Focus Moment- March. 1, 2018

Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Prayer for Presence

Lord Jesus, in this moment of prayer, free me from the distractions of the day so that I may be deeply present to you and myself, for the sake of the world around me.

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-14

These days, many things can lead us to doubt the truth of the Gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Enthusiastic atheists can make us wonder whether our faith is an obsolete remnant of a pre-scientific world. Scholars whose claims seem to undermine Christianity often get headlines and primetime interviews. A growing awareness of non-Christian religions suggests that faith in a single savior is arrogant. The corrosive impact of living in a postmodern culture makes us question the very notion of transcendent truth. And then there’s the fact that so many people who identify themselves as Christians live and speak in ways that bear little resemblance to the Gospel. Thus, we wonder: is the Gospel of Jesus Christ really true?

According to Ephesians 1:13, the answer to this question is “Yes!” This verse refers to “the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” The phrase translated here as “the message of truth” literally reads, “the word of truth.” In this context, it refers not to God’s written word (the Bible) or to the Word of God Incarnate (Jesus) but to the message that was proclaimed to the Ephesians, the good news of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. This message is true, both historically and theologically.

One who is steeped in postmodernism might point out that this message is not propositional truth so much as a moving story. In this story, those who were lost are found. Those who were imprisoned are set free. Those who were dead are made alive. This story brings to life the love of God for human beings. It can fill us with gratitude and joy. Indeed, the Gospel is a moving story, one that touches our hearts in a profound way.

But the Gospel is not just a moving story. It is also a true story. Jesus really was God Incarnate. Jesus really did die for us. Jesus really was raised from the dead, demonstrating God’s victory over sin and death. For the Christian, these are not just beautiful themes or powerful symbols. They are accurate statements that form the core of the Gospel. They not only move us, but also they demonstrate to us the love and grace of God. Thus, we stake our life, both in this world and the next, on “the message of truth, the gospel of our salvation.”

Something to Think About:

What, if anything, has caused you to wonder about whether the Gospel is really true or not?

What helps you to affirm the truth of the good news?

Something to Do:

Take time to consider and act on the following: If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is actually true, then how might this truth be reflected in your life? I’m not thinking here of what you say, though this is important. But I’m thinking of how you live. What might a Gospel-shaped life look like in your context?

Prayer:

Gracious God, sometimes it is not easy in this day to affirm the truth of the Gospel. We face many pressures that lead us to question, even to doubt the good news. Help us, we pray, to have confidence in you and your truth. Give us discerning minds and confident hearts.

I pray today for those who are struggling with doubt. Meet them in their questions, concerns, and worries. Lead them to resources that will help them to think clearly about matters of faith. Bring into their lives those who can lovingly and wisely help them to grasp and grow in the truth. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

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