Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Gospel (page 2 of 4)

Measuring Sin

Is it good to take stock of our sin? Should we meditate on it and measure it against God and against the sins of others? Is it right to pay that much attention to sin? I think the answer is both yes and no, depending on how you do it.

Measuring Against God

The kingdom is given to those who are poor in spirit, humble, broken, mourning, and contrite over their sin (Matt 5.3-5). This only comes from rightly evaluating yourself before the throne of a holy God. Before we find any good in the gospel, we must find the bad (Is 6.1-7; Is 66.1-2). God is holy and we are not. Our sin, measured against his purity, means we are filthy before him (Is 64.6).

Measuring against God is a good place to start. It makes us realize our need for a Saviour who will take all our sin and pay all our guilt (Is 53.4-6).
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The Dangers of Being Gospel-Centered

I love being gospel-centered. The ‘new Calvinists’ did not invent the emphasis on being gospel-centered, but it is a renaissance I’ve been thankful to experience.

Like anything that becomes a movement, we must be wary of the potential drawbacks. As I see it, there are at least two dangers in being gospel-centered, and they are both rooted in this one reality: In the past, whatever the fad, it typically became popular because of the promise it offered. Being Purpose-Driven or Seeker-Sensitive or Emerging or whatever held people’s attention only so long as it could promise power (power to draw numbers, power to help people change, etc.). But when those movements were unable to deliver the promised goods, people flocked away from them as quickly as they had flocked to them.
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Mozambique’s Evangelical Hospital Needs Your Support

This video below pretty much says it all. Charles Woodrow is an evangelical doctor from the USA who left a comfortable life to serve those who could never repay him… kind of gospel-like, don’t you think? Please watch the video and give as the Lord has enabled you. But regardless of whether you can give or not, please don’t move on from this post without stopping to pray for him and for the hospital. Here is real and genuine need, and the gospel is the only thing that can give hope to this country.

For more info and to give:

Grace Evangelical Hospital Mozambique

Letting My Love Serve Me

This week I’m taking something of a ‘working vacation’ at the family cottage. Last night as I was doing the dishes I was thinking back over the day that was. I got thinking about each of my children and how much I love them. Each of them owns my heart in a very unique way. Each of them has a smile, a laugh, a facial expression, some moment of pure joy on their face that is forever etched on my memory.

There is simply no love quite like a father for his children. There is nothing that makes me feel better than knowing my children are safe, protected, and provided for. And there is nothing that strikes terror into the core of my being like the thought of my children suffering. The thought of any one of my precious girls in pain or sadness makes me instantly recoil emotionally. I get a sick feeling in my gut and I’m instantly overcome with the awareness that I would do anything—anything—to end their suffering and to make them happy again.

I thought about that and I was overwhelmed by awareness of this love that owns me and moves me without me even being consciously aware of it most days.

And then I thought about the heavenly Father and his love. Filled with infinitely more love for his Son—a perfect love for a perfect Son—he willingly chose to ‘give’ him for a world of sinners. He gave him, knowing that he would be mocked, belittled, shamed, abused, scorned, rejected, beaten, stripped naked, and killed: publicly displayed as one bearing the curse of God. That’s a love I know nothing of.

But the love is greater still. Ponder these words, of the Son to the Father:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.” (Mark 14.36)

My love for my children, being nothing like the heavenly Father’s love, would have been moved to give in, to compromise. But the Father of Jesus has bigger, greater love; his love for Jesus’s glory and for my good is too great to be moved. He was willing to deny his True Son’s request for the good of his soon-to-be adopted sons & daughters. The love of the Father was planned and determined.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief…. (Isaiah 53.10)

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. [I will] strike the shepherd….” (Zechariah 13.7; [cf. Mark 14.27])

His love is not just a love that would allow his Son to be sacrificed; his love is a love that would willingly crush his Son. He gave his Son, knowing that he himself would have to give full vent to his holy wrath against his Son on the cross. The Father who loves the Son, crushed the son… for me.

