17th of January 2017

In Christ Alone

A few years back we were playing a long running game in the youth group (where else?) called Chocolate or Bacon. The way the game went was to test the assertion that anything you eat can be made better by the addition of either chocolate or bacon. So each week at youth group a new food was provided (tinned tuna, packet custard, Jatz crackers etc) and chocolate and bacon was added to samples and consumed by “volunteers”. Do you know what? It’s actually true! Adding either bacon or chocolate really does make it better!

But what’s true of food is not true of the Gospel. Adding to the Gospel only takes away it’s power.

In today’s sermon we’re going to look at some historical (and current) attempts to add to the Gospel, and my aim will be to demonstrate instead that Christ’s death really was enough: that in him ‘we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10).

But where does inclination towards “Gospel Plus” come from? Why is it that from New Testament times people have said, “You have the Gospel? Great! But there’s something more that you really need!”?

Quite simply, it comes from human pride. If Jesus’ death was sufficient, then we have nothing to give, because he gave it all. To recognise this requires humility. We want to stand with heads held high and say, “Look what I’ve done for you, God!” But in reality we are sinners with nothing to offer a holy God. Like the tax collector in the parable, we need to bow our heads and ask, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13) And if we do so ask, in Christ alone we have our answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mark