Monday, July 14, 2008

Author of the Gospel

Jesus said it true, not speaking of Himself, but by the ordination and the power of God, He laid down His life for us.

Those so those would follow Him to the cross, would in turn share the beauty of what God the Father has done for us yesterday, today and forever, in doing so saving souls from an eternal hell. Unfortunately we as a Christ-professing (as opposed to confessing) society have delivered a ministry of condemnation to an unbelieving society.

Before I delve into what the Author of the Gospel portrayed as the Firstfruit of the resurrection, let me first share the words of Paul who, also is an supernatural example of the trendy term "Christ-follower".
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. -- 2 Corinthians 4:5-18

Understanding that we have been given a ministry that liberates, as opposed to a ministry that condemns, we see this liberating ministry in Christ Jesus as He spoke to the woman at the well. John 4:13-24
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Christ's first approach to the woman was to immediately speak about "everlasting water". What is clear is that Jesus already knew the lifestyle of the woman at the well. What is AMAZING is that He does not focus, nor concern Himself of it. He continues to explain, exemplify and glorify the Father for the purpose that she may "see" God and choose God. He corrects her understanding of "worshipping" God in a physical place and explains that God is a Spirit and requires spiritual worship.

Can you imagine how liberating this woman must have felt, first upon realization that she spoke to "a prophet", secondly that this prophet who knew she had five husbands did not condemn, admonish or shame her with this information and thirdly, HE OFFERED HER "A WELL OF WATER SPRINGING UP INTO ETERNAL LIFE!"

"Is this not the Christ?" she exclaimed upon return from her visit with the Lord. Yes indeed it is the Christ! The promised Messiah of Israel! And this is His true ministry, the Gospel, the Hope and Liberty we need to proclaim unto this world in spiritual bondage. What saddens me, and, yes angers me, is that so many distort this message. So many of us focus on sins of the unbeliever. So many of us demand that they "clean up their act first and then come as they are". Too many tout their mission to "clean up" sin, blindly ignore the Gospel of Hope as Christ authored it, and ignorantly forget that our sins were taken care of by His death on the cross. We conveniently forget that the judging of hearts, characters and souls is a job reserved only for a Holy, Righteous God, who is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrew 4:12

As any Christian can read, Christ did not and does not condemn a sinner for being a sinner, no, He did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:17
Is there any doubt why Christ did not focus on the woman's lifestyle, besides a mere acknowledgement? It was because He was on His way to the cross. As far as He was concerned it didn't matter, He was going to take care of it anyway! Instead, He focused on His mission, SAVING the world!!! I pray that many will minister the Gospel of our Lord that liberates. We have that power, the power of the Holy Spirit, to guide, show the way where the heavy and overburdened can lose their shackles.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

6 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I feel that there's a fine line -- there needs to be a need to make a person aware that he has sinned against God without sounding condemning, before the Gospel is given.

    Without the conviction of one's sin, the Gospel will be under-appreciated. The Cross is precious to us because in it we know that we are such wretched sinners saved from eternal damnation.

    I believe we need to help a person see that he is living in sin. That said, can we do that without sounding condemning? DEFINITELY!

    Thank you for the reminder, Hannah.

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  2. Isaiah,

    You know... what I wrote this post on a whim. This really isn't the post I intended to write. The Spirit is funny that way. I was working on my Website and was reading John 4 for that purpose. I suddenedly recognized HOW Jesus was sharing the Hope of the Gospel.

    You are right... there absolutely needs to be an acknowledgement of sin. If there is no acknowledgement, then the Gospel means nothing to those who aren't convicted. The question becomes, is our job to convict of sin? Especially when the ministry of Christ, who we are to be followers of, was not a condemning one, but a ministry of liberation. I'll let the word speak it true:

    John 16:7 & 8
    Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

    And when he is come, he will reprove the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and of judgement:

    It is not only by the Word do I believe we should not promote a condemning ministry, but by personal experience. I have several sisters who I have, for years, evangelized the errors of their ways. Needless to say I was looked upn as "upright and uptight" and anything I said about the Word was blocked by a wall of defensiveness.

    As I matured and grew in Spirit I left their "lifestyle choices" alone, as a result, I recently grew close to one of my sister, I share my faith and HOW I live by faith thru personal testimony and example. She was able to witness my unassisted (no dr. Or midwife) home birth with my son, Jeshaiah. Something I normally wouldn't do, because its a very private event. As a mother who has had all of her children by cesarean, it was a tremendously profound experience for her. She immediately went testifying of the beauty she saw. Of the Lord and the faith she witness on my part.
    The whole thing was a blessing because I saw the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in her testifying of Him.

