Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recovering the Gospel

Now I'm no expert on "churchianity" but reading a post over at The Rising Sons of Grace inspired me to think a little more on how easy it is to use strategies of the flesh (the world) to plant and grow a church and then say, "God did it!"

I can use techniques like "tithe and God will bless you" in order to get people to come to God. What person of the world doesn't love wealth? Or I could say..."Stop doing all the wrong things and start doing all the right things and you will be happy!" (that tends to be Oprah's gospel) I could also use fear and guilt and shame to get people to run to church. The pharisees did. Or I could also use liberalism to get people to want to come to my church, saying things they want to hear like "Being gay is okay!" You get the idea. I could use all sorts of techniques to get people to come.

But what about using the Gospel of God's grace to get people to come? What about using the one strategy you were meant to use? The Gospel of peace. The Gospel of Jesus' death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection. What becomes of the Gospel? Have we forgotten it? Have we gotten so lost in behavior change that we don't remember it isn't about trying to change your behavior, but changing your beliefs? We're so focused on the fruit that we have no time for what is truly important - the Root. Jesus wants to come in and have dinner with us. He just wants us. If trying to be "good" gets in the way of you and Jesus having a great relationship, He'd rather you just be with Him. It isn't about the works. It's about the two of us, knowing each other and loving each other. And how do we love Him? By growing in the understanding of who He is and how much He loves us. We don't force up love as extreme Calvinists imply. Some of them reason "God didn't die for you, He died to bring more glory to Himself."

If someone tells you they love God, but believes His love for them is based on their performance, they lie. Our performance can never be good enough, therefore He cannot accept us based on our performance. Dedicate yourself and re-dedicate yourself. Had you ever been dedicated in the first place, you wouldn't have re-dedicated yourself. Stop lying to God and to yourself and submit to His love and His righteousness. Jesus told you not to take an oath, not even by your own head. Stop trying to prove yourself and stop trying to make others prove themselves! Just preach the Gospel of God's grace!

7 comments:

Amy said...

Matt,
I love what he said here: "But what about using the Gospel of God's grace to get people to come? What about using the one strategy you were meant to use? The Gospel of peace. The Gospel of Jesus' death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection...He'd rather you just be with Him. It isn't about the works. It's about the two of us, knowing each other and loving each other."

I just hopped on over to Craig's blog and left him a message. Thanks for including his link.

Blessings,
~Amy ;)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

INetNomad said...

The more I study the Gospel of Christ as taught by Christ himself as well as by his Apostles and Prophets in the Bible, the more my heart cries out for all religion everywhere to return to that same Gospel and doctrine of Christ. Christian religions worldwide have changed the message of Christ to be something that is “easy” and “comfortable”. They have removed the “repent or suffer the consequences” that was taught by nearly everybody in the Bible. Are the pastures of the world too afraid of offending someone that they won’t teach the real Gospel. Have they themselves chosen a message that is “easy” and “comfortable” to live so they can grow their congregation? I know we don’t like to look outside of our own faith for ideas. Perhaps we build these walls out of fear of the unknown, but as one who doesn’t mind the idea of studying other religions, I like how the Mormon church doesn’t pull any punches. They haven’t changed their doctrines one bit for well over the 150. They have established their church using the same structure as that found in the Old and New Testaments, including Prophets, Apostles, Seventies, Evangelists (we call them Mormon missionaries). They even claim to have that same priesthood as taught throughout the Bible. Here’s a website that talks further about some of their beliefs.

http://mysite.verizon.net/resvvgeg/Prophets_Priesthood.htm

These are powerful foundations that the people of today need to build their faith upon. We can’t afford to teach anything outside of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. If we do then we are no better than the Sadducees and the Pharisees that altered and modified the Law of Moses and were called to repentance by Christ throughout his ministry.

Deut. 12:32
"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

Teach the Gospel of Christ as he intended it so we don’t find ourselves guilty of adding to, or diminishing it. I believe that if we truly teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his Apostles and his Prophets, it is only then that we can truly expect to have the witness of His Holy Spirit who will grow our faith and understanding.

Matthew Daelon said...

I have no interest in the doctrine of the mormons. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave us truth. Why do I need Joseph Smith to confirm anything for me?

Joel B. said...

Great post Matthew! Right on!

Free Spirit said...

Yeah, where is that darn gospel? I know I put it here somewhere... Hmmm...

Bino M. said...

Matthew,
You are shaking the job security of many professional ministers.
This is not fair :)

Matthew Daelon said...

Hehe. I hope so! I hate it when people use "techniques" to win people to Church. I hate sayings like "being relevant". Preach the Gospel. Whether or not the people think it's relevant to them is irrelevant. I'm not gonna try to make Christianity look "cool" for you so you'll join my club. It's ridiculous.