Gospel solutions, part 1

So what happens now that we have this new understanding about the gospel? I mean the gospel is an active verb now, and no longer a noun. It is something that is moving, acting, healing, helping, correcting, convicting, making things new. It isn’t something to simply be recited and memorized for the sake of sinners anymore. It is now for us and for them. So, what do we do?

SolutionWell, we could always start to believe it. We could start there. We could actually believe that the gospel leads us to trust God. That it heals us in our hurts. That it is helping us make decisions for our families, our budgets and our activities. That it has things to say about our houses, neighborhoods and jobs. That it can be trusted and lived out. We could always start there I guess. :)

It helps us to fight our fears, stop believing our doubts. It enables us to trust Jesus and His word, live valiantly, and make a difference.

Think about it. You have insecurities, fears and things that make you anxious. But the gospel confronts all those things and makes them fade away. Its hard to take in, I know.

You are worried about finances. I mean who doesn’t? I do. I worry about them too. But where the good news of the gospel comes in is where we believe that if God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field then He will take care of us. Birds die. Flowers fade. We live. And we are made in the Creator’s image. The birds and flowers are not. Why would He not take care of us? Why would He not be reliable and trustworthy? He is. The gospel tells us that. Believe it.

Maybe you are insecure because all the other moms in the neighborhood seem to have life all together and you don’t. They prepare healthy lunches, and prepare activities that they do with their kids, and you are lucky to get their teeth and your teeth brushed by noon. You are insecure because you just can’t get it together like everyone else. Viewing things this way makes you inadequate and not enough. Not true! That is a lie. You are not inadequate. You are enough. Why? Because Jesus says so. God calls you a daughter because He loves you. Jesus calls you a sister and one who was worth the price of His life. All your shame, guilt, condemnation and mistakes have been taken away and erased. You are free and clean according to the gospel. It makes you new. It frees you. It heals you. It cleanses you. And because of that you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone because Jesus is pleased with you. You! Plain and simple you! Jesus is pleased with you! It doesn’t matter what the other moms do, Jesus sees you as enough and is pleased. That is good news. Believe it.

Maybe you doubt. All the time you doubt. Someone says it good to see you and you don’t buy it. Your boss tells you good job and you think he says that to everyone. Your wife tells you she loves you and you begin to wonder about it. Everything that you run into makes you doubt. Nothing gives you peace. Nothing helps. Well the gospel confronts that head on. Jesus is someone you can trust. You can stake your claim on Him. Scripture says that over and over and over. He doesn’t change. He the same forever. He is the image of the Father. What the Father is about, Jesus is about. And if the gospels paint an accurate picture of Him, then He is still that same person today. He can be trusted and not doubted. He hasn’t ever done one thing to deserve to be doubted. His whole life shows He can be trusted. That is the gospel. Believe it.

The gospel assists us to live life very differently that we ever have before.

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Gospel questions, part 3

Review: Questions part 1 and part 2.

So here we go, if the gospel is “good news” then what is contained about Jesus in these books called “Gospels” is the gospel. “Whoa, Jay. Slow down there Mr. Heresy!” I know. It felt strange and weird to say things like that at first too. Yet I have to confess, it also made a whole lot of sense to say it like that. What I knew to be the gospel never came out of Jesus’ mouth. I don’t remember Him standing on a mountain preaching and giving a jesus-teaches-the-twelve_1128355_inlpresentation anything like what pastors do at the end of sermons today. Never. He said some of those concepts like “leave your life of sin” and “anyone who wants God has to come through me.” And I don’t think He would have thought I was wrong “necessarily” in my gospel understanding, but I was just short-sighted in it. There was more. There wasn’t enough to what I was saying. There was room on my dinner plate for more food. There was other things that needed to be added.

When I started thinking this way I felt like I was forsaking the gospel I grew up on, and in a way, the history and heritage I came from. That being small town, conservative, Baptist, legalism. But I knew that what I knew the gospel to be wasn’t freeing, it was confining. And this new way seemed to actually bring about freedom.

When Jesus said that He came to “seek and save the lost” – that is good news. So that is part of the gospel. It is the gospel. When Jesus got down on the level of a prostitute drug out in the streets – that is good news. That is gospel. When Jesus confronted Peter’s doubts by referring to him as Satan, and saying to get behind Him – that is good news. That is gospel. When Jesus heals a leper – that is good news. That is gospel. When Jesus lets the children climb all over Him – that is good news. That is gospel. When Jesus calls the Pharisees white washed tombs – that is good news. That is gospel. Sometimes the gospel heals and helps, sometimes it cuts and burns. Either way it is good because it is truth that we see in the life of Jesus in these books called The Gospels. The realization of that seemed to be a gospel that full, expanding, filling, satisfying, and abundant. I like that gospel much more.

 

Gospel questions, part 2

ST Faith's Anglican Church, Rotorua, NZ (Saints Matthew, Mark Luke and John)“Is there nothing more to this?” was one of the questions that I shared last time I wrote about if what I knew to be the gospel. I seemed to have questions about it, but no one else did. And even when I posed them to some people that I trusted I didn’t get much of a response from them. Then I had what seemed to be a blatantly obvious question: If the translation of the word “gospel” means “good news” and that seemed to be narrowed down to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how that deals specifically with my sin, then why were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John called “gospels”? Huh? Anyone else ever have that question? I mean seriously, I couldn’t figure a way to reconcile it. I couldn’t. If a whole book about Jesus is good news, then why did what I knew to be good news only include the last few chapters of that book (i.e.- the parts about His death and resurrection), and a few more chapters in a book that Paul wrote (i.e.-the book of Romans)? The “Gospels” themselves included way, way more than the gospel that I knew. It just didn’t seem to be a logical fit for me.

Then three years ago I started hearing friends using “the gospel” in a way that I hadn’t heard before. Phrases like “The gospel leads us to that.” “That is opposite thinking of the gospel.” “Do you think the gospel would take you to that conclusion?” It confused me because I didn’t know how to reconcile my idea of the gospel with what they were saying. And I didn’t ask. You might wonder why I never asked. Well, I was embarrassed that I didn’t understand what they were saying. Honestly. I have an Masters degree from a seminary and didn’t know what they were saying when they used the basic Christian term “gospel” that way.

But then I was given a book by Brad Brisco and Lance Ford that seemed to help me a bit. It was The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight and…finally. Wow. The light come on. At last there was a language was given to me that put a lot of the jumbled up thoughts in my head on to a piece of paper in a logical form. I am not saying Scot was my “savior” for understanding the gospel, but all of a sudden I began to see it in a way that was bigger than what I ever knew it to be. It meant a whole lot more. It gained so much weight. It actually became greater news instead of just being good news. It wasn’t confined to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but it spread to before Jesus was even here on the scene, and stretched past when He ascended into heaven. It was almost as if the word “gospel” was freed to be itself in my mind. The way it had been used around me the past few years suddenly clicked. The questions I had about “The Gospels” being called just that went away, because the whole book became a story that was incredible news for saints and sinner alike. I felt like I actually began to understand the gospel. It made sense. And the gospel began to be a comfort to me.