Components of the Gospel

By Karen Polich

“God’s will for us is what He wishes to be done by us.” – Kevin Linthicum

God’s will is simple, straightforward, and rarely easy. It requires an intentional effort on our part and clear obedience.

After his recent sermon series, Discipleship, deeper questions about the gospel message arose. In response, Pastor Kevin Linthicum began a two-part series, Components of the Gospel, for those seeking to disciple and be discipled. Listen to the sermon podcast here.

As communicators of the gospel, it is not our job to convince anyone. We are to be proclaimers of the gospel, communicating the Word of Truth. God will take care of the rest. The gospel is constantly bearing fruit – with or without us. Remember, it will not always be easy and will require perseverance.

The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:5-12

We are called to show unconditional love for others through Christ. We are also called to seek out His will. To be filled with the precise and correct knowledge of God’s will in your life will transform your journey with Christ.

“When you determine you are going to be obedient in what God has called you to do, your knowledge of Him will be greater and you will know Him more. To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord has everything to do with making due use of the opportunities given to us.” – Kevin Linthicum

Led by the Spirit, we will see opportunities around us each day. God has qualified us in Christ. When we have accepted Him, we should continue to grow in our knowledge of Him and share that knowledge with others.

The first three components of the gospel include:

  1. An understanding of the reality of sin. (Romans 3:10, 23, Genesis 3) Sin is sin. We are all born into sin and our sin separates us from God. There is no one righteous, not even one.
  2. A penalty for sin. (Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23, Colossians 1, Ezekiel 18:20) We often try to sugarcoat this. The penalty of sin is death! There is no way around it without Christ.
  3. The penalty must be paid. (Romans 2:!2) The payment for sin is death, but as we will see in the conclusion next week, we can choose not to be eternally separated from God. The good news is, the penalty has been paid by Jesus.

To be continued next week…The great news of the gospel.


Phinehas: Zeal for God

By Robert Thomas

Tucked away in a small chapter in the book of Numbers is a powerful story, in which a man who had zeal for God made a very bold decision that would impress the Lord. In Numbers 25, Phinehas showed his obedience and ardent dedication to God’s honor by making a decision that would affect the history of God’s people.

But first, take a few steps back with me to Numbers 22 for the beginning of the story.

Balak was king of Moab, and Israel struck fear into his heart because Israel defeated every enemy they came across, by the power of their God. Balak heard Israel had made camp near his people, the Moabites.

Balak decided to hire a magician named Balaam. Balaam’s reputation was for cursing people, so maybe Balaam would be able to defeat Israel where no others could. However, Numbers chapters 22-24 tell us that regardless of how many times Balaam attempted to curse Israel, they were utterly protected by God. No attack would prosper.

Balaam shrewdly decided to entice Israel to engage in sin. Perhaps temptation would accomplish what no attack could. This is where we enter into the story in Numbers 25, as Israel enters into a sinful relationship with the daughters of Moab, joining in their sexual immorality and idol worship.

God sees His children disobeying His commands and disciplines them. The leaders of this rebellion were to be executed and a plague overcame Israel. Tens of thousands would die and the whole of Israel mourned outside the tent of meeting. To make matters worse, an Israelite man, flippantly disobeying God’s commands, paraded through the Israelite camp with his pagan girlfriend, showing complete disregard for God’s commands.

Phinehas, the son of Israel’s priest, watched these things play out. In the middle of a weeping congregation, Phinehas watched this Israelite man publicly ignore God and decided he could not sit by and allow this to happen. Wordlessly, Phinehas took a spear, followed the man to his tent, and stabbed both the man and the woman with a spear. At that moment, God’s anger toward Israel abated, because of the actions of one man who stood up and attacked sin head-on.

By acting against sin, Phinehas revealed his strong desire to protect God’s honor amongst his people. He understood the holiness of God. He chose to confront the sin, acknowledging that sin came with a great cost. As a result of Phinehas’ actions, God was pleased with Phinehas’ zeal. He decided to make a covenant with Phinehas, that his entire lineage would serve as priests in God’s temple forever, and the Priestly Covenant was established.

Even though Israel could not be attacked from the outside, they were vulnerable to their own temptation. But Phinehas’ zeal for God’s honor and glory is an example for Christians everywhere. His decision to end sin at the source was celebrated by God. This example is challenging for us today. I ask myself, how often am I caught blatantly welcoming sin into my heart? Even more importantly, do my actions show any regard for the holiness and greatness of the God of the universe?

Phinehas is one of the Bible’s many great heroes of faith, due to his passionate dedication to God’s honor.

This week, I challenge you to pray this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Listen to The Great Ones sermon series here.

Robert Thomas is a graduate of UNM, and is currently a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Education. He leads the 5th and 6th grade Preteen ministry at AFBC, and works as a substitute teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing the internet on his laptop, watching a movie with his friends, or hanging with his preteens at the church.

Whoops, Naughty Gene!

By Karl Lee

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … Romans 3:23NIV

Here is something to ponder.  I am at times amazed at what humanist thinking comes up with. It is even more surprising that so-called smart people believe it.  On May 27, 2015 the CBS This Morning Show had a guest geneticist on their program.  The geneticist alleged that they had located an infidelity (unfaithfulness) gene within the DNA.

To me it seems to open up a whole lot of possibilities.  I would suppose that same anomaly would apply to a person being licentious.  I’m wondering if there is one abnormal gene how many more might there be within any genetic makeup.

If I pause and think for a moment, I may be able to excuse any and all of my “short comings” by claiming I have a naughty gene. Therefor it’s not my fault.  Now that’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?

Should we carry that thought further? Based on the alleged findings by that reparable geneticist there appears to be a host of unusual genes.  There could be an abnormal gene for murders, thieves, those who would like to change their sex, and the list can go on and on.  They too, can plead it is not their fault; it is their genetic composition.

I also wonder what would have happened and how would the network have responded if that same geneticist said to her host, “I believe that I have found the “sin‘” gene; the one passed down to us by our original parents, Adam and Eve?

It is amazing how the world can transfer sin into some innocent and non-threatening word. Should we acknowledge “sin” it would cause us to change or to ignore it.  The Bible tells us “all have sinned.” It also tells us to confess it.

What are your thoughts?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)




The Other Side of Pain – The Battle We Face

The Other Side of Pain – The Battle We Face By: Karen Polich

Are you arguing for Christ or against Him?

You really are the best argument either way. When someone looks at you, at your personal life, they see Christ. What do they see?

1 Peter 2:11-12 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

We are engaged in a battle every day. The environment we live in is hostile. How do we handle that? Peter teaches two simple concepts.

  • Be determined to overcome personal sins.
  • Be dedicated to win over a lost society.

Our time here is temporary. Peter warns us to abstain from sinful desires. Is he only talking about the big things? No, it is in the details. Pastor Cook talked about those things that can creep in and then begin to rot your soul; the small, unseen, insidious sins. Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Our lives should resonate with Jesus Christ. Why? Someone is always watching. The world loves a failure in the Church, so don’t give them evil in your life to slander Jesus with. Our failures usually come when we are focused on self instead of on Christ. Let it be that your good deeds show them who Jesus is. The world may still slam you, but God’s righteousness will shine. Righteousness is God’s incredible perfection that He pours into our hearts and lives. We are changed from the inside and can focus on Him. In the battle we face, are you arguing for Christ today?