CHRIST ALONE

February 7, 2018

ACTS 15:1-11

CHRIST ALONE

 

There is a tendency to talk about topics repeatedly when it comes to the Sunday service and hearing the Gospel for weeks on end may lead us to the point where just sit there bored because we are listening to things we already know. Granted the delivery of the same message may be different from each talk but the reason that the message of the Gospel is constantly proclaimed are the following:

  1. The Gospel is the core message of our faith and thus to have any version of the Gospel or an incomplete understanding of it that is different from the Bible will make our faith useless.

  2. We are called to proclaim the Gospel continuously because not only are we to live by it but there are many who hear it with their ears but have not truly heard it by allowing it to guide their lives.

  3. There are those who may not have heard it clearly and thus may need to hear it so that they too can experience God and believe in Him

  4. We need to refresh ourselves in the Gospel daily because we tend to be like sheep that wander away from the shepherd due to temptation and must be reminded that our lives only have true lasting meaning when we are with Him.

  5. We never graduate or move on from the Gospel but MUST live in the good news that we are now in a relationship with Jesus.

 

The Gospel is the gift that keeps on giving and the more you study it, the more you live by it, and the more you encounter God through it that you realize that there are more revelations of God’s goodness that have yet to be unfolded if we but just look deeper. So if you are ever tempted to think that you know it and don’t need to hear it again, that is exactly the moment you need to hear it again!

 

Never think we graduate from it!

 

NOTES ON THE TEXT

 

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

 

These false teachers were saying that you need Jesus plus something else to be saved. To say you need to do something other than having faith in Jesus is to proclaim that Jesus was not enough to save you. These false teachers cannot let go of their religious backgrounds and that is hindering them from fully experiencing God. We read this and laugh at the idea of how ridiculous these religious teachers are but do you ever wonder how we too can use our own religious spirits to say that Jesus is not enough for us to be good before God’s eyes and accepted by Him?

 

A lot of times it is our fear and disbelief in the goodness of the Gospel that makes us actually do the formula of Jesus plus something else to make us qualified to be called children of God. If you ever have asked how God could forgive you over your sin or that God cannot accept you, then you have then put yourself in a similar boat as these religious leaders because we are saying that our sin is greater than God’s sacrifice! Don’t think that your sin is greater than God’s power to save! We question and ask how God can forgive me after all that I have done but our job is to not understand first then receive, but receive by faith and walk in it, which will lead to gradual understanding. So how can we believe in the Gospel that Jesus is enough for our salvation?

 

  1. When you repent and ask for forgiveness believe that you are in Christ.

    1. A lot of times we think we need to cry our eyes out and then we are saved because we need to pay with our tears for our forgiveness but the the price for your sins are not tears but death and Jesus paid it already.

    2. Crying doesn’t always mean repentance, a changed life does.

  2. The Gospel leans on the hope that is found in Jesus.

    1. We have faith that God is never going to abandon us in our process of becoming Christ like and that who we are is not who we will be and that who we will be is actually who we are originally designed to be in God’s eyes.

  3. Counsel yourself as you would counsel a hurting friend.

    1. Sometimes we are more kind to our friends and strangers than to ourselves. Why is it that when your friend is struggling and you are encouraging them with the love of God that you are so harsh on yourself? When did you become the judge? When did you become God? You didn’t! So why do you condemn yourself when Christ was already condemned for you and why are you being the judge that only Jesus can be? STOP! As you would counsel in love your friend with the love of God, do the same to yourself daily!

 

5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

 

The religious leaders are back at it again! They are saying that the gentiles have to conform to the ritualistic laws of Moses to truly be saved but failed to understand that Jesus has already kept the law for all mankind forever if they believe in and walk with Him. That is the thing, those who genuinely believe in the Gospel are changed by it so that they want to be like Jesus. The religious activities that we do such as Bible reading or for us to live like Christians is not a reflection of our religion but a reflection of our relationship with Him. We don’t look like a Christian because we want to keep ritual laws but we look like Christ because we want to be with and guard the heart of God. As it states in verse eight, that God looks at the heart, more than what we do on the outside, we must constantly check the reason why we do the things we do! It is so easy to get caught up in routine and lose the heart of why we do things and it is the same way with following Jesus. The way we keep our heart in check is when we check the Gospel and our relationship with Jesus daily! A daily reflection through journaling or weekly discussion in small groups helps in the process of checking the motive of our hearts so that we do not steward a religion but a relationship.

 

10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

 

When we trust in our own powers and strength to be good, it will only lead to division, brokenness, and condemnation. The Gospel is a gift that is revealed by the fact that we are saved through grace and not by what we can do so stop depending on what you can do and trust in what He has done.

 

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