Sing Of Your Praise

Tuesday, July 09, 2013, 7:01 a.m. – A tune was in my head that sounded somewhat familiar, as I woke this morning. And, I had partial words, so I looked it up. It appears to me that the Lord Jesus was putting this song in my head:

Until the Whole World Hears / Casting Crowns

I wanna be your hands and feet
I wanna live a life that leads
To see You set the captive free
Until the whole world hears
And I pray the day will see
More of You and less of me
Lord I want my life to be the song you sing…

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. Yesterday I read 1 Corinthians 15, and today I read chapter 16, both in the NIV. I will share selected verses from these two chapters and then I will write what the Lord Jesus is teaching me through them.;

The Gospel Preached

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain (1 Co. 15:1-2).

As I read these first two verses, there were four things that jumped out at me:

· The gospel preached – what was it?
· The gospel received – how so?
· The stand upon the gospel – how done?
· If you hold firmly – what does this mean?

First of all, the gospel preached by the apostles was Jesus Christ crucified for our sins, buried, and raised from the dead in conquering death, hell, sin and Satan. The gospel not only hangs on Jesus’ blood sacrifice for our sins, but on his resurrection, for if he had not been resurrected then our sins would not have been conquered, we would not have the victory over sin that Jesus provided for us, and thus we would still be dead in our sins with no hope of eternal life with God. Because Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, we, too, will be resurrected. One day soon Jesus Christ will return for his bride and our bodies will be changed into imperishable bodies, and we will live with him forever in glory.

Secondly, the gospel preached by the apostles was one of the necessities of death to sin and self, a life transformed by the power and working of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, and having a new life in Christ under his control, leadership, guidance and direction, i.e. one that follows Christ in obedience wherever he leads us. Jesus Christ died and was resurrected so that we could die to our sins and have completely new lives in Christ Jesus, free from the control of and slavery to sin, and free to walk in Christ’s righteousness.

We receive the gospel by faith in Jesus Christ. This faith requires that we turn from our lives of sin and rebellion against God, that we are transformed into new creatures in Christ Jesus, and that we put on our new lives in Christ, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness. This means that believing in Jesus Christ is not just an intellectual assent to his death and resurrection, nor is it an emotional decision to have a desire to go to heaven one day, but it is a decision to die to living in sin and for self, it is a radical transformation of our thinking, believing, and behaving, and it is a choice of our wills to daily die to sin and to walk by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, doing what he desires and requires for our lives (See Lu. 9:23-25; Ep. 4:17-24; Ro. 6; Gal. 2:20, etc.).

To take our stand upon this gospel means that we live what we say we believe, and that we preach and teach what we live, and that we live what we preach. It means that the true gospel of Jesus Christ should permeate every aspect of our lives so that Christ Jesus is reflected through us, and that we do feel what he feels, and we see through his eyes, and that we are his hands and feet to those around us. Not one of us will do this perfectly, but this should be what we daily strive for in the power and working of the Holy Spirit within us.

And, this last part is key to the gospel, i.e. it is very important that we understand this so that we don’t end up with a false sense of security. Salvation, according to scripture, is a process of having been saved, being saved, and that we will be saved one day when Jesus Christ returns and our salvation is complete. Some people call this the process of sanctification. In other words, we don’t pray a prayer at an altar – bam – we have our ticket into heaven and now we can just chill, i.e. relax, take it easy, have fun and play games. Our lives will be tested to see if our faith is genuine, and we must pass the test. True faith endures to the end, and it holds firmly to what it was taught. This doesn’t mean we go in and out of salvation every time we sin, as some teach, but what it does mean is that salvation is also not just a free ride to heaven. Jesus died to set us free from sin daily, and to set us free to walk in his righteousness, holiness and in obedience. And, true salvation will involve our lives daily dying to sin and self, and living for his righteousness.

Give Yourselves Fully

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Co. 15:58).

… because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me (1 Co. 16:9).

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love (1 Co. 16:13).

The Christian life, as wonderful as our salvation is, is not usually easy. We will face obstacles, distractions, temptations, opposition, and difficult circumstances, etc. that will all try and will challenge our faith and commitment to Jesus Christ and to his service. We will also be hated, rejected, persecuted, and even some of us may be killed for our testimony for Jesus Christ. Yet, we should never give up, and we should never give in to the enemy of our souls no matter how challenging or difficult life can be sometimes. We should take these challenges as opportunities to increase our faith and commitments to Christ and to his gospel, and we should daily put on our armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s attacks against us (See Ep. 6:10-20). Many times when I have been going through some of those challenges, these verses (above) have been just the right words to encourage my faith. I pray that each one of us will let nothing move us, but we will give ourselves fully to Christ.

Open My Heart / An Original Work / July 2, 2013

“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil”(Rm. 16:19b).

Open my heart. Let Your truth in.
Make of me a servant, pure within;
Sing of Your praise all of my days.
Let Your Spirit transform all my ways.
Jesus Christ died on a cross to
Save me from my sin.
“Repent of sin. Be cleansed within.
Obey all of His commands today.”

“Why do you doubt? Why do you fear?
Jesus Christ will wipe away your tears.
He cares for you. He feels your pain.
Die to sin, and life with Him you’ll gain.
Follow Him where’er He leads you.
Talk with Him each day.
Then you will know what He has planned
For your life before your world began.”

“Come unto Me, weary in heart.
Let My love and grace to you impart.
Believe in Me. Trust in My care.
Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer.
He will meet all of your needs,
And give you peace within.
Rejoice in Him! Tell of His love.
He will give you comfort from above.”