Sunday, April 6, 2014

Some Thoughts After A Message On Genesis 22

This morning in our Life Group at Apex Baptist Church, one of our pastors was teaching Genesis 22. The title of the message was "The Atonement and the Christian Life." Substitutionary atonement is a critical element of the gospel. At the end of the lesson I got to share something with the class. Here's just a summary:

All of this discussion about God's provision in Genesis 22 is beautiful. God never has and never will allow one of his promises to fail. The covenant promises God made to Abraham were never really in jeopardy. The provision God makes that day on Mount Moriah is hugely important to the Bible. Its importance cannot be stressed enough. For one, it shows God's utmost commitment to his promises. He provides like no other. Beyond that, though, Genesis 22 is a picture of what God would ultimately accomplish on the exact same mountain many years later in the sacrificial death of his Son. Both are miraculous provisions. As Tim mentioned today, if that ram was there in the thicket the whole time, you can rest assured Isaac would have spotted it and said something like, "Hey, dad! Won't that work for an offering?" They're both miraculous provisions. But one pales in comparison to the other. One is the substitution of a ram for a single son. The other is the most precious Son in place of the whole world.

If we are not talking to people about substitutionary atonement, we're not talking about the gospel with them. You don't have to share the big-time theological lingo with them. But you have to explain what it is. I think we might be a little hoodwinked. You say, "What?" Yeah! Hoodwinked! You see, I'm blown away at how many of us are not talking to anyone about the gospel. Week after week goes by and we never tell that coworker about what Jesus Christ has done for us. We go to all the Bible studies. We've got our kids in Awana. We come to the early morning men's prayer time. But what about the people we know who don't know about the single most important historical event the world has ever seen? Well, this is where the hoodwinked part comes in. Somehow we've been tricked into thinking if we just live a godly life in front of people, then we've done our part. Somehow we think if we just show up to work on time, be faithful, offer to pray for them, etc., then we're doing what Jesus wants. Somehow we've been duped into thinking that if we just write a check and dedicate it to missions, then we are Great-Commission Christians. But why do we rarely speak the message of the cross. It seems like it rarely, if ever, comes out of our mouths. And here's a doozy. Somehow, it seems,  we've equated "sharing the gospel" with simply inviting someone to church. Somehow our Great Commission went from us "go" to them "come." It's like we've turned ourselves into liaisons for the ambassadors of Jesus Christ. Have we forgotten that we all are his ambassadors? All of us have the same marching orders. All of us have the same gospel. All of us are missionaries.

Can I encourage you to take the greatest leap of obedience you can ever make in your Christian life? "What is it?" you ask. Just talk to the people around you about what Jesus did on the cross. Explain Romans 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. You could even start by explaining Genesis 22 if you want to.

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