More Critical Concerns With Gospel Presentations

So yesterday I raised four concerns relating to who God is and what the gospel involves.   Here are some more concerns with how the Gospel is packaged and presented, that I raised recently in a lecture I offered in Bristol.

5.  At its core, the gospel is an issue of trust, not commitment.  We tend to have very imprecise language in some churches.  We speak about people committing to, or dedicating to, or promising to follow, or giving their life to, or inviting Jesus into their hearts, etc.  All of these phrases might be defended in some way, but equally all are open to the charge of imprecision since they can be massively misunderstood.  What must I do to be saved?  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  At its core, the gospel asks us to do nothing, promise nothing, achieve nothing, it asks us to respond to Christ’s work by trusting in Him.  That is, placing the full weight of our lives and eternity fully on him.  That is, fixing the gaze of our hearts and souls on him, not on ourselves, our effort, our commitment or our decision.

6.  The Gospel is centred on a cross and an empty tomb.  I have heard too many gospel presentations that feel completely metaphysical and have no historical rooting in reality.  Too many times I’ve heard that God loves us and we need to come to him.  How?  The cross has to be included.  Actually, I’ve heard even more gospel presentations (including my own), that include the cross but omit the resurrection.  Somehow we seem to have lost sight of the Acts emphasis on being witnesses of the Risen Christ!

7. The Gospel points us to Christ, not ourselves.  This is following on from point 5, but pushing it further.  Let’s not be offering people assurance by turning their focus back onto themselves again.  It is a cul-de-sac to think that our primary source of assurance comes from looking at ourselves, at how we’ve changed, at what we’ve prayed, at the date in our Bibles or any such thing.  Our assurance is Christ Himself.  The Spirit gives us assurance by pointing us back to Christ and pouring out the love of God into our hearts.

Ok, three more tomorrow to finish this mini-series of posts.

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One thought on “More Critical Concerns With Gospel Presentations

  1. If you were to ask man 100 years ago: do you think men will ever walk on the moon? You would immediately rise to the top of a short list with the dubious distinction of king/queen of village Idiots. Ask that Question today and the answer returned would be: why,…….. haven’t you heard!

    “But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?…We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too” JFK. In 1961 when Kennedy made his now famous pledge to land a man on the Moon, the USA had only 15 minutes piloted spaceflight experience and only 5 minutes of that was in space while the Russians had already completed missions in orbit. Kennedy the face of virtually impossible odds due to limitations in technology and know how pushed NASSAU beyond their limits of planning a mission to fly around the moon and return, to land a man on the moon; coming form behind the Russians to achieve higher than expected goals.

    The difference between limitation and liberty is knowledge. If confronted by limitations, the best course it to seek the know-how. By knowledge you shall be liberated form constraints; whatever the form. When confronted by limitations, if our first recourse is to concede, yield, and embrace them; we might well be going to sleep under a Russian moon, and flying a British flag for a national banner. Limitations by their varied and sundry forms are all the brood of ignorance; wherever found they should be banished. Ignorance is not so damnable as humbug, but when it prescribes pills (as does the wisdom of men) it may happen to do more harm”— George Eliot. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    It would serve us well to listen to JFK stir our nation to it’s feet at darker times in our history, to avert the real threat of Russian dominance in the outer space.

    LINK BELOW: (the features a transcript of the inspirational speech, and an audio recording plays in the background)
    http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/jfk-space.htm

    I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God to be delivered from all things which we could before not be delivered from. We seldom discern the wisdom of men which makes void the power of God; because by appearance it often seem wiser than even God’s council which is utter foolishness among men.

    We should raise our awareness to the things that God has said and done, and the world is yet unaware of it. The way the Bible describes brainwashing is stated in (Isaiah 25:7—the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.) This covering, this veil that overspreads the whole world is the wisdom of man. The only way to overcome this is to receive the gift of the mind of Christ whereby by realize that all things are possible with us. If all your lives you are told one thing, in this case the wisdom of man; even if the truth is in front of you, you will not see it because of this veil that covers the face of the world.

    Take this 20-second AWARENESS TEST and see what I mean.

    God has written to us of the great things of his law, but we have counted them as foolishness. Mark 9:23—Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Luke 18:27—The things, which are impossible with men, are possible with God. Matthew 17:20—. …and nothing shall be impossible unto you. After Jesus rebuked the storm, wind and tempest tossed sea, the disciples looked at him in wonder and asking each other; what manner of man is this. Jesus asked them, where is your faith? He expected them to do the same things he did; Jesus wasn’t the only one that walked on water, Peter did for a short while; this is so symbolic of the short period of time the church got it right after Jesus departed.

    There are two parties identified here with whom it is said that all things are possible, with God and with men who believe. This is the righteousness of God, it transfers to man all the things of God that are given to men by believing, even God himself as the gift first given to Abraham, and promised to we his seed in Christ is transferred to man by the faith of God, that man is supposed to have.

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