Preaching on Topics You Aren’t Passionate About

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If you listen to enough of a pastor’s sermons you will hear a few things:

  1. What he is passionate about.
  2. What he struggles with.
  3. What he wants to become.

Pastor’s tend to stick with what they know or like. If I had my way, I’d preach on a New Testament letter every time. Other guys would preach from a gospel whenever given the chance. A few will throw in some Old Testament wrath of God.

Sunday, as we are going through Galatians, we got to a topic that I haven’t preached a lot on. It isn’t because I don’t care about it or don’t think it is important. Truthfully, it hasn’t come up in any of the series we’ve done. It’s the topic of approval.

Now, we all struggle with approval to some degree. We all care what people think, to some degree. It is just different for everyone.

For me, my struggles center around control and power. I don’t care too much if you like me, but I do care a lot if I lose.

If a pastor isn’t careful, they will only preach on the things they find important. This can be good and bad.

It’s good because it should mean a pastor is passionate about what he is communicating. It’s good because his sermons will tend to be more thorough because it’s on a topic he likes or has read a lot about (because he struggles with it).

If you aren’t careful though, you will end up missing an enormous part of your church. Your church doesn’t have the same struggles you have. They don’t have the same temptations or history or baggage that you do.

Because of that, they need to hear sermons about things you aren’t as passionate about.

This is one of the benefits to preaching through books of the Bible. You can’t skip anything. Now, choosing to preach through Galatians, I knew I was going to hit the topics of legalism, approval and moralism. It is the theme of the book. It is one of the reasons we chose it, because we haven’t had a lot of sermons on those topics.

Pastors will also stay away from topics they don’t want to talk about. Maybe a pastor is more of a shepherd than a vision caster, so he won’t preach a lot about vision. This will lead the church to be aimless. Or, he’s a vision caster who can’t stop talking and no one gets cared for because he never preaches on it. A pastor isn’t an evangelist, so there is no talk on evangelism, just discipleship and growing. Or the other way around.

If you simply talk about what you like, care about, are passionate about or things you know about, you will keep your church from hearing all that God wants to teach them.

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Make me Approve of You

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I preached on the need and desire for approval that we all have. Granted, we all feel it to different degrees. In my sermon, I mentioned how my desire to win, to be right, to have power and control always outweighs my desire for approval. It is still there though.

This blog post may feel more like a confession that I’m letting you in on. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to you or you’ll see yourself in it.

For me, I was convicted how out of my desire for power and control, I can very easily make my relationships about my approval of someone else.

I can be good at putting incredibly high standards on people, making them feel guilty so they will ultimately do what I want.

This is how I control things. In the end, it is also how I can easily help people sin by gaining my approval.

It is interesting when we talk about the idols of the heart or the sin in people’s lives, we focus on the person sinning. We should. They are responsible. In doing this, it is easy to let the people off who cause the sinning. Granted, someone seeking my approval is not my fault and they stand before God on that. I stand before God on how I cause someone to sin or stumble.

That is on me.

As I think about legalism, the gospel, the idols of my heart and hopefully as you think about those things, my hope with this blog post is to get you to realize in your quest for approval, control, comfort or power, you cause others to worship their idol by your actions. In your quest for comfort, you might help someone seek even more control so things don’t fall through the cracks because you are so laidback and letting whatever happens happen. In your quest for approval, you cause others to seek power because you are willing to be a doormat to their sin and ego.

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When Eating Becomes a Sin

Little boy choosing between a cupcake and apple

I get asked a lot about losing the weight I have and keeping it off. Losing 130 pounds was really hard, but keeping it off and is incredibly difficult. I’ll often get asked about eating habits as that is where most people get hung up.

One of the things that rarely gets talked about is that eating can be a sin, an idol. The reality is, we are told our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit and we are to take care of them (1 Corinthians 6:19). Most Christians use this verse to say drinking and smoking are wrong while eating their next 2,000 calorie church potluck meal.

The reality is that eating is a sin when:

  • We do it mindlessly.
  • We do it when life feels out of control.
  • We do it to feel better or find comfort (ever hear someone talk about comfort food?).
  • Or, when we eat too little to be prettier or skinnier.

So what do you do?

The first thing you must do is understand why you eat. What drives you to food. It is not that you are hungry, we often eat when we aren’t hungry or continuing eating when we are full, so there is more to it than that. If you never uncover why you eat, you will continue to eat in a sinful way by finding your god in food.

