I love the theme of 2023 Florida College Lectures, “A Life Worthy of the Gospel.” It’s personal. Practical. And powerfully penetrating.
As explained by Bible Chair, Jason Longstreth, in the Preface to the lecture book, the evening lectures are “designed to help us examine the priority, distinctiveness, and fullness of the gospel.”
The day time lectures emphasize a specific area of application. Yesterday, the focus was “our thoughts, preaching, prayer and daily life.” While we were unable to attend all of these lectures, here are a few highlights quoted from the manuscripts in the lecture book.
A Worthy Attitude
Colin Stringer’s lesson, “Think on These Things: An Attitude That is Worthy of the Gospel,” was based on Paul’s exhortation “ Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).
Colin addressed the virtues of a Christ-like attitude under these headings:
- A Sincere Humility–Found in Christ.
- A Focused Mind–Centered in Peace.
- An Abounding Love–Expressed in Knowledge.
- A Strong Unity–Developed in Fellowship.
- An Outward Love–Developed in Obedience.
While each of these areas has their own importance and specific application, it seems the key, is found is realizing “pride is our enemy.” As Colin observed, “If we are going to think as Jesus thinks, we must sacrifice what is important to us. We have to push aside high thoughts of ourselves, our knowledge and our abilities.
Mark Reeves, in his lesson, “Not the Word of Men, but the Word of God: Preaching that is worthy of the Gospel,” reminded those who preach that the power is in the Word. Not us. It is in the all-sufficiency of the Gospel. Not our self sufficiency. Wisdom. Knowledge. Or eloquence.
As someone who enjoys a good story, a captivating illustration, as well as a colorful powerpoint, I needed this admonition. “If eloquence (Ax. 18:24), or nice PowerPoint presentations, or engaging illustrations and anecdotes can be employed to support the message, let them prayerfully be placed in God’s hands for that purpose. However we can never allow those to trump a proclamation of the inspired text itself.”
Furthermore, Mark emphasized as, Dee Bowman used to say, “preaching is all about the people.” Preaching cannot be apart and aloof from our people. It’s about forming and forging relationships with those to whom we minister.
A Worthy Prayer Life
“Pray without ceasing” is a short verse commented speaker Trevor Brailey from Ohio, “But it is packed with profound meaning.”
Praying without ceasing means to be consistent and persistent in prayer. To be habitual. To spend time on a regular basis in prayer.
Trevor was very transparent about some of his struggles with prayer. Among them was coming to an understanding that prayer is not a transaction, but involves a relationship. We pray to God because we love Him. Want to communicate with Him. And draw near to Him. Not because it’s a duty. Or an mere exchange for something he’s going to give us.
In addition to sharing many exhortations to prayer and numerous Bible examples, Trevor offered these 4 suggestions.
#1 Set aside some time each day for serious thought and prayer.
#2 Look for balance in the content of your prayers. Request. Supplication. Thanksgiving. Intercession.
#3 Use Psalms as a spring board for prayer.
#4 When leading a public prayer, “avoid archaic phrases that some people might not really understand.”
Finally, this challenging thought. “Worthy prayer presupposes a willingness to accept the will of God and change whatever is necessary to conform to it.”
Benjamin Lee, a former co-worker of mine, presenting the final lecture of the morning by asking, “Is it possible to walk in a way that is worthy of the gospel?”
Of course, his resounding answer was, “Yes.” Then he proceeded to demonstrate with passage after passage showing showing that we are expected to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him” (Col. 1:10).
He concluded with 3 practical applications on how to make pleasing God our #1 focus.
#1 Pay proper attention to the Word. Ben placed an emphasis on getting into the Word to learn how we ought to please God as he stressed the word “ought.”
# 2 Appreciate what God has done for you. Realize that walking worthy on the Lord is not a burden, but a blessing. When we consider God’s grace, love and mercy demonstrated in Jesus’ sacrifice, it should be easy to be appreciative of God’s goodness.
#3 Fix your aim and ambition on pleasing God and the goal of heaven.
It was a great morning with great challenges to walk worthy of our divine calling.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
One response to “Applications of a Life Worthy of the Gospel”
Pingback: Weekly Recap: February 6-10 | ThePreachersWord