January 5, 2022

Dear Friends,

It is the time of year when most of us at least think about resolutions. A new year can trigger a fresh start.

At the age of 19, Jonathan Edwards made a list of 70 resolutions that he purposed would guide his life. His intention was to read the list every week to keep himself pointed in the right direction. His list included goals relating to his personal spiritual development, relationships, how he would manage his life and time and character qualities he wanted to develop. He had a clear sense as a young man of the kind of person he wanted to become as he grew older.

Last night at our First Tuesday men’s group meeting, we heard from Dr. Don Whitney about the importance of disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). For those who are interested, here’s a link to the audio from last night. You can download it and add it to your podcast playlist. It’s a great reminder of what our spiritual workout schedule needs to include.

If you’re still wondering about what to have on your resolutions list for 2022, I have one simple recommendation for you. Here it is. Make it your aim that every day in the new year you will remember and re-believe and re-apply the gospel to every area of your life. That’s it.

With all due respect to Jonathan Edwards and his list of 70 resolutions, I’m convinced there is no resolution you can adopt in 2022 that will have a more significant impact on your life than to decide that you will re-believe the gospel every day.

For each one of us, our ongoing daily battle with sin is ultimately a battle first to believe again each day what the Bible says is true about God, about ourselves, about what Jesus accomplished at the cross, and about how His victory over sin and death affects the lives of His followers. And second, our daily battle then comes down to a decision to live our lives in a way that gives evidence that we really believe what we say we believe.

Here’s how Paul summed this up for his protégé Titus: “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our 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 lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Meditating on God’s love and grace demonstrated in the cross of Christ is what trains us and motivates us to say yes to righteousness and no to unrighteousness or ungodliness. It is the fuel that brings the moral improvement we need.

Meditating on God’s love and grace demonstrated in the cross of Christ is what trains us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in a culture that does not encourage us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.

Meditating on God’s love and grace demonstrated in the cross of Christ is what motivates us to become zealous for good works.

Re-believing the gospel each day is a spiritual wheel alignment that keeps you pointed in the right direction each day. When we re-believe the gospel each day, we are acknowledging that the natural drift of our lives is away from the purposes and plan of God for us. That we need to daily re-acknowledge God’s right to rule and reign and hold sway over our lives.

The choice to re-believe the gospel each day is also a choice to turn away from the spiritual forces that will daily buffet and batter you. The culture we live in does not value or promote godliness or Christ centeredness. Your own flesh is pulling you off course with its natural appetite for temporary, carnal, fading pleasures. And of course, there is an enemy of your soul who lies to you about what is important and will bring you happiness, and whose primary objective is to make you spiritually impotent and ineffective.

Each day, we are enticed by these three – the world, the flesh and the devil. And each day, the decision we make to reject the lies and to re-believe the gospel is what will keep us on track spiritually.

Each day, as you reflect on the cross of Christ, as you believe the gospel, here is what you are choosing to believe again.
God is not angry with you anymore.All is forgiven.You don’t owe God anything to pay for your sin debt.You are a friend of God. A child of God. You are an heir of the blessings of GodYou are free from the power of sinYou have a hope for life beyond this life.
Why is all that true? Because of what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross.

The Apostle Paul began his letter to the Romans by declaring that believing the gospel is what changed everything about his life. “It is the power of God unto salvation,” he declared. There is actual power in deciding to believe and live life as if the gospel is actually true.

Because it is.

I firmly believe that nothing will have a more profound impact on your life in 2022 than the decision each day to remember and re-believe the gospel. May God grant us the faith and focus to make that our aim this year.

small groups starting back up

If you’re not currently in a small group, don’t be surprised if you get a text message or an email or a personal invitation sometime this week from a small group leader inviting you to come spend an evening with their group. Small groups are the place where we live out the “one-anothers” found in scripture. It’s where we care for and serve each other. I hope if you get an invitation, you can say yes. And even if you don’t, you’re welcome to invite yourself!

In the first several weeks of 2022, our small groups will be working their way through a short book on prayer, written by Pastor Alistair Begg. The book is called Pray Big, and group leaders will have a copy of the book available for you.

A few years ago, I had a chance to sit down with Alistair to talk about the book and about the subject of prayer. You can watch the interview I did with him here.

My hope is that God will grow us as a church into a group of men and women who become more intent on the discipline of prayer in our lives and in our community.

And my hope is that you will make participation in a small group a priority in 2022.

For those of you who have been visiting Redeemer for a while now and have been considering joining with us as members of our church, our first new members class of 2022 happens a week from Saturday.

membership class – jan 15

Coming to the class does not commit you to becoming a member. It’s a great way for you to find out more about what Redeemer is all about and how you can be a more active part of what God is doing in our church.

Starting on Sunday morning January 17, and continuing every first and third Sunday morning this year, our Gospel Zone classes for elementary aged kids are coming back!

gospel zone class – 1st-5th Gr

As a reminder – elementary aged children will be in the first part of the Sunday morning worship service with their parents. We’ll dismiss the children as the sermon begins.

Here’s a heads up about three events happening at Redeemer this spring.

First, the spring Women’s Bible Study will begin in a few weeks. We’ll have more info for you about the plans for the spring study next week.

Second, we’re planning a special Valentine’s weekend event – our own marriage conference!

action points for the marriage conference:

Put the dates on your calendar and DECIDE NOW to attend. This is for every married couple, regardless of how long you’ve been married! Click here and register. Get signed up. Go ahead and commit! This is a great event to invite another couple to attend with you. You know those people you’ve been wanting to do something with or to maybe invite to church? Here’s the perfect opportunity!

spring men’s retreat 8 weeks away!

Rejoice with these proud new parents. And keep your eyes open for Meal Train info coming your way soon.

Jesus knew that His followers would never be able to function, much less to accomplish His mission for them, unless they had help. That’s why He promised that after He went away from them, He would send them “another Helper.” We’ll look at what Jesus has to say about the Holy Spirit as we dive back into our study of John’s gospel this week.
See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

PS – As you know if you were in church last Sunday, we will be reciting the Apostles Creed each week in our worship service during the first three months of 2022. My hope is that any of you who haven’t memorized the creed – young and old alike – will take this opportunity to commit the creed to memory this spring.

To help motivate you to memorize the creed, here’s a link to a video of our son James reciting the creed after he memorized it shortly before his seventh birthday.

And as Mike Morledge mentioned last week, there has been some controversy through the years about the line in the creed that says that Jesus descended into hell. I addressed the controversy in a sermon I preached on the subject back in 2014. If you’re curious about the controversy, you can access the sermon here and add it to your growing podcast list as well.

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