Porterbrook Cincinnati Blog

Gospel Living Units 1-3

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This week we're diving into Units 1-3 of Gospel Living.

Unit 1 challenges us to think of honoring God with the entirety of our lives. We are created, designed, redeemed, to live in such a way that we are "trophies of his grace" pointing to and anticipating God's kingdom coming on earth.

Unit 2 encourages us to love God and love others, particularly over and above love of self. If someone looks at our life, this unit asks, what would they say we love most? Self or God and others?

Unit 3 focuses us on the cross. The way of Jesus is cruciform; the way of the cross. We are called to come and die. The cross is where we find our pardon. And yet "we do not follow the way o fthe cross to be accepted by God. We are accepted by God so that we might be free to follow the way of the cross. We must constantly return to the cross to find acceptance, pardon, forgiveness, and grace. God loves us. And we know this because of the cross. The cross saves us, the cross is our confidence, the cross is our way of life. As hymnwriter Fanny Crosby wrote: Jesus keep me near the cross. That's our prayer and challenge. 

So...for our conversation here on the blog post in the comments:

(1) Any quotes/passages/ideas that were particularly provocative, encouraging, or challlenging to you. 

(2) The Gospel Living section opens with ths idea: character is the key issue in Christian ministry and disicipleship. Do you agree? Disagree? Why? What in our readings for this week supports or contradicts this idea? 

Feel free to use the comment section to discuss whatever is brewing in your heart and thoughts in response to your study.

Jerry Wild posted  a couple questions/comments on our previous post. Check those out and converse about them here

4 Comments

Jon, I completely agree! What a beautiful example of what our praise should look like and how it should be directed. I stumble so much in this area...praising others when God should be praised, and wanting praise for myself when the LORD should be receiving it.

I also love the question, "How is this going to be glorifying to God?". The simplest question and something we all know is our life purpose as Christians, yet I continually do not ask myself this question enough. If I could just have that running through my head all the time my life would look so different.

What Jerry Wild talked about in his second point (on the previous blog post) has recently been a challenge to me. I have a difficult time maintaining the tension in my mind and heart between the depth of my sin (and the severity of the offense against God) and the assurance of his forgiveness and favor. It seems that it takes great effort and humility to truly be aware of the reality of my sin and its just consequences. Yet, as soon as I come to grips with that reality, I quickly (and appropriately, I think) flee to the reality of God's forgiveness, the sacrifice of Christ on my behalf, and the assurance of God's favor. At that point, though, the magnitude of my sin seems to quickly again slip my mind, because the forgiveness is so free and sure. And, once the magnitude of my sin is off my mind's "radar", Christ's sacrifice and its benefits don't seem quite as significant, again, and the cycle repeats itself.

I think, though, that looking at the cross is helpful for me, because looking at the cross brings both realities into sharp focus, simultaneously. "The cross is the great fixed, unmovable declaration of God's love," according to the Porterbrook book. I would add that the cross is also the great fixed, unmovable demonstration of God's righteousness, justice, and wrath. Seeing the two together would seem to be the key to neither minimizing my sin & God's holiness nor doubting his love and mercy toward me.

I also feel deeply humbled and blessed to read metaphor of the canvas.

I love this paragraph too: "Anyone can love his friends; only grace can produce someone who truly loves his enemies and seeks their good so that God gets all the honour. Anyone can forgive one act of betrayal; only grace can produce someone who goes on forgiving time after time so that God gets all the honour. Anyone can dip into her purse and give coins to a beggar; only grace can produce someone who sells all her possessions and give the proceeds to the poor so that God gets all the honour. Anyone can expend himself on behalf of his wife; only grace can produce a husband and wife who open their homes to the destitute and oppressed so that God gets all the honour."

I didn't grew up in a Christian family, I knew very little about Jesus. So many Christians have demonstrated their unconditional love to me. They had something that I didn't have, and I wanted it. That was the reason I wanted to learn the Bible and to know Jesus Christ.

Now I am a Christian, and I know the Love. How can I demonstrate it to others and let them see God's glory. Am I 'glory intentionality' in everything I do?

In regards to unit 1:
As a graphic artist, I really love the metaphor of the painted canvas: "No one stands in a gallery and praises the canvas or the paint... It is the artist who is applauded, as it is God who is praised." I find it very humbling to know that God is the one who does everything good in us, but also extremely rewarding to think that we as 'empty canvases' are made into something so rich and beautiful at God's hands.

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