Preach The Gospel To Yourself

I can’t tell you who I heard the phrase, “Preach the gospel to yourself” first. But as a pastor, it has become a mantra I often repeat. 

The gospel encapsulates the profound message of Jesus Christ — his identity and purpose. It serves as a constant reminder of our essence apart from Christ, exposing the gravity of our sins and the magnitude of His grace. This transformative message is not just about what Christ came to do but also about who we are becoming through Him.”

Greg Gilbert in his book The Gospel defines it this way, “First the bad news: God is your Judge and you have sinned against him. And then the gospel: but Jesus has died so that sinners may be forgiven of their sins if they will repent and believe in him.”

What do we benefit from preaching the gospel to ourselves:

We see how God is not holding out on you.

God isn’t withholding anything from you. In Christ, we possess an abundance beyond our wildest imaginations. Every spiritual blessing is bestowed upon us (Eph 1:3). The gospel serves as a poignant reminder that Christ sacrificed everything to lavish His blessings upon us.

You reflect on the goodness of God.

In Romans 2:4, we encounter the profound question, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

The gospel serves as a lens that sharpens our focus on God’s goodness. Despite our deserving of condemnation and death, God extends kindness and goodness to us. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death, he stood in our place. Every gift, care, and watchful eye on us are expressions of God’s inherent goodness.

When you preach the gospel to yourself you remind yourself that this life may be hard, but nothing can take away the love of God

Romans 8:38-39 assures us that nothing, not even death, can sever us from the love of God. In John 16:33, the Bible acknowledges that tribulations are inevitable in this life—it’s not a question of if but when. The gospel becomes our beacon, reminding us that this earthly life is not our ultimate destination. With the endurance of Jesus as our inspiration, we find the strength to endure whatever challenges come our way.

Bad circumstances fail in comparison to eternal life in/with Jesus. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:7-11, the Apostle Paul vividly articulates the trials and tribulations he faced, emphasizing that these challenges pale in comparison to the richness found in Christ.

He eloquently states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

The gospel acts as a poignant reminder of the selfless gift bestowed upon us by Jesus and the unparalleled richness we find in Him. This perspective helps us recognize that our challenging circumstances are overshadowed by the abundance we possess in Jesus.

Consider the inspiring perspective of Joni Eareckson Tada, who, despite enduring the challenges of paralysis since a diving accident at age seventeen, envisions expressing gratitude to Jesus for her wheelchair in heaven:

“I hope I can take my wheelchair to heaven with me—knowing well that it’s not biblically correct. But if I could, I would have my wheelchair right next to me when God gifts me with my new, glorified body. Turning to Jesus, I would say, ‘Lord, do you see that wheelchair? You were right when you said we would face trouble in this world, and that wheelchair brought a lot of trouble! Yet, the weaker I was in it, the harder I leaned on you. The harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. So, thank you for what you did in my life through that wheelchair. And now,’ I always say jokingly, ‘you can send that wheelchair to hell, if you want.'”

When you preach the gospel to yourself no gift can be better than the gift of Jesus.

In 2 Corinthians 9:15, the Apostle Paul exclaims, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”

Within this passage, Paul conveys to the Corinthian church the importance of generosity. His plea is not coercive but rather a proclamation that as generous people, we reflect the character of our generous God.

The measure of God’s generosity prompts us to ponder: What do we truly deserve, and what does God freely give? The gospel serves as the profound response to these questions. Therefore, let the resounding truth of the gospel be a constant refrain in your life—preach it to yourself!

The Restorer of Manhood

Here is the video of our men’s Summer study as we look at the seriousness of our sin and the greatness of God’s love and mercy from Ephesians 2:1-10.

We see that the Fall (Gen 3) affects not just our spiritual condition but even our identity. In this study we look at how sin has shaped our identity but in Christ we have a new and better identity.

What Does it Mean for the Christian to Be Dead to Sin?

