Seeking to know Jesus and make Him known in Stevenage

The Cost and Responsibility of Believing the Better Story

Last Sunday we began a series entitled ‘A better story: the good news of the gospel in a sex obsessed age.’ The aim is to unpack the Bible’s teaching on 5 key issues and show how the Bible’s teaching brings freedom and true human flourishing.

The talk last Sunday is pivotal, so if you missed last Sunday, please take the time to catch up.  The talk is available to download from the website. The title was “whose world is it anyway?” The point of the talk was pretty simple: this is God’s world, so he, not us, gets the set the rules.  The application that followed is also simple, at least in terms of our understanding of it: if we want to follow Christ, we need to be obedient to his teaching, no matter how hard or counter-cultural that may be.

Of course, some of us won’t find these particular issues very challenging.  Not all of us face battles or temptations in the area of our sexuality, but for those who do, particularly in our sex-obsessed age, the cost of obedience to Christ can seem incredibly high. But for disciples of Jesus, obedience is not optional.  For those facing a huge cost to follow Jesus, here are 2 things that help tremendously.

1: Keeping our eyes on Jesus and the eternal inheritance he promises those who follow him.  Our struggles in this world are only temporary, but just as Jesus suffered for us and was raised to glory, so Christians must expect earthly struggles before eternal glory.  Having a heavenly mindset makes our struggles bearable.

2: Seeing other Christians showing costly obedience.  I find it very easy to judge the sin of others, whilst excusing my own as minor infringements.   But the Bible doesn’t do that; it commands us all to pursue holiness.  And if we are to encourage those who struggle with same-sex attraction, lust or gender dysphoria to live holy lives, then we must be actively seeking to live holy lives ourselves, battling hard to subdue whatever sin we struggle with.  I wonder, do we really do that?

To help us examine ourselves, over the next 10 Sundays, this column will look at each of the 10 commandments in turn, seeking to apply them to our lives.  I know I will find some of them very challenging, but for the Christian, holiness is not an option, but a command. May God convict us of our sin, bring us to repent and help us to live holy lives for the encouragement of the saints and for his glory.