Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When is trusting in Christ alone, just not enough?

Audio: 1 min. 38 sec.  (If audio does not show, click on the individual post title.)

...That other voice, which says, "you know faith just isn't enough." Trusting in Christ alone, it's just not enough.  After all, how are you behaving?

And I'm so uncertain and insecure... that I have to do something to give myself some assurance that I'm at least trying to compensate for myself.

That's the trap, you see.  And that's what these other preachers were saying to the Galations...

You've got to demonstrate faithfulness in specific deeds and actions.  Faith alone is not enough.  Confidence and trust in what God has said about me is replaced by how I feel about myself and how I measure my own performance.

Now this is epidemic, and it always has been, in the church...

Are you sure you're living a christian life the way you should?  I mean your salvation's at stake here.  Are you sure that you're living a godly life in every way you ought to be, in what you think and what you say and what you do?  Are you sure?

Well I don't know, maybe I'm not.  Let me start looking inside myself ... And there you go.  You see, you've taken your eyes off of Christ, and now the focus is on me, and my performance ... And Paul got wind of this ... and ohh boy... Paul opens up the shot-gun, loads both barrels,  and blasts away at them.

- Pastor Mark Anderson

Saturday, October 24, 2015

We're not saved from judgment, but through it

Audio: 3 min.  (If audio does not show, click on the individual post title.)

Noah walked with God. Why did Noah walk with God?, because God had mercy on Noah.

What I want you to see is how profound this mercy is.

We tend to think of mercy, we tend to think of forgiveness, we tend to think of grace as God kind of winking at our sin, sweeping it under the rug. That's not at all the picture that you have here of God's grace.

But this mercy, and this grace, this salvation comes through judgment. Noah wasn't saved from the flood, he was saved through the flood. He wasn't saved from the judgment, he was saved through the judgment.

Our salvation always comes, not apart from judgment, but through judgment. And in the midst of judgment God protects us. How does He do it? He does it with an ark, doesn't he? He does it with an ark, and as the judgment comes, the ark rises above the water.

"Ark" is an old English term that actually means "box". It's not an original Hebrew word, it's an Egyptian word. And what does this Egyptian word mean? It means "coffin". God says to Noah, I want you to build me a box, and I want you to get in that box and I'm going to seal you in there, the very symbol of death. And when the judgment comes, that death will rise above the other death. When the judgment comes you will rise above the judgment.

My friends, do you see who's in view here? This is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be a christian? I means to be in the death of Jesus Christ. And then as the judgment comes on Jesus Christ ... what happened to Him on the cross?, He was judged by God for your sin and my sin, and we were in Him, just as Noah is in the ark. And when the judgment came, and it came down hard, where He cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." What happens? He rises from the dead.

What does it mean to be a christian? It means that you are in Him. My friend, if you are a christian, you are in the ark. And no matter what comes, it could be a judgment that takes down the entire world, you will rise above. Not because of yourself but because of the favor of God, the grace and mercy of God. Because of the ark, because of Jesus Christ, because of the cross, because of His resurrection.

Are you depending on faith?, repentance? - Never rest on them.

Our tendency is to try to do something in order to save ourselves; but we must beat that tendency down, and look away from self to Christ. Labour to get away from your own labours; labour to be clean rid of all self-reliance; labour in your prayers never to depend upon your prayers; labour in your repentance never to rest upon your repentance; and labour in your faith not to trust your faith, but to trust alone to Jesus

When you begin to rest upon your repentance, and forget the Saviour, away with your repentance; and when you begin to pray, and you depend upon your prayers, and forget the Lord Jesus, away with your prayers. When you think you are beginning to grow in grace, and you feel, “Now I am somebody,” away with such spurious growth as that, for you are only being puffed up with pride, and not really growing at all. Labour not to labour; labour to keep down your natural self-righteousness and self-reliance; labour to continue where the publican was, and cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

--Charles Spurgeon,“The Believer’s Present Rest,” June 6, 1873, in Spurgeon’s Expository Encyclopedia, 13:176