The Gospel for Life
Written by Tom Barker
Having endured a slathering of SPF 50 they play in the surf, watching for that "big one". They alternately hold their nose and dunk under a passing wave or jump over the next crest. As wave after wave comes by, their feet leave the sand and they ride over the foam or tumble around in the tide. And every time they navigate a wave, they get moved down the beach with the current. You are sitting with your wife under a very large, very colorful umbrella and you yell out, "Come back this way!" After a few of their driftings, you tell them that every few minutes they need to locate the family umbrella on the beach and swim back to be in line with it because the current is always carrying them away. Your children need to be constantly mindful of a point of reference so that they do not get confused, lost or taken away by the current. As God's children, we need the same constant mindfulness on a point of reference.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. That's 2 Cor. 4:16. What does it mean? In terms of being saved what does it mean? We know God opens our hearts to be saved (Acts 16:14) and that we are saved by grace through faith unto good works (Ephesians 2:8 - 10) and that we are protected for a salvation that is yet coming (1 Peter 1:5) and that one day we will be glorified with Him(1 Corinthians 15:51-52). But what does being renewed day-by-day have to do with salvation? Sanctification means being conformed to the image of God day by day. Our sanctification began at the moment of our salvation and will be fully completed at death or at the Lord's return, but most of the Christian life is progressive sanctification. As the gospel is the remedy for our being lost, the gospel is also the remedy for everyday life in our being transformed and renewed. So in all of our Christian lives our constant mindfulness must be on the gospel and our Redeemer as our constant point of reference.
The gospel: reconciliation to God and the hope of a resurrected, eternal life, trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my sins and believing His resurrection from the dead that I would be saved from eternal punishment, with my trust and singleness of devotion in Christ shown in my repentance toward sin.
The men's breakfast theme for 2011, Men Redeemed: The Gospel for Life, answers the question, "What I am to do in my everyday life regarding the gospel?" The Gospel for Life reflects God's work of redemption in the way our lives are lived out; in our relationships to each other: it answers the command of how to be patient with the fact that God has been and is patient with us. Patience makes the difference in unity, body life, family life, parenting and work life. As redemption says "who I am in Christ", so The Gospel for Life answers "What I am to do?" and "How am I to do it?" in response to redemption. The Gospel for Life also answers the question, "What difference is the gospel going to make in..." The Gospel for Life answers the the "How? or So what?" of the practical application of the gospel in all of life and draws us to be constantly mindful of our reconciliation before God in all that we do.
The gospel makes all the difference in family life, marriage, purity, parenting and work life.
The gospel makes all the difference in personal disciplines, discipleship and spiritual growth.
The gospel makes all the difference in body life, fellowship, stewardship and leadership.
Men, make plans to attend the 2011 breakfast series and encourage other men to attend as well.