Sunday, October 28, 2012

the call to experience the gospel for yourself

These Gala apples are amazing:

They are tangy, a bit earthy even; soft, yet crisp. Moist and delicate, the sweetness of these apples lingers on your tongue after each bite. Nothing else tastes quite like these apples. They are incredibly good.


Can you imagine tasting one of those apples right now?

If so, why do you think that is?

You can accurately imagine- you understand exactly what I’m describing- because you’ve experienced those things before.

Imagine if I told you about the apple, but you had never had one before. You have never tasted something tangy, or something sweet. I could describe the apple to you in hundreds of different ways, but you wouldn’t really understand what I’m talking about until you take that first bite. You know what I mean?

Experience allows us to understand descriptions. We frame the meanings of words given to us by what we have experienced in real life. Your body has to have tasted “tangy” for me to truly be able to communicate what tangy means to you. Once you’ve experienced “tangy”, you know what it means.

Much like the apples, you have to truly experience what the Gospel means in order to fully understand it. My words can’t give you the true experience of the Gospel.

We can define it, we can explain it- we even walked through it step by step for 15 weeks. But do our hearts truly understand what the “gospel” means?

We can talk about it for days, but the power of the Gospel doesn’t truly come through words alone. Explaining it doesn’t give you the experience. The true power of the Gospel is found in the very depths of our soul.

The truth of the Gospel is this: God the Father, in His infinite wisdom, created the world, sent His Son to die for the very people who sinned against Him. His mercy redeemed those whom He chose for the purpose of bringing glory and honor and praise to His name.

We exist for the glory of God. Not for our own sake, but for the name of God to be made great.

God is the center of our world- our lives- because He is God.

In our sinful rebellion, we left God behind and sought after ourselves and our own pleasures. Every single one of us. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. {see Romans 3:23}

Standing in horrific pride against the Creator of the UNIVERSE, we desired to make our own name great. We desired to serve ourselves in this time on the earth.

We rebelled against God, and we deserve to be separated from Him. For eternity. Who can stand before the very God of all, who is Holy, Just, and Truth, and demand that we deserve anything in light of what we’ve done? When that final day comes, could you possibly stand and say “God, why are you so unjust to send me away to be separated from you from eternity?”

Would you dare to demand that you deserve a second chance?

We cannot even stand on our feet without God willing it to happen. Who could say anything in response to Him?

Oh, we are so full of sin and pride.

But God still loved us.


Not because of any redeeming quality we had.

He loved us because He is merciful.

He created us, He wrote the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world, for His glory. Not for anything else.

If you feel a welling up of resistance in your chest to that statement, you are feeling the very thing we all need to be redeemed from: pride.

God is GLORY. God is HOLY. God is JUST.

He is the Alpha, and the Omega. The beginning and the end.

We are nothing but dust. We have nothing in light of Him.

And yet in the most incredible way, He lowered Himself to our status and came in human form to live as we do, so that we could be rescued from the very sin that condemned us to eternal separation from God.

Jesus came and fulfilled the laws of God, and sacrificed Himself- a spotless Lamb- and defeated the power of sin and death through His resurrection- so that we could be made new- so that we could be made righteous like Him. So that we could become His sons and daughters.

Do you see it? Do you understand?

You are desperately in need of Jesus. You have nothing to offer God. He is EVERYTHING.

God doesn’t need you to do anything for Him. You need Him.

The Holy Father has provided a way for you to fellowship with Him again. You could never be good enough or moral enough to get there on your own. No amount of singing His praise, of being good to others; no amount of following of the Bible, no amount of offering thanksgiving will ever bring you to salvation. You cannot offer God anything in exchange for His grace.

Matt Chandler says it so well in the Explicit Gospel: “If everything is God’s, you have nothing to give him that he doesn’t already own. This means that you cannot put him into your debt. And this means, alternately, that God owes no man anything. Our very existence has been gifted to us by his grace.”

You have nothing in comparison to His glory.

And yet He offers you everything.

Can you lose your pride, and admit that you are vile and desperate, and in need of a Savior?

That’s what you have to do to truly understand the Gospel.

You have been given a chance to be a child of the one true and living God.

Jesus gave up Himself, so that you could be a chosen one.

Friend, if you understand this, you cannot help but worship Him.

He is Glory, the one unchangeable, unshakeable,the undeniable God.

Do not reject Him. Don’t.

You have one chance in this life you’ve been given. You have one life to live.

You’ve been given the gift of redemption. You have been given a chance to be saved from the consequences of your pride and sin. A chance you don’t deserve in any way, shape, or form.

Will you accept the gift of salvation? Will you give your life to Christ?

The Gospel is the Good News. The news that God has redeemed you if you have faith in Him. If you confess with your mouth the Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Confess that the Lord is God, and you are not. Confess that you are broken and desperate, and in need of a Savior. Tell Him. Tell others. Believe that HE has risen from the dead and conquered death so that you might understand His power.

Nothing on this earth is more important than this.

No one- nothing- but Jesus can redeem you. He did it. For you. Because He loved you.

When you believe this is true, your heart is forever changed.

Your life will forever change. You will truly understand the Gospel, and you will worship Him- your heart will live for Him. And you won’t be able to explain it, but your heart will change in ways you could never change yourself.

You are a creature made to glorify the God who redeemed you. You can choose to glorify and serve God in this time on the earth, or you can choose to glorify and serve yourself here. But I have to warn you, if you choose yourself, you will not spend eternity with God. You can’t. You must have faith here and believe in Him on earth to receive the gift of salvation. One moment after death is too late. There are no do-overs.

Whom will you serve here?

No serving two masters. It’s you or Him.

Will you choose to be His?

And will you do it with all of you? Every single part of your life- He requires it, sweet friends.

Give it all back to Him. Nothing held back.

That is the power of the Gospel- the story of a merciful God giving life- to the dead.

A heart that once was as hard as stone- a heart that served itself- becomes transformed into a new creation. A heart of stone becomes a heart of flesh when it is filled with the power of the Spirit of God. He has done it in me, and I can tell you it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced on this side of Heaven.

There is no one- no author, no song, no experience in nature- nothing that speaks into my soul like His Spirit does. I can’t describe how powerful His presence is in my heart. There is no one- not one single thing on this earth that arouses my heart to worship like His Spirit. He is worthy. Oh, how He is worthy.

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty! He is great in power and in might, and there is no God in Heaven or earth besides Him.

Will you serve Him with your life?

Choose today.

Live for Him today.

Nothing else matters.



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