Why Everyone Needs the Gospel: Sin (Sermon video from Christ Church Mansfield)

The central problem of not only Romans 3:1-20, but everything we’ve covered so far in Romans can be described in two words found in v. 9 – that we are “Under Sin”

To be “under” something is to be in a position/condition that compels you, influences you in certain ways. “Under the influence of…something” is “impaired” and therefore “unable” to drive responsibly. But it also means to be “subject to”, to be “acted upon” and “constrained” – to be “under someone’s authority”. Sin is not just impairment and inability, but also slavery.

The witness of the Bible is that everyone is enslaved by and therefore, in a position of being influenced by sin to such an extent that no one is righteous before God on their own.

Paul strings along several passages, mostly from the Psalms, but one from Isaiah 59, that shows us what this slavery to sin compels us/influences us to do: “Turn away from” God with a “Runaway Heart”

“Seeks” – speaks to our aspirations and motivations. You seek out what you most want. And Psalm 14:1-3, quoted in Romans 3, says that “There is no one who seeks God…All have turned away.”

Sin warps our desires, because it infests our hearts. Remember, we are “worshipping creatures” (Romans 1), and if we are not worshipping the Creator, we are worshipping some aspect of His creation, and that is when “our foolish hearts are darkened” and our thinking/understanding/reasoning spirals downward in futility. When we worship something that has “eyes but cannot see”, we lose our ability to see, interpret, understand; when we worship something that has “ears but do not hear”, we lose our ability to discern what’s going on around us; when we worship something that has a heart of stone, our hearts become less responsible. We will resemble what we revere – what we most want, what we seek – and it will either be for our ruin (if not God) or our restoration (if God alone).

The righteousness we need is not one we can achieve by works of the Law, but only one we can receive by grace, through faith in the only One who perfectly lived up to the Law’s demands.

“The way the truth and the life” (John 14) comes to the wayward, the liars, and the destroyers.

Part of the sermon series Romans: Unlocking the Gospel | Unleashing the Power  at Christ Church Mansfield, from Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer. For more content or to know more about the ministry of Christ Church, go to http://www.christchurchmansfield.com

Facets of the Gospel (2): Wrath

Came across this quote in my study this week on Romans 1:16-32, and thought it particularly helpful in thinking about God’s wrath as it relates to the gospel and “all ungodliness and unrighteousness”.

Picture taken from NCPR website. Click picture to go to news source link.

Pippert here is extremely helpful in seeing how we have no problem with the concept of “wrath” when it comes to “unrighteousness” – predominately effecting life in the “horizontal” dimension (e.g. injustice, wrongdoing; against “neighbor”). But if we live in a world created by a “higher power”/Supreme Being/Creator, should we then not be surprised that there is a wrath provoked by our genuine neglect or lack of regard for said Creator (i.e. “ungodliness”; ingratitude, unresponsiveness, arrogance toward, etc)?

Here’s the quote and the question to ponder is:

“Why would we have a problem with God’s wrath against all sin and it’s effects, if we have any problem with sin’s effects in the form of cruelty, wrongdoing and injustice throughout the world?

“We tend to be taken aback by the thought that God could be angry. how can a deity who is perfect and loving ever be angry?…We take pride in our tolerance of the excesses of others. So what is God’s problem?… But love detests what destroys the beloved. Real love stands against the deception, the lie, the sin that destroys. Nearly a century ago the theologian E.H. Glifford wrote: ‘Human love here offers a true analogy: the more a father loves his son, the more he hates in him the drunkard, the liar, the traitor.’… 

“The fact is that anger and love are inseparably bound in human experience. And if I, a flawed and sinful woman, can feel this much pain and anger over someone’s condition, how much more a morally perfect God who made them? If God were not angry over how we are destroying ourselves, then he wouldn’t be good and he certainly wouldn’t be loving. Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference…. How can a good God forgive bad people without compromising himself? Does he just play fast and loose with the facts? ‘Oh, never mind…boys will be boys’. Try telling that to a survivor of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or to someone who lost an entire family in Rwanda…No. To be truly good one has to be outraged by evil and implacably hostile to injustice.”

– Rebecca Pippert, Hope Has It’s Reasons (100-01)

Getting it Right: Gospel Centered Christianity

New Sermon Video is up from this past Sunday at Christ Church Mansfield!

In Part 1 of our series Romans: Unlocking the Gospel | Unleashing the Power, Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer unpacks for us what motivated, oriented and transformed Paul from being a former persecutor of the church, to a proclaimer of the Lordship of Jesus Christ; it was the gospel – in all it’s offensiveness against self-improvement and effort, and explosiveness to shatter our counterfeit foundations apart from God.

