It seems appropriate that we should end our time in Genesis on the last day of 2017. Just as a new year gives us a moment to reflect on the triumphs and failures of the previous year and so make adjustments, this timely transition from Genesis into 2018 offers us a chance to walk in obedience to all that God has taught us.
So, what has He taught us in the last 14 months? In brief…
- He has taught us that all things were created by and for God-the-Son, that all things are accomplished for the glory of His name and the good of His chosen people, the church, and that He is sovereign over prosperity and over suffering, using both to fulfill His purposes.
- He has taught us that because of the Fall, man is born totally depraved, is incapable of saving himself and that the punishment for sin is death and eternal judgment.
- He has taught us that redemption for His people would come through the seed of the woman who would rise up and crush the head of the serpent at great cost to Himself. Though this promised Messiah would come from the line of Abraham, specifically through the nation of Israel, His kingdom would be one comprised of those from every nation, tribe, people and tongue.
- He has taught us that Jesus is this promised Messiah and that all of history has worked and is working toward the consummation of all things under His Lordship.
Now how do we as individuals and as a corporate local body walk in obedience to these truths?
- We need to get over ourselves. Life isn’t ultimately about us, it’s about Him—who He is, what He has done and what He requires. This means we defer to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the church at the expense of our own preferences. This means we reach the lost at any cost regardless of sex, race, political party, socio-economic status and regardless of how they respond or whether or not we even know them. Humility. Unity. Forgiveness. Grace. Love. Selflessness. Mission.
- We need to evangelize and minister with the whole gospel. This means we love others enough to speak the harsh truths of the Bible to them, to expose their sinful condition and the consequences of their rebellion and then offer them their only hope which is salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It will be messy. It will be costly. But it is necessary.
- We need to evangelize and minister with the true gospel. This means once and for all putting to death our love for the prosperity gospel and its false teachers who are preaching people into Hell. It means embracing the call to suffer for His name and the call to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of obedience, no matter the cost. It means once and for all putting to death our love for middle-class white piety and embracing all men and women—black or white, rich or poor, gay or straight, drug addicted or money-hungry—with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ…
To the end that when the King returns He will indeed receive the reward for His suffering, a precious bride without spot or blemish, a people for His own possession to the glory and praise of God-the-Father.
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Mt. 7:19-21, NASB).