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Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Last week we spoke about blessing. One of the main points was that the life of blessing was purchased in full by the death of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve deserved the curse of death. Israel inherited the curses. All humanity has deserved nothing except curses. But “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). This is tremendous news. But that’s not all. Christ did this “so that in Christ the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles” (3:14). Christ was cursed so that we might be blessed.

Now, those who are united by faith to Jesus Christ are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). Our blessing includes justification (we’re made righteous), adoption (we’re made God’s children), and glorification (we’ll be made like Jesus). We have an inheritance waiting for us (1 Pet. 1:4). We are infinitely rich, completely secure, totally safe. In Christ, God harnesses all creation for his glory and our good (Rom. 8:28). For the next five minutes, five months, five millenia-- and throughout all the endless ages-- God will be working for your eternal happiness.

Do you see how practical this is? Do you see how this soaring doctrine connects to your daily life? Isn’t it refreshing that right now you live in the immeasurable grace of God? Isn’t it great to know that this moment, you’re in the middle of omnipotent love and constant care? Shouldn’t we rejoice that every inconvenient red light, every unforeseen accident, every unfortunate job change, every tense relationship, is ruled and governed by God’s almighty love toward you? Right now, this very second, God is actively doing everything in his omnipotent power to lead you into everlasting joy. What more could you ask for?

Preach the gospel to yourself everyday. Remember who you were. Remember what God has done for you in Christ. Remind yourself of the eternal blessings that are yours. Remember who you are, what you’re doing here, and where you’re going. We all must master the gospel.

This week, let’s pray alongside Paul that we as a church would “have the strength to understand with all the saints what is the breadth and the length and the height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).

Posted by Eric Durso with

The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

Jesus spoke to a dead man and he stood up and walked out of a grave. All he said was, “Lazarus, come out” (Jn. 11:43) and the once dead body began to pulsate with life, come to its senses, and get up. That’s called power.

His word is the most powerful force in the universe. It calms raging seas, dispels disease and sickness, and confounds the wise. Much more, it upholds the universe (Heb. 1:3) and causes the new birth (1 Peter 1:23). It will never pass away (Matt. 5:18). To sit in a church service to hear God’s Word is to set yourself on a collision course with the unstoppable force and the immovable object. It will change us.

This is why it’s so exciting to dive into the Sermon on the Mount. Every Sunday, we are going to stand beneath the Niagra Falls of Christ’s powerful word. It will transform us, there’s no question about it. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are the sheep of his pasture, and it is his word that gathers and guides the sheep (John 10:16).

I’ve been asked about some of the changes that are before us. In one sense, everything is changing. A new pastor and new members coming together from three different churches bring with them a new church culture. But in another sense, the unchanging element of this church’s ministry will be the regular exposition of God’s Word. That must remain the same.

If the Word is the means through which God brings salvation and sanctification (Jn. 17:17), there’s no greater need before us than an uprising of faithful men and women who know their God and can speak about him clearly. By God’s grace, our church will be a source for clear Bible teaching and a place where men are trained up as pastors and teachers (1 Tim. 2:2).

Would you pray with me for the preaching of God’s Word? Would you pray that we would be able to speak with boldness and clarity? Would you pray that the word would be accompanied by conviction and transformation? Would you pray for more men to be raised up to preach it? Would you pray for our members to have an increasing desire for it? Would you pray for the Word to draw sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Posted by Eric Durso with

Our Good Shepherd Goes Before Us

God is working here. We know this is true first of all because we’re not dead yet. As long as we’re alive, God has prepared good works for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10). But this is also evident in the amazing providence that we’ve seen as three churches from three cities are coming together under one Lord with one mission: Glorify God by making disciples.

This opportunity came to us in October 2017 and we weren’t sure how it could possibly work. Our leadership decided to pursue it, knowing it would fail if the Lord’s hand was not in it. We knew that for us to move a group of committed members from our church in Simi over 70 miles to be a part of a much smaller church in a brand new community would be crazy. So we prayed. We trusted that each member who moved to Rancho would have an amazing story of God’s providential care. Months later, it seems every week new stories of God’s faithfulness are delivered on our doorstep.

Clearly our Good Shepherd goes before us. The way isn’t always comfortable, but it’s good. We trust as the new members from Simi and Orange settle in here in Rancho, Jesus will continue to lead us. He will lead us into new areas of ministry, evangelism, and discipleship. He will give us new relationships to invest in and people to care for. There will be much work to do, and we’ll all need to pitch in!

Would you continue praying for the work before us? We don’t know what’s going to happen. But we do have some big prayers. We’re praying for more workers for the harvest (Lk. 10:2). We’re praying for God to grow our church by conversions. We’re praying for God to raise up pastors, planters, and missionaries. There is so much unbelief here in our community, and so much need for Christ. Let’s pray, work, and give for this great work!

God is stirring in the hearts of his people to move. The good hand of our Lord is upon us. Let’s be strong and courageous as we march forward behind our leader Jesus Christ, “making disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). There’s no greater calling.

Posted by Eric Durso with