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Growing Deeper So We Can Stand Firm

To God’s Beloved At Cloverdale Baptist Church:

It is good to be home as we recover from jet lag and our hearts ache for the people who went back to intense persecution.  We praise God that He can be trusted always, even as we walk together in this broken world.

One of the questions that Lori and I left Turkey with, is how can we strengthen God’s people so that we can live for His glory in His Kingdom, in the world but not of the world here in Canada.  How can we be first love devotion people who live for Him in a world that seems to be going mad?

The answer is relational, and includes a passion to know Him more.  To live exclusively for Him, to be His authentic disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) always longing to obey His Word.

The pressures of this world are intense, and growing in our own backyard so that believing what the Bible says about men and women, marriage, the exclusivity of salvation in Christ alone, and so many more issues are seen as evil.  We long to be faithful to God and His Word.  So how do we do this?  How do we grow in our love for Him and obedience to His Word always in a world that is so far adrift?  How do we avoid legalism and anger, or compromise with the world.  How can we be like Jesus in this world?

The simple biblical answer, we grow in our discipleship, we increase our first love devotion to God, we seek to honour Him in all we say and do (an all relationship with Him that drives and defines us).  But what does this mean practically?

To grow deeper takes five relational steps…and over the next few months we want to review them and apply them to our lives.  We know these five, but often the business of life, or the entertainment of life interferes.

My longing is that we would hear these together and apply them.

The five are:  1.  Gospel Orientation; 2.  Word Saturation; 3.  Praying Always; 4.  Connected and Serving Jesus Bride; 5.  Growing In First Love Devotion.

It really is a life of repentance that is constantly reorienting our lives around God and His Word in the midst of the world we live in.

What is Gospel Orientation?

It is the firm conviction that we base our lives on, that Jesus lived a perfect life, paid the penalty for our sins in His death, rose again, and ascended to the right hand of the Father in victory.  By grace through faith we can know Him and experience NO CONDEMNATION (Romans 8:1) and a deep intimate freedom and relationship with Him by grace through faith.

This love of Christ compels us as we experience it by grace through faith (2 Corinthians 5:14) and we know nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:32-39).  It gives us boldness and joy in all of life, and a purpose to share with others the greatness of our salvation.

So how do we increase a Gospel Orientation in our lives in practical ways?

  1. Wake up in thanksgiving.  Try to begin each day thanking Jesus for what He has done for you.  I used to wake up to a friend’s song, JESUS THANK YOU every day.  Take a moment as you begin your day to remind yourselves of the greatness of your salvation and thank JESUS! 
  2. Build in reminders in the rhythm of your life so that throughout the day you are reminded of what Jesus has done for you, and that He is with you. I wear a ring, have verses on my day planner, wear clothes that remind me, and try to talk with others of the greatness of my appreciation to God.  It is so easy to forget the greatness of our salvation, and we must fight this tendency.
  3. Take the time to grow deeper in your understanding and experience of God’s love. Read deeply of what the Gospel means (you can start with Bridges, The Gospel For Real Life, but there are many more well written books that can deepen your knowledge and experience of the gospel), and work at increasing the depth of your knowledge of what it is and means for you.  The more you experience the Gospel, the more you will be defined by it.  Meditate on Ephesians 2; Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 15 and other passages that can help you grow in this.
  4. Preach The Gospel To Yourself as a part of the battle tools you use to fight the world! Learn how to remind yourself of what the Gospel means to anxiety, or fear, or pain, or persecution, or hurting relationships, or…..and bring the Good news of what Jesus has done to the forefront of your mind to battle these things!
  5. Stay committed to a community of faith (local church) that is Gospel oriented. More on this in step four.
  6. Pray Ephesians 3:14-21 for yourself at the very least weekly.

Look over these five steps, and set some goals to grow deeper in this area of spiritual discipleship.  What can you do to wake up thankful to God for your salvation?  How can you build reminders into your life of the greatness of Jesus love.  Be practical and specific.  What can I read in the next week (maybe Romans 5:6-11 every day) that will deepen my appreciation of God’s love for me?  What does it mean for me to preach the Gospel to myself today?  Every day?  Practically do this, and learn to improve in doing it.  How can I serve the body of Christ, and make sure I not only attend to grow, I attend to serve and show others the love of Jesus?  What specifically does God want me to do to build His bride today?

I know this will take some time, but it will be worth it, and will help us as a congregation avoid drift!  SO ESSENTIAL.

So join us and take step 1!

Reminder what the Gospel is:  (taken from,1%3A26%2D28).)

The gospel is the good news about what Jesus Christ has done to reconcile sinners to God. Here’s the whole story:

  1. The one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him (Gen. 1:26-28).
  2. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:23).
  3. In his great love, God sent his Son Jesus to come as king and rescue his people from their enemies—most significantly their own sin (Ps. 2; Luke 1:67-79).
  4. Jesus established his kingdom by acting as both a mediating priest and a priestly sacrifice—he lived a perfect life and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of many (Mark 10:45; John 1:14; Heb. 7:26; Rom. 3:21-26, 5:12-21); then he rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted his sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted (Acts 2:24, Rom. 4:25).
  5. He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness (Acts 17:30, John 1:12). If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God (John 3:16).

Now that’s good news.

A good way to summarize this good news is to biblically unpack the words God, Man, Christ,

  1. God. God is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:1). He is perfectly holy, worthy of all worship, and will punish sin (1 John 1:5, Rev. 4:11, Rom. 2:5-8).
  2. Man. All people, though created good, have become sinful by nature (Gen. 1:26-28, Ps. 51:5, Rom. 3:23). From birth, all people are alienated from God, hostile to God, and subject to the wrath of God (Eph. 2:1-3).
  3. Christ. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of all who would believe in him, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life (John 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 7:26, Rom. 3:21-26, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Cor. 15:20-22).
  4. Response. God calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved (Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21, Rom. 10:9-10).

(Some of this material has been adapted from The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever, p. 43)

That was longer than most, so thank you for reading through it.  We are privileged to serve you as we seek to live our lives for the glory of God.

May we stand firm, let nothing move us, and always give ourselves fully to the work of the LORD.

Pastor Rob and Lori



Sunday Evening Prayer Service

Sunday, Mar. 5th / 7:00 PM / Fellow. Hall Our next monthly Prayer Service is scheduled for March 5th. We’ll be meeting for a time of corporate prayer, singing, and a short message. Join us as we seek to make prayer a top priority.

Growing Together Women’s Breakfast

Sat. March 11th / 9–11 AM / Fellowship Hall Guest speaker: Pastor Rob Godard. This event is by donation, but please sign up at the women’s table in the foyer today.

Marriage According to the Scriptures

▶ The Cloverdale Baptist Podcast How do we put God’s purpose for marriage on display in a world that has completely distorted this divine union between a man and a woman? Listen today on our website or your preferred podcast app!