The Apostle Paul in the letter to the believers in Rome, addresses what the God has done through Gospel in us and what does it look like the Gospel through us. He clearly points out that the Christian is not saved by works or can earn favor from God. It is a work of Christ on the cross (Rom. 3:20, 23-24).

In Romans 6, Paul asks a rhetorical question. He asks, “If we are saved not by our works but by Christ’s perfect record then how we can live however we want because it won’t change our standing before God” (6:10)?

Paul’s answer is, “Absolutely it does matter how we live!” We don’t sin so grace can keep on be dished out. No, as one who is in Christ (the believer), it does matter how we live. We do not live based upon works, we go forward based upon grace. It is not out of obligation but out of joy and wanting to please God because we are not the same that we used to be. 

The Apostle Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). He also mentions this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

In Romans 6 Paul asks this question then, “How can we who are dead to sin still live in it” (vs 2)? The believer has been changed, they are no longer living in sin but dead to sin. What does is mean to be dead to sin?

Dead to Sin

As a believer you are dead to sin. Sin no longer has bondage or power over you. Jesus broke the chains of sin and death through his death and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:54–57).

I had an opportunity in college to go to Cambodia and while I was in there I rode an elephant. It is a massive animal that has so much power. This massive animal ripped a tree from the ground like it was nothing while I was on it! I was truly impressed and in awe of the strength of this animal.

Yet, these massive animals can be trained in a circus. In an article from the Huffington Post we read that when the calf is still small a strong rope is tied around their necks and attach to a secure pole. The baby elephants naturally try to walk away but are stopped by the rope. They try to break free but are conditioned to being secure. The elephant will grow and become strong yet is accustomed to being held back by the rope. That rope, which they can easily break because of their mere size and power but are held in bondage because of being conditioned to think they can not break free.

Many believers still live as if the “rope of sin” has never been broken. But we are free and “dead to sin” because of Jesus Christ! Timothy Keller does an excellent job explaining what it does not mean to be dead to sin in his commentary on Romans. In order for us to properly understand what it does mean to be dead to sin, let us look at what it does not mean. I listed them below.

Dead to Sin does not mean that we no longer have sinful desires.

Sin does not have power over us, but we still struggle with sinful desires. That is why we are warned about temptation in 1 Cor. 10:30, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Jesus himself was tempted but never gave into temptation but to show us that we can endure and fight temptation as he is the way out! We are saved by God’s grace but it doesn’t mean that you and I will be sinless. We will be battling sin until the day we die. 

Dead to sin does not mean we no longer ought to sin.

No, we died to sin not that we “ought” to die to sin. Paul is not suggesting that the believer should die to sin but the action of Christ and the union we share with Christ means we have died to sin. So it is is not a suggestion but looking to what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf.

Dead to sin does not mean that we are slowly moving away from sin.

When Paul writes you are dead in sin which means it was once and done action not a continual process. When Christ was hanging on the cross he uttered these words- “It is finished” (John 19:30)! We are daily being sanctified which means more into the image of Christ but we are dead in sin. We are not dying or moving away from sin, we are dead to sin.

Dead to sin does not mean we have renounced sin.

We should fight against sin and the things that God hates we in ourselves cannot do this. Just like we cannot save ourselves, being dead to sin is done to us.  We are one with Christ because we are dead to sin and and intertwined with him in what he has done through his life, death, and resurrection. We have shared in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

Dead to sin means- A Christian is no longer is in bondage to the power of sin.

You are not sinless. The Christian will still struggle and battle with the flesh. There will be temptation, but the ruling power of sin has no claim on you Christian. Jesus is our victorious King who conquered sin and death! Be reminded, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col. 1:13). As a believer in Jesus Christ, let us go forward in the victory of Jesus.

Marks of Christian Unity: Weep with Those Who Weep

Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know. Continue reading “Marks of Christian Unity: Weep with Those Who Weep”