Why Does the Gospel Still Matter?

January 1 - February 28, 2017

January 1, 2017
A Fresh Start for a New Year
John 21:15-25
Dr. Josh Stowe, Guest Preacher

The past year has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  And just about the moment we catch our breath, another twist and turn comes around the corner.  With all this commotion, we find ourselves ready for something new: a new year and a fresh start.

Read John 21:15-25.  This is the text for today’s sermon.  The Gospel of John closes with a series of highs and lows.  Jesus enters Jerusalem to songs of praise in chapter 12.  He shares a sacred meal with his closest friends, and he prays for them.  Then, by the end of chapter 19, Jesus has been betrayed, denied, abandoned, tried, executed, and buried.  The emotional plummet into grief, pain, and loss is stunning.

As chapter 20 opens, uncertainty and darkness still hang over the story, but this changes swiftly and dramatically.  Jesus is not dead!  He is alive!  And in that moment, everything changes.  The world is different.

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.”

January 2:           John 1:1-18
January 3:           John 3:1-21
January 4:           John 10:1-21
January 5:           John 11:1-44
January 6:           John 20
January 7:           Reflection

January 8, 2017

The Gospel Truth
Galatians 3:1-9

As we begin 2017, our focus will be on the Gospel. We will explore the holistic message of the Bible as it sets the context for a true understanding of the Gospel. The Western Church has been guilty of reducing the Gospel to just the message of individual salvation. We will discover the Gospel is more far-reaching than we may realize.

Daily Bible Readings
This week we will read Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches. He was disturbed by the fact that false teachers had sought to corrupt the churches’ understanding of the true Gospel. As you read this week, ask God to begin to deepen your understanding of the Gospel.

January 9:           Galatians 1
January 10:         Galatians 2
January 11:         Galatians 3
January 12:         Galatians 4
January 13:         Galatians 5
January 14:         Galatians 6

January 15, 2017

Everything Starts with God!
Genesis 1:1-2

At the core of any understanding of the Gospel is an acknowledgment of the God of the universe. God stands alone in eternity. He simply is. He exists independently of His creation. He is eternally complete and in complete harmony within Himself. He is the Trinitarian God of Christianity.

Daily Bible Readings
The God of the Bible is the God of the universe. He is incomparable. He is transcendent. He is also immanent. He is beyond us and yet somehow accessible to us. He is the genius behind all of creation. He deserves our praise and absolute devotion!

January 16:         Isaiah 46
January 17:         Exodus 3
January 18:         Deuteronomy 10
January 19:         Psalms 47, 48
January 20:         Isaiah 40
January 21:         Reflection

January 22, 2017
God’s Handiwork
Genesis 1:1-2:3

Creation is the handiwork of God. He is the creator and sustainer of all that is. There is power in His presence. He spoke all of creation into existence. Creation is a direct expression of His will. His design is evident in creation itself. To understand the full implications of the Gospel, we must include a robust understanding of the value of creation in God’s story.

Daily Bible Readings
This week in our readings, we will be reminded of the glory of God’s creative genius. He has designed a universe that reflects His glory. In fact, creation was uniquely designed to do just that! Creation itself is a part of the Gospel story.

January 23:         Isaiah 45
January 24:         Psalm 19
January 25:         Job 38
January 26:         Job 39
January 27:         Job 40-41
January 28:         Reflection


January 29, 2017
Imago Dei
Genesis 1:26-31

All across creation, God’s creative genius is on display. However, human beings play a special role in God’s plan. Only humans receive the divine imprint—the image of God Himself. What a high honor for the human race! The Gospel story is deeply entwined with God’s plans for human beings.

Daily Bible Readings
Human beings were designed by God to be “eikons” – image-bearers. We have the unique role in all of creation of bearing the image of God. We also have the unique privilege and responsibility of reflecting His glory through how we live.

