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The Gospel in the New Testament, part 2

September 15, 2014

Grace to ya’ll. We’ve been looking at how the gospel is the message of the WHOLE(!) bible. Last week, we briefly looked at 2 Corinthians 5:14 and how it summarizes the motivation for our obedience to the Lord. This week we’ll see a few examples of how the gospel moves us to obey the Lord.

Philemon is a short book. Onesimus is a runaway slave from his master Philemon. Paul saw both saved under his ministry and reminds Philemon as an apostle he could command Philemon to take Onesimus back without penalty. But Paul appeals to the gospel as his motivation: Onesimus is a brother in the Lord like you are Philemon. (Philemon 14, 15) Paul goes further. Paul has so thought about how Jesus in His substitutionary atonement PAID his sin debt, that Paul is now willing to be a debt payer for Onesimus if Onesimus can be free! (vs 18) Wow! Paul’s heart has been so changed because of what Christ did for him that he is now willing to sacrifice for others! That’s the gospel motivating our lives! It wasn’t just Paul being a super nice guy. No, the gospel that gave him the impulse to sacrifice for Onesimus’ freedom!

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” The ethical command here is be kind, tender hearted, and forgiving towards each other. But what’s the motivation for obeying these commands? Here is the fuel for our obedience: “Just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” When I realize how much Christ has forgiven me, then I will in turn be moved outward to seek reconciliation with those who have done me wrong. We initiated wrong against God, but He initiated looking for us in reconciliation. Others may have sinned against us, but by God’s grace and the gospel’s motivation, I too will have incentive to give forgiveness when they are repentant.

Why should we be willing to obey Christ no matter the cost? Because Christ “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phillipians 2:8) How willing was Christ to obey His Father to bring Him glory? He was willing to obey even if it cost Him His life. Why? So the Father would be glorified, and you and I could be forgiven. Why should we be willing to suffer or obey no matter the cost? Paul, knowing how Christ suffered for him, was willing to say: “I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:9-10)

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

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