13 Dec True Life
Last Sunday, Pastor Jeremy preached the sermon “The Foolishness of Greed” from Luke 12:13-21. We considered the truth that greed destroys through distraction, division, and deception and is foolish in that it leads one to live for oneself, forget God, and not be rich toward God.
Read: 1 John 1:1-4
This Sunday, Pastor Ken will begin our Christmas series, Why Jesus Came: Three Reasons for the Incarnation. The first reason we will consider is found in 1 John 1:1-4, namely that he might give life. As we see in this passage, the essence of true life in Christ is living together in restored fellowship with God. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, let this devotional from Milton Vincent further point you to the essence of true life: “intimately knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”
Reflect: “The Ultimate Prize”
In the New Testament, the gospel is several times referred to as “the gospel of God.” Such an expression should be understood in the fullest sense possible. The gospel is called “the gospel of God,” not simply because it is from God, nor merely because it is accomplished through God, but also because ultimately it leads me to God, who is Himself its greatest Prize. Indeed, what makes the gospel such great news is God, who brings me to Himself and then gives Himself so freely to me through Jesus Christ.
The essence of eternal life is not found in having my sins forgiven, in possessing a mansion in heaven, or in having streets of gold on which to walk forever. Rather, the essence of eternal life is intimately knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Everything else that God gives to me in the gospel serves merely to bring me to Himself so that this great end might be achieved. Christ died for the forgiveness of my sins so that I might be brought “to God.” Christ is preparing a place for me in heaven so that He might receive me “to [Him] self” and have me forever with Him where He is. And yes, there is a great street of gold in heaven, but is there any doubt where the street leads? Unquestionably, it leads straight to the throne of God Himself, as do all of God’s gifts to me in the gospel.
As I meditate on the gospel each day, I find my thoughts inevitably traveling from the gifts I’ve received to the Giver of those gifts; and the more my thoughts are directed to Him, the more I experience the essence of eternal life. The “gospel of God” is from God, comes through God, and leads me to God; and it is in Him that my soul finds its truest joy and rest.
“The Ultimate Prize” in A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Sing: Song List for Sunday
1. “Angels We Have Heard on High,” Arr. Chris Tomlin
2. “Glory in the Highest,” by Travis Cottrell
3. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear / Glorious,” Arr. Paul Baloche
4. “O Praise the Name (Anástasis),” Arr. Shane & Shane