The Glory of the Gospel

It has been an exciting year of learning to delight in and savor the gospel, by meditating upon just how powerful it really is. RGC’s half-year sermon series on the book of Philippians has challenged me to not only center all of my thoughts, emotions, and actions on the gospel, but to also appreciate Christ more as my precious Lord and Savior.

So even though the book of Philippians is only four chapters long, it still reveals much about Christ’s nature and how the gospel should affect one’s relationship with God and other believers.

The first sermon we had on Philippians was about how fellowship is rooted in the gospel, not compatibility between people. This was challenging to me as a collegian because I often equated “fellowship” with “hanging out,” without giving intentionality a second thought because I was so comfortable in my bubble of friends. But what was the Philippian church initially made up of? A woman named Lydia and an ex-jailer and his family. Definitely not a community we would expect to see today if fellowship were based on similarities in personality. The fellowship that existed in the Philippian church, however, was Christ-centered because the gospel transcends differences and unites believers in Christ.

Relationships & The Gospel


Also, let’s consider how the gospel affects our relationships with others. We only need to turn to Philippians 2:1-4 for various commands on how to treat others (maintaining the same love, doing nothing from empty conceit, looking out for the interest of others). But in the context of the whole book, these are more than just commands. Paul’s exhortation is based on the example of Christ’s own humility and is seen later in Philippians 2:5-11: Christ, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, had every right to take advantage of His equality with God. But instead He gave up that privilege, humbled himself by becoming human, and obediently died a shameful death on a cross for us while we were yet sinners. The world generally seems to agree that the commands in the first four verses are good things. But they mean nothing if they are done for the sake of being done. If we were to take the first four verses without the second half about Christ, the commands become empty suggestions. The gospel should affect every aspect of our lives. Even the famous Titus 2 passage on roles of men and women in the church concludes with a reminder that the grace of God has appeared and that Christ has given Himself for us to redeem us.

Evangelism & The Gospel


The centrality of the gospel also has great influences on evangelism. Now obviously in these situations, the gospel must be shared verbally. But at the same time, just as importantly, we must also live a life that is worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). In my own experience with campus evangelism, there have been many instances in which I just wanted to win the debate and have the satisfaction of presenting a thoroughly logical and irrefutable argument. I was so concerned with my own glory that I failed to realize the heartbreaking reality of a lost soul. Instead of being considerate and patient, I was hasty and forgot about God’s role in salvation. But upon reflection on the gospel, I remembered that I was once a sinner, dead in my transgressions, saved only by the grace of a loving God who revealed the truth to me.

On a similar note, Paul tells Timothy at the end of 2 Timothy that the Lord’s bond-servant must correct those in opposition in gentleness, because perhaps God may grant them repentance. But this is after he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8-9 to remember Jesus Christ, for whom Paul suffers all things for. The point is clear: do things in relation to the gospel.

Rejoice!


And the final culmination of Paul’s letter? Rejoice in the Lord always! How? By dwelling on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, and excellent.Things like the gospel, God’s holiness and grace, fellowship, creation, encouragement in Christ, and love.

None of this is to say that I am now super awesome and am able to fully appreciate all the complexities of the gospel all the time. There is still a constant struggle for me to see Christ as the treasure that He is, more delightful than any of my other desires. Which is why I am so thankful for the powerful Word of God, for it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. So even though the book of Philippians is only four chapters long, it still reveals much about Christ’s nature and how the gospel should affect one’s relationship with God and other believers. May an overwhelming love for Christ cause us all to boldly proclaim, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)

Lessons Learned from Women’s Book Club

Eight years ago this week, I began my freshman year of college. Eight years ago this week, I began a journey of learning how to shift from being loved by others to being the one who loves others. You see, my freshman year, I was the freshman who was taken out and pampered by the older college students. I took pride in the fact that I was loved by those slightly older than myself. I never had a real desire to invest in anyone else, because, well, why would I when I got all the attention I wanted?

Slowly but surely though, all these older friends began graduating and leaving San Diego. Pretty soon this core support group of mine had all gone their own ways and I was left to strengthen relationships with sisters my own age. And of course, our all-knowing God knew that I’d placed a disproportionate amount of faith in my relationships with others, instead of in my relationship with Him. I sit here today, 26 years old, with almost all of my college friends living and working in other cities, and now one of the older women at RGC.

It’s no longer my place to take and to be served, but instead, to exercise my understanding of Titus 2 by teaching and training the younger women of Redeemer’s Grace.

To be honest, sometimes I am tempted to wallow in self-pity. “I have no friends my age,” and “The girls at RGC who are older than me are too busy to hang out with me,” are some of the lies I have to preach myself out of. And instead of believing that there is no one left to love me, I have learned the importance of investing in the community that God has placed me in now.

RGC’s Women’s Book Club


Our first women’s book club read the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. In a small group of about six, we discussed such ideas as being a stay at home mom, and loving and submitting to your husband, just to name a few. While many of these topics were not immediately relevant to the vast majority of us, one thing I still look back and smile about is the relationships that I was able to begin. The book club gave me an avenue through which I could to apply the heart of Titus 2: to assist, train, and instruct the younger women of the church and to learn that ultimately, being available to disciple or mentor a younger woman (whether in a formal or informal setting) gives me an opportunity to display the gospel in my life.

It’s no longer my place to take and to be served, but instead, to exercise my understanding of Titus 2 by teaching and training the younger women of Redeemer’s Grace. While this continues to be a way in which I am learning and growing, I am deeply encouraged and challenged to be active in seeking out relationships with all women in the church; not only those who can teach and train me, but also those whom I can teach and train

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