The gospel dares us to ignore our feelings…

The gospel of the Lord Jesus is unemotional… it is simply a truth. Jesus; the God-Man died and rose to life for sinners; to absorb their guilt, punishment and death, and to make them righteous, holy and alive as His adopted brothers in eternity to display the glory of His Father.

But the gospel does cause emotions. The gospel causes many many different types of emotions! Christians can rightly feel things all the way from shame to joy, from insignificance to glorious-pride (in a good way).

But what happens when you feel one aspect of the gospel more than another? What about those times when you feel the guilt and shame of your sin; when you feel the weight of your personal rebellion against God… when you feel how small and insignificant you are and how you have nothing… absolutely nothing to offer… just sin; wrath-worthy sin.
What about those times when your feelings of guilt are so strong you just can’t believe that God would want you, let along love you and want good things for you?

See, it’s not that you don’t understand the gospel… you “know” that Jesus’ blood can atone. You “know” that God can forgive through the cross. You “know” what God says, but you just don’t feel it – you feel like it can’t be true… “God could never love me, not now, not after what I’ve done.”

That’s when you need to ignore your feelings. They’re lying to you. In fact, it’s Satan lying to you. So please, don’t act out of your feelings! Don’t act in line with your emotions! Choose, nay, DARE to ignore your feelings and act according to the gospel.

Imagine for a moment… if God really loved you and wanted good things for you, what could you pray for? What would you feel comfortable praying for if you truly felt God was your great and powerful daddy? Anything, right!?! Trivial things, right?! Little nothing things, right?!

So dare to do that! Boldly approach the throne of grace and ask for the type of things that you shouldn’t be able to ask for! Take the plunge! Do it!

Trust God’s unemotional gospel in the midst of your emotional turmoil.

 

Gospel Hurdles: People don’t know what a “King” is

There’re many hurdles to people accepting and believing in Jesus, but one of the commonly ignored hurdles is the concept of even having a “lord” or a “King”. People just don’t get what that means. 

And this is probably a fairly recent thing… Up until the 1940s-50s nations would still go to war “for King and country”, Kings still held complete sovereign power is certain nations. Whereas today, the only all-powerful Kings are despots and military coups. 

It’s no wonder that non-Christians hear us talking about Jesus as a king and then find the idea of repentance so strange. Why would you change your life for someone like Queen Elizabeth?!

The real idea behind Jesus’ kingship is his Lordship; He’s the Master and we are his slaves. And he has become like us to die for us and take us from slaves to sons (Col 1).

The gospel is a press-release not an archive.

The word gospel is usually thought to mean “good news”, but it’s more like “important news”.

The gospel is what happens when the president calls the TV stations and says, “Clear your airwaves, I need to address the nation in 30mins”.  He’s saying, “I have a gospel”.

For a gospel to be a gospel it needs a speaker and an hearer. It needs to be passed on, communicated, to be a gospel. In fact, if you knew the gospel and didn’t pass it on – in some senses – it actually stops being a gospel. It becomes an archive. It’s still true. But it’s not a gospel because it’s not being proclaimed and communicated and announced.

Who should church be “for”?

This is a question that seems to cause grumbling, but that’s usually because those discussing it haven’t defined their terms, and the preposition “for” is very slippery. As such, these are all true…

  • Church is for everyone!
    It’s a gathering to sit under and respond to the word of the living and true God. The God of the universe. When Jesus comes back and raises everyone from the dead, they’re all going to be gathered (churched) around him and respond Philippians 2 style. So they should be in local churches now too.
  • Church is for Christians!
    This is a true, although narrow, use of the term “for”. Technically, church “is” Christians. Church is the family/community/flock-of-an-under-shepherd gathering of those who hear and respond to Jesus as Lord. It’s a Christian “thing”, so yeah, it’s for them by the simple fact it is them.
  • Church is for Christian encouragement and perseverance!
    This takes the previous point and gives it some flesh. If church is the gathering of those under Christ, then that gathering should support and equip those very ones to remain in Christ, in a fully Heb 3:13 way. In other words, if you’re going to get people together who exist on the basis of Jesus’ words, REMIND THEM to keep going!!
  • Church is for gospel proclamation
    See, this is really the common thread. The gospel is a message of the global king. Its content describes its extent. It’s a message for everyone, especially those who have already believed it.

So, if church is for everyone, especially Christians… how should you design your meetings?

What did Paul share when he shared his life?

In 1Thessalonians, Paul says “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”

A common reaction to this is to almost imagine that Paul had two lives… his gospel preaching life, and his normal person life. The implication being that pastors and ministers today should not just peach the gospel to the flock God has given to their care, but they should share their hobbies, their song lists, their holidays.

But, think back to 1Thessalonians… Paul had been with them about 3 weeks (Acts 17:1-9) before being chased out of the city after a new convert (Jason) got persecuted. What did he share with them? His love of soccer? His favourite movies? No. He shared the gospel with them, and he shared the effects of preaching the gospel with them. He recruited them to his passion… gospel preaching.

We see this when you put verse 8 and 9 together… Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well; Surely you remember our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

I fear a future where pastors are mainly on about life-sharing and less on about gospel-passion-sharing. Because for Paul, they were one in the same thing.