This is Gospel Coaching Session 2. The purpose of these 5-6 minute coaching sessions is to give you one major gospel truth to dominate your thinking like God says the gospel must. Paul says the gospel is the power of God, and we should live in it. The gospel fulfills the word of God in us, and produces God's presence and power through us. The gospel empowers us to live life better by accident than we ever could on purpose -- in our human drive, ingenuity and perseverance.
FIGHTING THE ENEMY OF OUR THOUGHTS
A life maxim says, "Our life is what our thoughts make it." Another says, "Today, we are a delayed reaction of what we thought about yesterday." God says much the same thing in Proverbs 23:7: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
It's hard to fight an enemy if he's inside your head. This is because what is inside of us is part of us, and we don't consider what's inside of us to be an enemy but an ally. But most of us are filled with unfounded opinions, and the theology of man. Paul calls this 'the enticing words of man's wisdom" (Col 2:4, I Cor 2:4).
This is really all theology is: man's opinion about God. And religion is merely the application of man's wisdom -- what we do, and the action we take with regard to what man says.
THE SURPREME COURT CALLS THIS 'HIP POCKET PHILOSOPHY'
As you know, I'm a lawyer and I was reading a case about Christian beliefs being protected by our Constitution. The Supreme Court said most Christians that testified didn't have true beliefs -- at least in the court's definition. They said most of us only had opinions and preferences, not true beliefs that could be protected by our Constitution. The court said that most Christians could change beliefs as fast as they could change a pair of socks -- if someone influenced them to do so.
The court also referred to the Bible. It said that if beliefs weren't formed from something substantial and dependable, like the Bible, they weren't true beliefs. They were only opinions and preferences, not beliefs. The court called them 'hip pocket philosophy.'
To be a true belief to be protected by the Constitution, the Supreme Court said beliefs must be based on something substantial, like the Bible. We must also teach them to our children, and also be willing to confront teachers who do not teach them to our children -- and even remove our children from schools who did not teach our beliefs. The court said we must be willing to share our beliefs without reservation, and we must be willing to want to change the world to also adopt our beliefs. Lastly, it said we must be willing to face prison, or even physical death for our beliefs.
Friend, this is the Supreme Court speaking -- not some preacher from a podium.
FATHERS OF THE GOSPEL VS. INSTRUCTORS IN CHRIST
In 1st Corinthians 4:15, Paul compares fathers of the gospel vs. instructors in Christ, and he says there are 10,000 instructors vs. very few fathers of the gospel. Instructors tell you what to do, and what they say may change regularly. They might preach, "Go try A-B-C this week." Then they might add, if it doesn't work, come back next week and I'll give you X-Y-Z to go try."
I mentioned this earlier. It's what Paul calls the enticing of man's wisdom. It's enticing because if we can make it work, then we succeed. But most people fail because formulas don't work -- at least not spiritual formulas. God is not a formula to work, he's a Person to relate to.
THE GOSPEL IS GOD'S GREATEST GIFT TO US . . . BUT . . .
The gospel shows us how to relate to God. It shows us how to live in a peak state, and how to get the most leverage out of life. It shows us how to be undergirded with divine power and presence. It shows us how to experience the abundant life of Jesus.
Most people only dabble in Christianity. It's like they don't really take it seriously, as a lifelong purpose to pursue, but rather as a part time Sunday sport. The gospel is actually the process of God that produces abundant life, as we talked about last time. It produces success in life, and not the failure that theology, opinion and hip-pocket philosophy often produces.
WE DON'T LIKE BEING TOLD WHAT TO BELIEVE
I said this last time. We like to be able to choose what to believe. We don't want someone telling us what to believe -- not even God himself. So we create our own beliefs, which isn't very smart.
John Kennedy said, "We find solace in our human opinions, and those of others. We don't take the trouble of truly thinking or seeking out the facts from a concrete foundation." Jesus says the same thing: "I am come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive" (John 5:43).
IT'S LIKE WE HAVE THE SECOND TOWER OF BABEL TODAY
There's so much divergent thought, opinion and theology today it's like The Second Tower of Babel. This is what the Supreme Court was talking about. Yet Paul says we should all say the same thing (I Cor 1:10). We hear so much non-gospel preaching today that when we hear the true gospel of God, it often sounds like scriptural error to us. After all, 'children live what they learn,' and we are all spiritual children.
Jesus says that the words he speaks to us (the gospel) are spirit and life (John 6:63). If you continue in these coaching sessions, the gospel will impart spirit and life to you -- in every single aspect of your life. The gospel is the belief the Supreme Court was talking about, although it didn't call it by the term 'gospel.' Philosophy often produces failure. The gospel is what causes us to be successful.