New Attitude....Day 2....Session 3....Mike Bullmore
Mike Bullmore had the daunting task of showing us how the gospel connects to every part of our every day life. He told us that as humans, we have been given by God certain capabilities and capacities. None of these capacities are neutral. CS Lewis said "There is no neutral ground. Every second of every day has been claimed by God and consequently counter-claimed by Satan."
The first question that he asked us was whether or not the gospel is actually functioning in our lives? Do we clearly understand how the gospel relates to all areas of life-jobs, marriage, finances, friends, parents? He said that one of the clearest marks of a growing and maturing Christian is the ability to see how the gospel connects to all things. A man once told him that "All our problems come from some failure in not applying the gospel."
His first main point was to set up a Biblical paradigm-a biblical pattern of the functioning of the gospel. He asked us to imagine 3 concentric circles. In the center most one is Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says that "...Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures." Paul says that this is a matter of FIRST importance. He said that he "...resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." This is the crux upon which all other things are based. The gospel needs to be connected to thoughts, feelings, thinking and behaving. This is where the gospel wields its influence.
The next circle, a little wider than the first but centered upon is called "The Truth Implications" or Gospel Truths. Gospel truths are being born out of the gospel. He gave a few different references starting with Romans 5:1:
1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of the gospel we are now at peace with God.
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Because of the gospel we are now liberated from sin and bondage to it. Without the gospel, when faced with our own sin we would either go to self-achievement or depression.
32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Because of the gospel we know that God will give us all we need.
Mr. Bullmore then asked us to think of a giant flywheel. Some 50 feet high in the air made of solid material. This hefty and massive thing takes a long time to get into motion, but once it gains momentum, there's no stopping it. It has power and strength and might. If you connected anything to it, the new object as well would be fueled by the momentum of the flywheel. The same is true of gospel truth. It may take a while to get used to living it out in all ways, but once you do, the momentum of its effects cannot be stopped.
The last and outermost circle is called "Behavioral Implications of the Gospel" or Gospel Conduct.
Philippians 1:27 states:
"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..."
The gospel is meant to function by very specifically conforming our behavior to its truths.
For example in 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul says:
8Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price.
Paul does not subscribe to a general moralism in saying "just be good." He reminds them first of the gospel "You were bought with a price." THERFORE glorify God in your body. The gospel is the flywheel, sexual morality is the object attached to it that will gain momentum.
32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
We are to live this way because of what was first done for us by Christ.
When you connect the gospel to all things, you are not just leveraging the logic, you are harnessing the power.
He then said that he would be satisfied to close the scriptures and sit down and be down with the sermon. However, Josh Harris and Eric Simmons asked him to give us some practical application pointers so that is what his next section was on.
He said to start with our own lives first...my own deepening love for the gospel. Am I cultivating a deep personal appreciation for the gospel? Am I faithfully reading God's word with the purpose of connecting it to every aspect of my life? Am I rehearsing the truths of the bible? Do not let vagueness persist. Do not let fuzziness persist. Have a map of the Scriptures stores in your heart.
Second, pick one area of your life and learn how to bring the gospel to bear on it. The example he gave was suffering. How does the gospel bear the fruit of joyful endurance in the midst of suffering? Christ did not suffer so that I may avoid all suffering. He suffered so that in my suffering I may become more like Him.
Let gospel connections inhabit your conversation with others. Have biblical fellowship.
The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
(The church that I am a member of is blessed by God to have men of faith who are passionate about this subject. I pray that God would bring this into each of our lives.)
Remember, the greatest good of the gospel is that God gives himself to us.
John Piper had a quote to the effect of "Jesus himself and all that God is for us in Him is our great reward. Forgiveness is not the main result of our salvation. Fellowship with Christ is the main result. "
For my generation, there is an unusual pressure to define ourselves by lesser things: our age, our singleness, our look, or one-dimension of Christian experience made possible by the gospel. What we must ask ourselves is this. Is the gospel enough? Is God enough? Is Christ enough?
"But a man in not so inclined to give up when he sees in panoramous." When you feel discouraged and troubled and full of turmoil and disillusioned, the increasingly clear panoramic vision of the gospel is what will steady your feet and allow you to declare Psalm 73. "Whom have I in Heaven but you...As for me, the nearness of God is my good."