40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY EIGHT

Read Philippians 4:21-23

 

This is Paul’s conclusion to the letter and as we saw yesterday, he closes with the theme of grace.

 

As your pastor, my prayer for you is the same as Paul’s. My prayer is that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be with your spirit. In the core of your being, I want us all to experience the depth of God’s amazing grace for us in Christ.

 

One of the primary ways we can be reminded of God’s grace is to preach the gospel to ourselves on a daily basis. I’ve spoken about this over the years, but many may be new to this way of reminding ourselves of the gospel.
What does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself every day?

 

Listen to Jerry Bridges who has influenced me greatly in this area. There is probably no other living person who has influenced my view of the gospel and spiritual growth than Jerry Bridges. This quote comes from his chapter “Preach the Gospel to Yourself” in his excellent book “The Discipline of Grace”.

 

He writes, “I believe that part of our problem is our tendency to give an unbeliever just enough of the gospel to get him or her to pray a prayer to receive Christ. Then we immediately put the gospel on the shelf, so to speak, and go on to the duties of discipleship. As a result, Christians are not instructed in the gospel. And because they do not fully understand the riches and glory of the gospel, they cannot preach it to themselves, nor live by it in their daily lives.”

 

Here’s how Jerry Bridges defines preaching the gospel to yourself and I wholeheartedly agree with him: “To preach the gospel to yourself means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.”

 

Let’s take a quick journey through Romans.

 

Read Romans 3:21-26

 

This section of Romans may probably be THE MOST important section of the Bible because it clearly sets forth for us the gospel of our salvation.

 

Here’s a summary:

  • You and I can’t be right with God by being a good person or obeying the Ten Commandments because we fall short of God’s glory
  • Justification by faith is the only way we can be right with God and this means that our unholy record of sin is credited to Jesus’s account and His perfect righteousness is credited to our account.
  • Through the cross of Christ where He bore God’s wrath against us, we can be totally forgiven
  • This free gift of grace is appropriated by personal faith in Christ alone
  • God is just in that He punished sin through Jesus and yet at the same time He is the justifier in that that we are accepted in His sight by Christ’s work alone on our behalf.

Read Romans 4:7-8

 

There is a great book of prayers by the Puritans called “Valley of Vision”.  I encourage you to find this book and meditate on the prayers.

 

Listen to one of the prayers: “Holy Trinity, continue to teach me that Christ’s righteousness satisfies justice and evidences your love; help me to make use of it by faith as the ground of my peace and of your favor and acceptance of me, so that I may live always near the cross.”

 

That’s what we want to do. To always live near the cross by faith so that the gospel permeates our thinking and it affects every aspect of our lives.

 

Milton Vincent in his book “A Gospel Primer for Christians” writes these very encouraging words: “There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemning of my heart, and the lies of the world and the devil than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the gospel.”

 

That’s what we need. A daily rehearsing of the gospel in our hearts and minds. We need to be saturated in the gospel so that we can overwhelm the temptations of this world with the glory and majesty of Christ.

 

Emmanuel, let’s be a people who preach the gospel to ourselves daily!

 

Dear Father in Heaven,

I am in awe that You would dare send Jesus to die and rise again for a wretch like me. I am blown away by the power of the gospel. Help me to preach the gospel to myself daily as I keep my affections near the cross.  As I’m overwhelmed by the world, the flesh, and the devil, one of the ways I can remain steadfast in obedience is to daily remind myself of who I am in You and what You’ve done for me in the gospel. May I never get over the wonder of the gospel.

In Christ’s Name,

Amen

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