Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”
I, like Paul, find it amazing how Christians have been swayed by the message of other gospels. It is important that we realize that if we can get a lot of things wrong and still be okay. However; if we get the Gospel of Jesus Christ wrong it ruins everything. The Gospel is the most important message in the entire Bible. If we preach the wrong gospel then, according to verse nine we are preaching a curse upon ourselves. We must be very mindful of how we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to look for a moment at some of the gospels that we normally encounter. That way when we hear them we can mark them and then avoid them.
- There is the Wrong Gospel: Any message that avoids the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the wrong message. Anyone that teaches that there is another way to Heaven outside of Jesus Christ is teaching the wrong gospel. An example would be if you hear someone that says “It does not matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.” Danger! Sincere people will end up in the Lake of Fire.
- There is the Water Downed Gospel: It is the message that accepts Jesus Christ, but does not stress it. The watered down gospel is the idea of easy believism that is being preached from many American pulpits. It is a message that avoids teaching on changed lives, repentance, and other controversial events that are suppose to take place at the moment a person is saved. It avoids the controversial issues involved in salvation and never reveals a person’s sinful condition.
- There is the Works-based Gospel: This gospel emphasizes works over faith. It believes that as long as you are performing your religious duties such as attending church, tithing, and serving then you are automatically destined for Heaven. Nothing could farther from the truth. Works never produce faith, but faith will always produce a work.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches a person places their faith and trust into the Lord Jesus Christ by Repenting of their Sins, and turning their lives over to the Lord. Salvation involves repentance, and faith. Without either of these, we are living by the wrong message.
Today’s Challenge: Examine the message that you are preaching and the message that you have received. Have you been removed from the real Gospel message?
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The Bible is clear that we are to examine ourselves. Typically, we are more out to judge or examine others before we are to examine ourselves. The Lord gives us to simple instructions:
- Examine Yourselves
- Prove Yourselves
There are some principles that would be good to highlight in order to learn to do a self examination.
- Make Jesus Christ Your Mark: We have a habit of comparing ourselves to others, when we are to make Jesus Christ our standard. Remember, if you don’t look like Jesus then you don’t have any business judging others.
- Make The Bible Your Mirror: The Bible is not just a composition of stories and fairy tales, but it is a mirror that reveals to us all our impurities. Reading the Bible requires us to align and adjust to it, rather than making it adjust to us. Allow the Bible to be the device that shows us our imperfections.
- Make The Holy Spirit Your Mentor: There is no greater accountability partner than the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to work in your life by giving Him complete access to your heart. Trust me; the Holy Spirit will definitely be a truthful physician in the examination process.
Today’s Challenge: Do a Self Examination using these tools and see what happens.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Anything done for the Lord is not wasted time. My hope with this article will be to encourage the believer and local church member about their proper place in the ministry of God. This verse is a charge from a preacher to the local church that encourages of several things:
- It reminds the Church where their Victory
- It reminds the Church how to keep the Victory
- It reminds the Church how to maintain the Victory
The victory of a church is not found in a position, it is found in the person of Jesus Christ. God gives us the victory through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is who you must rest upon in all things.
The key to maintaining victory lies within vs. 58.
- Be Stedfast – settled and seated. The problem with so many people is that they are not settled on anything. They question everything. When God shows you something, or tells you something you must allow that to settle you.
- Be Unmoveable – means unshakeable. When we are unsettle on what we believe we become susceptible to being shaken by circumstances and people. There are people out there that want to shake you up. Just remember when you get shaken you usually spew and that is always a big mess.
- Always Abounding – means to stay engaged. Stay engaged in the work of the Lord. Don’t let situations or circumstances keep you from being engaged in Kingdom activity.
Remember the way a person maintains victory is when they realize that what they do for God is never in vain. Working and serving God is always a work that pays tremendous dividends.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t allow the situations, circumstances, or people around you prevent you from being what God intends for you to be.
1 Corinthians 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
Self examination is a great thing. I think we get bogged down in examining the decisions and lifestyles of others and forget to look at our own lives. There is no doubt that we should all hold ourselves to a high standard. My fear is that we judge the greatness of our lives on the merits or mishaps of others. Often times we find ourselves making judgments about ourselves in light of the failures of others.
The Bible teaches us that we should judge ourselves. God wants us to live above reproach. In other words, we should live in such a way that people would have a hard time finding something bad to say about us. This is difficult because we want to make excuses for our behavior rather than condemn our own actions. I would like to write some key principles that will help us judge ourselves.
- Use God’s Word as a Mirror: If what you see being taught in the Bible does not align with the life you are living then there are obvious adjustments that need to be made.
- Jesus Christ should be the Mark: Paul pressed toward the mark. We do not need to compare ourselves to others. We need to constantly compare ourselves to Christ.
- Listen to the way other Perceive You: Many times you can judge yourself based on the way those closest to you will describe you.
Today’s Challenge: Judge yourself. If you do it right you may be able to avoid the judgment of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
The Lord made us in such a way as to glorify Him. We are to give God glory in every part of our lives. As I think about this today, I have to assess the vanity within my own life. How much of what we do has nothing to do with the glory of God? So much of what we try to accomplish and try to achieve is pure emptiness. God takes us to the smallest of practices. God tells us that something as simple as eating and drinking should be to His Glory.
We must remember that we were made to glorify God. In whatever we do it is to be so that God can get maximum glory. I am afraid that the majority of life’s activity is spent giving more glory to our self than to the Lord.
I am of the opinion that there is plenty of liberty within the Christian’s life. Religion is constricting, but a relationship with Jesus Christ is liberating. God gives us the liberty to do what we want, but reminds us that we better be doing it for His Glory!
Today’s Challenge: Assess your life’s activity. Go through your daily routines and see just how much of it is done with the mindset of giving God glory.