Scripture: Romans 2:12-16
It would help if we knew what Paul had in mind when he wrote certain things, and even more to know the MOOD in which he wrote them. Paul Clifford is a novel published in 1830 by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton. It tells of the life of Paul Clifford, a man who leads a dual life as both a criminal and an upscale gentleman. The book was successful upon its release. It is known for the opening phrase “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Paul’s MOOD is often straight forward and blunt. Paul tells us that God has given us the Law of Moses and that we don’t HAVE TO BE BETTER than the law, but that we are keepers of the Spirit of the Law.
When working on this sermon, I was shaken by this scripture:
2 Corinthians 3:
“Are we to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” You don’t need me to remind you to live by the letter of the LAW that God has provided to us. The truth is, the time to truly live in the spirit of God’s Law is not tomorrow, but TODAY! How many people are missing this opportunity?
I got done with my jog yesterday morning and it was peaceful and quiet. I walked around for another 10 minutes. It was chilly. The leaves were falling and changing color. There were fewer people out walking. I thought, we can’t stop time! The seasons of our life keep moving on. We need to make sure that we are in a good place with our maker. The world is not going to just wait for our decision to live a spiritual life. We are always getting ready for the season. In spring, we mulch. In summer, we mow. In fall, we rake. In winter, we shovel! Why don’t we prepare for a life with Jesus?
George Clooney- the best gift you can give anyone is TIME! That is what our God gave each and every one of us. Don’t wait! Encourage anyone you know not to wait! We have been given everything and have been asked to MAKE THE GOSPEL YOUR OWN!
Kurt Warner played quarterback for three NFL teams: the St. Louis Rams, the New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals. He retired from the NFL in 2010 and is now an analyst with the NFL network. Growing up in a religious household, faith in God was not something that he took seriously. He said, ” Faith wasn’t the reason I lived my life. God wasn’t the focus of everything I did. He was just kind of a part of it. I went to Mass and felt like it was more of a thing that I was supposed to do more than necessarily wanting to do it or wanting to have that strong relationship. I really didn’t know the extent that I needed to give my life to Him like I do now!” After a tornado touched down in Arkansas in 1996 killing both of his wife’s parents, he realized that he needed a change. He says of that experience, “That situation showed me that you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. You have to live life for today and for this moment. It was at that point that I realized that the Lord needed to be at the center of my life. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow or next year. It needed to be right now! Thanking God is a constant thing in my life. It is not just for something specific He did on the football field to help us win. It is for everything that He has done in my life up to that point for for everything He will continue to do in my life from here until eternity.”
Every one of us has the kind of days where we want to lie down on our bed, put our head on our pillow, and fall asleep until we wake up, Lord willing, to another day. Whether it’s a difficult person at work, a disagreement with our spouse, being depressed about life, or anxiety, we all struggle in a variety of ways. In my own life, I’ve battled with anxiety for a long time. During these times, I have to go back to what Christ says about me in His Word. One of the best ways that I have learned to do this is to preach the truth of the Gospel to myself from the Word of God. Preaching the Gospel to ourselves from the Word of God means taking the truth of the Scripture and applying it to myself.
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.‘ Our goal in reading Scripture isn’t to only read and study it but to apply it to our lives. Whether it’s anxiety or discouragement, when I go back to preaching the Gospel from the Word of God to myself, it exposes my sin and points me in the right direction.
Jerry Bridges is an author of more than a dozen books including The Pursuit of Holiness, which has sold more than one missions copies. Not the pursuit of HAPPINESS but the pursuit of HOLINESS. He is right when he says, “Preaching the Gospel to oneself means that one appropriates again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is yours, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.”
No one is wiser than the Gospel! In his writings, Paul does not consider himself above the gospel. He gratefully acknowledges his debt for what they have given him.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night that he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
1 Corinthians 15:3 “For What I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins.” According to the Scriptures, we all received the Gospel to begin with, and we need to have the perseverance to make it our own!
Make your own gospel story and share your faith with others as Paul teaches us to do!