Saturday, January 9, 2016

Here's One Thing Wrong with the Evangelical Church: A message to Preachers.

Here is a meme photo that I saw on my Facebook page the other day. I'm sure the person meant well but it is just plain false. In fact, it is precisely what is wrong with evangelical Christianity today. Nowhere in scripture are we told to preach the bible. The fact is we are told to preach the gospel and that is a very different thing. This photo assumes that one should have a legal constitutional focus on the scripture and that is incorrect. Jesus and his first century followers that wrote the New Testament demanded that the scripture have a redemptive focus. It was a solely redemptive focus John 5:39-40.  The did not see the value of scripture beyond the redemptive message.

So then, what is the great commission? Mar 16:15  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Nowhere does it say preach the scripture. The gospel is the message that God wants spread abroad. The example that we all should follow is that of the Apostle Paul. He stated in 1 Cor 2:2 that he determined to know nothing among the Corinthian believers except Jesus Christ crucified. By that he meant Jesus Christ risen in glory. By that he meant Jesus Christ has overcome the world and the devil. It is preaching the bible and not the gospel that has Christianity so schizophrenic.

The scripture is the redemptive narrative and it portrays various stages of unfolding revelation about God's purposes in the earth and his plan for humanity. It was always written to a specific people with specific situations. Therefore, much of the scripture is situational and not universal. Can we learn from those situations? Absolutely! Are they a legal constitutional formula that needs to be followed as a statute? Absolutely Not!

Preacher, if you will listen to me this day, then I beseech you, by the mercies of God, determine this day to only present the gospel. What is the gospel for the different stages of the biblical narrative? It is clear that God wants us to know that he is merciful and he rewards faith in the fact that he is merciful. You only need to look to God's dealings with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David to see his mercy and his rewarding of faith. Yes, sometimes the faith expressed itself in actions, but that also changed based upon the revelation that had unfolded.

The gospel message for today is best expressed in 2 Cor 5. There is not a clearer explanation of the gospel than this: 2Co 5:14-21 NASB  "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;  (15)  and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.  (16)  Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.  (17)  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  (18)  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,  (19)  namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (20)  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  (21)  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Preacher, today your sole responsibility is to preach/proclaim reconciliation. People need to be reconciled to God! That simply means that though it is difficult to do, they must BELIEVE without wavier that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. That he has declared us righteous, not by our ability to obey the Law but by our willingness to believe the message preached, and if you are preaching the bible and not the gospel, you will have to answer for it one day.





 

Majoring in Minor Things

Not too long ago I heard a sermon where a preacher said that the Lord had recently told him that the saints were majoring in minors. What he...