Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

3 words for mission.

I’ve got three words for the church in Ireland. Words I think we don’t include in our thinking when we endeavor to preach the Gospel with our lives together. Proclaiming the Gospel, in Ireland, we need to remember to be; Simple, Urgent and Flexible.

The Gospel takes the greatest of minds to understand the complexity and fullness of it’s mysteries, however a 3 year old can accept it, and we must continually keep our witness simple enough for people to understand, and if asked or receive opportunity, we must, for Christ’s sake we must explain simply the Gospel message.

Mission is urgent. Why? Because there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to loose for every single person you will ever; talk to over the shopping counter, be class-mates with, see through your car window, shake hands with, pass on the street.  It’s urgent, but it’s not to be rushed. When we’re in a rush we forget things, and do them half-assed but when something is urgent, we make sure it’s done right, fully and in good time.

Or proclaiming for the Gospel should be simple and urgent but flexible, not a one size fits all approach.  The Gospel is the same message for everyone, God has made grace available who whoever calls Jesus ‘Lord’. But you simply don’t tell a friend the same way you’d tell a stranger, you don’t explain it to a child the same way you’d explain it to your mum.  Jesus when talking to the rich man said, ‘sell all you have,’ when talking to nicodemus he said, ‘you must be born again,’ or to peter, ‘follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men.’ The Gospel must not be diluted but we must make sure our friends/families etc understand the Gospel in their level of understanding. Using hip and trendy phrases wont make the Gospel any more understandable to a 60 year old bachelor farmer, nor will using big words help a child understand.   

Simple, Urgent, Flexible.


THE KING HAS COME (ypc thursday)

Night 2: Passage, Mark 1:9ff

So last night we were looking at the fact that the Jews though doing an ok job at keeping the sacrifices going it was only a temporary measure, just like sweeping sin under the run, or putting on a long sleeve shirt to cover your dirty elbows.  This was only for a while so that God could still work with the Jews, He could still meet with the high priest once a year and keep His promise to favor them.
Until man had a real chance at being made right before God, yes we needed a redeemer!  That old high priest and sacrificing lambs was only temporary we needed the Great High Priest, the Spotless Lamb, the both Devine and Human, to come and make a way possible for God to embrace His longed for children (from all nations) as he did with adam before the fall! And so here come’s Jesus after 30 years of so called silence he announces his first sermon, and it’s not long!
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (1:15)
‘alright Jews it’s showtime.’ Jesus proclaims the main title, the ‘kingdom has come’, then the sub-title ‘repent and believe’.  That’s great, just wonderful!

Jesus says this after Satan having him for 40 days, no man in history has been able to resist Satan’s call to forsake God, not one! Except Jesus.  Jesus after proving to Satan that he has power over him as a man, announces the kingdom of God and the entrance program. Then knowing full well about the other kingdom, (the kingdom of darkness), he shows his power over it, by casting out demons just by telling them to be quite. (1:25ff)

“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.  The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”

Jesus goes on in that first couple of Chapters to show he has power over sickness, disease, nature, death and then in Ch 2 he forgives sin!  The only one who can forgive is the one who is offended, Jesus forgave the paralysed man showing his place as God (the one who is offended at sin) Himself, with us! What a Redeemer. God has come himself.  To show us how to live, to give us signs of the coming kingdom and to redeem us from sin and death.  Jesus took on man’s sin, entered death, disarmed Satan and Death and broke free bringing forth the new kingdom, which we can live in.  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  

This kingdom which we can now enter has a program, we now have a foretaste of what’s to come which will come fully after the resurrection when we will have a new heaven and earth.  So we live in this tension (see my wee diagram) where we see some people getting healed but not freedom from sickness, poor old lazarus had to die twice, but in heaven there will be no death!  So we are in the kingdom of God, but it’s not fully here yet.
This is why Christians pray ‘God let your kingdom come!’

So the question when we think about outreach is to we push for this kingdom or keep announcing the entrance program?  Simple answer, both!  Jesus healed and fed and looked after people physically but his main role and the commission he gave to us at the end of Mark’s gospel is to go out and preach the good news!  The same ‘good news’ that, at the start of the gospel (1:15) Jesus calls us to repent and believe in, he now calls us to announce!  That the kingdom of God is accessible and near!  So our outreach is 2 fold, it’s the 2 wings of the plane, we need to announce the entrance program (repent and believe) and we need to show what the kingdom is like (care for sick, poor, outcast. Living a life of worship and prayer).

God help us announce and live!

Standing on Grace

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