Revive Our Hearts Podcast

What God Has Done for You

Leslie Basham: On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Elyse Fitzpatrick says too often we don’t really believe it.

Elyse Fitzpatrick: Now, He didn’t say, “It’s finished, but then I need you to do this and this and this and this and this, and if you don’t, bad stuff’s going to happen.” Everything that needed to be done to connect you with God the Father as your Father and Jesus Christ as your Husband was finished forever.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, March 26.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you know what the gospel is? Now, I imagine that most people hearing my voice would say, “Yes, I know what the gospel is.” But do you know what the gospel meals to difficult situations in your life? For example: How does the gospel relate to a situation when your kids are acting up? Or you have prepared a special meal and it all turns out wrong? Or when your friends get together, and you feel left out?

Well, my friend Elyse Fitzpatrick is going to address all these situations in the message we’re about to hear. She’ll explain how the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to these practical, real-life situations.

Yesterday, we began hearing a message that Elyse gave at the True Woman ’12 conference. If you ever feel like you can never do enough to make God happy with you, don’t miss this message.

Yesterday, Elyse read from 2 Peter, chapter 1. Before we hear from Elyse again, let me read that passage:

For this very reason, [the apostle says] make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with steadfastness and steadfastness with godliness and godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (vv. 5–8)

And Lord, I pray that You would wash us with Your Word and that You’d speak to our hearts. Give us ears to hear and hearts to receive what You have to say to us in these next moments. For Jesus’ sake I pray it, amen.

Now, let’s join Elyse Fitzpatrick for part two of the message, “Because He Loves Me.”

Elyse: How many of you got saved as adults? Do you remember when you got saved as an adult? Like, you were happy, right? Oh, whoopee! I remember. I didn’t get saved until right before my twenty-first birthday, and I can remember there was this very strange thing called joy. Within a month or so I was in Bible College, and then I was learning about all the things I was supposed to do. Then it wasn’t so much about joy or Jesus anymore. Now it was about me getting my act together and becoming more sanctified.

Now, I’m not saying that we don’t pursue obedience, but if you learn how to read the Bible, all of the commands, particularly in the Epistles, but Jesus said it was everywhere. All of the commands are in the context of what Christ has already done. So when Peter in 2 Peter is talking about this list of: “add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue, knowledge, and to your knowledge, self-control, and to your self-control, steadfastness,” when Peter is doing all of that, he’s talking in a context. And the context is: You have been forgiven, so live in the light of that. Not, get your pen out and make a list of the things you’re going to do today, and then detach it from the context. Do you understand?

When you begin to read the Bible and understand that the Bible really is written in two categories: Law and Gospel. All of the law is couched in the gospel. Even the Ten Commandments are given in the context of: I am your God who has brought you out of the land of Egypt; therefore, do this.

You see, everything in the Bible that comes to you by way of law is always given to you in a context, maybe just a couple of words away, maybe several verses away, but it’s always in the context of what God has done for you. Do not ask W.W.J.D. (Do you know what I mean? What Would Jesus Do?) until you have first marinated your soul in the glorious truth of what did Jesus do. That is what you need to hear. What that will do for you is it will give you wind for your sails.

You see, where does joy come from? And, by the way, it’s the joy of the Lord that’s your strength to obey. Right? Nehemiah 8:10. It’s the joy of the Lord that is your strength to obey. Where does joy come from?

Let me tell you where it does not come from. Are you ready? It does not come from the rules. It does not come from obligations about what you are supposed to do to get your act together, to get your family into the kingdom of God, or your church, or this nation, on down, on the bus, on the way to where God wants you. That is not where joy comes from.

Joy comes from what He’s already done. "Oh, You mean, You love me? You mean, You forgive me? You mean, when You look at me, I’m perfect in Your sight? You mean, I’m Your beloved child? You mean, You’ve given me everything, everything I will ever need? Everything I need to be pleasing to You, You’ve already given me?" That’s where joy comes from. And it is the joy of the Lord that is your strength.

Quickly: Gospel message. Ready? Here we go. What’s the gospel? The gospel is, first of all, the incarnation of the Second Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. God the Son, who was the Word, entered into the ovum of the Virgin Mary. Poink. I mean, what? Really? And gestated for nine months, and was born, placenta and all, just like any other baby. The Bible tells us that when people looked at Him, they didn’t think there was anything unusual about Him than any other little baby. There He goes.