Because overeating or not eating enough is a sin and can be an addiction, you have to approach the way you would someone who is addicted to porn, shopping, drugs or working too much.

When you approach those sins, you make a plan, create some accountability around them to keep you from falling into those patterns. It is the same with food.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get an accountability partner for exercising or eating.
  • Don’t buy the snacks that are bad for you. If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it.
  • Make a meal plan so you eat well. If you make a last minute meal it is rarely good for you. If you go out to eat, always know what you will eat before you arrive. Looking at the menu causes you to eat more than you should or food you shouldn’t.
  • Drink at least 100 ounces of water a day. Water fills you up and helps to clean out your system which helps to move things through better. Also, if you drink that much you eat less. If you drink this much water, you are less likely to drink soda. I’ve read cutting soda out of your diet can drop 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks.
  • Eat higher protein meals which will lead to less hunger in between meals. I eat 5 eggs every morning and am rarely hungry before lunch. Not snacking makes a huge difference.
  • Start slow. The big mistake most people make is to jump from what they are doing to eating like Bob Harper tells you to eat on the biggest loser. While that’s great if you can do that, it is often unrealistic. Take small steps and then add to it. It took me 18 months to lose 130 pounds but I went slow and have kept it off for almost 4 years now.

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Unbound…

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I loved Josh’s sermon last Sunday. The imagery that for a resurrection to happen there must be a death struck so close to home.

For so much of my adult life I have known that I was a Christ follower, but I was living life like I was still bound by those linen strips associated with death… The lies that I was too much, or not enough. That I had to earn my way into God’s good graces and his love.

John 11:43-44 reads:

When [Jesus] had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Lazarus was alive!!!! But he was still bound by the linen strips and the only way for him to become UNBOUND was by the help of those around him. He was only free to live that life that Jesus had just called him to by the help of those around him.

BY THE HELP OF THOSE AROUND HIM

And so I ask, Are you alive, but are still bound by those strips of death? Have you asked for help from those around you?

I love what Elyse Fitzpatrick has to say about relationships in Because He Loves Me:

“Through our relationship with [God] and our relationships with other believers, God is in the process of restoring his image in us. He is making us like himself. He does this by his Spirit as his grace and Word is applied to our lives through the incarnational ministry of believers one-to-another. God uses means to inform and transform us, and the primary means that he uses to do this are relationships in the local church.”

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Food, Weight, The Gospel and Stop Being the Victim

If you are addicted to food, overweight or struggling with an eating disorder the good news is that you are not alone. While it may feel that way, in fact, if you attend church it can feel incredibly lonely. You wonder how many other people struggle with it. It has become the sin that we don’t talk about. Make not mistake, it is a sin because we hope to find wholeness, completeness, fulfillment and happiness in food, eating too much, eating too little or working out.

Who Temptations Hurt

We often think of ourselves as the victims when wrestling with temptations. We rationalize why we do what we do. I don’t trust people because my dad broke promises to me. I don’t take charge in my life because my mother always dominated my life so I’ve just learned to sit back and wait for it to be taken care of. I buy things so that I’ll feel like I belong with my neighbor or good friend. I eat like I do because it makes me feel better after a long day.

Our addictions and temptations often start as someone else’s fault. This is why it is so easy for us to live with the addictions and think, “This is just who I am. I can’t do anything about it.” I’m just the guy who gets angry. I’m just the girl who can’t keep her mouth shut. I just need to have the newest gadget.

You may believe that you are overweight because of something your parents did, how they raised you, or what someone said to you in high school. We play this record over and over in our heads. We use those words as reasons to keep us from dealing with what lies underneath.

When we sin, we hurt. We feel guilty, we feel distance from friends and family, but ultimately, we feel distance from God. Our scope when it comes to sin and temptation is almost exclusively bent towards us.

Do You Really Hate Sin?

One of the problems in our culture is that most of us don’t have a biblical view of sin. We talk about sin as guilty pleasures or vices. Many in our culture believe sin is something made up by Christians to make us feel guilty. Many of us approach sin as if it’s something we can live with, something that is true of everyone. So what’s the big deal?

While sin is true of everyone (Romans 3:23), we are told in Scripture that sin is death (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1) and sin is committing adultery against God (James 4:4).

When you sin, do you have that view? When you gossip, are stingy, look at porn, or eat too much, do you think, I am cheating on God?

