Category Archives: Jesus

10 Things about the gospel

 Here is a post written by Darrell L. Bock

Darrell Bock is executive director of cultural engagement and senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is an editor at large for Christianity Todayserves on the boards of Chosen People Ministries and Wheaton College, and is the author of Who Is Jesus?   He lists 10 key points on the heart of the Christian message.

1. The word gospel refers not to a kind of music; it meant “good news” in the Roman world.

The word gospel was originally about a kind of public announcement that was seen as good news. When the church took up the term, they were declaring that the message of salvation in Jesus Christ was good news. They were calling on people to repent and join the kingdom of God.

gospel red

In Greek, repent means to change your mind about something. In asking people to repent, the early Christians were saying, “Change your mind about the way your life and God work.” That need was met by the story of what Jesus had done. So they tell the story of Jesus’ work in order to share the gospel. (See Mark 1:15.)

2. The gospel is not primarily about sin.

Often, when people hear about the gospel, they think the emphasis is on sin, or more particularly, forgiving sin. That is actually only part of the story. More important is what happens as a result of sin being forgiven. There is a permanently restored relationship with God that is the key result. The gospel is more about reconciliation than about the forgiveness that leads to it (See Ephesians 2:11-22)

3. The gospel does not mean automatic salvation.

Some people think that their salvation is a given unless they do really bad things. That is not what scripture teaches. Rather, we all stand in need of salvation, but need to exercise faith in what God has done to receive it. Salvation, therefore, is received by faith by the one who turns to God seeking forgiveness. (See Romans 3:21-25a.)

Good News

4. The gospel is about grace, not works.

The salvation that comes through Jesus comes not as something we earn, but something God gives that we acknowledge we need. So, when I ask God to forgive my sin and seek his forgiveness and salvation, I am recognizing that I cannot save myself and I cannot earn salvation.

Grace is said to mean God’s riches at Christ’s expense. The point here is that his work on the cross pays the penalty for my sin and opens the door for God to forgive me and brings me back into a reconciled relationship with him. Works cannot earn salvation. Works result from salvation out of divine design and a grateful responsive heart. (See Ephesians 2:8-10.)

5. The gospel has a goal beyond heaven.

The point of the gospel is not about going to heaven, as nice as that prospect is. It is about being engaged with God forever. I like to joke that living forever is a good thing depending on whom it’s with. The good news of the gospel is that it opens the door to a restored relationship with God that he enables. So, the exciting thing is that reconciliation results with benefits starting now, not just in the future. (See 2 Corinthians 5:16-20.)

6. The gospel is about the giving of the Spirit.

Another often under-appreciated element of the gospel is that with forgiveness comes God sending his Spirit to indwell, enable, and direct us. Here is the key to the renewed relationship the gospel brings. We are not left to ourselves in our walk with God. This gift comes from the raised Jesus, who receives the Spirit from the Father and passes it on to all who call out in his name and seek deliverance from God. (See Romans 6–8; Acts 2:16-39; 1 Corinthians 15:1-19.)

7. The gospel connects us to others.

When we believe in the gospel, we become part of a large community known as the body of Christ. That body is made up of many members all of whom have been equipped to help minister to one another and a needy world. (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.)

8. The gospel connects us to a cloud of witnesses over the centuries.

We walk with and trod a path of faith many have undertaken before us. The Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11 walks through the cloud of witnesses whose trek of faith set the stage for the gospel as they hoped for what was promised. Since then, many saints have followed and joined the ranks. Those who believe are not alone, but are part of a family that spans the centuries and will one day be united before God. (See Hebrews 11.)

9. The gospel is something Moses, David, Isaiah and many others longed to experience.

We participate in a precious promise when we embrace the gospel. Jesus taught that the righteous and the prophets longed to look into what the disciples were experiencing. To share in God’s promise realized — aka the gospel — is to share in a very good, longed-for thing. (See Matthew 13:17.)