He’s born, and from His first breath, from His first breath, He has an innocent heart, an innocent heart, and He doesn’t sin. By the way, He’s circumcised, which signifies the cutting away of sin and grace for the covenant. He doesn’t need to do that. He is the covenant. He does it for you. He’s circumcised. He’s named Jesua—“He will save His people from their sins.” From His very first breath, He was on His way to Calvary.

But He wasn’t just on His way to Calvary to die. He had to live and fulfill all the law in your life. So when the law comes to you and says, “You blew it today. You shouldn’t have said what you said. You blew it.” You know what you can say? “You be quiet, law. Jesus Christ has already fulfilled it for me.” That’s what you say.

He lived His whole life sinlessly. Then He gets to Calvary. In Gethsemane, He’s writhing on the ground because He knows what’s coming at Him, and what’s coming at Him, primarily, is not a sword and spikes and a crown of thorns, although those things are coming at Him. Do you know what’s coming at Him? What’s coming at Him is the wrath of God the Father with whom He has enjoyed His entire life and before that in eternity perfect fellowship, innocent, loving, joyful communion. At that moment, on the cross, God the Father does this (silence) when His Son cries out.

Do you know why? So you would never be forsaken for sin. Listen to me. Do you think God will forsake you because you sin? Listen. No, never. How do I know that? Because He, the Father, forsook the Son already in your place, and Jesus, the Man, cries out at the very moment when He should have been vindicated, when God should have rent the heavens and come down with an angelic force and delivered the Son. At that very moment Jesus cries, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Why? So you could know you’ll never be forsaken for your sin. That’s good news. Do you know why it’s good news? Because you sin all the time, and you’re always sort of wondering whether or not God is forsaking you for your sin. I’m telling you: He’s not. How do I know? Because He forsook His Son in your place

Then He says those three words: “It is finished.” Now, He didn’t say, “It’s finished, but then I need you to do this and this and this and this and this, and if you don’t, well, bad stuff’s going to happen.” Everything that needed to be done to connect you with God the Father as your Father and Jesus Christ as your Husband was finished forever.

Even in the middle of that, even in the middle of, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus says, “Father.” He still calls Him “Father.” “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” He dies in your place.

You know what you deserve for your sin? I mean, not even the big sin. It’s just like the sin you did today. You deserve to die. Right? Because you’re not loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. You’re not loving your neighbor as yourself. We deserve death. That’s the covenant that was enacted in Eden. “The soul that sins shall die.”

So you deserve to die, but there He is, He’s dying in your place. He dies. And then, see He says, “It is finished,” and the heavens are silent. And then His body, His poor, innocent, unstained, dead, fully dead, completely dead, dead, dead body is taken down and placed in a tomb. And three days later God raises Him from the dead as His “Amen” to the Son’s “It is finished.”

The resurrection is God’s “Amen” to the Son’s “It is finished.” Then the Son spends forty days trying to help the disciples understand what’s going on. Then He goes back into heaven, and the Bible tells us that He lifts up His hands, and the angels say, “In just the same way He went up to heaven, so He will return.”

You know what He’s doing? He’s giving the benediction, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” You want to know what Jesus is saying right now? He’s giving you the benediction. Do you know why? Because all those things, “May the Lord bless you and keep you”—was He blessed and kept? No. “May the Lord make His face shine upon you,”—was God’s face shining upon Him on the cross? No. Was the Lord God gracious to the Son on the cross? No. “May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace”—did the Son have peace on the cross? No.

So you see, now, now, right now, right now, the Son can say it to you because everything you deserve, He took, and everything, every punishment you need, He bore.

Now, in light of that, serve God. Do you see what I’m saying? This is the message we need. Isn’t it the message you need? It’s the message I need. I need it every day because if you tell me: “Here’s the forty-two things you need to do to get the bus down the road,” I’m either going to be proud because I did it or despairing because I didn’t.

But if you tell me: “Jesus Christ has done it all for you, Elyse, be filled with joyous zeal, run with your whole heart after Him,” and I’ll say, “Oh, yes, Lord. I will run. And then, in all the ways that I don’t, thank You, and in all the ways that I do, thank You, and I know that You will accomplish all Your good will.”

How does John 3:16—shall we say it? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Now, that’s good news. Right?

