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    Views and opinions expressed in this blog should not be associated with Hyde Park Baptist Church unless specifically stated. You know the drill...this is just me and my thoughts.
  • Definition of Worship

    "Worship is communion with God in which believers, by grace, center their mind's attention and their heart's affection on the Lord, humby glorifying God in response to His greatness and His Word." ~Dr. Bruce Leafblad
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The Gospel

Jer. 32:38-40,”They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.”

Whoever “They/them/their” is, I want to be them. If we turn back a few pages in Scripture we find out who Jeremiah is talking about. Jeremiah 31:31-33:
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the LORD.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

This is an Old Testament prophecy where God is comparing His current covenant with Israel (see vs. 32) and a coming covenant that was later revealed to be through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So if we can only receive this new covenant through Jesus…how do we do so?

Scripture reveals that we must first come to the conclusion that we are completely sinful…absolutely dirty, rotten, no-good people. We all know the story of Adam and Eve. When they disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered the world and created a separation between holy God and sinful man. Adam and Eve’s sin created a legacy in every human we call a sinful nature. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. As a result we’re all doomed to suffer the consequences of that sinful nature.

I don’t know about you, but I have come face to face with my sinful nature and I don’t like it…at all. Have you met yours?

The Bible teaches us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death…what are wages? Wages are what you earn for doing something…just like you earn wages for your job or chores, we’ve earned death because of our sins. In the scriptural definition of death, it’s not just physical death either…it is spiritual death – which is a separation from God both here on earth and after our life is over (which is a place we call hell – hell’s separation from God is considerably more drastic though. On earth we at least get to see a little of God in nature and in Christians, but in hell, there will be no God, no hint of God, therefore ZERO of anything good…what a terrible existence!)

BUT…the rest of Romans 6:23 says, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the new covenant Jeremiah was talking about.

The first thing we must do is recognize the depth of our sinfulness and the need for a cure. Secondly, we must recognize the gift God presents to us through Jesus Christ. That gift is that Jesus took our wages for us. If we were talking about money, or our paycheck, for the jobs or chores we do, that would sound like stealing! But when we look at the Scripture that teaches that the wages for our sinfulness is death…that changes things. Jesus died the death that we should have died. Our individual sin should have led to our death penalty. Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He paid our penalty by his death on the cross. Because He was sinless, without committing any sin, ever, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that “God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us.” Also in Isaiah 53:6, “and the LORD has laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity (sin) of us all.” Jesus in His perfection gave His life in our place, he paid the penalty of sin on our behalf.

Why? Romans 5:8 again, God demonstrates His love for us in this.” God loves us. He created us. He desires to have that intimate relationship with us like he had with Adam and Eve before sin created this separation between us. But is that it? Christ died and it’s over…it’s finished? Well, in truth, Jesus said while hanging on the cross, “It is finished” (which the original phrasing “Tetelestai” had several connotations – that of a financial transaction being completed, that of a judicial verdict, and that of a winning post-battle cry), He was completing the work of making payment in full for the sins of the world. But that is not the end for you and me.

The third thing we must do, after recognizing our sin and recognizing God’s gift through Jesus, the third thing is that we must do is complex with two main parts. First, we must repent. To repent simply means to change or to turn away from. If you’re going in one direction, repentance would be turning around 180 degrees and going in the opposite direction. In the spiritual sense, we’ve been living this life of sinfulness, we must now turn around, away from our sin, and move towards God through this understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice in our place. Repentance is not just feeling sorry for our sin…nor is it just confessing our sin…repentance is making a u-turn away from sin and moving toward God. Once we make this u-turn toward God, the second part of this step is placing our faith in God, that through Jesus He has made the payment for our sin. Even better news than that is that Jesus didn’t stay dead! Because He rose from the dead, He demonstrated a victory over sin, over death, over hell! We, too, can die to our sins and be raised with a new life, as if brand new (Jesus said we could be “born again”).

How do we do this part? Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” I don’t know what your confession might sound like. Mine was, “Lord, I do believe! I need you in my life. I can’t do it on my own. Come and save me from my sins and give me this new life. Thank you for what you did for me.”

So how do you know if you’ve been changed? If you’ve been saved? The scriptures are quite clear that the evidence is in the “What now?” Are you different? Has God transformed your life? Has the Potter (God) been molding the clay (you) into a different thing than before? Is there evidence of God’s Holy Spirit inside you (the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, Galatians 5:22)? Listen to our opening Scripture again…

Jer. 32:38-40,”They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.”

Paul Washer says this: “The evidence that God has made an everlasting covenant with you is that he has put the fear of God in you so that you will not turn away from him and if you turn away from him and he does not discipline you and you continue turning away from him, it is evidence that he has not put his fear in you, you have not been regenerated and you have no covenant with God at all.”

God loves you. But He cannot love you in a life of sinful disobedience to Him. Through Jesus, you can have a new life…a life committed to Him and His ways. I pray you’ll make the decision to turn away from the life without God towards a life with God. I guarantee you, it is well worth it!



I’m not sure what God is doing…besides challenging almost everything I believe 🙂

I never listen to sermons or seek out radio stations with sermons, or search for transcriptions of sermons…I’m a worship guy. I spend most of my time listening to music. Recently, I was asked to take the Wednesday Bible study for a few weeks at my church. I thought about going safe and delved back into my Bible study files from when I was a youth minister. I looked at my sermonettes about worship. I even looked at a Sunday School lesson I compiled about worship…I’m comfortable talking about the theology of worship.

But at every turn, God kept pushing me toward “Wake Up!” Glenn Beck uses that phrase…”Wake Up America!”. David Platt also uses it in his book “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.” I also listened to a Paul Washer sermon entitled “10 Indictments Against the Church.” I found myself flipping through the XM channels and finding, on way too many occasions, listening to sermons…that all dealt with who are we? Who have we become? Who is the church supposed to be? etc…you get the picture.

So…who is the church? Dictionary.com defines “church” as:
1. place of Christian worship
2. religious service
3. Christian denomination (religious body)

As you know, when words have multiple definitions or uses, dictionaries tend to put them in order of their most popular uses…so we most often use “church” as a place, a building. Second to that, we use “church” as a meeting, a service (as in worship service). And last in usage, an assembly of believers, a body of believers.

The English word “church” derives from the Greek kuriakos (belonging to the Lord), but it stands for another Greek word, ekklesia (an assembly). So literally…an assembly of those belonging to the Lord.

Jesus used the word twice…Mt. 16:18 (“upon this rock I will build my church”) and 18:17 (“tell it the church” – referring to church discipline issues). In both instances, it is used in a way as to describe something future, something not yet here. In Acts, the usage changes since at Pentecost, the church is born via the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within believers. “Church” begins to be used as a group of believers…both local house “churches” or gatherings, and as the worldwide church (all believers as the Body of Christ).

History shows us that, though the church is “one people”, it tends to have disagreements on the finer points of practicing that faith in Christ. Paul and Peter disagreed about whether the gospel was for the Gentiles (Peter finally came around). A multitude of disagreements throughout history have led us to be who we are today…but is that a biblical representation of the church? Is it the “American Dream with a little Jesus on top?”

God is challenging me to look at this in a new light. I will try to share what I learn. I covet your prayers in this journey.

Side note…it looks as if David Platt’s book, mentioned above, may be a helpful guide on this journey. May be a good read for you too.