Archive for the ‘Christ’ Category

December 10th, 2015

The Gospel is of First Importance

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:1-3 (ESV)

The Church has one message: the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to continually proclaim the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross for our sins and His unique ability to do so. We are further to proclaim His resurrection from the dead, demonstrating not only His atoning work but also His victory over every effect of sin including death. Every single issue we face as fallen humanity can be faced with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The danger for us is that we think if we talk about the gospel too much that people will grow tired of hearing it. We think we have to help the gospel out by making it flashier or more relevant. My friend, be weary of this trend, for the gospel has never been in danger of being irrelevant. No, as in the time of Paul, it is still of first importance. Do you have bitterness in your heart toward someone who wronged you? Look at the message of the gospel and seek to forgive as Christ forgave. Do you have strife in your marriage? Strive to be gracious to one another as Christ was gracious to us. Do you have a loved one in the midst of a terminal illness? Remember that Christ has overcome the grave, removing the sting from death!

When the Church stops proclaiming the gospel, it will have forfeited its power, for only in the gospel do we have anything of significance to say. Speak forward boldly this message today, delivering it as of first importance as you received it.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Corinthians, Christ, Gospel.
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October 27th, 2015

Who Do You Say That I Am?

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Matthew 16:15-16 (ESV)

Throughout the centuries following the coming of Christ, humanity has been forced to make a decision as to His true identity. Who was He really? Was He another great prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah? Was He simply a charismatic leader? Or was He truly the 2nd person of the trinity incarnate? Where you fall in this debate is of the utmost importance as the answer forms the foundation of saving faith.

Jesus was more than simply a prophet, and He was more than another charismatic leader. He came proclaiming Himself to be Lord! He came as the anointed one of God chosen to rectify the damage of sin and restore creation. Any other conclusion denies the testimony of Scripture. As C.S. Lewis famously wrote in Mere Christianity, anyone who claimed what Jesus claimed could not be considered a moral teacher, if indeed He was not the Son of God, for His morality would be rejected as He would be proclaimed either a liar or a lunatic. Lewis’ “trilemma” is simply stated: either Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord!

My friends, there can be no marginal or mild response to Jesus. Either you proclaim Him to be the Christ, repent, and follow Him with complete devotion, or you reject Him as the Lord and choose to continue to follow the path of self-exaltation. He cannot be just another voice in the volumes of history. Either He is unique or He is not. Who do you say that Jesus is? Moreover, do your life and actions reflect that sentiment as true belief?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Matthew, Profession.
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November 24th, 2014

Called to Peace

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (ESV)

God created us to be relational, not robotic. He designed us for relationship. Sin damaged our relationship with God and He took the initiative to provide for our reconciliation and restoration. In Christ, we have been positioned as righteous before God. Now that our relationship with God has been restored, we are to ensure right relationships with others.

  • “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom. 5:1-2 (ESV)
  • “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14 (ESV)

Our lives have a vertical and horizontal dimension. We are to have a right relationship with God and with others. We cannot have a right relationship with God unless we have a right relationship with others. Also, we cannot have a right relationship with others unless we have a right relationship with God.

Once you have received the peace of God by being justified through faith, seek to live at peace with others. Let others see Jesus in you. Love others the way Jesus loves you.

Gossip is when you say something about someone you would not say to his or her face. Flattery is when you say something to someone’s face that you would not say behind his or her back. Let the peace of Christ find lodging in your heart and be evident in your conversation and your conduct.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Peace, Thankfulness.
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November 18th, 2014

Loving Others as Yourself

“‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)

We are by nature self-absorbed, self-centered, and self-focused. When anything happens around us our first question is: How will this affect me? In many ways, we act as though the earth really does rotate around us. The reality of our fallen nature pops up from time to time like a ground hog trying to catch a glimpse of daylight.

Jesus acknowledges the presence of our self-love. We truly love ourselves. As one of my colleagues would often say, “Sometimes you just have to be good to yourself!” We have no problem being good to ourselves do we? We value comfort. We value pleasure. We value looking good and feeling good and sleeping good.

As we begin viewing others from God’s perspective, we will begin to value others the way God values them. The resulting choice will be to love others as we love ourselves. In other words, we will begin to treat others the way we want to be treated. We will love others with the same kind of love that we desire to receive.

James identifies that we are doing right when we love others as we love ourselves. Longing to do right is not enough. Putting our faith in action by loving others brings honor to God (James 2:17).

Do you love others as much as you love yourself? Ouch! That’s a painful question.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Love, Selflessness.
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October 25th, 2014

God’s Kind of Love

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Can you imagine life without love? Can you imagine doing life as a family without love? Can you imagine being part of a church where love is absent? God made us to know His love and to make His love known. God created us to build meaningful relationships with others in response to His love for us and in us.

What does that kind of love look like? That kind of love looks just like Jesus. Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus does not envy, He does not boast, and He is not proud. Jesus is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, and He keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Will your name fit there? Are you living in such a way as to embody God’s love? God has placed you in a fallen world to continue the ministry of Jesus. You are here to know God’s love and to make His love known by building meaningful relationships with others. Will those who know you, but don’t know Jesus, come to know Jesus because they know you?