How does that impact you, your heart’s responses when you don’t receive the coveted invitation? You know what I mean? You find out that all your pals are going some place, but they didn’t tell you. Is it okay that you didn’t get invited? Is the fact that you have been invited to the party of the ages—aka: the Marriage Supper of the Lamb—is it okay that you have that even though you don’t get this?

You see, I’m telling you that’s where the gospel works. That’s how the gospel works. If you forget the gospel, then you’re going to spend your time trying to figure out how come your friends don’t like you. Jesus is enough. He’s enough. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is going to be the party of the ages. Right?

So you don’t get invited. Does John 3:16 mean anything then? I’ll tell you what. Usually it doesn’t because it’s not even on our radar. And then we go buy silly books about how to assert ourselves in our friendships.

What happens when your children disrespect you in front of your friends? My children are lovely children now because they’re adults. We used to go to a church where the pastor would give a dollar to any kid who would come up and say a verse from the Bible. So I’m all about that because I want my kids to look really good, and, I mean, I wanted them to know the Bible, too.(sounds of laughter) So I would parade them up. “Come along, little Joel.” Joel’s in seminary now. He’s recovered from my legalism. “Joel, come along, Joel. Tell the pastor John 3:16.” And Joel’s head spins around, and he starts vomiting, and he says, “I hate God.” 

He didn’t really do that, but you know what I mean. Whenever you want your kids to look really good and spiritual, and you look like you’re a really great mom—I really got my spiritual mom act together—that’s when they are just like the anti-Christ. Right then is it okay that you’ve been adopted, and that’s your identity?

You see, our problem is that our identity is wrapped up in all sorts of stuff that has nothing to do with the gospel.

Say it’s Sunday morning, and you actually went to the grocery store and bought a roast and potatoes, and you get your bread machine out, and you think, “This is going to be really cool because we’re going to get home, and we’re going to have food.” What a concept!

So we go to church, and the whole time you’re at church maybe the pastor’s preaching on John 3:16, and you’re all “amening” him, but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, “I’m gonna have roast. It’s gonna be really yummy.” You drive into the garage, and you open your door, and you don’t smell anything. (laughter) And then you walk in, and, of course, you forgot to set the oven. At which point I get mad at Phil. (laughter) He told me once I should write a book called,All My Sin Is All Your Fault. (laughter)

So, I forget to set the oven. “It’s your fault. If you wouldn’t make me run out of the house. I’m telling you, if you ever honk that horn at me again, I’m gonna throw my Bible at you.” (laughter) You see, right then, right then, right then, does John 3:16 matter to you?

Does it matter that at church Jesus Christ just set a table for you in His body and blood that He gave to you, the bread and the wine, His body and blood, and you don’t really need that meal? You’ve had the only meal you really need, which is a meal for your soul. Does it matter?

You see, when I talk to you about it, you say in your heart, “Yes, of course it matters,” but we never think of it, and we don’t think of it because we have amnesia. We think that the kingdom of God is about us and what we need to do, and we are wrong.

Nancy: Elyse Fitzpatrick has been explaining what the gospel is not. And, more importantly, she’s been describing what the gospel is and how it can transform our thinking in every situation.

Elyse has written about the gospel and your identity in Christ in a terrific book called, Because He Loves Me. If you sometimes have trouble believing that God really does love you, Elyse will address your concerns by pointing you to the gospel. You’ll understand who you are in Christ, which will then transform your thinking, your emotions, and then the way that you respond to all of life.

We’d love to send you that book, Because He Loves Me, when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Just ask for it when you call us at 1-800-569-5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Over the years, the Lord has used Elyse Fitzpatrick to encourage me in my spiritual journey through her writing and her speaking. So I’m excited that she’s going to be joining me, along with Paul David Tripp, as one of the speakers at Revive ’13, a conference for women helping women. If you’re involved in any way in women’s ministry, I hope you’ll join us. This is a great chance to get away, to be refreshed, and to be encouraged by other women’s ministry leaders. You’ll get a lot of practical insights for how to minister to the needs of the women that you serve.

So if you’re a woman who is helping other women in any way, I hope you’ll join us September 20–21 for Revive ’13. It’s going to be in the Chicago area, in Schaumburg, Illinois. And if you sign up by May 1, you can get a discounted registration. To sign up and to get more details about Revive ’13, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Tomorrow we’ll heart part three of the message from Elyse Fitzpatrick. Understanding grace will encourage your ongoing growth in Christ. Elyse will talk more about it tomorrow. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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