Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What Gospel Are You Hearing? The Angry Gospel

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

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile Romans 1:16 NLT

 We've been engaged in a brief study as of late. We are asking the question, what gospel are you hearing? Up to now, we have seen the Gospel message was not meant to be hopeless or discouraging. It wasn't designed to be a politically affiliated movement. The Gospel is good news, plain and simple. 

 Today, I ask the question again what Gospel message are you hearing? 

the Angry gospel

 Far too many believers have been listening to this message. I have heard messages like this for many years in the past. This isn't an indictment against passionate preaching or a speaker whose volume happens to be louder than what some are used to. We as believers are maturing into who Christ already made us. We aren't to discern things based upon fickle emotions. We are, however, to know and understand and evaluate what we are hearing by the standard of the Word of God. 

 What is the definition of the Gospel again? It is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The proclamation of the Grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. The angry gospel comes in various expressions. Let's examine them in light of the true Gospel.

The angry gospel is accusative in nature

  The angry message is that God is perpetually angry and fed up with the sins, the actions, and the failures of the World as well as the Church. He is like a ticking time bomb who at any moment will explode on all who cross Him. It is often accusative in expression.

 When a believer has a mishap or some other negative event transpire, those under this type of teaching are quick to hurl accusations; "The fact this occurred proves you must have some hidden sin in your life. Now if you repent, maybe God will help you out of this mess." 
 You will hear from the pulpits of angry gospel peddlers that revival tarries because the Church isn't faithful. You'll often hear how other denominations or groups are missing it, but their group is on the right track. You'll see whole conventions or meetings designed to reveal just how erroneous other Christian groups are because they don't embrace their views about the Holy Spirit or Calvinism. 

Quick to assign judgment 

 If there is a hurricane or tsunami or some other natural disaster the angry gospel is quick to assign the event as some judgment from God for that geographic region's sins. Is America experiencing a poor economy? It couldn't be because politicians are mismanaging the resources. No, it is because we have legalized something sinful. God is angry and punishing the evil doers. 

The Finished Work is of little importance

 In angry gospel circles, they are quick to acknowledge God's Son died and rose again. Sure He took all the punishment for sins. He bore all the judgment. Yet, in their messages, it seems it is of little consequence. God is still unsatisfied. He still punishes folk for their transgressions. He is still sending judgment to the nations for their wickedness. 

 As for evangelism, this message turns away sinners. It doesn't attract them. It preaches Hellfire and anger and a wrath consumed God. The message is God sees you as despicable and deplorable. It leaves some with the impression God wasted His Son's death on them. 

 The Gospel of Grace doesn't proclaim bad news. We are proclaiming the Grace that is Jesus Christ. We are proclaiming the glad tidings of new life and freedom from performance and works. Look at the book of Acts, when they ministered to the lost what message did they preach? Was it God is angry with you gentiles for your wicked deeds? Better turn or burn? See an example here

 What did Philip teach? 
35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. Acts 8:35 NLT
 Philip preached Jesus. That is the Gospel. The man readily received the good news. Philip preached Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life. The message of Jesus is a welcoming message. It is glad tidings, not sad tidings. Take note Philip didn't deny the existence of Hell. He didn't deny the reality that the Ethiopian man was lost. He simply preached the truth in love. There is no bad news in the good news.

The sad gospel

 Speaking of the angry gospel message leads us to mention another deviation of the true message. The sad gospel is what many hear  when they first come to Christ. What is the sad gospel?

 The sad gospel is all about what you must do to get God's love and favor. It is what you must give up before God will let you in His Family. It is all about what you do for Him. The Lordship salvation error is a perfect example of the sad gospel. 

 Before God will save your soul, you better straighten out your life first. You best quit that cussing and smoking. You best get a haircut and wear a suit tie so you can be welcomed to church. 

 The sad gospel declares what all you have to give up and what activities you need to cease participation in. Do you like golf on Saturdays? Too bad, you need to spend that time studying or going to the market to witness to people. Turn off the TV and spend more time praying. 

 The Gospel is good news. It is glad tidings. It is not an angry message that God is going to get you whenever you miss it. It isn't doom and gloom predictions. It isn't some sad story. It isn't a message that God tolerates our presence. It isn't about all we must do, what we must give up, and what we need to be engaged in to be found acceptable. 

 The Grace Gospel reveals God rejoices over us with joy. It reveals He has faith in the Finished Work of His Son. It reveals it isn't about us decreasing, it's a revelation of Christ in us. It is all of Him in all of us, because of the New Birth. 
 The good news is us revealing to this lost World that God is not mad at them. That God has turned on the lights. He has put out the welcome mat and left the door unlocked. We are the bearer of glad news that God has reconciled the World in Christ and desires they RSVP the invitation to new life, wholeness, and perpetual right standing with the Father. What a thrilling and exhilarating, adventure the Christian life is to be the faithful stewards of this exciting good news! 
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