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

Friday

  • Read Psalm 15 and ask God to make you a person of godly character and integrity
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Saturday

  • Read Psalm 96 and pray for those who do not know the Lord to come to salvation, pray for opportunities to be a witness for Christ
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

 
Sunday

  • Read Psalm 116 and commit yourself to bring an offering unto the Lord for worship
  • Pray for the needs of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Pray for your church’s vision, staff, ministries, people

THE HABIT OF BIBLE INTAKE

 

 

Healthy Habits: We work out what God works in
Phil. 2:12-13
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
 
The Habit of Bible Intake
Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
 
Matthew 4:4
But Jesus answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
 
John 8:31-32
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
 
Colossians 3:16
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
 

  • We are to maximize every opportunity to get God’s Word into our lives
  • Dependence on God’s Word needs to be a life commitment, an attitude and a daily habit
  • It is not enough to say we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must treasure it, receive it into our lives and then become doers of the Word and not merely hearers

 
What’s so special about the Bible?
 

  1. Unique in its authorship and composition

 

  • 40 plus authors, 1500 years
  • 2 major sections; subdivisions by genre
  • Written in 3 languages
  • Several continuous themes, one main message

 

  1. Unique in its translation and circulation
  • Septuagint
  • Translated into more languages than any other book
  • First book printed
  • More copies of the Bible than any other book

 
2. Unique in its inspiration and authority
 

  • 2 Peter 1:16-21

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
 
3. Unique in its message and application
 

  • Hebrews 4:12
  • 1 Peter 1:23-2:2

23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 2 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk of the Word, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
 
 
How do we get God’s Word in our lives?
We can hear it
 

  • Romans 10:17

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

  • Rev. 1:1-3

1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

  • Bible teaching church
  • Scripture on CD
  • Chrisitan radio

 
We can read it

  • Daniel 9:1-3

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, read in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes

  • Daily reading plan

 
We can study it

  • Acts 17:11

11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

  • Book, chapter, paragraph, verse by verse
  • Topical
  • Analyze, ask questions, write things down, compare Scripture with Scripture

 
We can memorize it

  • Psalm 119:11

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
 
We can meditate on it

  • Joshua 1:8

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
 
Take away: How to have a Quiet Time
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
 
The Scripture is profitable for 5 things: teaching; reproof, correction, training in righteousness, equipping for good works

  • Every day for the next week take 15 minutes when you get up before you get going on your day and have a quiet time: you’ll need a bible, some paper, a pen and a teachable attitude!
  • Use the following passages from the book of Psalms
  • Read it once: what is the teaching; again: what is the rebuke; again: what is the correction; again: what is the training in righteousness; a final time: what is the equipping for good works

 
Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 40, Psalm 51, Psalm 86, Psalm 103, Psalm 145

  • You can do this with a chapter, a paragraph or a verse

The Truth of the Gospel

The Truth of the Gospel
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rose victoriously from the dead. We receive this truth of the gospel by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” God saves us by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Salvation is the good news about the bad news!
Several years ago at a Men’s Retreat, I addressed a large audience of men sitting in an outdoor amphitheatre. Behind the stage where I was speaking was a rustic wooden cross. In my message, I explained to the men the bad news and the good news of salvation in Christ. I then took a long rope and stretched it across the front of the gathering. I challenged the men to call on Christ for salvation; to surrender their whole lives to Him and to get up from where they were seated and to symbolically “cross the line.” From all over the amphitheatre, men arose from their seats and crossed the line into salvation.
When we cross the line, all the truths and blessings of salvation become ours in Christ. God makes us new people and gives us a new spiritual identity. It is the truth of our gospel-identity that sets us free. The truest thing about you is what God says is true. Because of the work of Jesus Christ, as God’s child, you have justification, redemption, propitiation and reconciliation. More than theological words, these terms describe your gospel blessings by virtue of the work of Christ. This is the truest thing about you, because God says it’s true!
Justification is God’s judgment declaring us not guilty and positively righteous in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-31 asserts,
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
Paul explains the gospel by answering a question, “How can a holy and just God have fellowship with sinful man?” Paul’s answer is that God must remove the barrier of sin and pronounce us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. Since we are dead in sin, no one can become righteous in and of themselves. We must receive an alien righteousness. God declares us righteous and gives us His righteousness when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the truth of justification. The metaphor is a courtroom where we are the accused and God is the judge. The truth is that we are guilty. But Jesus Christ died as a righteous substitute for our sin. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, then God the righteous judge, pronounces us not guilty. He declares us righteous and imparts to us His righteousness. This is true because God says it’s true.
The metaphor behind the idea of redemption is the purchase of a slave from the slave market. In the ancient world, slaves were bought and sold based upon an agreement on the purchase price. When the price was paid, the slave could be set free. Every person is born into slavery to sin. Our only hope is for the purchase price to be paid. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He shed his blood and purchased us from sin’s slavery. If you were to go to Home Depot, which every man knows is the adult version of Toys R Us; you would find all kinds of tools and home improvement items. Every item has a sticker with a bar code on it. The bar code records the price of that item and when scanned, the price appears on the computer screen. If you want to legally take an item from Home Depot, you must pay the purchase price. When you pay the price, the item becomes yours. Jesus paid the price for our sins and we now belong to Him. His blood set us free from sin and now we have a new master–Jesus Christ. Our redemption is true because God says it’s true.
Romans 3:21-30 describes how we are justified and redeemed in Jesus Christ. This passage also describes that the work of Christ has secured propitiation for us. The New International Version of the Bible translates the term propitiation as “sacrifice of atonement.” The Greek word is hilasterion, and means a covering, especially the covering of atonement provided by the sprinkled blood in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant. Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark? Well the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies and upon it sat the Mercy Seat. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat; it was the place where the transaction of atonement took place. In is justice, God demanded a punishment for sin but because of His mercy, He accepted the blood of a substitute. This is propitiation. God accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a punishment for our sins. His justice and wrath toward sin are satisfied and His mercy is expressed toward those who come to Him through the work of Christ. We will never receive God’s wrath because there is no condemnation in Christ. It is the true because God says it’s true.
The work of Jesus Christ gives us justification, redemption and propitiation. The work of Christ also gives us reconciliation. Romans 5:8-11 reveals,
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
We have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. The backdrop to the idea of reconciliation is a broken relationship. Reconciliation is the removal of the barrier that alienates two parties, so that enemies can become friends. Because of the barrier of sin, men are enemies of God. Picture God being on one side of the Grand Canyon and humanity on the other side; the chasm is so great that no human action can bridge the distance. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is the bridge that connects us to God. Christ has removed the barrier of sin and we, who by nature and choice have been God’s enemies, can become His friends. Reconciliation is the truest thing about us because God says it’s true.
The gospel blessings of justification, redemption, propitiation and reconciliation are true for every believer. Our deepest identity is our new life in Jesus Christ because the truest thing about us is what God says is true!
Portions of this article were adapted from Facing Goliath by JP Jones
Rev JP Jones is the Senior Pastor of Crossline Church in Laguna Hills, CA. JP is the author of Facing Goliath published by Regal Books and an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Biola University.

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