Sunday, October 18, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but exactly what is it? Part 4

Paul's famous words from Romans chapter one are widely known and quite often quoted. However, this begs the question that if we are truly not ashamed of the gospel why is it so neglected on Sundays from the pulpits across the country? Why is it that so seldom one hears the gospel message? Is it the assumption that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is well known by all, and the saved saints in our churches need to hear more law so they can become better kingdom dwellers? Why is it that Paul claimed to know nothing among the Corinthian believers save Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Why was the proclamation of the resurrection so important to them back in the first century, and so apparently unimportant to us here in twenty-first century? Does it seem the least bit odd that 20 centuries later one hears so little about the resurrection and resurrection life? I dare say that in most churches the resurrection is relegated to a couple of weeks out of the year. I have to laugh that some churches today are so against what they call tradition that they don't even speak of the resurrection on the day it is celebrated.

You want to know what I think? I think that they are not exactly sure what the gospel is. I think that they believe that the gospel is merely a step in salvation that makes it necessary to explain all the rules and regulations that will allow the saint to grow stronger as a Christ follower, and that the focus needs to be on improvement in the accepted regulations. Forget about the fact that Jesus paid it all. Forget about the fact that it is already done, not only so, but already done from before the world was created. Forget that because of the death, burial and resurrection that those who believe the gospel message are adjudicated the righteousness of God, possessing the righteousness of God, and all the blessings of Abraham. I know, the gospel is really hard to believe. It can't be that simple can it? Certainly I must do something to show how worthy I am of blessings and salvation, that only makes sense right?

Stop right there!!! Read this carefully!!! (I'm shouting).... YOU WILL NEVER BE WORTHY OF SALVATION OR THE BLESSINGS!  Awh now, let me repeat myself.... You will NEVER be worthy of the blessings and salvation! That is the gospel. That is the good news. God was in Christ Jesus; reconciling the world to Himself; not counting sin against us because of Jesus Christ, and He made Jesus who did not even understand the concept of sin, become sin for us that in Him we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him. That's the gospel! That is all there is.

This brings peace with God and causes real, true, love for God. This is the gospel. Our real, true love for God will then begin to help us transform into beings of love, that is precisely what the scripture means by the phrase "faith working through love." It is Jesus faith in the Father that demonstrated the love of God by the cross. Apprehending Jesus faith by the measure of faith given to us by the Holy Ghost upon hearing the gospel message is what transforms us into disciples of Jesus.

If you don't hear this clear concise explanation of the gospel every time you meet then something is amiss. If you are hearing how you can be better, have more faith, be more obedient, be more like King David or the Prophet Daniel, then you are NOT hearing the word of God which is the gospel. Your faith comes from hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ Romans 10:17. Study that chapter in a few versions of the bible and do not stop until you know for sure that the word of God for new covenant saints is the gospel of Christ. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what exactly is it? Part 3

Rom 1:15-17 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

This begins the third installment of this series about the gospel. I believe that it is necessary for two reasons; 1) it is difficult to identify what the content of the gospel is when asking people to define it, even church leaders are somewhat unsure; 2) It is not shared as regularly as the first century apostles insisted, especially Paul. For example, Paul claimed that he had determined to know nothing amongst the Corinthians except Jesus Christ and Him crucified, (1 Cor 2:2.) In that statement, one can see how important the gospel was to Paul. It is also important, to note that according to Paul, the full message of the gospel was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15;1-4.) I will develop this more in further posts, but for now, it will suffice it to say that the gospel in Paul's mind was very simple.

Let's look at the clause, for therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Last time I wrote about the righteousness of God, being two fold, first being a quality of God for providing the gospel, and second it was a state of righteousness that was provided to humanity because of faith in Jesus' faith. Jesus' mission to earth was to have faith. Let me repeat this for effect... *Jesus main mission to earth was to have perfect faith.* How can I be sure you ask? Well it is really quite simple. The first Adam did not believe God and brought about death. The *Last Adam,* (Jesus Christ,) believed God. That was his important obedience. It was the obedience of faith. That is what Jesus did for humanity as the incarnation. He believed against all odds, and it is obvious that he was tempted far beyond anything most people experience, and still believed that God was his Father.... I want this to really sink in.... He was born to Mary, Joseph claimed him as a son, think about that. He grew up with everyone thinking that he was born as normally as the next person. Still at the age of 30 he believed against all odds that he was the Son of God.

It does not stop there however, look at another example... In Luke's gospel we are provided a scene where Jesus has alienated many people with his claims. This was to the extent that his mother, his brothers and sisters were outside trying to take him home to rest. They thought he had lost his mind, think about it... this was his entire family. Still, he believed. He went so far as to say that the ones who believed in Him were is real mother, brothers and sisters. He still believed against all odds that He was the unique Son of God. I want to repeat for effect that Jesus faith was perfect, and yet He still was tempted to doubt. In the garden prior to his arrest, He had seen a glimpse of what He was to face and yet He had to hold on to the faith knowledge that He was the unique Son of God. Think about Jesus faith for a minute. It was indeed perfect faith. I say it was the only thing that would right the wrong of Adam's lack of faith... again I hate to sound like a broken record but, pick this up... if you got it right away, forgive me my folly. Jesus perfect obedience was His perfect faith. I want to repeat this one more time to make sure that I have gotten this point across; *Jesus perfect obedience was His perfect faith.* This is how by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and how obedience entered by one man and by that came life eternal.... Now, our faith, apprehends Jesus perfect faith by believing this gospel message. This is what is meant from faith to faith, it was from Jesus perfect faith to our faith... more to come.

Why the gospel is important in the transformation process

Rom 8:6  "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace," A very misunderstood passag...