It is only in the gospel that we are changed from seeking to provide a righteousness to God for our life’s worth and significance, and instead, we receive a righteousness from Him instead.

That is the transforming power of the gospel.


Facets of the Gospel: Justification by Faith from Calvin

John CalvinIn studying each week through Romans for our series at Christ Church Mansfield, I often come across many great thoughts, quotes, and illustrations. Here is a great quote from John Calvin on how the gospel is in fact good news for a sinner like me.

“A man is said to be justified in the sight of God when in the judgment of God he is deemed righteous, and is accepted on account of his righteousness; for as iniquity is abominable to God, so neither can the sinner find grace in his sight, so far as he is and so long as he is regarded as a sinner. Hence, wherever sin is, there also are the wrath and vengeance of God. He, on the other hand, is justified who is regarded not as a sinner, but as righteous, and as such stands acquitted at the judgment-seat of God, where all sinners are condemned. As an innocent man, when charged before an impartial judge, who decides according to his innocence, is said to be justified by the judge, as a man is said to be justified by God when, removed from the catalogue of sinners, he has God as the witness and assertor of his righteousness. In the same manner, a man will be said to be justified by works, if in his life there can be found a purity and holiness which merits an attestation of righteousness at the throne of God, or if by the perfection of his works he can answer and satisfy the divine justice. On the contrary, a man will be justified by faith when, excluded from the righteousness of works, he by faith lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and clothed in it appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as righteous. Thus we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.” – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (pp. 37-38)

Great Deal on a Great Book!

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional is on sale for $1.99 on Kindle today. Ann is great, and this book is a great devotional resource to help anyone see the threads of grace in everyday life.

In our family, Ann Voskamp is often a voice of gospel sanity in an otherwise chaotic world. Go check our her blog A Holy Experience if you’ve never read or heard (seriously?) of her before.

Here are some other Book Deals (Kindle version) in case you were interested:

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert [A must read!]

Bryan Chappel, Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

R.C. Sproul, What is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics

Voddie Baucham Jr., The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture

Marvin Olasky, The Religions Next Door: What We Need to Know About Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam and What Reporters are Missing

Will McRaney, The Art of Personal Evangelism

Jonathan Dotson & Brad Watson, Raised?: Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection

John Phillip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity

The Center of it All

In part 33 and final sermon in our series The Way of Paradox: Following the Right-Side Up King in an Upside-Down World, A Study in the Gospel of Mark, Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer shows us what it means to be gospel centered, to see that it is all about Jesus, the center of it all, by looking at the trail, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

More stubborn than our sin is the relentless love of our Savior, who is even now redeeming, renewing and restoring all nouns – peoples, places and things – to Himself, for God’s glory and His and our joy together.

This is what not only humbles us, but also electrifies us to live in light of the gospel.

Shareable Thoughts:

“Grace is greater than sin, and therefore can have the last and final word.” – @gensheer @ccmansfieldtx (Facebook or Google+ – Chris Gensheer, Christ Church Mansfield TX), #wayofparadox #gospelcentered

Referenced in Sermon:
Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Link to quote)

About Christ Church Mansfield

Christ Church Mansfield is a worshiping community on mission to reach this and the next generation with the transforming power of the gospel.

We exist to love God (worship), connect people (community), serve the city (mission) and reach the world (discipleship) with the transforming power of the gospel. We serve the communities of Mansfield, Arlington, Burleson, Midlothian, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie and Fort Worth, TX.

A member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), we stand in the reformed tradition that celebrates that the church is always to be reformed; meaning, we are to be reshaped and molded into the image of Christ as declared in the scriptures.

For more free content, or to make a contribution to the ministry, go to www.cpcmansfield.org (soon to be http://www.christchurchmansfield.com)

Stubborn Grace and Losing Focus

In yesterday’s sermon at Christ Church Mansfield we completed our study of Mark’s Gospel called The Way of Paradox: Following the Right-Side Up King in an Upside-Down World. We ended by seeing how Jesus is the center of it all – the gospel, the Christian faith, even reality itself.

One of the main themes that we reiterated week in and week out was that the world as we know it is not normal; it’s abnormal. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. But when Jesus comes into the scene, we get a glimpse, a picture, of what that right-side up world is supposed to look like.

