Friday, March 25, 2016

Cross - Jesus Dies

This post is a summary of content that I developed when I was serving as a church planter in India to teach Hindus through the metanarrative of Scripture. This lesson focuses in on the death of Christ with it being Good Friday an appropriate time to reflect on the cross.

"God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

First, in essence, Jesus came into the world to die and cover sin.
How did Jesus die?
  • On a cross through crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion is the most excruciating form of death.
  • It was designed for the worst of criminals in society.
  • Jesus was crucified in order to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows (Isa. 53:3-4).
Second, Jesus death on the cross finished his purpose for coming.
  • Jesus himself declared "It is Finished," referring to taking on the sin of the world (John 19:30).
  • Jesus came as our atonement (Rom. 4:25).
  • Jesus came and died in our place:
    • Living the life we were meant to live.
    • Dying the death we deserved to die.
    • Ultimately rising from the dead as a way to prove he conquered sin, death, and the grave.
How does the cross satisfy the wrath of God?
  • The result of sin is death so in order for the wrath of God to be appeased someone has to die.
  • In the Old Testament the wrath of God was appeased through an animal blood sacrifice.
  • In the New Testament we see the ultimate and final blood sacrificed required in Jesus.
  • Jesus, dying in our place, died the death that God revealed we deserved.
    • Hebrews 9:22
    • 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • Jesus ended the need for a blood sacrifice.
    How does the death of Christ justify us before God?
    • God deserves justice and will get justice.
    • Because we are not righteous we cannot justify God.
    • Jesus alone, being the perfect man, could justify us before God (Rom. 1:37; 5:16-17).
    How does God redeem us through the cross?
    • Before the cross we were enslaved in our sin with no hope.
    • Through Jesus alone we have been offered a way out to be redeemed.
      • Justified by his grace (Romans 3:24).
      • Jesus gave himself for us (Titus 2:13-14).
      • Christ became cursed for us (Galatians 3:13-14).
      • Redemption through the blood (Ephesians 1:7).
    So whom did Jesus come to die for?
    • Sinners, which includes all of us (1 Tim. 2:6).
    • He came to be the Savior of all people, but only in a saving way for those that believe/are elect (1 Tim. 4:10).
    How is God triumphant through the cross of Christ?
    • Forgives us of all sin.
    • Expiation
      • Our sin is taken away from us and we are made clean through Jesus.
    • Our sin is taken away and put on Jesus.
    At the cross of Christ we see the ultimate love sacrifice of God for us, which makes a way for reconciliation with God.

    It is Good Friday, the day that we remember the reason that Jesus came to earth to die a bloody gruesome death on the cross in our place. At first look it appears that Christ death was nothing more than death in itself, appearing to some skeptics as proof against the claims of Jesus. But it is only friday and as we will see on Sunday, the resurrection comes and Jesus is Alive!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    Spring Reading Suggestions

    From time to time I like to give a little insight into what I am currently studying or reading as a way to give some insight into where I am being challenged and to make recommendations for others. My reading seems to have slowed down in the last year, which naturally happens at the stage of life I am in with a family and being bi-vocational. Nevertheless, I am still always working my way through a few books at a time and always enjoy passing along recommendations. The following list will also be included in a number of giveaways over the next few months on the blog so if something peaks your interests then be sure to check back here often.

    On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news! 

    You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.” 

    Even though pastor and author Greg Laurie is a “gospel-presenting professional,” in this book he tells stories of his own failure and success. The most important things you will find here are biblical principles that you can apply yourself. Taken from the life and witness of Jesus, and tested over Greg’s forty years of ministry, in both one-on-one experiences and large-scale evangelistic arena and stadium events, these ideas are intended to mobilize every person in the church to “Tell Someone” about Jesus Christ.

    Jesus commands his disciples to be baptized, and it’s a glorious picture of a person’s union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Still, many Christians feel unclear about the topic, having more questions than answers. This short work provides a biblical explanation of baptism. What is it? Who should be baptized? Why is it required for church membership? And how should churches practice baptism?

    Congregationalism has a bad rap for well-known reasons: inefficient meetings, upstart members, browbeaten ministers. But biblical congregationalism isn’t so much about the meetings. It’s about empowering the whole church to promote and protect the gospel. Pastors lead and equip. Members get to work strengthening one another and pursuing Christ’s mission in the world.