“For Christ also suffered, once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”—I Peter 3:18a
Starting on Sunday and continuing for the next four weeks, we will explore together God’s vision for Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. As we begin this journey, I must tell you that I believe there is no more important way for us to kick off 2013 than to come face to face with who we are as the people of God. Believe me when I say it is impossible to overstate the importance of the subject before us. Now, I know you are used to me saying things like that, but trust me on this one—that is no preacher hyperbole. We are going to explore in detail the most important news we will ever encounter. In fact, our very life depends on truly hearing this news.
The problem, as I see it, is that we think we already know this news. We think we’ve heard the news and even believed the news. In fact, I’d go even further and say that the problem is worse than that. Some of us have actually heard the news—really heard it. We can articulate it with razor sharp precision. We can parse the details with the adeptness of a world-renowned theologian.
So, you’re thinking, “What’s the problem?” The problem is that the beauty of this news no longer mesmerizes us. We hear it, but are rarely moved by it. We hear it and politely smile and go about our business like nothing happened. Whenever this happens, it is an indication that we are not hearing the news, because we’re no longer experiencing the power and the glory that is the news itself (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 1:11-14).
If you are a Christian, you know the gospel, really and truly. But as a Christian, you are also, simultaneously, learning to know the gospel. How do I know this? I know this because if you are honest, you are missing the power and glory of this gospel to transform many areas of your heart and life. For instance, you are impatient, bitter, selfish, stingy, angry, sullen, contentious, immoral, addicted, and the list could go on and on. What that means is you have a constant and ongoing need to know (and re-know) the gospel, because within the gospel (and only within that gospel) will you ever experience the power of God to save and change you—to make you into the person He has destined you to be (2 Corinthians 3:18-4:14, 1 John 3:2).
As we look afresh at the gospel on Sunday and in the weeks ahead, please do not let your “knowing the gospel,” get in the way of knowing the gospel. Stop right now and ask God for a renewed heart, so you might comprehend with all the saints the love of Christ Jesus and be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Everything we are and do as a church is centered in the life giving proclamation (news) that God has reconciled us to Himself through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Timothy 1:15). When I say, “everything we are and do,” I mean everything. No caveats or qualifications. At Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, we will never go further than the gospel. We will only ever go deeper into the gospel.
My prayer for us this year is just two words, “Deeper still,” Lord Jesus. “Deeper still.”