Thursday, November 19, 2015

91. On Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ

John 3:27, John answered him and said, "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven." (NASB)
Much transpires in the third chapter of John. It begins with a Pharisee named Nicodemus coming secretly at night to Jesus and he gets a spiritual that he has never heard. The lesson begins with Jesus talking about being born again and unless a person is born again, that is, born of the Spirit, he will not see the Kingdom of God.
A conversation ensues and after many questions, the why of all matters is spoken by Jesus in telling Nicodemus that the reason for Him being there, Him being the Son of God, was that God loves the world and desires to save who would be saved.
The last half of the chapter talks about John, the Baptist, whose disciples are confronting him about this Jesus, who happens to be baptizing people. John's disciples seem to be either confused or jealous about this Jesus, so, in their curiosity, they bring the idea of Jesus to John, the baptizer's, attention. It is at this point that John says this opening statement above, verse 27, "John answered and said, 'A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.'"
This is the same John who subsequently said in the same chapter, "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.'" (John 3:34-36, NASB)
In this one chapter of John, the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presented, that is, before the atonement; for without the atonement, the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ for the sin of the world, you have no Gospel. The what in verse 3, you must be born again; the how, verses 5-15, by and of the Holy Spirit of God; the why, which is twofold, first because God loves the world that He created. Secondly, darkness wars against the light and the deeds of men reveal whether they be of the dark or of the light. And, lastly, in verses 31-36, the decision that must be made by men, that being, believing and obeying. Yes, our Lord expects us to obey Him. Him, not men.
There is no such thing as the Gospel of Jesus Christ being summed up in one word. That idea is from deception. The Lord God had men to write all that they wrote in order to not leave anything out of His Gospel plan so that people would not be deceived by His own Word, or the lack thereof, and end up into an eternal hell.
So, what of it, what have men and women done over time to sum up the Lord's own words and make it fit their own particular philosophy of the quickest and easiest way to heaven and get an offering plate into people's hands?
Some say, "All you have to do is believe!" And, they leave the entire Gospel to that.
Still others say, "All you have to do is love!" And, in like manner, they leave the entire Gospel to that.
And others, who have the propensity to abide in the grace dispensation, say, "God's grace is sufficient, receive His grace and go in peace."
And the others who say, "God is love", to make it the all encompassing piece de resistance, leave out Jesus Christ! To those whose mantra this be, who is God? The Lord, allah, Buddha? Who is God? What is love? What type of love are you referring to?
All of these beliefs are that, beliefs. Alone, they touch on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they do not present the Gospel itself. As I have listened to these mantras over my last 58 years, each time I have heard a one word belief system being presented, or, a one verse belief system, they always leave out the rest of the Gospel, especially the beginning point, and that, being born again. It's like licking the frosting off of the cake without ever touching the whole meal. A person who would eat in such a manner would surely become diabetic, ruin their kidneys, as well as, their other internal organs, live in pain and die.
What we are left with, then, from these one word Gospel toting philosophies, is a bunch of sick people chewing on one word and relying on it for their entire salvation.
In Matthew 18, Jesus talks about stumbling blocks and how stumbling blocks, in this case, the possibility of false teaching, cause His little ones to stumble. For a person to cause a little one to stumble is a catastrophic thing in the Kingdom and Jesus states His case without apology, that, "...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea." (V. 6)
This leads us back to the original statements, spoken by John, that "...a man can receive nothing unless it be given him from heaven." It would seem then, that, if a Pope, a Bishop, a Pastor, a Minister, a Parent, a Teacher or a whatever, if that person causes His little ones to stumble by their erroneous teaching or by their hellacious treatment of His little ones, that what has been given to them from heaven is not a hearty "thank you and a job well done, welcome into my Kingdom," but a sizing of the neck for their rope that is tied to a millstone.
Christ Jesus has admonished all of us who preach His Gospel to preach His Gospel, not our own. Otherwise, we will receive what we were chose to receive and our words and actions will be the testimony to our eternity.
If you're going to preach or witness, preach the whole counsel of God, not some watered-down vain philosophy of men that portrays more of the itching to get a dollar in your back pocket and a fuzzy feeling in your heart, more than you are to see lost people made whole.

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