This morning, I preached at Grace Church about the different between Religion and the Gospel. When I got home this afternoon and finally got to my pile of accumulated mail, I found a book called, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself, from my friend Joe Thorn. Then, I logged on to my Google Reader and found an article by that very same Joe Thorn at The Resurgence blog. All of them dealt with similar themes– the gospel verses human effort.
Here are a few excerpts:
Many Christians have grown up in the church on moralistic preaching; that is, preaching that calls for obedience without connecting the commands of God to the cross of Christ.
This disconnect is dangerous, potentially leading hearers into either self-loathing or self-righteousness…
Naked commands, separated from the character of God, lack both weight and compelling beauty…
Once the commands of God are laid out, and people can feel their weight and significance, it is important to point them to the gospel above the command. We need to work to help our people see three truths:
1. Jesus atoned for our failure in this command. (Col. 1:3; 2:13, 14; Eph. 2:16; Rom. 5:9)
2. Jesus fulfilled this command for us. (1 Cor. 1:30, 31; Rom. 5:19; Phil. 3:9)
3. Jesus empowers us to live out this command. (Phil. 2:12, 13; Eph. 6:10-20; 1 Pet. 4:11)
I wish I had added this to today’s message.
Be sure to read Note to Self— you will see my enthusiastic endorsement on the back.