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But God – Ephesians 2:1-10

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Stepping Stone

We started The Gospel Centered Life in our Journey Groups this week.  This is an incredible study.  It’s a life changer.  Check it out.  Our group met last night and went through lesson 1 together.  It was an amazing time for our JG and I believe it’s going to be an amazing 9 weeks ahead of us as a church. 

Lesson 1 addressed why the Gospel cannot just be the “entry point” to our life with God, but rather it IS our life with God.  I heard Ray Ortlund Jr say “Our call is to bring people to Jesus and leave them there.”  That’s one of those statements that will stick with me my whole life.  The one thing I’m called to do is bring people to Jesus.  That’s the best thing I can do for you.  I have nothing to offer you outside of Jesus.  You never move on from Him.  There is no “next step” in our life.  Many times we use Jesus as a spring-board.  We use him to get us to the place we want to go in life.  He is not simply the means of getting us to our next step in life.  There is no life apart from Jesus.  We need to sit at His feet like Mary did. 

This is not Monopoly.  Jesus is not our “get out of jail free” card.  He is not your ticket out of hell.  He is the way, truth, and life.  We never move on from the Gospel.  What does the cross and empty tomb mean for you today?  How are those historical events changing/shaping your life right now?  Asking these questions is one thing, but answering them is another.  It has been very challenging for me to answer those questions on a daily basis.  However challenging it may be… it changes everything when you realize you need the cross and empty tomb today just as much as you needed it the day God called you into His family as a son or daughter.

The gospel is always good news for sinners like you and me.


Religious Affections

Ephesians 1:8 – Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

God continues to show me that my life is to be radically different from my old self.  I am a new creature, the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.

Jonathan Edwards put it this way… True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections.” 

Jonathan Edwards is my favorite dead guy theologian.  I’d name one of my kids after him if my wife would let me.  No author outside of scripture exercises my mind the way he does.  He was one of the greatest minds to walk this planet.  If you have never read any of his writings, I challenge you to make it a point to dip into some of his stuff in the near future, specifically his work on Religious Affections.

Continuing, a true sign of a regenerate life is one filled with holy affections for God.  Affections being the things I desire, care about, and long for.  Mark R. Talbot illustrates this perfectly for me.  Beliefs and concerns determine our emotions.  Beliefs being the things I hold true and concerns being the things I care about.  If I hear that my wife was involved in a serious car wreck, then my belief (holding the fact that she was involved in a serious car wreck) and my concern (my care for my wife’s well-being) would probably lead me to an emotion of fear and anxiety.  However, if later I heard that the wreck was minor and my wife is ok then my belief (minor accident) and concern (care for my wife) would lead me to an emotion of relief and gratefulness.

Therefore, if God has changed my heart, giving me new life… then His Spirit living in me would give me new concerns (care for Him, Jesus, the Spirit, his glory, others).   My belief (in God and the gospel) and my new concerns  (given to me by the Spirit) would lead me to emotions such as the joy expressed in 1 Peter 1:8  “joy that is inexpressible.” 

I have much to rejoice in.