‘But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.’  Col 1: 22-23

  • Everyone in the Church needs to hear the Gospel every day.
  • I, Maria, need to hear the Gospel every day.
  • Unbelievers need to hear the Gospel.

I was listening to an interview with the eldest daughter of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  He was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years.  In her talk with Mark Dever (Capitol Hill Baptist Church) she said that her dad was raised in a good Christian, chapel-going Welsh home where everyone assumed that people knew the Gospel.  In other words, the Gospel was not explicitly expounded in Lloyd-Jones’ boy-hood church.  He came to a saving faith gradually as an adult as he heard bits and pieces of the Gospel message and God put it together for him.  As counter-intuitive as it might be, we cannot assume that people in our churches have heard the Gospel.

But hearing it once is not enough.  Each day I wake up as though I have forgotten the news.  I NEED to hear the facts, the actual content of my faith, repeated daily. The Gospel is not just the story of what Jesus did for us so that we wouldn’t be condemned for our sins.  The good news of the Gospel is the power to transform our thinking so that we feel and act differently.  Soaking in Gospel truth, drop by daily drop, will change us.

A guest preacher for Matt Chandler’s church in Dallas was talking about how every one of us will stand before God at the Day of Judgment.  We will either be condemned for our sins, each and every one of them (thought, word and deed) or we will be commended in Christ.  But this commendation will have nothing to do with us, personally, as if we DID something.  (‘yes, I saw the light and was wise enough to choose Jesus’) No, Scripture is very clear that nothing we have done is worthy of commendation.  After all, our best deeds are described as dirty, greasy, rags fit for a motor pit-stop (Isaiah 64:6)

How freeing to meditate on the fact that God chose me before I was born and that I have value and worth because of his sovereign, electing love.  He purposefully planned for my life and my future inheritance.   I don’t have to earn his love.  I already have it.  That is the Gospel message I need to hear each day.

Understanding this radical news will aid me in halting my incessant seeking of worth via my ‘sophisticated and subtle’ boasts to fellow humans.  The impulse to impress others is always there.  I realized today that even in my French classes, I crave the students’ approval for my methods and techniques.  If I can cleverly engage them so they seem fascinated by French, then I am worth something as teacher.

But the Gospel message tells me I have only 2 choices – Do I want to stand and face God on my own record or on Jesus’ merit?

(But Lord, I want some credit for working hard and being a clever and gifted French teacher.  I want some strokes for that!)  Here is what would be freeing, to get it down deep inside of me, that I am totally accepted and O-K-A-Y, because of Christ (my ‘okay-ness’ is outside of me as Ray Ortlund puts it).  Then I would be free to focus on the kids and use French that is comprehensible to talk about them.  Freed up knowing that I’m totally loved, I could love on them.  No pressure.  Is it possible?

See what I mean that we need to hear the Gospel message every day?

And if WE, already loved and accepted as Christ’s brothers and sisters, need to hear it every day, then how much more  do our non-believing friends and neighbors?

So, here is my new question that I want to ask everyone I encounter, a question designed to keep my focus on God and encourage my heart, but also bless my fellow man:  “Hey, can I ask you my favorite question?  How has God blessed you recently?”

Asking that question and hopefully engaging someone on that level will keep the focus off me and will give me glimpses into glory which will encourage MY heart.

Pray that:   1) I can remember the question and 2) remember that I have nothing to lose by asking it.  I am already loved and accepted by Him who matters most in this world.