I’d like to tell you about a new sermon series I am developing. This series is called Obeying the Gospel, and it will be tied to the new book I am writing by the same title. (Remember that for Diligently Seeking God and Reaching Forward, I had a sermon series linked to those themes also.) I believe these new topics are of immense importance.
- Hearing the Truth. If we’re not willing to give the gospel a chance, hearing it is useless. So the first thing we must consider is the manner in which we are going to listen to what the gospel says. To hear obediently, we must demonstrate both honesty and courage — and we alone can determine what kind of hearers we will be.
- Grieving Our Sins. The gospel is about redemption from our sins against God, and we are not ready for what the gospel offers if we do not see our sins for what they are and grieve them in a godly way. The gospel is for the penitent. Both John the Baptist and Jesus turned away those saw no need for their own repentance.
- Counting the Cost. Discipleship to Christ is obviously the most rewarding thing a person can do, but it comes at a very high cost — to the Lord and to us as well (Mk. 8:34). Jesus urged us to count the cost before we say we will follow Him. We need to have our eyes wide open to the sacrifices that may have to be made.
- Trusting Our Father. Faith is the centerpiece of the gospel (Rom. 1:16,17). But what is the faith the Lord requires? And why is a willingness to trust God so important to the gospel plan of salvation? Why are there so many passages that speak of faith (like Eph. 2:8) but do not explicitly mention repentance and baptism?
- Making the Commitment. In this lesson, we talk frankly about repentance, confession of our faith, and baptism — the steps in which we make a binding commitment to accept the Lord’s salvation and live under His rule from now on. A deep level of commitment is involved in all three of these responses to the gospel.
- Keeping the Faith. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Having made our commitment to Christ, we must keep it. Heaven is only for those who hold out to the end. And the truth is, it is “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Ac. 14:22).
- Sharing the Faith. For Christians, evangelism is not optional. We don’t all have to do the same work, but scripturally, we can’t obey the gospel without trying to reach the lost in some kind of personal way. As Jesus said to one man, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (Mk. 5:19).
I am enjoying (and benefiting personally) from the development of these new lessons. Thanks for the support you provide which is making this work possible. I look forward to presenting these lessons in every place where the Lord opens the door for me to do so. And I look forward, over the next two or three years, to making these themes the focus of my own personal study and daily devotion.
On a personal note, this month I am losing another $1,000 of my monthly support. The Mountain View congregation in Cumming GA is terminating their $500 because of their new building program, and the Honeysuckle Road congregation in Dothan AL is terminating their $500 because of declining contributions into their treasury. I regret these losses, but I appreciate the support both of these churches have extended to me for many years.
Gary Henry – WordPoints.com