What is the Gospel ?
Sep 15, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment
Paul’s approach is not philosophical as some scholars believe…
He offers no arguments
He makes no defense
He does not attempt to debate the weaknesses of the oppositional view
Adapts his approach to find a common point of reference (their superstition)
In saying that he made all things, this means “if God made all people, then He cannot be one of these Gods made BY people”. Lol
Uses their writings and poets
“In him we live…” Epimenides
“For we are his offspring” Aratus
In verse 18 he is labeled a babbler
(Today we call this a parrot)
Verse 21 points out that they constantly searched to discuss something new
(Educated but shallow)
Verse 26 appointed times for nations and individuals to live
Verse 27 says that the purpose for this creation is so that all might search for him …
Grope for Him
God creates so that the creation May choose to seek its Creator
God allows His creation to choose whether it will turn to the Creator or turn away
Pursue or ignore
Not so foreign a thought
How many of us (how often) deliberately allow a distance, obstacle, or separation to exist in a relationship just to see if or how long it will take for the other party to put some effort to overcome this thing to restore the relationship to show their love and caring
(A spouse holds out waiting for an apology)
A girlfriend hangs up in anger hoping the boyfriend will call back to prove his love, etc
Love is a choice and while it can be described in words, can only be expressed by actions resulting from choices
God has described and expressed His love towards us sufficiently and dramatically (but awaits our response in the choices we are free to make)
When replying to a question asked (such as “why does God do this, or allow this …?”)
Let’s take the whole of human responses to God and categorize them into two groups based upon a simple question from Jesus Himself:
“Who do you say I am?”
Either you believe and follow Him as the Christ (the Son of the living God), or you have rejected Him.
It is this choice, the “stance” of the person spiritually, which determines what the ministry of the Holy Spirit would be trying to do in their life.
- If you have not accepted Him, then everything God is doing in your life is a series of events and opportunities to grope for Him and to come to accept Him (and the salvation He offers through the cross)
- If you have accepted Jesus Christ, then everything God is doing in your life is a series of events and opportunities to be transformed from what you were into what you shall become… holy.
- If you are not saved , His intent for you is to become positionally sanctified
- If you are saved, His intent for you is to become experientially sanctified
Why do I focus on this difference?
Spirits work is basically to
“comfort the afflicted and
afflict the comfortable”
This was Paul’s ministry and it should be ours
(Honestly, each time we gather in fellowship, we hopefully experience both affliction and comfort)
- Spirit shows us something is wrong
- We response with contrition and repentance
- Spirit says, thank you for repenting… now here’s where it gets better
Most people I share my faith with are unsaved (and usually argue back with “if there is a loving God, then why does He allow suffering, or this, or that?”)
It is illogical to answer this as if they were a believer and capable of receiving comfort from a doctrine that requires the Holy Spirit to be of any use. The sovereignty of God lecture does not help them at all.
If however, we take Paul’s approach and say “ God has been waiting for you to ask Him that very question and I think He sent me to you to help find the answer”. Now you have a stepping stone that is relative to their place of understanding that also still aligns with scripture.
You can ask them
why they let their child cry sometimes when they have done something wrong and are being punished
Why they don’t give their kids everything they ask for or why they let their children suffer the pain of a broken toy as a result of being abusive with it or neglectful
We admit that we want to be loved but we must also admit that we need to often teach others the right a wrong way to express that love
The right and wrongs in relationships l
God, our Father, does that with His children
He provides room for choices, room for disobedience because there can be no love without the choice to say “I don’t love you”
There is no obedience without the opportunity to disobey
Leave two children in a room to play and tell the stronger one that you want him to share , then leave the room
The opportunity to both obey and love have been given
If the strong one chooses to disobey, the weaker one will experience the consequences immediately (while the stronger one looks like he got away with being disobedient)
The parent will, however, return, correct the wrong done
(The weaker sees the truth of the matter and the stronger ends up receiving punishment for disobeying)
This is how our world works as well
Our Father is simply allowing time to provide choices of love and obedience but is not far away , and will right all wrongs when the choices have played themselves out.
When we see Paul telling listeners that they must “believe” , what does he mean ?
James 2:19 demons believe and shudder.
Do we read where Paul tells listeners that they:
- must invite Jesus into their heart
- they will experience peace if they have a relationship with Jesus
- God will make their lives better, and life will make sense (or add in prosperity doctrine or total healing)
- need to accept God’s love to enter heaven
- say this prayer after me
In every case, he talks about the judgement of a sovereign God who offers a substitutionary sacrifice to pay for the offenses of totally depraved and evil people.
Security of the believer
Rom 8:38-39 “nothing can separate us from the love of God”
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Assurance of the believer
faith without works is dead
you will know a tree by it’s fruit
today, believers are given assurance of salvation by reminding them of “the prayer” they said years ago.
(if all someone claiming to be a believer has to turn to for assurance is a prayer they said 10-15 years ago then they might not be saved at all, ever) they may have been misinformed but never transformed.
So we see anywhere in the Bible where Christians tell others “ if you say this prayer sincerely you are saved forever”?
I have been told, “who am I to judge?” as if judging were a bad thing.
I am not condemning anyone (those who live according to the flesh have condemned themselves already according to John 3:17-18)
all I am doing is discerning the fruit of a person. Jesus told us we can know someone by their fruit.
Matt 7:15-20 know a tree by its fruit
Matt 7:1-3 judge not …
Statistics on modern evangelical methods show that there is a fall away of over 80% of claimed conversions
Statistics show that most church organizations base their outreach upon results from polls of what unsaved people say would attract them into the doors.
Has anyone noticed that the only follow up we ever see in scripture is visits or letters to established churches to correct bad teachings?
A true convert has a hunger for God and a desire to fellowship
My sheep hear my voice and follow me John 10:27-28
If we say we love God but do not love our brother, the truth of God is not in us 1 John 4:20
Why has the modern evangelical movement focused on this “easy believism?