Scripture teaches this because when we sin, we are living outside the way God designed life to be lived. We are choosing our way over God. In that moment, we believe that sin will be more gratifying and more fulfilling than God.

When it comes to food, eating too much or seeing food as a crutch, the church is silent on whether this is a sin. This allows many to continue living without a worry. It is also why we don’t see food as a spiritual issue – only a health issue.

Lies we Believe 

Tim Keller said, “Every time we sin, we believe a lie.” In that moment of sin, we believe that it will be more gratifying, more enjoyable, more fulfilling than the life Jesus has promised us. When Jesus came to earth, he promised (John 10:10) that He came to give life – life to the fullest. This life is beyond what we can dream or imagine. A life many of us only hope is true. When we sin, we believe this life is not possible for us and that we can find life on our own.

If we’re honest, sin, in the moment we commit it, feels fulfilling. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t do it. When you eat, it feels good, it brings you comfort, and it is a friend in your loneliness. This is why many of us eat like we do. Then something happens after we eat. You know the feeling. The guilt and shame that quickly follow is a different story.

The lie many believe is that they can’t persevere. Often we give into temptation before it even comes. We are defeated people, broken down by life, hopeless to withstand any temptation or trial. We simply acquiesce that we will always be overweight. We shrug our shoulders and eat another scoop of ice cream. I’ll always be the overweight girl that is excluded. I’ll always be the last picked for the game.

Another lie we often believe is that our sin or temptation is not our fault. Maybe you are like me and blame your weight on your upbringing and how your parents didn’t teach you good eating habits. Maybe it is God’s fault that you can’t have the metabolism of a 14-year-old now that you are 35. I don’t know why God created people who could eat Taco Bell 4 times a day and lose a pound in the process when I feel like I gain a pound every time I smell McDonald’s. We rationalize that we aren’t the most sinful person we know. In fact, if you made a list of the 10 most sinful people you know, my guess is that you wouldn’t be on it.

This gets at the fundamental question that gets debated in our culture, “Are people basically good or bad?” According to Scripture, we are sinful and broken. We sin out of our desires. You might be thinking, “I sin because of what happened to me.” On the surface, this may be true, but underneath it is another level that maybe you sin out of protection, to not let people see your brokenness, or have to deal with the brokenness and hurt in your life.

God and our Bodies

When I was at my heaviest, I had a conversation with my brother-in-law that proved to be a life altering conversation. We were at Starbucks and he asked me, “How can you challenge people in sermons to have self-control when you don’t have any in the area of food?”

The reality of being overweight in the Christian community is that until you have a heart attack or some other health issue, no one will say anything to you. It isn’t seen as a sin, so what’s the point of saying anything? If you choose to be overweight, it’s your choice.

Back to Temptation

We’ve all had that conversation with someone we love who has been hurt by our addictions. We utter these hopeful words that often feel empty, “This is the last time.”

Why do they feel empty?

These words are brimming with the opportunity of freedom. But they are empty because they are overused. Men addicted to porn swear to their wives they will never do it again. They will get accountability and this time it will be different. After a mother screams at her children, she tells them she won’t do it again. On the verge of bankruptcy, we tell our loved ones that this is the last time we will spend more than we make. We will stop buying things. We will stop drinking. Stop gambling. Stop gossiping. Stop eating too much.

This is the year that I’ll lose weight. How many times have you uttered those fateful words? How many Januarys have you said or written down, “This is the year I will get healthy?”

The personal issue my brother-in-law pointed out is that pastors are unhealthy and many of them are overweight. Ouch. A 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76% were overweight or obese compared to 61% of the general population at the time of the study. For many, it has to do with a lack of controlling their schedules when it comes to their sleep and exercise habits along with making poor choices at their lunch meetings or laziness.

I think the larger issue for people who say they believe in God is that we compartmentalize the gospel to the point that it is strong enough to save us for eternity, but not transform our eating habits or body image issues.

It’s not just pastors who are overweight. The problem has moved into the pews. A 2006 Purdue study found that fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, and Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%. This study prompted the lead researcher, Ken Ferraro, to say, “America is becoming a nation of gluttony and obesity and churches are a feeding ground for this problem.”

