Why Theology Matters

“God wants people to know exactly who He is.”

Sitting in the lounge of a dorm floor a few years ago I heard a stressed out student preparing for a theology final exclaim, “Ugh why do we have to discuss all these details? It’s not that big of a deal anyway.”

No. Theology is important.

Theology is the study of God. We study God so that we can know Him. Theology is not some big and scary subject that only the academic elite can afford to tackle. Rather it is something so fundamental to life that anyone and everyone should participate. The “study of God” is something that is open to everyone.

God Himself encourages this study in His word. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of passages explaining the benefits of knowing God. John 17:3 talks about the eternal life that is found in knowing God. Similarly, Jeremiah talks about how God is available to those who seek Him. The list could go on and on. God wants people to know exactly who He is.

God delights when we study Him.

“But why? Can’t we just love Him?” Well, no. It is impossible to truly love someone without having some understanding of who they are. Someone once said to me, “I don’t read the Bible, and I stopped praying long ago, but I still very much love God.” I tried my best to respond graciously, but the only thing I could think to say is, “how do you love someone who you never communicate with?”

It is easy enough to say we “love” things. I love coffee. I love donuts. I love the Chicago Bears. It is easy to say we love those things because they are just that…things. But God is not a thing. He is not an idea or a construction of our minds. God is a real being who loves us dearly and desires a real relationship with us. In order to love Him back, we must know who He is. We wouldn’t stay in a long-term relationship with someone whom we never talked to, would we? Why would we try to get away with that with God?

Jesus told His disciples that if they loved Him they would keep His commandments. (John 14:15) The only way the disciples (or we for that matter) can keep His commandments is by knowing what they are.

The two most frequent Greek words used for “to know” in the New Testament are the words oida and ginosko. There are several differences between the two words, but for simplicity sake, we will just say that oida generally refers to an intellectual knowledge, while ginosko speaks more of an experiential knowledge. It is one thing to know and study God on an intellectual level, it is another thing to know Him because of experiences had through prayer and reading of His Word.

So let’s do that. Let’s know God experientially. Let’s seek Him, study Him, spend time with Him, talk to Him, and talk about Him. Let’s know Him so that we can love Him.

Till next time,

Josh

Are you a disciple?

“Being a disciple of Jesus is about so much more than just simply living morally.”

Are you a disciple of Jesus?

A true disciple of Jesus Christ is a person who knows God, loves God, obeys God, and equips others to know, love, and obey God as well. Knowledge of God leads a person to love God, a love for God will spur on a believer to obey God, and obedience to God includes sharing the truth of the Gospel. A true disciple is one who becomes (talks, acts, and thinks) more like Jesus each and every day, (Romans 12:2 & 1 John 2:6) brings glory to God in all that is done and understood, (1 Corinthians 10:31 & Colossians 3:23) and makes other disciples. (Matthew 28:16-20) It is of the utmost importance that believers today keep Jesus Christ central in their understanding of discipleship.

A discipleship without the centrality of Christ is no discipleship at all, instead, it becomes nothing more than a list of how to live morally. Being a disciple of Jesus is about so much more than just simply living morally.

There is an old hymn called “Trust and Obey” and it tells of the benefits of trusting and obeying the Lord. It is interesting that the song is not just called “Trust” but rather “Trust and Obey” emphasizing the idea that true disciples need to not only have faith but also display that faith in action by obedience. Followers of Jesus need to understand that a core part of being a disciple of Jesus is obedience to Him.

Jesus Himself says in John 14:15, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Obedience is not optional for those who love Jesus. Saying, “I love and follow Jesus, but I just choose not to obey Him” might seem like a funny and strange thing to say. However, that is exactly what we say without actions every time that we choose to sin. The unfortunate truth is that many who claim to be followers of Jesus never fully submit to Him (obey Him) in every area of their life, the results are anemic “Christians” who are ineffective for the kingdom.

I pray that is not me. I pray that is not you. I pray that we are, and are becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ who trust Him and obey Him in every area of our lives. When we do that we will impact this world in ways we never imagined were possible.

Till next time,

Josh

The Best News

Preach the Gospel to yourself. Every. Single. Day. You need it just as much today as you did when you first believed.

Let me begin my very first blog by saying that this post, as well as following posts, are written to those who believe in Jesus as well as those who do not.

The good news of the Gospel is that it is indeed good news. In order to fully appreciate the good news, we first need to look at the bad news. The bad news is that we (mankind) need a savior, the good news, God provided one.

In the beginning, when God created the earth and birds and trees and everything else ever created, He created mankind. God created man and women, and He created them “very good.” So good, in fact, that mankind was able to enjoy a perfect relationship with God, walking and talking with their creator. But then, and here comes the bad news, mankind rebelled against God, they believed the lie that disobeying God would make them happier than obeying Him.

And so, they sinned. Their sin then, separated them from the God that created them and the perfect relationship was ruined. That ruined relationship was passed on to Adam and Eve’s children and their children and so on and so forth all the way up to you and me.

Sin is so contrary to God and His nature that sinful mankind is unable to have a relationship with God. But remember, God created mankind to be in a relationship with Him, and so He provided a way to restore the relationship. The Bible says that “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God sent His son to earth in order to restore the broken Mankind-God relationship, because without a restored relationship mankind is forced to live eternity separated from God, the God who created and loves them. This separation is called death and this death is an eternal one.

Jesus came to earth and died on the cross once for all. Quite literally, Jesus took our place, He took the death that we deserve and in the place of death, He gave us His own right-standing with God. He made it possible for our relationship to finally be restored. But in order for this to happen, we need to put our faith in Jesus, believing that He actually did live, die, and rise again from the grave like God said He did. We must have faith that His relationship restoring work at the cross is All we need in order to have a relationship with God. What about you? Do you have a relationship with the God who created you to be in relationship with Him?

Have you heard this before? Great. Do you have a relationship with Jesus? If so, there is something that you need to know. The good news of the Gospel isn’t just simply confined to your conversion. There is a vital connection between the Gospel and one’s own spiritual growth. The connection is that we never should stop preaching the Gospel to ourselves. The Gospel is how we came to faith, yes, but it is also the reminder of how we should live. Not only are we reminded of the incredible love that God has for us, but we also are reminded of our position to God now because of Jesus. Our new standing before God instructs us how we ought to live; as new creations who are no longer bound by our former sins. Preach the Gospel to yourself. Every. Single. Day. You need it just as much today as you did when you first believed.

I plan on leading myself, and anyone who listens to me into a new season of revitalized Gospel sharing. Sharing the Gospel with our friends, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, and family will rejuvenate us spiritually. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. That is exactly what we ought to do.

If you have made it this far and are still unsure if you have a relationship with Jesus let’s talk. Contact me and we will grab coffee, I’ll buy.