It saddens me when churches lose their way and stray from THE mission to proclaim Jesus Christ, born, crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus and him alone is our hope. He is our peace. It is Jesus that gives joy that is untouchable. It is through Jesus that we see the full expression of love, for God is love. Therefore, it behooves us to stick to the facts and let everything else fall into place to the glory of God. The Church is not called to get involved in political advocacy. There are groups that specifically do that. The Church is different and needs to stay different:
Preach the Gospel and let the transformed lives of sinners through the Holy Spirit respond to the world around them as God calls them.
Preach the Gospel and don’t tinker with it – it’s perfect the way it is.
Preach the Gospel and don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t say.
Preach the Gospel with all humility and gentleness but also with boldness.
Preach the Gospel and do not fear the backlash from the world.
Preach the Gospel for that is the only way sinners are saved.
Church – stick to the facts and let God be God.
FACT: You are a sinner.
FACT: You cannot save yourself.
FACT: You are a sinner (did I say that already?).
FACT: You deserve eternal torment in hell.
FACT: You are a sinner (yup, this is important).
FACT: Jesus was born of a virgin.
FACT: Jesus is the sinless Son of God.
FACT: Jesus took your sin upon himself.
FACT: Jesus was crucified FOR YOU.
FACT: Jesus died and was buried.
FACT: Jesus smashed the gates of death.
FACT: Jesus lives.
FACT: You are a sinner (just in case you forgot).
FACT: Through faith in Jesus you are forgiven.
FACT: Through God’s grace you are saved.
FACT: This is indisputable.
FACT: God is love.
FACT: This Gospel is awesome!!!
FACT: You are a sinner and thus you need Jesus.
Stick to the FACTS and you’ll be fine.
To God be the glory!!!
Holy Father, good and gracious.
Your love for me is tenacious.
Unyielding and true, it holds me.
Holy Father, how can this be?
Sinner i am, i know it’s true.
Corrupted i am, through and through.
Death i deserve, there is no doubt.
For sin’s within me, all about.
Ashamed i am, oh God help me.
My sin, oh God, i want to flee.
Draw me closer to Your great love.
Draw my eyes to Your throne above.
Jesus my Lord, Your Son does reign.
Oh God my heart, from sin constrain.
God i want to glorify you.
And give You worship that you’re due.
Holy Father, good and gracious.
Your love for me is tenacious.
For You are Love, first and always.
Into Your love God, i will gaze.
Here we are – Sunday morning – preparing to travel to a location to engage in corporate worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because God is so freak’in awesome that if you are not worshiping then something is seriously wrong. Jesus died on a cross for the forgiveness of your sins and rose from the grave that you may live forever in eternal joy with him. How can one not worship this God? How can one be ambivalent? Our Creator God is not distant but close, loving and intimate as a father to a child. Our Creator God is not too busy for you but knows every hair on your head – He’s given them each a unique name. Our Creator God reigns on high but lives in your heart.
Worship? Of course.
And so, what are you waiting for?
[The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote for worship this morning. To God be the glory, always and forever.]
Yes, God, it is right and our joy to give thanks and praise to You, at all times and in all places. It is our joy for through Jesus Christ You gave us Your Spirit that we may know the truth of the Gospel – the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls through faith in Jesus Christ. You redeemed us though we are sinful. You saved us because we cannot save ourselves. You love us because, well, You are love. Oh God, our praise and worship is so inadequate in compassion to what You deserve. Our self-conceived works fall oh so short. May we just let go and let the works you have prepared beforehand manifest themselves through us that You are rightly glorified. And so, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…
While driving to my office yesterday morning, I saw these power poles, but these are not new. I’ve driven this road for 3 1/2 years and they have always been there, but something different happened yesterday. As pole after pole went by, I no longer saw a power pole, but rather, I noticed a cross.
~ I saw Jesus
~ I was humbled as a sinner.
~ I contemplated his death for me.
~ I experienced God’s grace.
~ I heard God’s forgiveness announced.
