Tell them hi!

Vol. 3, No. 52

Tell Pricilla and Aquila ‘hello’ –Romans 16:3-5

A young American was killed in Europe. The year was 1884. His parents wanted to establish a memorial for their son and met with Dr. Charles Eliot, President of Harvard University. Looking at the poor appearing country couple, he suggested some insignificant scholarship. The couple left his office downcast.

A year later, Charles Eliot learned that the couple he turned away donated $26,000,000 ($26 million) toward the establishment of a fund named for their son; thus, Leland Stanford Jr. University, in Palo Alto, California began.

Paul advanced the Gospel and made it a standard of operation to enlist others to partner with him. Paul did not seem to be captured by first appearances. After all, he was not a knockout handsome dude (at least we do not think so).

35 individuals (10 of whom are women), and several couples are mentioned as partners for promotion of the Gospel. Among the couples, we find Pricilla and Aquila. I wonder if they had nicknames – “Cill” and “Quil.” Sorry, just could not resist that.

The interesting thing about this couple appears to be hearts that beat as one . . . not two or a duo, but a one in the Lord. They did not pull in opposite directions; no contention over travel plans or advancing the Gospel, and no separate goals. They were one in marriage, and one in Christ.
They were one in their faith and testimony. One in their occupation of making tents. In the first century, soldiers did not hold themselves fashionably equipped without a personal tent from Ephesus made from the best hairs, wove together by Priscilla and Aquila (perhaps in their business, called Tents by the Shaggy Goat).

This couple was noted as business people, not paid Christian workers. They made some money, but it was so that they might spend it in God’s ministry. Their job was making tents, but their work was promoting the Gospel.

Paul lists four honors he bestows upon Priscilla and Aquila:

  1. They were helpers in the cause of Christ;
  2. They risked their lives for their beloved friend;
  3. They were mentioned in church body-life in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus; and
  4. They pushed aside the work tables of their trade to have “church” in their home.

This couple, not so well-known by the unchurched, made tents so that a tabernacle for their Lord could be constructed and be occupied with those they led to Christ through promotion of the Gospel.
Some choose to advance the Gospel; some choose to back off.

Our choice can help a person come to Christ or to choose to reject Christ. It matters not what your name is; what matters is your investment. Not many have $26 million, but every believer has the message of the Gospel.

What are you doing with the message of the Gospel?

A thought from Paul Tripp . . . Come Let Us Adore Him

The baby in the manger came as a conquering King to dethrone us, and then to enthrone Himself in our hearts and lives forever and ever.

If you have children or are around children, you know that you are in relationship with little self-anointed, self-sovereigns, who think that the only authority they need in their lives is their own. We have all dealt with battles with our young children.

[However], why do you get angry in traffic or irritated when someone disagrees with you? It is not just your children that battle for kingdom authority—you do too. Life this side of eternity is one big and unending war of kingdoms.

Jesus had to rescue us from our bondage to our little kingdoms of one and usher us into His kingdom of loving authority and forgiving grace. He came to destroy our self-oriented kingdoms and dethrone us as Kings [and queens] over our own lives. In violent grace He works to destroy every last shred of our allegiance to self-rule, and in rescuing grace He lovingly sets up His righteous rule in our hearts.

The baby in the manger came to be King.

O Come Let Us Adore Him!

Forward all the way . . .

Vol. 3, No. 51

From Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum, I have fully preached [proclaimed] the Gospel of Christ. –Romans 15:19

When David Livingstone volunteered as a missionary with the London Missionary Society in 1839, they asked him where he would like to go. “Anywhere,” he said, “so long as it is forward!

When Livingstone reached Africa he was haunted by the smoke of a thousand villages, that he saw in the distance.

That was also Paul’s motivation, his drive and passion was to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ forward to people who had not heard the Gospel.

[It strikes me as strange that churches schedule “retreats.” Churches should schedule “advances” not retreats. The Gospel is to advance, not move backward!]

Jerusalem is the starting point of the ministry of the Gospel. Paul had a greater regard for Jerusalem’s people who needed the Gospel, than Jerusalem had regard for Paul. From the time of Paul’s conversion in 33 AD, someone has figured out (from the Book of Acts) that he and his companions advanced, traveled, over 10,000 miles – 4800 by land and 5200 by sea. It seems, also, that he could have made a trip to Spain. He advanced, traveled, without the aid of a bike, bus, car, plane, or even a modern powered sea vessel.

