Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where's God? The Gospel

For the last several weeks I've been on a journey of rediscovering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may sound like a strange thing to do, but when things are a miss I go back to the beginning to get a new prospective.

The gospel that most people hear is not all that good news. The Gospel of Jesus Christ that is presented is “Jesus the Son of God died on a cross for your sins and rose again. All your sins are forgiven. If you accept Jesus you are saved and not going to Hell” That's a synopsis of the preaching I've have heard – but then come the clincher “now you need to do this and that to keep from losing your salvation.”

The burden of salvation is put back on our shoulders. We are given the impression that we better not sin or God won't answer our prayers or do something awful to us to get us to tow the mark. Well that is NOT Good News, because we know we just can't stay sinless for the rest of our lives.

What I discovered is the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed an iota. My flawed thinking and wrong teaching led me down the path of Works Salvation. Salvation had become about what I did, how I prayed, how I served God, how I spent time in scriptures, how I gave my time and my money. But that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The definition of Gospel means: News too good—it is almost unbelievable! Complete victory. That is amazing! So how are we misunderstanding this awesome news?

We live in a world that has turned away from our Creator. We have intuition of the existence of our Creator and His power. But because of our self-centered desires, we operate totally on our emotions. If things go according to our plans and schemes, then we feel happiness. If things go wrong then we turn against the Creator, we know who is all powerful and blame Him for our calamities.

So what does this have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Everything!

Before we had a need, God provided a solution. Before this generation had even thought of doing wrong – God provided Jesus. Jesus forgave all the sins of the whole world for every generation that has existed or will exist. Try and get your mind around that. God is Good! God Loves Us!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son – that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16

Jesus either paid it all – or he paid nothing! That is something we need to correct our thinking.

Many of us believe in Jesus and have accepted His payment for our sins, but feel so unworthy of Him. We can not understand how to fully receive the gift and try to do something to merit favor.

“It is by grace we are saved through faith. It is a gift from God that no man can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9

God didn't provide salvation because any of us were especially good or righteous. God provided salvation because He loves us. We can never, no matter how good we think we are, what religious tasks we do earn God's favor – His gift to us has always been His Love, a love so great it passes all comprehension.

Along this journey I have scratched the surface of many wonderful truths. I am pursuing God with a completely different prospective. I want the Life Jesus promised, overwhelming life – the Joy of being in the presence of God, and the Hope that strengthens my Faith. I want to know that all encompassing Peace the Bible talks about – don't you?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where's God?

I began this journey sometime ago when I started having things go wrong in my life. The Lord never promised an easy ride or smooth sailing once we came into relationship with Him, but in fact we would have persecutions.

So I accepted the fact troubles and trials would come my way with the understanding that the Lord would defend me, because He “promised never to leave or forsake.” I also accepted the fact that somehow these problems and trials were good for me, after all our faith is “more precious than gold.”

I was faced with a dilemma because I was not receiving the fullness of joy and the blessings of God in my life. What went wrong? Where was God when my life was being stripped from underfoot? I kept standing in what I believed was faith. I kept praying and believing I was heard. But nothing was changing, it was going from bad to worse.

I woke up one morning after a night of tormenting dreams and felt so empty. Click Here if you want to read the full story. The Lord really had nothing to do with my situation – It was my Stinking Thinking.

Like so many Christians we filter the Word of God through the physical realm and what we are taught in church. Most of the sermons I've ever heard have two main themes:

(Before coming to Christ) You're a sinner and need salvation

(After coming to Christ) You're still a sinner and now you've got to straighten up or God wouldn't help you or answer your prayers.

Not exactly what Jesus had in mind when He died on the cross for us. He destroyed the death that haunted us and by His resurrection opened direct access to the Father. He gave us His power to live the life God planned for us. How did the message miss the mark? What is a Christian to do?

We've got to get back to the Gospel of Jesus and believe that. We've got to come out from under the Law and seek to understand God's grace. We need to seek out this power that we have been given through Jesus to live the Good News and stop hiding behind false teaching that robs us of our salvation.

This will be my topic for the next few weeks. I hope that you will follow along as I share locating the narrow road.