Similarly, a 2011 Northwestern University study tracking 3,433 men and women for 18 years found that young adults who attend church or a Bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese. The Pawtucket Heart Health Program found that people who attended church were more likely than non-church members to be 20 percent overweight and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

There are a few reasons for this reality. One reason is that churches don’t talk about food as an addiction, the need for exercise, or body image issues. It can be awkward. I didn’t realize this until I lost all my weight. I remember standing on stage talking about this, weighing in at 170 pounds, and looking out at my church. I saw some people who were overweight; some were very obviously overweight, while others just slightly. Whenever you bring up weight, body image issues or food as an addiction, immediately everyone thinks you are talking about them. While you are speaking to them, it is beyond each individual, and leaders must see it as a larger issue as well. It isn’t that we as pastors want to shame anyone in our church or any leader wants to bring guilt on someone who works for them. But we know they will feel so much better about themselves and their life if they can gain the freedom that Jesus offers in this area. We want them to experience the life Jesus promised. Too often, we interpret the life described in John 10:10 is simply about heaven. This life, an abundant life, is also about the pace we keep, what we put into our bodies and how we think about our bodies.

A second reason this isn’t talked about has to do with the leaders of churches in America. You can’t preach about something you don’t believe or don’t live out. You can’t talk about believing in the life Jesus promises when it comes to weight and body image issues while eating the way we do at the church potluck. You can’t challenge your church to have self-control in areas you struggle to have self-control in.

The last reason this isn’t discussed in churches and why pastors and those who sit in our churches every week are unhealthier than the culture around them is we don’t believe that Jesus is better than food, work, and our pace in life. Since we don’t believe it there is no sense in living it. For many who attend church, the gospel is simply how one gets to heaven and how we spend eternity. Yet, the gospel, the truth of Jesus, is so much bigger and impacts the here and now of our lives. Until this changes, we won’t see how the gospel can free us from food as an idol or an addiction. In short, we won’t be able to see the glory of how God created us in his image and why this is an amazing truth.

2 “Random” Evidences of God’s Grace

Yesterday, July 4, was an awesome day. Not just for the reasons that it was a great day for most people. A day off, to spend with family and friends celebrating the freedoms we enjoy. It was all that, but more for me.

First, on our way to swim and grill out with some of our MC, we stopped at the store to grab a few things. As I was standing in line, a line that seemed to take longer than it should. I started to grow impatient and look at my phone, which is normal for me. But had a moment where I felt like I should stop looking at it and pay attention. So I did. The lady in front of me was close to 70 years old and after everything was rung up, her bill was $17 more than what she had. She was paying in cash. As she stood there, beginning to panic as she tried to figure out what to not buy. The people behind me were growing more and more restless and the cashier was getting frustrated as he kept asking her, “Do you want me to take this off? What about this?” For me, my normal is to get frustrated and impatient, but surprisingly, I felt none of those things. Instead, I found myself paying for the difference. When I told Katie after I got in the car, she seemed pretty stunned. Gavin in the back seat her heard the story asked, “Are we going to be on the news?”

No idea where that comes from.

The second was after we got home from our picnic with our MC. Our neighbors next door we have yet to really meet. They both work long hours and we rarely see them. I was unloading the car and the husband walked over and asked if we would mind him shooting off some fireworks around 8pm, if that would bother us. He assured me they would just light up the sky and make no noise. Which felt a little bit like something a teenager would tell their parents. As we talked he said, “if your kids are still up, come over.” This was a no brainer as we have been praying about how to build a relationship with this family and show them God’s love. You can see the adventures from the night here, here, here, here and here.

Quick lesson from the day: being open and available to what God might want to do takes your day on an adventure. Blown away by how God uses us in simple, everyday ways like paying for groceries and watching fireworks. Who knew the gospel can spread that way?

How to Help Someone Find Freedom from an Addiction

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I get asked a lot based on my past how to help someone find freedom from an addiction. I’ve shared in numerous places about my addiction to porn from when I was 11 until I was 21 and then my food addiction that followed that. I can honestly say now that I am 34 and have found freedom from these, it feels good. But, freedom is a long road. My wife Katie talks about her part as my wife in that journey here.

When someone asks me how to help someone find freedom from an addiction or the first steps in this process, here are the most important things:

They must want to be free. 

This may seem obvious, but everyone who asks for help in an area doesn’t truly want help. Too often people are looking for attention, wanting to be the victim or simply draw attention to something or someone. People like being helped and like being seen.

