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This Week's Teaching: "How much of the gospel do you need to understand for it to save you?"
I'm thinking this morning about the gospel and how it relates to water. Or rather how we relate to the gospel, often, like many of us relate to water.
The gospel is water. It's water for your soul. Jesus said, "Whoever's thirsty, let him come to me." That's the good news. That's the gospel.
We can actually go to Jesus and have the deepest needs of our lives, of our souls met in him. The gospel. It's like a drink of fresh water for our soul. We drink the water and our thirst is quenched, our bodies are replenished. It's good.
Some people love to fixate on the details of the water. Like, we all drink it and it's good, but then some people start to say, "But did you know that it's H2O? It's two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You need to believe that in order for the water to really be meaningful to you! You need to make sure that, as you drink that water, you understand its makeup, what it's actually made of, and how it actually replenishes your soul. You need to believe this. If you don't believe it as you drink it, it won't do its work in your body. It won't truly replenish you. If you don't understand that it's H2O ."
Other people think, "Oh the water. It's good. But did you know that there's a certain alkaline that needs to be..." I don't even understand this stuff. I'm not interested in this stuff, so it's hard for me to even talk about it. But some people, they're so interested in the alkaline or the properties of the waters they say, "Make sure that the alkaline is right!" In fact, they spend lots of money on things that make sure that it's just right because if the alkaline is right, that water is gonna really do well for your body. And maybe it will, maybe it won't. I don't know. I just, sometimes it just feels like overkill. It feels like they've been-- my apologies to you if you've bought the big, expensive alkaline systems, but it just feels like it's a gimmick and sometimes it even feels a little bit cultish, like, "Gotta make sure the alkaline is just right. It's going to fix your whole life."
Other people, they taste the water and they say, "Oh, but did you know if you put a little bit of mint in it? Oh man, it's so refreshing." And they chase after the mint. Like, "If you put this little mint in the water, oh man, then the water is really sweet. Oh, that's so good."
And some people even carry around these little packets of energy booster that they add to the water and, "Oh, man, the water really picks you up." And I'm not really sure how much you can add into the water until it's not something with water in it, as opposed to water with something in it.
If you drink coke, is that flavored water or is it something with water in it? Some people, they will drink coke all day long. Because they prefer it over water. And is there water in Coke? Yeah. Is Coke flavored water? Well, probably more than that. It's probably something with water in it. You can't live on just Coke. Even if it's Diet Coke. Or Coke Zero.
If you drink milk, is that flavored water or is it water with something in it?
At some point it just comes back to the water. The gospel is: "Drink the water. It will refresh your soul. Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus. Let him replenish you. Let him refresh your soul."
If you want to study the atonement theories, it's great that people understand H2O, it's great that some people have very developed opinions about how Jesus going to the cross atoned for us. It's wonderful.
But if you don't understand H2O, if you don't understand alkaline, drink the water. It's good for you. If you don't understand atonement theory, turn to Jesus. He will save you.
Turn to Jesus, he will save you.
Some people say, "But you need to make sure you worship this way. You need to search for this add-on. You need to make sure that you are filled with the Holy Spirit with a certain evidence."
And some people will even say, "Oh, have you heard such and such ministry? Oh man, the Holy Spirit is really present there. If you go to whatever place in California or whatever place in North Carolina or whatever place in Tennessee, oh man, there the water is really sweet. Oh man, that energy drink â€” that energy stuff that they put in the water there, that will really liven you up! Man, you will really be on fire for God! if you believe in that gospel, if you go there and worship to their songs or listen to that preaching, or if you join in with their ministry, or if you give money to this or that, man, that will really energize the gospel in your life."
And I'm saying, you know, too much energy drink poured into the water, you'll get tired of it. It'll eventually leave you just craving water. And I'm saying, for the gospel, just turn to Jesus. Turn from your sins. Turn from the things that screwed you up and turn to Jesus. Say, "Lord, have mercy on me. I'm a sinner. Have mercy on me. Give me all of you. I accept your love. Free me from the things that have me in bondage. Set me on a new course. I want to follow you, Jesus. I wanna love you better. Make me holy, make me pure. However, the prayer is that comes out of your heart, just turn from the things that have wrecked your life and turn to Jesus and ask him to fix your life. The gospel. Turn to the Lord. He loves you. He is full of compassion. He's slow to anger. He is fully righteous and faithful and full of justice, and he wants to give you good things, but he wants to turn you from the bad things so that he can fill your life with good things.
It's the gospel. He loves you so much. He loves you so much.
If you're thirsty, drink the water. If your life is wrecked, receive Jesus. Put your hope into him. Turn to the gospel.
And if God gives you understanding about the other things, don't be dogmatic. Don't require other people to put the mint in the water. Don't require other people to believe the properties of H2O. Don't require that. Introduce it to the conversation, if it's of interest, if it genuinely is edifying and encouraging.
But just turn to the gospel. Focus on the gospel. God loves you. Jesus saves you.
As I've said it recently: God is good, loving and powerful-- and if this is talking about "alkaline" or about "H2O," receive it for what it is. But if it helps you to know what's water and what's Coke, receive this:
God is good, loving and powerful, and Jesus is the exact representation of his being. Humanity is idolatrous, adulterous, and powerless, and you are the exact representation of its being. But Jesus redeems, reconciles and restores all who turn to him and put their confidence in him. Make sure that you've done that.
"The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
This is the gospel. He wants to redeem you from all that ruined your life. He wants to redeem you. Turn from the junk. Turn to Jesus.
Thank you so much for partnering with us in this!