Day 19: The Gospel of Peace


THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

This subject is an important one, arguably the most important topic we'll discuss in this course: The Gospel. The shoes of the gospel represent the follower of Jesus standing on the firm foundation He has laid. We all come from different backgrounds, believing many different things. The Gospel is at the heart of what we believe here at The Risen - much like a creed. It's more than simply a book of rules or a guide to life. It is a living and breathing testimony to the grace God has shown mankind.

We'd Invite you to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the basic tenants of the gospel, so that you can walk in confidence. The Bible, through The Gospel, gives us clear and detailed instructions, hope, and prayers on how to deal with sexual sin. By the way, it doesn't stop there. The Bible and specifically The Gospel message are vital parts of who we are and who we will become. It is a way of life - one that dictates every thought, action, and decision we make.

The Gospel is illustrated to us in many ways. In particular it is compared to shoes we wear on our feet. Why such an illustration? Because you cannot move forward on the battlefield of spiritual warfare without proper footwear. The gospel of peace grants us the discernment and understanding to move forward according to the wisdom and guidance of The Holy Spirit.

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And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

We need the gospel as a constant reminder that we are desolate sinners in need of a savior. This reminder humbles us, allowing us to move forward in faith and obedience to God. Without it, we are walking in the dark, stumbling over things that we cannot see.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. -Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

Remembering the gospel puts all things into perspective. It shows us our past, who we once were. It also shows us where we were headed without Christ, and why it was so vital that He rescued us out of the darkness:

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. -Psalm 40:2 (NIV)

Stand firm with your brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world, recognizing that we aren’t perfect human beings but we serve a perfect God. He has lifted you and me out of the darkness and into the light. Our own strength, or lack-thereof, is never enough; it is by the power of Christ alone that grants us freedom. Embrace the gospel of peace and the power it bestows on us to move forward on this battlefield against the enemy.

We are made strong, protected and bold through Christ. Remember our study of the Breastplate of Righteousness, He is at the center of our armor, for indeed he is the center of all things. If you want to find freedom from the arrows of the enemy, from the sin that so easily entangles, equip Christ and make him the center of your life.

HOW IS THE GOSPEL LIKENED TO SHOES?

There is a testimony in scripture where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. The weight of this action can not be overstated. Such an action was reserved for the lowest servant. By doing this, Christ was sending a clear message to his disciples that he came to serve them. But that's not the only thing we can take from this account. Christ was also illustrating that through him each man in that room was washed clean and ready to go out into the world with confidence. Consider this interpretation of the passage:

Jesus had said earlier, What I do now you don't understand. In asking for a bath, Peter proved that he didn't understand what was happening. So Jesus corrects him again. And in those words He gives us a beautiful explanation of the process of salvation. It begins with a bath. That initial coming to Christ, in which we take the place of bankruptcy before Him, coming without any vestige of our own righteousness to offer and allowing Him to cleanse us, is likened to a bath in which we are washed all over, completely, from head to foot. Jesus, of course, is alluding to a very common social practice in those days. It was the custom to take a bath before you went out to a meal. But in walking through the dirty streets of the city with sandals on, your feet would be defiled. And so when you arrived as a guest, a servant would wash your feet. But you would not need to repeat the bath.

So Jesus is saying, When you first come to me, you are bathed; you are clean all over.This is what the Bible calls justification by faith. It is a washing away of all the guilt and sin of the entire life--past, present, and future. But as you walk through life, Jesus knows your feet will be defiled during your walk, and that needs to be washed away. Thus He teaches us that not only do we need that initial, never-to-be-repeated cleansing, but we also need the many-times-repeated experience of forgiveness, of coming to Christ for the cleansing away of the defilement of our walk. This determines that we have a part with Him.

In other words, the enjoyment of our relationship with Christ is lost when we are temporarily defiled by wrongdoing in our life. We lose the enjoyment of our relationship with Him. His attitude toward us doesn't change, but our attitude toward Him does. That is why we are taught all through the Scriptures to confess our sins (1 John 1:9). And the moment we do so, that original cleansing is renewed to us, and we go on again, restored.

Peter's error is being repeated today. There are those who refuse to have Jesus wash their feet. They are rejecting the indispensable requisite for enjoying their relationship with Christ. When people refuse to let Jesus wash their feet, they lose that sense of partnership with Him. On the other hand, there are those who feel that they need a bath all over again when they sin, that they have lost their salvation and that somehow they have to start over in their Christian experience. But Jesus teaches us by this whole process we need only one bath. This is reflected in the truth of baptism. You are baptized once, as the initial act. But the Lord's Supper reflects the washing of the feet, the need for cleansing from sin throughout life. [1]

FINDING PEACE

Inner peace is not only real, it is achievable by everyone. Here are some practical steps to have peace in your heart:

  • Pray daily, specifically acknowledging the gospel and power of Christ's salvation.

Repetition is important to remind us of truth. At the Lord's supper, Christ told his disciples to remember him every time they ate or drank. What on earth was that about? How could anyone forget Jesus, particularly after the gruesome death he was about to endure? Even the most graphic memories won't be enough to keep us accountable for what they stand for. Use prayer as a reminder for the peace you have through Jesus.

  • Calm Your Heart and Bask in His Presence

Sin tends to tempt us more aggressively in times of stress and frustration. No matter how good or bad your day is, focus your heart on the reality of the cross. Allow peace to come over you and dwell supernaturally in your heart. It’s not magic, it’s simply a recognition of who God is that brings this peace upon us.

  • Surround Yourself with the Body of Christ

We've covered this before, you must be around those who build you up. Trying to do this as a lone wolf will only end in more pain. As you gain knowledge but fail to apply it, you are held to an ever increasing higher standard.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. -2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

Paul wrote this to a church, encouraging them to make peace with one another, hold on to one another and pray with one another. If we are to fully understand and apply the gospel of peace, we cannot be alone in our struggles.

Day 19 Application

How are The Gospel and peace related?

Are you experiencing peace in your life despite past or present struggles? Expound on this.

How have you spent time with God today? Have you been in contact with your accountability partner such that you were asked tough questions about purity?

Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?