Friday, December 31, 2010

A Lasting Resolution

With another year coming to a close, many people are reflecting on 2010, whether it be the goals we reached throughout the year or those we quickly forgot after January 1st, 2010.

So as many Americans who celebrated Christmas completely miss the point of the incarnation of Christ and the power of His gospel, we rush towards this year's New Year's Eve party getting out our fancy suits and champagne glasses while we gobble up our black-eyed peas and cabbage and for one night, feel like change is in the air.

Unfortunately, the church can also miss the point of Christ's first coming and run to preach a "gospel of resolutions" that turns the gospel merely into a message that can bring positive changes in our lives.

Here's an example from an email that Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church sent out today.

"At the beginning of this year, God gave me Ephesians 3:20 as a promise for this new decade, and we have seen God do amazing things. I am expecting to see His supernatural power and provision exceed our expectations in these last few days of 2010, and I want to encourage you to be a part of what God is doing now and what He plans to do in 2011."

The fact of the matter is that God already  "exceeded or expectations" by sending the long-awaited Messiah to this earth over 2,000 years ago. The God-man, Jesus Christ, displayed the supernatural power of God by living a perfect and obedient life under the law, being completely without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). While we exceedingly break God's commandments, Christ obeyed it perfectly by living a righteous life in thought, word, and deed. He then willingly went to the cross and suffered under the wrath of God. We, as sinners, deserved this but the precious Christ, who didn't deserve it, satisfied the justice of God and took our sin and punishment completely (Isaiah 53; Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18; 1 John 2:2). He then died and was buried then rose again from the grave proving that he was the son of God who sufficiently made the payment for our sins (Romans 1:4, 4:25).

This is the good news and in light of God's amazing love towards sinners, we must repent and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Proverbs 28:13; Luke 13:3; John 3:18). Upon putting our faith in Christ, God will justify us and forgive us of every single sin we have committed and will commit (Romans 3:28, 5:1; Galatians 3:11). We will receive the righteousness of Christ as our sins are nailed to the cross with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:13-15).

This is the message the church has been entrusted with and this is the message the church should be proclaiming to the ends of the earth (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)! So while the world will continue to preach and embrace a message that can only bring about an empty change, the gospel is the power of God that can give life to sinners dead in their trespasses and sins and bring salvation and forgiveness to all who come in repentance and faith! And it is only in Christ that the old has passed away and we are made new creations (2 Corinthians 5:16, 17). So this new year, if you are a Christian, make it your priority to preach the good news to a lost and dying world. And if you have yet to believe this good news, repent of your sins and trust in Christ and God will give you life!

Mark 10
23And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,  "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" 24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again,  "Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,"Then who can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said,  "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O' Holy Night

O' Holy Night sung by Philip Webb with the Grace Community Choir and Orchestra.