No matter how overwhelming my love for my children may be, it doesn’t hold a candle to my heavenly Father’s love, in scope, in purpose, in depth, in power, or in steadfastness.

I want to make it my prayer that whenever I think of my love for my children, I would let that love serve me by pointing me to the true love of the true Father who, in the gospel, has loved and who continues to love with a greater love than eternity will allow me to explore. Human love serves its best and noblest purpose when it doesn’t end with us, but points us to the one who is love, and who has shown us love in his Son, Jesus.

… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5.8)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3.1)

The Sufficiency & Centrality of the Gospel

Looking Back

Looking back over the last few years of my life, there has been really only one significant doctrinal change so far as I can see. And even that doctrinal change hasn’t been a change of mind so much as a change of priority.

The biggest change in my theological worldview has been an increasing awareness of the expansiveness of the gospel and its ultimate sufficiency. But rather than reflecting here on being gospel-centred (there are lots of other places you can read about that), I thought I would simply identify a few of the key events God has used to help me realize the ongoing significance and relevance of the gospel for all of life.

1. The Toronto Pastors Conference 2010

The keynote messages preach by Mike Bullmore were especially used of God to help me see the sufficiency of the gospel for all of life.

2. Preaching through 1 Timothy

Preaching through the book of 1 Timothy taught me to see just how ‘gospel-centred’ the apostle Paul was in his approach to pastoring. Throughout the book he insists that Timothy protect the right doctrine of the gospel of Jesus because it alone is what changes lives. No matter what pastoral problems the Ephesian church was facing, Timothy’s charge was one and the same: protect the gospel, because that’s why the church is there, that’s what saves sinners and teaches them how to live in a way that is pleasing to God.

3. Sitting Under the Faithful Preaching of a Faithful Preacher

One of the incalculable blessings of being in a church where more than one pastor preaches is the blessing of sitting under the ministry of another man as he teaches the word. For the 13 years or so before planting GFC I sat under the ministry of Pastor Paul Martin. While there are many things which mark his ministry, none is more prominent in my view than this: he is a man faithful to preach the word. What the word says, he says. The effect of sitting under that week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year can only be known in eternity. But over the last few years in particular, I have been profoundly affected by the bigness and the omnipracticality of the gospel as Paul preaches. I hope, by God’s grace, to be able to replicate that for our people in our church plant.

Looking Forward

I pray that this trajectory of growth in understanding the gospel in new and dynamic ways through all of Scripture will continue. I also pray that my ministry will continue to grow, like the apostle Paul’s, to be one that is rooted and grounded in the gospel. The truth of the good news of what God has done for us in Christ must be the guiding principle for all my decisions, words, and actions as a pastor.

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** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

Mike Bullmore Interviewed for TPC 2010

The Toronto Pastors Conference is fast approaching (June 14-16)! Have you registered yet? Not sure if you want to come? Here’s something to whet your appetite.

While I was gone on vacation, Paul posted several videos of an interview we did with Mike Bullmore looking forward to TPC ’10. Watch the videos below to find out how the gospel connects to preaching, greeting, ushering, parking lot attendants, and a love for pastoral ministry.

Don’t forget, you can register online here!

 

 

Click here to watch a few more videos from Mike Bullmore, to download sermons he’s preached, to read what other evangelical leaders have to say about him, and to see what he’ll be preaching on at TPC ’10!

The Gospel at Breakfast

Our effort to live out Deut 6.4-8 includes many conversations at the breakfast / lunch / dinner table. Here’s a little home video of one that I thought was pretty fun. 🙂

We spent breakfast this morning talking about the gospel. Thanks to Paul for the memorable little thing with the hand!

In case you can’t understand what the girls are saying, it’s ‘Christ died for our sins and was RAISED!’ (1 Corinthians 15:1-7)

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