17
Nov
17

And the Gospel _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Will Be Preached…

Christians are very familiar with the term “the gospel”, and are aware of the need to share “the gospel”.

But what is our understanding of the term?

 

We think of it as “the good news” – but what is the news that is good?

 

I’ve been trying to think of some of the ideas I’ve come across during the decades since I first came into contact with “gospel” preaching Christians.
At various times I’ve accepted several of these ideas – or at least parts of them. Other’s I’ve heard but have never accepted.

 

To what extent have we REALLY tried to grasp what the Bible says about “the gospel”?
How was it preached by Jesus and the early church?
What was preached by Jesus and the early church that could be described as “the gospel”?

 

1) Receive Jesus and escape hell
2) Come to God, He has a wonderful plan for your life.
3) God’s eternal, righteous Kingdom is accessible
4) You are going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus
5) God wants to prosper you – turn to Him.
6) Join God’s mission to turn this world around.
7) God loves everyone so much He wants to be their friend.
8) Come to God as you are, God loves you anyway.
9) If God has chosen you as part of His elect – you’ll be saved.
10) Repeat this sinner’s prayer and you’ll be saved.

 

There are probably many other examples, but those given above probably give a reasonable taste of the various messages that have been presented as “the gospel”. Some of those statements contain part of the truth, others are far from the truth, but I believe only one gets close to the real heart of the gospel. I’ll address that later.

 

From a personal level, I suppose my initial interest in the gospel message came about through a desire to avoid hell. At the time I thought I had nothing to worry about because I’d grown up with a belief in God and I thought that was enough to make me safe. Then somehow a school friend who’d recently become involved with a Pentecostal church managed to convince me of the need to ask Jesus into my life through the reciting of “the sinner’s prayer” – so a few of the phrases listed above played a part in my introduction to Christianity.

 

However, while those messages served a purpose, they didn’t exactly set me on a path to a strong Christian faith. They put ME at the centre, and I don’t recall myself ever considering that maybe God should be at the centre of the gospel. That the gospel was more about HIS intentions for the whole of His creation, than about keeping me as an individual out of hell.

 

If I now had to choose which one of the above statements best expresses’ the heart of the gospel, it would be the third: “God’s eternal, righteous Kingdom is accessible”. That’s the message John the Baptist preached in preparation for the introduction of Jesus, and that is the message Jesus preached from the beginning of His ministry: “the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

 
Jesus later spoke of the “gospel of the Kingdom” being preached in the whole world as a precursor of the end.

But the end of what?

The end of this world’s disconnection from, and its rejection of, the Kingdom of God; when “The kingdoms of the world […] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah”.

The purpose of the gospel is to proclaim the good news of God’s coming Kingdom, and the fact that we (mankind) can be part of it. That the corruption, the hypocrisy and the injustices that pervade every aspect of the world’s Kingdoms will be brought to an end.

The gospel is the good news of the Kingdom; GOD’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

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17
Nov
17

Israel Partners With Christian Ministry.

 

 

16
Nov
17

Demonised or Celebrated? What is “acceptable” and what isn’t?

 

In the aftermath of the overwhelming support for same sex marriage shown in the Australian postal survey, here are a few inconsistencies to consider as Australia confirms its place with the rest of the western world as a society that increasingly approves and celebrates an LGBTIQ agenda.

 

White born Rachel Dolezal identified as black and lived as a black woman but was later demonised when her actual biological identity was exposed.

Yet for some reason the issue of felt gender “identification” is considered differently. How can (and why should) gender identity be considered as acceptably flexible and changeable, while racial identity has to remain fixed by a person’s status at birth? (I’m making what I believe is a valid comparison, I’m not advocating the picking and choosing of racial identity).

Compare attitudes to the above case with community attitudes to this one (with Jenner being awarded “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine in 2015):

 

And how about a case like this, where it’s unacceptable for white people to apply “blackface” as a caricature of African American appearance, and yet it’s okay for “transvestite” men to caricature the appearance of women.

These inconsistencies offer very stark examples of the inevitable hypocrisy imbued within a human society that increasingly rejects God and distances itself from Him.

It’s not something that will be changed by political action, through the support of party politics, or pledging allegiance to any earthly institution (whether nation, political group or religious body).

In fact I don’t believe its something that will be changed at all. This world will not see an improvement in moral standing and will not move closer to God through any human action. Scripture makes the downward spiral of human society very clear, and it’s something that won’t be halted until God calls time, and Jesus returns.

