Know the Gospel

Welcome to 2nd Look.
This past Sunday we talked about the importance of knowing the Gospel and how we need to come to think more and more like Jesus does. We need to see the world the way He does and that this is a central part of following Jesus. You may remember I said: “I don’t know much; but I know we are supposed to make disciples.” Jesus commands us to do this – to go into all the world and make disciples. Part of this process involves us knowing the gospel and helping others do the same.
So the follow up question is: Ok – but how do I do this? How do I deepen in knowing the gospel? How do I grow to think more and more like Jesus? Let me give you several ideas:

1. Studymemorizelearn from God’s Word

Psalm 119:11 – the psalmist says: “thy word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee…” A big part of coming to deeply KNOW the gospel – is to learn the teachings of the Bible and to let it invade your life. There is no book out there that has invaded my life like the Bible has. I’m a serial reader of books. I read them like they are a mission – once I complete the book, I’ve completed the mission. Very few books get a second read from me. Novels almost never get a second read. Some non fiction works will get a second go around – even fewer get a third. The Bible is the only book, I’ve read over and over again; and in that process, the teachings found within its pages have begun to invade my mind and heart in a way no other book has.
As Christians we need to study God’s Word. We need it because without it we really don’t grow to think like Jesus. We will be stunted in our growth – if we grow at all and we run the risk of making grave errors in our understanding of who God is and His will for our lives.
One other thing I’d like to say about this – memorization is not necessarily a weakness for me – but it requires effort so I wouldn’t say it’s a huge strength either. But memorization has powerfully impacted my life with God. I know some of us out there think there is no way we could memorize Scripture. Please consider that your mind is capable of doing amazing things – and then you add to that God’s empowering of your mind? Memorization is possible. Consider trying it – but before you do – please free yourself from the idea that you have to memorize entire books of Scripture. I think many of us are capable of this – but seriously – just start with a verse or two. Write a verse on a notecard and tape it to your mirror or on your dash console where you will see it often (But do this safely!!) Read the verse again and again; reflect on it – memorize it.
If you are just starting out with the Bible – there are all kinds of suggestions for how to read the Scriptures. Please check our church website in the days ahead – we will be posting some helpful hints on living from our values and more specifically – reading and learning from the Bible.

2. Make and execute an intentional plan to develop our minds

The key word here is “intentional.” How often are we intentional with the way we do things? This is especially hard for those of us who are  fly by the seat of our pants people. I’m one of them – but I’ve found there is great power to making intentional choices to grow. The mind is something that doesn’t just grow. It’s not like we put our brains in sunlight – add a little water then Voila! You have a larger mind! No, this takes an intentional choice on our part.  I’d like to invite you to think about this and maybe ask yourself some questions:

1) What are some ways I can help myself grow to think more and more like Jesus?

2) Are there thought patterns in my life that are like Jesus’? What are they? Are there thought patterns that are not? What are they?

There are tons of resources on the web that are available to help you grow and be challenged to know the gospel. If you are a reader there are a ton of books out and articles out there. Might I make a few suggestions?

-“The Search For Significance” by Robert McGee

-“Hiding From Love” by John Townsend

-“Christ Empowered Living” by Selwyn Hughes

If you are someone who likes to listen and watch videos – we have a great resource called: Rightnowmedia.org. Check it out – through it you have access to hundreds of hours of sermons; Bible studies and training.
The big thing is – to make an intentional choice; then an intentional plan – to grow your mind. It also means we might need to release some things in our lives that hurt our ability to grow to think more and more like Jesus…

3. Replace our errant ways of thinking with Christ’sways.

One thing I’ve found through the years I’ve known Jesus – is that He is in the business of changing me from the inside out. I’m finding I’m often wrestling with seeing the world the way Jesus does and how I so frequently find the way Jesus sees things is the opposite of how I naturally do. I’m often having to be reminded that this thought is not of Christ and it is in those moments; I am praying and asking God once again to take this truth and re-form my thoughts with it. Sometimes we need to take our errant misguided thinking and remind ourselves again and again what Jesus’ way of seeing things is – then we need to live as if Jesus’ way is actually the truth. This is not an overnight process. Let me give you an example:
So I see a guy on the street and my initial thought is – I want to stay away from him – to not invest in him because judging by the way he looks – he isn’t open to Christ and he’s beyond saving. But the Bible teaches us that nobody is beyond saving or beyond the love of God. So I need to remind myself of this and accept this truth – but then also maybe I need to live as if this truth is actually true. So I talk to this guy – all the while asking God to lead me because I am trusting that this guy is not beyond His love and ability to save.
Do you see what I’m talking about? We confront the errant ways we think – we replace them with Christ’s true ways and we live accordingly.
These three things will help us know the gospel. The question always comes back to: How far are you willing to go? How deeply do you want your mind to be like Jesus’? I promise you – this movement will rock your life and while some of it may be difficult – you won’t regret.

Have a wonderful week everybody,
Pastor Ryan