January 30:          Genesis 2:4-25
January 31:          Psalm 8
February 1:          Isaiah 43:1-13
February 2:          Psalm 33
February 3:          Psalm 34
February 4:          Reflection

February 5, 2017

Paradise Lost
Genesis 3

Human beings were designed with the unique ability to bear God’s image and reflect His glory in the world. The first two pages of the Bible are filled with so much potential! However, Genesis 3 is the sad story of humanity’s failure to fulfill God’s mission. Sin entered the world and God’s story takes a tragic turn for the worst.

Daily Bible Readings
This week in our readings, we will encounter the reality of sin and its effect on all of creation. Human beings failed God and His mission. While He intended for us to rule and superintend His creation along with Him, we sought to usurp Him. Our sinfulness has effected everything.

February 6:          Genesis 3
February 7:          Psalm 11
February 8:          Psalm 51
February 9:          Romans 1:18-32
February 10:        Romans 3
February 11:        Reflection


February 12, 2017

Genesis 12:1-9

So, how did God respond to the colossal human failure! Praise His Name! He responded with the great plan of redemption. He chose to answer the brokenness of His world with an expression of His love. Abraham was to become the Father of the people of God. God would use his offspring to steward the divine promise of redemption for mankind. The Gospel was now in action in a real world in real time through real people.

Daily Bible Readings
The Gospel of God was promised in Genesis 3:15. Now, God’s redemptive plan is introduced to humanity through Abraham and his family. The good news of redemption was now going to be possible through this covenant relationship between God and His people. Although the promise is to be shepherded by the family of Abraham, the good news is for every family!

February 13:       Genesis 12:1-9; Exodus 19:1-6
February 14:       Isaiah 4:2-5:7
February 15:       Isaiah 9:1-7
February 16:       Isaiah 11
February 17:       Isaiah 56:1-8
February 18:       Reflection

February 19, 2017

Our Redeemer!
John 3:16-21

The promise of God was stewarded through time through Abraham’s offspring. God promised that one day the Messiah would come. He was to the be that “shoot of Jesse”, Son of David and Son of Man. He would be the Messiah to His people and the Savior of the World. Praise God that Jesus fulfilled all of that prophecy. He is indeed our Redeemer! The Gospel is The Good News!

Daily Bible Readings
Jesus is the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecies. The Gospel is about what has happened in our world. It is good news. The Messiah has come. He is the Savior of the world. He has come to establish God’s Kingdom. In the Incarnation, we find the image of God most fully on display in the life of a human being. We can see God’s glory most fully through Him.

February 20:       John 1:1-18
February 21:       Hebrews 1
February 22:       Isaiah 61; Luke 4:14-21
February 23:       Hebrews 2
February 24:       Hebrews 4
February 25:       Reflection


February 26, 2017

The Gospel
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

God created this universe. He placed human beings on planet earth to steward His world. He placed His image within them. He gave them the opportunity to bear His image and reflect His glory on earth. However, once sin entered the world, the human race fell from grace and continues to fall short of His glory. God responded by choosing one family through whom He would bless all families. This special family would steward the promises of God through the centuries awaiting the fulfillment of the ages in the Messiah. The Messiah came and established God’s Kingdom on earth. He fulfilled all of God’s expectations and offered up His life as a sacrifice for the sinfulness of humanity. His death on the cross was accepted by His loving Father. He was gloriously resurrected on the third day and has now ascended to the Father. He has now empowered his followers to live into the purpose for which we were all created! His power is now at work in us so that we might bear His image and reflect His glory in this world. We can now be used by Him so that His will may be done on earth just as it is in heaven. This is good news! In fact, it is the Gospel!

Daily Bible Readings
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the shoot of Jesse and the Son of David. He is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. He is Messiah and Savior. He is Redeemer and Judge. He is the Promised One. He is the glory of the ages. He is God in the flesh. He has come to the earth and history has been changed forever!

February 27:       1 Corinthians 15:1-28
February 28:       1 Corinthians 15:29-58