I have been forever impacted and indebted to Tim Keller for introducing me to Cornelius Plantinga, and his monumental work on sin. Of all things, this book, and particularly the following quote has left an impression on me in regards to understanding the gospel, Jesus Christ, and what it is that His life and His work is really all about.

If you were with us this past weekend for the sermon “The Center of it All”, here is the quote I read at the end:

“Evil rolls across the ages, but so does good. Good has its own momentum. Corruption never wholly succeeds. (Even blasphemers acknowledge God.) Creation is stronger than sin and grace stronger still. Creation and grace are anvils that have worn out a lot of our hammers. To speak of sin itself, to speak of it apart from the realities of creation and grace, is to forget the resolve of God. God wants shalom and will pay any price to get it back. Human sin is stubborn, but not as stubborn as the grace of God and not half so persistent, not half so ready to suffer to win its way. Moreover, to speak of sin by itself is to misunderstand its nature: sin is only a parasite, a vandal, a spoiler. Sinful life is a partly depressing, partly ludicrous caricature of genuine human life. To concentrate on our rebellion, defection, and folly—to say to the world ‘I have some bad news and I have some bad news’—is to forget that the center of the Christian religion is not our sin but our Savior. To speak of sin without grace is to minimize the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, and the hope of shalom.” – Cornelius PlantingaNot the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (p. 199)

One of the best books I've ever read - thanks Tim Keller!

One of the best books I’ve ever read – thanks Tim Keller!

New Sermon video – True Grit: Fight. Flee. Fulfill!

How do you deal with pressure? When the going gets tough, what do you do?

All human beings have the tendency to either fight through, or flee the other way; the classic Lizard brain “fight or flight” response. And this is good for survival purposes, but what if the stakes are even greater than just simply preservation of our lives or the mere status quo.

For all of us, it’s only when the roof caves in that the truth comes out, and despite our best efforts and tough talk, all of our strength and might fails us. Our only other option would seem to be to flee and run away. But in the gospel, we see another way – fulfillment. When the blow of God’s judgment against sin – the ways we fail God, others, and even ourselves – it falls hard on all.

But for those who put their trust in Christ – the Shepherd who was struck for His people and later vindicated and raised up in glory – can be redeemed, restored and renewed, and so fight the fight of faith to cling to Jesus through all of life’s ups, down, failures and successes.

Christ Church Mansfield is a worshiping community on mission to make to reach this and the next generation with the transforming power of the gospel.

We exist to love God (worship), connect people (community), serve the city (mission) and reach the world (discipleship) with the transforming power of the gospel. We serve the communities of Mansfield, Arlington, Burleson, Midlothian, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie and Fort Worth, TX.

A member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), we stand in the reformed tradition that celebrates that the church is always to be reformed; meaning, we are to be reshaped and molded into the image of Christ as declared in the scriptures.

For more free content, or to make a contribution to the ministry, go to http://www.cpcmansfield.org (soon to be http://www.christchurchmansfield.com)

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day Everybody!

And those blasted Presbyterians!

And those blasted Presbyterians!

May we humbly suggest that this 4th of July, you take a moment and thank 3 sets of people:

Veterans and Military Personnel – who fought, are fighting and will fight to preserve our nation’s freedom for all citizens and those in need around the world.

Politicians – who, regardless of their differing views and at times shenanigans, are doing what they can and working the best they know how to develop policies and laws for every citizens enjoyment and full use of that freedom.

Presbyterians – those “blasted” pesky controversial types who helped get this whole thing started in the first place.

HT Don Sweating for this short but sweet article).


It Does Not Matter

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the gospel centered life and Paul letter to the Romans

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on being gospel centered.

I came across this gem while reading through Martyn Lloyd-Jones‘ commentary on Romans and it clarifies perfectly what I personally, and our church, Christ Church Mansfield, hold to.

“It does not matter what Paul is writing about; sometimes he has to write a letter because people have sent him questions, or because there have been difficulties. It does not matter at all what the occasion is; he cannot begin writing without at once introducing us to Jesus Christ. To Paul, He was the beginning and end, the all-in-all.”  – From Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans Chapter 1 (33)

At Christ Church Mansfield, we say that we are a single-issue church, meaning, we are centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. This moves us into certain directions, activities, values and distinctions; for example, we say we are here to Love God (worship); Connect people (community); Serve the city (mission); Reach the world (discipleship).

But all of these emanate from one center – Jesus Christ, who He is (person) and what He has done (work). There is nothing we can do or say that should not come from this central starting point. This is what we mean when we say we are gospel-centered.