Thursday, February 9, 2017

The transforming gospel: Part II How the Holy Spirit Transforms Lives

If you visit the evangelical and orthodox churches across the country you will find that the majority of time, the majority of sermons, the majority of emphasis focuses on using scripture as a prescription for aiding the saint to become a better person, a better Christian. They view the gospel as an evangelical tool to help bring converts to Christ. Further, they believe that once a person is "saved" they need to use scripture to show them how to live as a Christian. Therefore, the bulk of Sunday Morning Sermons focus on making Christians better Christians. This was not the way of the first century churches. They were all about preaching/proclaiming the gospel.

If you look at the history of revival, the greatest revivals came about from preaching the gospel of grace. A prime example of this is the revivals of George Whitfield. He proclaimed grace and the finished work of Jesus Christ. Thousands upon thousands of people were revived, drawn closer to the Spirit in those revivals.

Further, in examining the evangelical and orthodox churches across the country you will find that they all teach that the Holy Spirit enables believers to live a more Christ like life. The problem is that they do not give a hint as to how the Holy Spirit accomplishes it. I believe it to be, that they do not know how the Spirit enables a more Christ like life so they simply state it saying that if one is saved then the Holy Spirit will automatically enable them to live the Law. People act as if this process happens by spiritual osmosis. In fact, I think that this is a most appropriate way of defining the teaching on sanctification. The spiritual osmosis of the the saved saint allows and enables right living. Of course, a very apt aid in this process is reading, studying and hearing the scripture. But, is this what the first century church taught? I think not.

The first century church understood the transforming power of the gospel first hand. Further in all subsequent revivals historically, the real revivals, the preachers and evangelists understood the transforming power of the gospel. When people hear the truth, that God has redeemed them, that they have Christ's righteousness as a free gift of grace, that they can be at peace with the Father because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, that they are eternal and eternally with Christ and the Father, they begin to have peace that leads to joy and ultimately to love. This is exactly what John meant in 1 John 4:10; "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The gospel (good news) tells the story of God's love, (God's love is the good news) because Jesus is the manifestation of God's love and Jesus is the good news/gospel. The gospel and ONLY the gospel produces genuine love for God. Let me repeat this; only the gospel produces genuine love for God.

Love for God is the way that the Holy Spirit helps to change the hearts and behavior of the saints. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to assure you that God is love. It is NOT OSMOSIS. It is the transforming power of the gospel. It can never be preached too often or too much. The more the gospel is preached, the more ones love for God grows. This is the ONLY reason for saints to come together. It is to share, rehearse, proclaim and BELIEVE  the gospel.... Why don't most preachers see this? Why don't most churches do this? I will guarantee that if great numbers of churches began to understand and do this, they would be full to overflowing. People would be shouting and praising God for real... not ginned up by some praise and worship leader that uses shame to get people on their feet praising God.

The transforming power of the gospel is God's way of transforming lives... would to God that the current leaders would repent and preach the gospel; that they would determine to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

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