10. The gospel is so great that it is worth everything.

Jesus taught that the gospel of the kingdom was like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great price. There is joy in finding it, like a treasure discovered. Upon discovering what it is, there should be no hesitation to sell all you have to buy it — only, in this case, it is free. (See Matthew 13:44-46.)

Bonus: the gospel is for the world — an equal opportunity provider.

This gospel is offered to anyone in the world. It is a gift that can be received by anyone. All you have to do to receive the pearl is acknowledge your need of forgiveness and a restored relationship to God, understand Jesus took your place and paid your penalty, and accept the offer of life and the Spirit God gives to those who come to him for their spiritual well being. When anyone does that, they become a child of God. (See Acts 1:8; John 1:12.)

The original post can be found here. Please leave a comment.

 

Had a song stuck in your head?


Have you ever had a lyric of a song, a scripture verse, or a saying that is just stuck in your head? Sometimes it is a song that you hear on the radio or your iPod or something that you read in a book or poem or a quote in a movie. Maybe something your parents said to you one time and out of the blue you remember it and you cannot get it out of your mind for days or weeks. Sometimes you can’t remember were you heard it or read it, but it just comes to your mind and you can’t get it out of your head. It could be from days, weeks or years ago that you heard or read it, but now it wont go away. It is on your mind when you wake up, it comes to your mind during the day and it is stuck in your head while lying in bed at night. So now you are asking yourself, why? What does this mean? Is God trying to tell me something?

Well, for the past number of weeks I have had the words “Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest” going through my head. I had not heard those words for years.  I remember the full words of this IMG_1105prayer or hymn.
Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts.
The heavens and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Many of you from a catholic background will probably recognize this prayer. It is also called the Sanctus (Holy). The prayer is composed of two sections, both inspired by scripture, each ending with the phrase, ‘Hosanna in the highest’. The first section reminds us of an image of God’s heavenly throne and the unending worship that surrounds it found in the books of Isaiah and Revelation.In the story from Isaiah, the prophet is initiated into his calling by means of a heavenly, startling vision.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;?    the whole earth is full of his glory.’
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ Isaiah 6: 1-5

At the end of the vision one of the seraphs takes up a burning coal with tongs from before the altar and burns Isaiah’s guilt away from his lips.

John the writer of the book of Revelation underwent a similar experience and made conscious allusion to the Isaiah passage.
At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the centre, round the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all round, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
‘“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,”
who was, and is, and is to come.’
Revelation 4:2-8

The second section comes from the story of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey amid the cheers of the people crying out for salvation.

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
‘Say to Daughter Zion,? “See, your king comes to you,? gentle and riding on a donkey,? and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.  A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
Matthew 21:1-9

“Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest” has been stuck in my head at different times for a while now and I have been asking and wondering what and if God is saying something to me. What these words has reminded me is that Jesus is the God of glory and that salvation is only found in Him.

Now I know there are various theories that may explain why this happens (getting things stuck in your head).
Dr Vicky Williamson, a memory expert at Goldsmith’s College in London, found that scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject when it comes to music – stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly “earworm”. Earworms which are a special type of musical imagery. An earworm is a short part of a tune that comes into your head and then repeats for a while, for anything from a few minutes to hours. It can have words or it can just be a melody or a rhythm. Earworms are generally very persistent and it can be difficult to make them stop!

Whatever you think about this I would love to hear from you on this subject.

  • What song, scripture, movie quote have you had stuck in your head?
  • How do you feel when this happens to you?


 

 

 

Good advice…

This is a post from Seth Godin’s blog. I thought I would share with you.  Check out his blog.

Good advice…icn.seths.head

is priceless. Not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Not imaginary, but practical. Not based on fear, but on possibility. Not designed to make you feel better, designed to make you better.

Seek it out and embrace the true friends that care enough to risk sharing it.

I’m not sure what takes more guts—giving it or getting it.

So here is some even better advice.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

 

 

 

A Scripture for the heavy hearted

Ephesians 3:14-21
I kneel before the Father,

from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.