Posts Tagged ‘gospel of grace’

Rodrigo & Nancy, Dawn & Dave, Martha & Abraham (from left to right) pastors, ministers, pastors wives

Some of our pastor friends and their wives: Rodrigo & Nancy, Dawn & Dave, Martha & Abraham (from left to right)

In my discussions with my pastor friends in Tijuana, they are asking me questions about the gospel. They love the powerful message of the gospel, and they are hungry to learn more. This has me studying more about this subject.

What is the Gospel?

The question, “what is the gospel?” has led me to the book of Galatians. One of the best commentaries ever written on Galatians was penned by Martin Luther. I’m reading the, Commentary on Galatians, by Martin Luther, published by Fleming H. Revell a Division of Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1924, 1988.

Luther says we need to beat the gospel into our heads, because we are so prone to forget it. I enjoyed beating the gospel into my head today. It is so powerful! The great thing about studying these truths is that it strengthens my heart as well.

On pages 38 and 39 of Luther’s commentary he addresses the fact that Christ has taken our sins. Galatians 1:3-5 says,

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Dave & Dawn with pastor Leo and Gloria Nevarez (they pastor in Rosarito)

Dave & Dawn with pastor Leo and Gloria Nevarez (they pastor in Rosarito)

This is mind-blowing that the God of the universe, Jesus Christ would give himself for our sins. Wow! Christ gave himself for sinners, for those that are unworthy and those that deserve God’s wrath. He didn’t give himself for the religious, the moral, or the righteous. I don’t mean that there is no hope for them. I mean we all are in need of Christ, but if you are relying on being religious, moral or righteous to be justified before God, then you are lost.

A great example of this is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. The Pharisee thought he was righteous, because of what he did for God. The tax collector was repentant of his sins. He recognized his need for a savior. He said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13b)

The Accuser versus The Gospel

Luther addresses how our enemy seeks to trip us up. The devil seeks to accuse those in Christ saying, “you are a sinner, and therefore you are damned,” p. 38. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus already paid the price. He was damned for us. “Christ was not only given for other men’s sins, but also for yours,” p. 39. It is a personal salvation that we receive when we are in Christ.

There are many benefits to having received the grace of the gospel. Paul at the beginning of the passage speak of grace and peace. Those are two of the many blessings believers receive. Luther states, “there is no fear, but sweetness, joy and peace of conscience,” p. 39. If you feel condemned, if you lack peace it is most likely our enemy the devil deceiving you. Remember he is called the accuser of the brothers. He is the father of lies.

But praise be to God, Jesus defeated Satan on the cross!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave Presenting at Covenant Seminary

Dave Presenting at Covenant Seminary

On Tuesday I was at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. I presented our work on the border to the students there. In God’s wonderful grace I met some great students! Young people who want to serve the Lord, and who are preparing themselves to be on mission with God.

I remember when I first went to the Covenant last April, I wondered what kind of students I would encounter? I thought, “maybe they are going to give me a lot of push back? Maybe they won’t agree with my philosophy of ministry?” I thought that might be the case in part, because in seminary it is a place where you study and think through how things ought to be.

Seminary is a great place to learn, but sometimes when it is removed from the messiness of life it can become a bit idealistic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wondered how it might influence how they received my presentation of our work on the border. I know about the idealistic tendencies in part, because I can remember going through some of that while I studied in seminary.

Despite all my doubts, I have been very impressed by the quality of students I have met so far at Covenant. The school has a reputation for preaching grace, and the students I’ve met also seek to exhibit grace in their lives.

Interacting with students at Covenant

Interacting with students at Covenant

I’m thankful that the Lord connected me with these students, and I look forward to seeing what he will do. Who will come and join us?

Our need is for those who have a passion for God, his mission and the gospel to serve with us. This also includes those that haven’t been to seminary, but have the gifts and character necessary to minister in a cross-cultural setting.

Dawn and I continue to pray that the Lord will raise up workers to join our team. We look to the Lord to bring us the right people. Those that God is calling to serve with us, who have the necessary gift mix to make an impact on the border. Of course, not everyone will be a good fit, so we are also praying that the Lord will protect us from the wrong people.

Apart from praying we are actively looking for those that the Lord might be calling to the border. “Lord, give us wisdom where to look!”

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Moses show God changed his life with Harbor and pastors Stephen Phelan and Edgardo Avila

Moses (standing between pastors Stephen Phelan and Edgardo Avila) sharing how God changed his life

Almost every week we are seeing people come to Christ at Harbor Mid-City! It’s wonderful to hear the testimony of how God’s Spirit is moving in the heart of men and women to bring about changed lives.

Just this past Sunday, our new friend, Moses shared how the Lord reached into his life and saved him. He spoke of how he tried to do everything on his own. He isolated himself from others. God broke through, and Moses started coming to church. When he heard the gospel message he recognized his need for salvation. His need to be connected with a body of believers. His need to be committed to Christ and his church.

Moses’ testimony and the work God is doing in his life is heart warming!

Thank you Jesus, we pray that you will break through in the lives of many more and draw them to yourself as we seek to make a difference on the San Diego-Tijuana border. We pray that Moses and other new believers in the church will grow in their faith, and their lives will be truly transformed by the gospel of grace. Build your church, for your honor and glory! Amen.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org