Living for the Advance of the Gospel: Not Optional

Living for the advance of the Gospel is not just an ideal for Paul, it is a reality. The book of Philippians unpacks this theme with both precision and depth.

In the introduction, Paul addresses the immediate temptation for almost every believer–“Is it even possible to live for the advance of the Gospel?”.

Not only is it possible, but it is actually impossible for a believer to not live for the advance of the Gospel. Paul states it this way:

Philippians 1:5-6  5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul’s confidence in their continued growth is based on the faithfulness of God. God began a work and He will be faithful to see it to fruition. Therefore, every believer can be confident that when God starts a work, He will complete that work.

Not only does Paul address this issue from a future perspective, but also from the past.

Philippians 1:9-11  9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

As believers, Paul points out that they now have Christ’s righteousness placed on their account. Abounding love is the obvious and necessary response.

For believers, living for the advance of the Gospel is not even an option. God is faithful to complete the work in your life. Christ has already placed righteousness on your account. Therefore, it is impossible to not live for the advance of the Gospel.

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The Lake

2013-01-27 Lake

Just two years ago Lake Hancock was basically gone. In fact, the maintenance staff was literally mowing “the lake”. During a typical year the deepest part of Lake Hancock is only about 16 feet deep, with an average depth of only 4 feet. Because the lake is shallow compared to an average lake, the overall dimensions of the lake change based on the amount of rain.

Thankfully, the drought has ended and the rain has brought the lake back. We now enjoy a full lake once again. This means our campers will be able to fully enjoy the canoeing and and nature scenes. You definitely don’t want to miss the sunset over the lake. Some of my favorite pictures of Lakewood include our beautiful sunsets over Lake Hancock. Feel free to share any pictures on our Facebook page.

Rest as a Sign of Allegiance

God commands a sabbath rest every week. Within the 10 commandments, God explained the reason for the sabbath rest.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15  Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter… so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Because God mightily redeemed His people from the hands of the Egyptians, God required a sabbath rest. The One who redeems another, has the authority to command obedience. God freed the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt and He stipulated a sabbath day rest. Does God command this amount of authority for 21st century believers? Has God redeemed His people in a similar way? Although few, if any, have been redeemed from bondage like the children of Israel, believers today have been redeemed from the grip of sin. The rest in the promised land that the children of Israel would one day receive was meant to be a picture for believers today.

Hebrews 3:5-6  Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;  but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house– whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

As children of God who will partake in this rest, we demonstrate our allegiance by partaking in the sabbath rest.

 

The Rest Mandate:

Rest for most people swings like a pendulum back and forth. The forced naps during childhood fade into a distant memory the moment an infant is brought home for the first time. Although the idea of rest seems so necessary, actually carving out time seems impractical.

What does the Bible have to say about rest? Does God actually expect people created in His image to rest? God obviously knew the challenges that we would face which is why He addressed the topic of rest before the dust of creation settled.

In Genesis 2:1-3 God demonstrated the model of rest. He worked 6 days and rested the seventh day.

Genesis 2:1-3  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.  By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

In Exodus 31:16-17 Moses connected God’s example of rest and commanded people to follow that example.

Exodus 31:16-17  So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.

Taking a day of rest every week is not just a great idea, it is a scriptural mandate. We rest because we are created in God’s image. Since God rested on the seventh day, we also need to rest one day a week.