All of this through a series of power poles that I have seen hundreds and hundreds of times. God is amazing like that – taking everyday things and people to remind you of His grace. And so, as I continued contemplating this picture and morning experience, the following poem got written.
To God be the glory!
The cross of Christ is all around me,
reminding me of Your grace.
Suffered, died and now lives forever,
that I may not be disgraced.
Thank you, Father, for these simple signs,
reminding me of Your love.
For through Jesus Christ my Lord and King,
I will live with You above.
This poem is something I wrote as I prepared a sermon on Romans 10:8-17 — thinking about “beautiful feet” carrying the Gospel. I want people to call on the name of Jesus, but first we need to constantly reacquaint ourselves with the Gospel. So the Spirit placed this on my heart. May you receive this Good News again and again. To God be the glory, Amen.
You are a sinner, that is true.
God’s wrath you’ve certainly accrued.
Condemned to die, yes, you deserve.
A judgment from which you can not swerve.
Salvation you can not obtain.
You can’t do it, i’ll say again.
You need help, you certainly do,
In order to be made brand new.
So, what’s our hope? Well, i’ll proclaim –
You’re saved by Jesus holy name.
God’s holy wrath, he took for us.
For His love is in great surplus.
Jesus took your sins to the cross.
So your life would not be a loss.
Jesus died but death did not win.
Jesus rose much to death’s chagrin.
Now look to him and see God’s grace.
For this gift is yours to embrace.
You are a sinner that is sure,
But Jesus lives so you’ll be pure.
So repent and run fast to him.
And know peace filled over the brim.
Confess your sins, Yes, every one.
You are forgiven through the Son.
Now, Jesus lives and so will you.
And it excites me to review.
You are precious – his beloved bride.
Forever with him, you’ll abide.
God’s forgiveness of our sins is amazing when you consider what we deserve. We deserve death and condemnation, but through faith in Christ there is forgiveness. Wow! But to go about one’s life, refusing to forgive others means you really don’t understand God’s forgiveness of your own sins. That’s why clear, consistent and frequent Gospel proclamations are so necessary, lest we forget what God has really done through Jesus Christ. With that, I present the following poem. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…
The command is given
The sign is clear
Do not do this
and do not go amiss.
But yet I disobey
I just ignore
the command I discard.
And now I deserve wrath
from God my Lord
For it’s God I’ve betrayed.
Punishment is certain
for my trespass
I deserve it
for that I must admit.
Oh God, please forgive me
in Jesus name
for my trespass
would Your wrath please surpass.
Your grace is amazing
Your love complete
my soul You’ve spared
even though I have erred.
So now may I forgive
and show much grace
as You have done
to show how You have won.
Oh God You’re amazing
Me a sinner
Jesus my King
Oh God, what a nice ring.
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.
1 John 1:8-9 ESV
One of the things that I am trying to teach my children is to be honest when they do something wrong. Too often, when confronted with their sin, my children are adamant in their denial. I didn’t do it. Even though it is obvious that they are guilty. I reassure them that I am not mad but rather I just want them to be honest. I reaffirm my love for them and say that there is nothing they can do that will change that. I remind them that I will always forgive them even though there may be consequences. But for a child, the fear of punishment is strong and thus their adamant denials and failed attempts to cover up their own sins.
But isn’t this a commentary for the Christian?
There may be sins in your life that you are afraid to admit. There may be sins that you are afraid to even voice in your own head when praying to God. You may bury the sin deep in your memory, hoping that time will heal and the wrong will be mended. Or…you may even deny that a sin is a sin, attempt to justify the sin or try to divert God’s attention to “worse sinners”. But daddy he broke your ________.
The fact of the matter is that we can not hide our sins, we can not deny our nature, and we can not divert God’s attention. God knows our sin, but God is a God is grace. His love is not diminished because of your sin. God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, don’t be afraid of your sin, but confess your sin and know the forgiveness of your loving heavenly Father. Don’t deny who you are and don’t deny who God is. You are a sinner, but God is a God of grace. Let Him heal you and love on you.