    If Christ being sinless did not condemn, how much more compassion should we, sinners, show the unbelieving society? We should always be led of the Spirit when ministering, whether we should speak of a persons "sins" or not, but we should never be hypocrital when it comes to this, being aware of our own (removing our "plank" to see clear enough), and using it as a testimony. After all hypocrisy was the one thing He did condemn.

    Well, this could be post of all its own. I may post it as one, (if that is okay with you) because its so vital to understand as to be effective for Him. I also still desire to clarify what sin is and will do so if only He allows.

    God Speed brother and Shalom!

    Hannah

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  3. Gee, why are you asking me if it's okay for you to post something? LOL! It made me feel rather bad... you know I'd love to read your views!

    I'm sorry I wasn't too clear on my point. We don't convict a person of their sins, but the Holy Spirit does. What our job is is to guide them to look at their lives and examine it such that they know that when they tell a lie or covet or look at lust at someone it is considered a sin in God's sight.

    The question whether a person feels remorseful for those deeds and thoughts is the work of the Holy Spirit. We have no such power.

    Sometimes I feel like we are so living in Christian bubbles that we are losing sight that we are in the world and need to be salt and light to those who are lost. I've been led to think about this issue recently for some reason...

    God bless you, sis!

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  4. I'm sorry! I certainly didn't mean to make you feel bad! Although I can see where you're coming from...when have I ever asked any one's permission to post anything huh?

    I only asked because I didn't want you to feel as if I was "calling you out" which I"m not... in the interest of being respectful to a brother in Christ, of whom, I'm very fond of :) I decided to ask...

    I feel as you do. Needing to be "salt and light" to the world. And like you I have been thinking of that a lot lately not just by the way of our dialogue, but with the dialogue of others... makes me wonder...and pray...

    God Bless you Isaiah!

    By the way, is that raccoon wearing a scarf? (Your avatar, ir that's what its called) I'm sure it's just me...because I DO need reading glasses, but it looks like a raccoon and a bandanna

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  5. Nah, I think I over-reacted with feeling bad about it, ha ha! And don't think that I am that sensitive, lol! My wife says I am a blockhead so I stand by that. :-P

    If I am wrong in my views, please feel free to challenge them. :-)

    With regards to the salt and light issue, I've been thinking a lot about going out to do evangelism. I see a dearth of it in Singapore and I feel a strong urge to do something about that. I'm still seeing if there's confirmation on this, but something John MacArthur said does strike me...

    He said that if you feel a strong urge to do God's work, e.g. ministry, evangelism, etc, then just go ahead and do it. Along the way you'll get your confirmation. Holding out for one isn't advisable.

    I'm not sure if the raccoon is wearing a scarf, lol! I didn't look at it that closely. Actually, I've changed my avatar (again) and this one is cute! Lately, I've got this thing about cute animals for some reason and have been (I'm ashamed to admit!) hitting this web site called cuteoverload.com. LOL!

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  6. Oh how cute! Don't you know that a measure of a man is how sensitive he is? :)
    Just ask your wife! My husband stands @ 6'4" and is pretty loaded in the biceps, he he's got the biggest heart. Its, hands down, his best feature!

    Evangelizing? Go for it! Its not easy, but my goodness it is faith-building! To see the manifestation of God in all His Glory is what I live for!

    I have a testimony to share. This week my hubby gave his 2 weeks notice. Now while that may sound like a bad thing, it most certainly is all for the glory of the Father. Hubby's boss wasn't too keen on letting him go, encouraged him to take time off. Immediately after their discussion, he (the boss) announced that he was a Jew that didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah. And wanted hubby to "find" and share scriptures to validate Paul's position as a disciple!

    Currently, we are (as we always do) resting upon Him for the "next step". To remain content, blessed in Him and most importantly, led by the Holy Spirit. I don't know what will happen next, but I do know either way He will be GLORIFIED! Amen!

    I've been trying to finish a post I've been working on all week...suffice it to say, its been busy. I apologize for the quiet blog. I don't like to post just to have something posted, especially about the Word.

    God speed, Isaiah! All for the Glory of the Lord!

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