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the gospel?
Written by Jared   
Friday, 20 July 2007
During some of the teaching opportunities with already-christians lately, I've asked a question. What was the Gospel that Jesus taught? The most common answer tends to be "love." However, while that was indeed a major component and motivator of His Gospel, I find myself challenging, if not correcting, this assumption much to the surprise of the group. Groups of people have repeatedly not known the answer to the question: What was the Gospel that Jesus taught?

The Gospels tells us that Jesus proclaimed the Good News (i.e. Gospel) of the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven if you're reading Matthew. I can't do justice to this subject in a brief reflection e-mail, but it is helpful to begin and think about it. The "Kingdom" is not Christendom (a mistake made in medieval Europe) nor is it any one religious organization today. Rather, Jesus continued a theme begun in Genesis and runs right up through Revelation. God reigns, and He is working within the story of humanity to re-align creation with it's rightful Ruler -- the Creator. Jesus' life, ministry, and teachings is the manifestation of this truth. How important is this to our Christian faith? ...Besides being central to it? Think about some of the familar alternatives.

What happens if we receive a gospel of pragmatism (i.e. the gospel "works" better)? The faith crisis often comes when we have trouble making the gospel "work" and produce the right results or outcomes. What about a gospel of moralism? We face the crisis head-on when we encounter people who are morally better than ourselves but who don't share our belief system (or drive ourselves crazy in an effort to be better so that our gospel is justified!). The gospel of reason has legs to stand on, right? But the Apostle Paul calls the Gospel "foolishness" to some. He wasn't talking about unreasonable or even "bad" people; rather to people who's worldview kept them spiritually blind. The self-help gospel is quite popular as a kind of religious pop psychology and is very similar to the gospel of consumerism or religious experience whose sole objective is to somehow make me satisfied.

The Gospel -- actually all of Scripture -- is a story of relationship with the major parts & players being: God, a rebellious creation, His redeeming work, and His redeemed people. It's the story of God's mission to redeem creation and restore His Reign. We're part of a larger story. But as the seed is planted in the soil of human hearts, we reep what has been sown -- whether by us or in previous experience.

Pray for us. Allow me to echo one of Paul's prayer requests (adapted from Eph. 6:19-20 NLT) with a few changes to fit our local situation. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for [everyone. There is a price to pay] for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
Original at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2007/07/gospel.html.
 
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