So with all of this going on around us what should or can we do?

I think that needs a much more complex answer than I can handle fully in a blog post, but I’ll suggest these things.

1)  remember what Kingdom you belong to and seek that Kingdom first.

2) remember it’s not our place to condemn individuals belonging to a different Kingdom. We are Christ’s ambassadors committed to the message of reconciliation, tasked with encouraging and helping potential migrants to transfer their citizenship to the Kingdom of God.

 

 

15
Nov
17

The wrath of God is being revealed

Australia’s same-sex marriage postal survey:

61.6% yes, 38.4% no

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

________________________

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

________________________

they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1%3A+18-32&version=NIV

People often see situations like this as being examples of man’s sin that will ultimately bring about God’s judgement.

However, in Paul’s letter to the Romans (see above) I find it’s made clear that situations like this are the RESULT of God’s judgement on our societies. The more mankind rejects God, the more these things will be the norm in society, BECAUSE God has given mankind over to the sinful ways man has chosen above God.

 

 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

What could be a clearer reason for followers of Jesus NOT to identify with, or express allegiance to, any of mankind’s earthly political agendas or political philosophies.

14
Nov
17

7 Thoughts on the Numerous Recent Moral Failings of Public Figures

Another very insightful article from Jeff Weddle. While Jeff refers to the political situation in the USA, the same principles can be applied elsewhere.

Please take the time to go to the link and read all of Jeff’s post.

I particularly like the last sentence – it sums up the whole issue perfectly.

anti-itch meditation

When Bill Clinton was elected president, I was cleaning floors in the Northwestern College cafeteria. My roommate’s girlfriend came in and told me, with tears in her eyes, that Clinton won.

“Oh,” I said, and went back mopping.

The Clinton years were a fascinating time to be a Christian. I will admit I got caught up in the hysteria. Monica Lewinski, rape allegations, “at least Nixon resigned” t-shirts, etc.

The moral outrage amongst Christians was astounding. Clinton was the devil incarnate.

Oh how far we’ve come, dear church.

“a new PRRI/Brookings poll says. In 2011, 30 percent of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” Now, 72 percent say so — a far bigger swing than other religious groups the poll studied.

Evangelicals no longer think moral…

View original post 806 more words

09
Nov
17

My Internet and Phone Service Whinge.

Australia is installing something called the NBN (National Broadband Network).

It was infrastructure introduced by the Labor Govt almost 10 years ago and was intended to make high speed broadband available to every home via fibre optic cable.

Labor lost an election and the Liberal/Nationals took over and chose to cut costs by using a combination of fibre optic cable to a central point within a neighbourhood -from which it would continue to the home via existing copper wire phone lines.

This cheaper version means that the old phone system will be disconnected soon and all phone lines to the home will have to be through the NBN. I suspect the original version would have left the option of having the phone via the old copper wire system, since two separate cables would have been hooked up to the home (one for internet, the other for phone) and both would remain on entirely separate networks.

Last week I applied for our place to be switched over to the NBN and yesterday we got sent the DIY modem kit that I have to try to figure out how to connect, so that we can maintain our phone service.

Today, after spending almost 20 minutes on hold, I managed to get through to our phone company to get a few questions answered.

I found out that only one phone extension within our house will work after the changeover (we currently have two phones, so one of those will be useless afterwards). If we want more than one usable phone extension we’ll have to buy a cordless phone that can be connected to the NBN system through WIFI. ($$$$)

Through the NBN, for the first time we will have access to the internet via our home computer. However – the computer isn’t in the room where it can be connected to the NBN Modem so it needs to have WIFI capability. Initial investigations indicate that my computer probably doesn’t have that capability. So if we want to use the internet access (that we have to pay for whether it’s used or not) we’ll probably have more expenditure ($$$$) to get a new computer, or to get the current one altered to make it WIFI compatible.

The cheapest phone plan on the NBN (that includes the internet access we may not be able to use), is about $15 per month more than we are currently paying for our phone service. (More $$$$).
I forgot to add that the NBN modem needs to be connected to the mains power for the phone line to work. Therefore no phone service if there’s a power-cut.
Also, I wonder what difference the extra (continual) power usage will make to our electricity bills. ($$$$ again).

08
Nov
17

Guns or God? (Only in America!)

Hours after the worst massacre at a place of worship in American history, the Texas Attorney General did the unthinkable…[urging] more people to bring guns to church

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/texas-shooting-state-attorney-general-name-bring-guns-church-worst-massacre-gun-worship-a8039851.html




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