He did not have Dr. Scholl’s shoe inserts, a smart phone (or even a dumb phone like mine), an umbrella, bottled water, or other amenities.

From Jerusalem to Illyricum (Albania and Yugoslavia), he traveled about 1400 miles. He mentions two geographical spots – why? I cannot help but think it is because he wants to challenge us with the extensive reach of the Gospel.

From Jew to Gentile, from the Middle East to Europe; from a religious center to a pagan country; from big city to rural areas; from Hebrew culture to Greek and Latin influences, Paul advanced the Gospel.

Go for it Paul!

Why are we not doing the same?

Paul sees the big picture [do you?]. Go into all the world. Nothing provincial or bigoted, just advance the Gospel to everyone. His statement at the beginning of Romans carries weight throughout the book:

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek!

Contemplate the comprehensiveness of what he says: I have fully proclaimed the Gospel of Christ. We in our theological zeal call this the divine initiative tied in with human get-up-and-go.

Back to David Livingstone.

Whatever way my life can be spent best to promote [read, advance] the glory of our gracious God, I feel desirous to adopt it. I did not come to Africa to be suspended on the tail of anyone, and what is of infinitely more importance as a motive to immediate action; souls are perishing while I have no power (not knowing their language nor culture0 to point them to the Cross. I am convinced that the Gospel has lost none of its pristine efficacy.

Are you in forward mode . . . or backward mode? There is no middle of the road.

A thought from Paul Tripp . . . Come Let Us Adore Him

The Way, the Truth, and the Life was in the manger, causing angels to rejoice, Mary to wonder, shepherds to worship, and us to have hope.
The Christmas story shows that the hope of the universe is a person. Hope was what the angels sang about. Hope lay in the manger. Hope caused Mary to wonder in her heart. It was hope the shepherds came to worship. Hope was presented with gifts from the Magi who had traveled so far.

The Advent story is a Hope story because it Chronicles the coming to earth of the One who is Hope, Jesus. For a people born in sin, and for a world damaged by sin, there simply could not be any other source of hope. The inescapable condition of sin infects every single human being and has scarred every aspect of the cosmos, which cried out for one thing and one thing alone: Divine intervention.

Our Hope has a name; His name is Jesus!

My righteousness . . . or His?

Vol. 4, No. 7 

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own . . . –Philippians 3:8-9

It is not an exceptionally long flight – from Salt Lake to Albany NY, but there was plenty of time to discuss with a member of the Mormon Church the underpinnings of his belief – he vested his righteousness in the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. Since he felt his righteousness depended upon what he believed through his church, he was not interested in what the Bible had to say about righteousness.

He said that he had a good family, his church (stake) activities and missionary endeavors, his financial giving proved his righteousness.

The question: “How good do I have to be to go to Heaven?” is a popular question – and many interject their own presuppositions (read opinions).  

I was traveling with a seminary professor on this trip, and the Mormon gentleman sat between us. When one of us spoke, the other prayed.

So, I could not help myself, I asked the question: “How good must a good Mormon be to go to Heaven?”

He made some comments; but I remember qualifying the question:

  1. Who determines your qualifying goodness?
  2. If God determines it, what is it essentially?
  3. How can a man tie up with Jesus Christ and so share His goodness (righteousness) and be made fit for heaven?

You see, there is a problem. Humankind wants to have their own way. Biblically it is called self-righteousness. So, people offer their own goodness based on their presuppositions of character. And because there is a “little” good in every person, the work is to restrain whatever evil might tender its presence. Attainable in the mind of the self-righteous. Thus, it is up to us to fit ourselves for the presence of God.

Piece of cake! Right? No!

God must have His way. God has provided a goodness that will fit us for heaven. Read about it in His Word. It is called “imputed righteousness” (imputed goodness). A simple word, imputed, it just means charge to my account. Who deposits this – God’s.

Christ became what He was, not sinful, so that I might become what I was not (righteous). All God’s righteousness is vested in Christ, and that now, in turn, is placed in my account. How long is His righteousness imputed to my account? Forever! For all of eternity.

What a deal!

God has made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him –2 Corinthians 5:21

In Christ’s righteousness you can be good enough for heaven!

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