Portraits of the Gospel

April 30 - June 10, 2017

As we continue our study of THE GOSPEL: It’s Still Good News – we now turn to the more traditional theological concepts associated with this topic. We have spent the first part of our journey setting the narrative context for the Gospel. Our first two months were given to the building of a foundation. I attempted to paint a portrait of the holistic nature of the Gospel through a recounting of The Big Story.

Our Easter journey was a study of an actual Gospel in the New Testament – Matthew. Here we were guided through the life of Jesus by an eyewitness. This study has placed Jesus firmly at the center of our consciousness as we reflect upon the Gospel.

Now we move to the more traditional categories of a theological discussion of the Gospel. These are the images or portraits used by New Testament writers to offer us a deeper understanding of the nature of the Gospel itself. This is a more systematic approach that follows our more narrative one that we have employed thus far. These “portraits” or images offer us an opportunity to explore the deep truths surrounding the Doctrine of the Atonement from various perspectives. God’s accomplishment of salvation is too broad and encompassing to be contained in one, single image. There are many facets of His activity.

In order to address the various facets of Gods’ saving work, I have chosen the image of “portraits.” The Bible is filled with imagery that is designed to help us develop a deeper understanding of complex truths. The doctrinal study of the atonement is rich and complex. Our time together will be spent exploring the various portraits used by Biblical writers when discussing the deep truths surrounding the beautiful message of salvation.

​April 23, 2017
The Gospel: It’s Still Good News!
Dr. Scot McKnight, Guest Preacher

Today we welcome Dr. Scot McKnight to our pulpit. He is Chair of the Department of New Testament at Northern Seminary and is recognized as one of the leading experts in the world in the current study of the Gospel.

Daily Bible Readings
The Gospel is the holistic message of God’s answer to the brokenness of our world. While it principally includes a message of hope for humanity, it also involves the greater workings of God throughout His creation. We believe the Gospel is still good news!

April 24:     Psalm 96
April 25:     Isaiah 11
April 26:     Romans 8
April 27:     Revelation 21
April 28:     Revelation 22
April 29:     Reflection


April 30, 2017

Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Romans 5:1-11

We begin our journey with the most basic understanding of the atonement—justification. We have been “justified” through faith in Christ. The passages in the New Testament that inform us on this topic utilize courtroom imagery. The idea of “justification” was a legal concept in the first century. Paul’s use of this idea was implemented to explain how guilty sinners could be declared innocent by a holy God. It is a declaration of status—not a description of the innocence of the offenders. In other words, God’s grace poured out on us through Jesus allows Him to declare us innocent—in spite of our sinful condition. That is good news! 

Daily Bible Readings
One aspect of the good news of the Gospel is that we have been justified by faith in Christ. We are sinners—desperately in need of forgiveness. God has provided for us to be forgiven and actually declared innocent. What an incredible gift from God! This week, we return to the letter from Paul to the Galatians. We began the year with this book. Let’s re-read it now after we have spent 4 months studying the Gospel together.

May 1:       Galatians 1
May 2:       Galatians 2
May 3:       Galatians 3
May 4:       Galatians 4
May 5:       Galatians 5
May 6:       Galatians 6


May 7, 2017

Free at Last!
1 Peter 1:13-21

As sinners, we were living as enslaved people. Through the Gospel our freedom has been purchased for us by the blood of Jesus. We have been set free to live as free people. Again, like “justification”—the imagery of redemption was borrowed from another arena in the ancient world. This concept was borrowed from the world of slavery. When slaves were able to purchase their freedom—they were “redeemed.” As Christians, our freedom has been purchased by Jesus and we are now free at last!

Daily Bible Readings
The Gospel of Jesus is a powerful, transformative truth in our lives.  It shapes how we see the world and experience life.  No matter what has been, the Gospel brings with it hope and possibility and a fresh start.  Join us throughout 2017 as we explore our theme: “The Gospel: It’s Still Good News.”

May 8:       1 Peter 1
May 9:       1 Peter 2
May 10:     1 Peter 3
May 11:     1 Peter 4
May 12:     1 Peter 5
May 13:     Reflection

May 14, 2017 - Mother's Day
Welcome to the Family!
Galatians 3:26-4:7

Once again, we will utilize an image drawn from the first century context of the New Testament—adoption. This concept came primarily from the Roman world rather than the Jewish one. Paul was familiar with the practice of adoption in the Roman context where sonship could be conferred on an adult male. He used this practice as the setting for his insights on how new believers in Christ are “adopted” into the family of God.

Daily Bible Readings
In Christ, we have been adopted into the family of God. This was particularly meaningful in the first century when Gentiles were welcomed into the church. We all enjoy the benefit of adoption. We are now joint-heirs with Jesus and brothers and sisters in the family of God!

May 15:     Ephesians 1
May 16:     Ephesians 2
May 17:     Ephesians 3
May 18:     Ephesians 4
May 19:     Ephesians 5
May 20:     Ephesians 6

May, 21, 2017

Happy Birthday!
2 Corinthians 5:11-21

The atonement has provided us the gift of re-creation. God has performed a miracle in us! We are now re-created and God is offering us a new way to live! Jesus used the imagery of new birth (John 3) to teach Nicodemus about the beauty of salvation. We are new people as believers! God is inviting us to live like it! The old order of things has passed away and God is creating a new path for us as His children.

Daily Bible Readings
How is real change possible? Can people truly change? According to the authority of the Scripture, change is absolutely possible! We are new creatures in Christ. Jesus invites us to follow His Way. His Way is the way of transformation and life! God is at work in you—creating something new to behold!

May 22:      John 3:1-21
May 23:      John 5:16-30
May 24:      Titus 1
May 25:      Titus 2
May 26:      Titus 3
May 27:      Reflection

May 28, 2017
Life and Death
Romans 6:1-14

Through the power of the Gospel, we have been united with Christ in a vital, dynamic and spiritual union. This new life in Him changes everything for us! We now can live righteous lives and no longer be dominated by our sinful impulses. This is how the process of sanctification is made possible.

Daily Bible Readings
There is just a great deal of mystery surrounding our salvation in Jesus. We don’t understand fully the spiritual realities associated with it. But—there is a spiritual union that exists between believers and our Savior. This union makes it possible for us to emerge from death into life. It also makes it possible for us to experience the sanctifying work of God in our lives as we serve Him each day.

May 29:      1 Thessalonians 1
May 30:      1 Thessalonians 2
May 31:      1 Thessalonians 3
June 1:       1 Thessalonians 4
June 2:       1 Thessalonians 5
June 3:       Reflection


June 4, 2017

From Glory to . . . Glory!
2 Corinthians 3:7-18

God is at work in us and through us. The power of the Gospel makes it possible for God’s glory to be reflected in our lives. He is moving us forward towards a state of eternal glory to be revealed at His return.

Daily Bible Readings
As Herschel Hobbs always liked to say, “We have been saved. We are being saved. We will be saved!” In other words, the power of God’s saving work within us is comprehensive, active and ultimately awaiting final consummation. We have a bright future ahead as the redeemed, sanctified and glorified Body of Christ!

June 5:       1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5
June 6:       1 Corinthians 2:6-16
June 7:       2 Corinthians 3:7-18
June 8:       2 Corinthians 4
June 9:       2 Corinthians 5
June 10:     Reflection