There was a guy who every week would post on his connection card at my church that he would like prayer for an addiction. This went on for over a year. I finally talked to him and asked, “How long is this going to be a prayer request? Are you doing anything to move away from this addiction?” The answer was no.

I knew a woman who said she wanted to be free from an addiction, yet every time I or someone else stepped in to give accountability or help her with it, she would balk. It wasn’t until she lost her job because of that addiction that something changed.

One thing I ask people is, “Are you willing to do whatever it takes to be free?” Any hesitation in the answer often shows a desire to stay in their addiction.

Freedom from an addiction is hard work. It might take years. You will always be in recovery, a moment away from wrecking your life and falling back into your addiction. I know that without boundaries I could very easily fall back into old patterns. The reason freedom is so hard is because those patterns have become an enormous part of our lives.

Identify the “why” behind their addiction. 

Often in talking about freedom, we jump to what to do. Things someone can and should do to be free. Accountability groups, software, cutting up credit cards, breaking off relationships with the wrong people, getting rid of a TV or certain clothes.

These have their place and are helpful.

If you don’t identify why you do something, you won’t find freedom from the real issue. 

That issue is your heart. For me, I simply traded a porn addiction for a food addiction. Both are dangerous and destructive in their own ways. The one main difference is that no one in a church will say anything to you if you put 100 pounds on in a year. Think of a vending machine of sins, going up and picking one. Without identifying the heart issues, we will simply do this.

What drives you to spend money you don’t have? To look at porn? To hoard your money? To work too much or too little? Why do you gossip and put people down? Why do you want to control everything?

The answer to these questions will identify the why behind any addiction you could fall into.

Identify the “when” of their addiction. 

The last thing someone needs to do is identify when they are most likely to fall into this. Closely related to the why question, understanding when you’ll do something will enable you to create an action plan. Are you most tempted when you are tired? In front of the TV? By yourself? With a certain friend? In a certain place? Where and when does it happen?

By identifying these things, you are able to uncover a good process to find freedom from the addictions that hamper your life.

What would you add? If someone asked you this question. 

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10 Gospel Truths about Homosexuality

Saw this on JD Greear’s blog. You can read more here or watch him discuss this here.

Here are the 10 theses about Christianity and homosexuality:

  1. The point is really not homosexuality; the point is the Lordship of Jesus.
  2. Our stance on this issue may be one of the most important tests of faithfulness in our generation.
  3. The loss of gender identity has devastating consequences for society.
  4. God loves the homosexual.
  5. God doesn’t send people to hell for homosexuality.
  6. We speak as redeemed sinners, not saints.
  7. Just because you’re ticking people off doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.
  8. Avoid pat answers or simplistic statements.
  9. We can and should be friends with people who are homosexuals.
  10. Sexual ethics are not the center of Christianity.

Question: Do you agree? Disagree?

 

Living out the Family Identity

We talk a lot at Revolution about our identity in Christ and what that means. One of the identities we seek to embody in the life of our church and our missional communities is the identity of family. This one can be the toughest to figure out because we simply think of the family we had growing up and either try to be that or the opposite.

One thing I think is easy to do in the name of family or community is in the area of sharing things and how we listen. I think it is easy to listen to someone vent and then be done and say, “Look, we’re being family, they had room to share.” That’s only part of it and I think if we stop there, we fail as family. Family then has a responsibility to appropriately challenge that person with the gospel. To ask why they are reacting that way, what their sin in the situation is, what they are believing about themselves, the other person they vented about and God. What does the gospel have to say about all of those answers?

If we stop at simply listening to someone, we fail them and the rest of our missional community family.

Here’s how. We don’t give them an opportunity to grow, we miss an opportunity to grow in how we talk about the gospel and challenge people with it, our MC misses seeing it happen, they miss hearing the gospel and its implications for someone’s life.

Question: What is the hardest part of living out the family identity in community? I’d love to hear thoughts. 

Saturday Afternoon Book Review: Who am I?

I’m going to start making a regular thing of posting a book review on Saturday afternoons. I’ve done reviews in the past simply when I finish a book, but this will help to make more of a rhythm. To read past reviews, you can click here. You can also check here to see what I’m reading so you’ll know what reviews will be coming up next.

The first book is Who am I? by Jerry Bridges. It’s a book that I read as I prepped for our new series starting tomorrow at Revolution Church called Image is Everything.