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Love, Unity.
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October 20th, 2014

Living By Faith

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

You cannot live the Christian life. Keep trying! Keep seeking to measure up to God’s standard of perfection! You will always miss the mark and fall short of the standard established by God. Even on your best day, your righteousness will not be sufficient to gain entrance into heaven where God allows no sin.

Paul identified his spiritual union with Christ. Though Paul did not experience the physical crucifixion with Christ, he did experience the benefits of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Instead of Paul seeking to live the Christian life in his own strength, he lived by faith in the Son of God. Paul became a vessel through which Jesus could live His life through him. The life God had for Paul included full surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

Have you come into union with Christ? Have you been crucified with Christ, died to self, and allowed Christ to live His life through you? The life you now live in your earthly body is to be lived by faith in the Son of God. Jesus loves you and gave His life for you. Jesus died in your place so that you could live in His place.

You have been given a heavenly mission from God to allow Jesus to manifest His life in you and through you to a watching world. Become a fully devoted follower of Christ. Yield to His Lordship and to His leadership in your life. Submit to His authority and unleash His power.

Living by faith in the Son of God releases God’s power. Christ is in you and He is the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Faith, Surrender.
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October 18th, 2014

Reverse the Curse

“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18-19 (ESV)

How would God reverse the curse sin produced? What would God do to restore fallen humanity? The most incredible display of unconditional love became God’s response to man’s sin. God provided for the removal of our sin through the sacrifice of His only Son. God allowed Jesus to pay our sin debt in full and to purchase our salvation. The shedding of blood was essential for the forgiveness of our sin.

God chose to sacrifice an animal to provide garments of skin for Adam and Eve after their fall (Gen. 3:21). God took the initiative to reconcile and to restore them through the shedding of blood. Adam and Eve still had to face the natural consequences of their sin. They were still banished from the garden and Adam had to work the ground (Gen. 3:23).

Through Adam’s sin, condemnation came to us all. As a result, we are born in sin and inherit the sin nature. However, through the obedience of Jesus on the cross, we are made righteous. Upon our trusting in Jesus alone for salvation, we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. We are justified through faith, receive peace from God, and gain access into His grace (Rom. 5:1-2). The righteousness of Christ is deposited into our account. We are reconciled to God through the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus paid it all!

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Christ, Justification.
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October 17th, 2014

Removal of Sin

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the high priest would enter the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people. One goat would be chosen to be sacrificed for the Lord and one goat would become the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). The blood from the goat sacrificed as a sin offering would be sprinkled throughout the altar, sanctuary, and tent of meeting to remove defilements of the past year. The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The scapegoat, also known as the goat of removal, would be led away from the people into the desert to picture the removal of sins.

Jesus bore our sins on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took our punishment for sin to satisfy God’s justice. In His mercy, Christ was sacrificed to remove our sins. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our salvation purchased through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our scapegoat to take away our sins.

Have you confessed your sins? Have you received God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins? Spend some time thanking Jesus for the removal of your sins.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Christ, Sin.
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October 7th, 2014

Portray Christ

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 (ESV)

In the language of the New Testament, the word perfect (Greek: telios) means nothing necessary for completion, finished, mature, complete, having reached the end. Upon conversion, you received the imputed righteousness of Christ. You were made fit for heaven. The righteousness of Christ was deposited into your account. From the moment of conversion on, you embrace the process of becoming who you are in Christ. You begin to workout what God has worked in.

  • “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Col. 1:28 (ESV)
  • “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:21-24 (ESV)

God’s standard is perfection. In your human effort, you will never measure up to God’s standard. Jesus has met the standard on your behalf. The Christian life is not about your ability to live up to God’s standard. The Christian life is about surrendering to the Lordship of Christ and allowing Him to live His life through you. You are a vessel through which the life of Christ is portrayed to a watching world.

Have you given Jesus full access to every area of your life? Is there anything in your life that inhibits the fruit of the Spirit from being evidenced through your life? Confess known sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and allow Christ to portray His life through you each moment of every day.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Perfection, Righteousness.
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August 27th, 2014

Fully Devoted

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41 (ESV)

Wow! On the day of Pentecost, three thousand were adopted into God’s family. Three thousand were delivered from the clutches of hell and placed on the path that leads to heaven. Three thousand were saved by God and for God. They became followers of Jesus Christ and were added to His Body, the church. An eternal transaction took place!

What’s next? Now that the three thousand are in Christ, how are they to function as a community of Christ-followers? What will be different about their conversation and their conduct? Do they go back to business as usual or do they embrace a new way of living?

  • “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” Acts 2:42-43 (ESV)

Notice how their lifestyle radically changed. On this side of their salvation, the three thousand along with the other 120 believers start doing life together. They begin to operate as a community of believers. They are walking together in unity. Their priorities have shifted and their time allocation reflects the heart of God.

Take a moment to examine your life in light of Acts 2:42-43. Are you devoted to the reading, study, hearing, and application of God’s Word? Are you in fellowship with a group of believers you can do life with? Are you consistently embracing the privilege of prayer? Are you in awe of the redemptive activity of God?

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Community, Devotion.
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