Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Gospel Are You Hearing?

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7 NKJV

 We are beginning a new series of study on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What actually is the Gospel? The biggest question we will be examining is what Gospel are you hearing? 

 There are many "voices" in the wind. Many talking heads proclaiming a message. What we want to do is to distinguish who is preaching the Gospel and who is just spouting off words that have no real substance. 

What is the Gospel?

Traditionally we've defined the Gospel as good news. What some consider good news, however sometimes makes me wonder if they have actually read the Word or do they even know the Lord. Thayer's Greek Lexicon has probably the best definition of the Gospel.

 The English word translated Gospel in the New Testament is the Greek word "Euaggelion". It is defined as the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The proclamation of the Grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. Here is proof positive of what Radical Grace preachers have been saying. Grace is not a message or a movement but the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 This is the base as to what we will be using to determine if a message being proclaimed is the Gospel or some other message. So what message have you been hearing?

The discouraging/unhappy gospel

 This is the message that some here whenever they turn on Christian Television or whenever they attend church. This is that message that is grievous and somber. This is the message where we are expected to wipe off our smiles and cheer as soon as we step foot into the sanctuary of the church building.

 Church is supposed to be serious. We can't have any joy or encouragement, we need to study God's Word. I liken this message to the child who sees some dessert on his dinner plate and begins to be joyous inside and maybe even cracks a grin but suddenly the austere guardian quickly swipes it off their plate. "They don't need that, they need more spinach!"

 If you go to church and leave more discouraged and unhappy then when you came in, you might want to examine what you're hearing. These ministries are the ones always angry at the so-called happy gospel or "gospel lite" messages from that mega church in Houston TX. Church isn't supposed to build you up. You're supposed to come to church to learn about the areas you're not measuring up in. 

 If you're listening to messages that continually tear you down or never lift you up, turn that junk off. God paid a high price for you. You're the apple of God's eye. If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it! The Gospel is glad tidings of good things! It is the good news that God loves you and has a welcome place for you at the King's table.

The hopeless gospel

 This message is mostly proclaimed on Christian programming. These are the fellows peddling freeze dried food and doomsday prepping gear. These are the talking heads continually proclaiming doom and gloom. 

 I have no issue with some proclaiming that we are in the last days. I am not saying stick your head in the sand and pretend there exist no darkness in this World. Certainly, there exist darkness in our time. Yet that is exactly why Christ is our hope. Surely darkness is here on Earth, but as the darkness exists the glorious brightness of our Gracious good Father is ever brighter. 

 The hopeless gospel message is that financial woes, famine, pestilence are overtaking the planet. Much of what is proclaimed by these "ministers" is always negativity and judgment. If there was a tsunami in Asia it was because God designed it because they were bad people. This vitriolic rhetoric turns off lost people who are looking for hope in this darkened World. 

In Christ Jesus, there is always hope. There is always a new day promised. There is an exit door. God has made a way for us to live in victory and possess the land even in this fallen World. If what your hearing keeps you in fear and anxiety it is time to turn it off and embrace Jesus and His victorious overcoming triumph over sin, the curse, and all the enemy.

 What Gospel are you hearing? Keep hearing the good news of Christ. The glad tidings of salvation through Christ gives us hope and joy in this darkened World. We have a joy and a spark that attracts others and ignites a passion in those around us. That is the transformative power of the Gospel. 

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