Besides the creepy looking mannequin on the front cover, it was a great book that looked at what Scripture says about you as a follower of Jesus.

For many people, our identities are really broken. They are found in our past sins and hurts. They are found in what our family has said about us, what teachers have said about us, they are found in the broken promises of parents, broken marriages and bad decisions. What this leads to is trying to prove ourselves to God, believing that God believes the same broken things about us that we believe.

Bridges lays out very clearly what it means to be a follower of Jesus, in a short 95 pages. He covers how and why it matters that we are a creature, in Christ, justified, adopted, a new creation, a saint, a servant of Christ and not yet perfect.

Here are a few things I highlighted:

  • Christians, our identity is to be found in our relationship with Christ, not in our subjective and often negative life experiences.
  • While being made in God’s image puts us on an entirely different plane from any of the animals, we are still creatures. This makes us both dependent upon God and accountable to God.
  • Dependent creatures we are also spiritually vulnerable. We have three enemies: the world, the devil and our own sinful flesh. The world—the totality of humanity that is set in opposition to God—is constantly seeking to conform us to its own standards and values. The devil comes to us disguising himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), seeking to sow doubt in our minds as to the love and faithfulness of God toward us. And then, worst of all, we have our sinful flesh which constantly strives against the Spirit who resides in us.
  • Everything good in me or around me, whether spiritual or material, is a gift from God.
  • I am a creature, created in the image of God, fully dependent on him and fully accountable to him.
  • The term “in Christ” is the apostle Paul’s shorthand expression for being united to Christ.
  • What Paul is getting at in these two verses is that in God’s way of dealing with humanity there are only two men, Adam and Christ. All the rest of us are represented before God by one or the other of these two men. Behind Adam stands all of humanity representatively united to him. We all come into this world “in Adam.” Because of that, Paul’s descriptive words in Ephesians 2:1-3 are true of every one of us before we trust Christ. Here is what he wrote: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Paul’s description of our dismal condition can be summed up in three expressions: • Spiritually dead • Slaves (to the world, the devil, and our sinful passions) • Objects of God’s wrath Think of that! As one “in Adam” you came into the world an object of God’s wrath. It doesn’t matter whether we were born of Christian parents or pagan parents. We are all born “in Adam” and so an object of God’s wrath. All because Adam sinned. Not only all of humanity, but creation itself suffered the consequences of Adam’s sin. Though in Genesis 3:17-19, God refers specifically to cursing the ground, Paul in Romans 8:19-22, speaks of the futility of all creation. So we all come into the world spiritually dead, objects of God’s wrath, and into a natural environment that is under the curse of God. That is what it means to be “in Adam.”
  • To be “in Christ” is the most basic identity of a Christian, so much so that all other answers to the question, “Who am I?”, are based on, or drawn from, that identity:
  • We are justified, not by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ. Justified is an evaluative term based on one’s obedience to a law. It is a legal or courtroom evaluation. To be justified means that one has been declared “right” according to the appropriate law.
  • To be justified means to be declared righteous by God with respect to his law. It also means to be accepted and treated by God as such
  • Justification secures our legal relationship with God as judge. In justification God declares that we are righteous in Christ. • Adoption secures our family relationship with God. Through adoption God makes us his children.
  • Adoption takes our relationship with God to a higher level.
  • By adopting him he has become personally responsible for both his welfare and his behavior.
  • We have been adopted by Father God, and that fact has completely changed our future.
  • God loves us, not because we are loveable, but because we are in Christ, and the love which the Father has for his Son flows over to us because we are in him.
  • In our adoption, we gain an inheritance, and we gain a relationship with God as our Father.
  • God promised two things: to radically change our hearts and to actually put his Holy Spirit within us to prompt us and enable us to obey God.
  • Here are some questions to help us examine ourselves: • What is my attitude toward God? Do I gladly acknowledge my dependence on him and my accountability to him? • What is my attitude toward my sin? Am I concerned or indifferent about it? • What is my attitude toward Jesus Christ? Do I trust in him as the one who died for my sin on the cross? • What is my attitude toward the Bible? Do I truly want to grow in my understanding and application of it in my life? • What is my attitude toward prayer? Do I also want to grow in this area of my life, or am I quite content to see prayer as an occasional call out to God for help? • What is my attitude toward other Christians? Do I appreciate being with them and learning from them, or do I actually prefer the company and lifestyle of my non-Christian friends?