Posts Tagged 'Gospel'

The True Mission of the Church

In yesterday’s post I hinted at the notion that “as go the Christians, so goes the nation.” I am not by this saying that the Christians should get on a program to “take back the nation;” not at all. Nowhere in the Bible does it say taking back the nation is the mission of the church.

Our mission is two-fold: to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and, to those who believe in Him, to teach the unadulterated word of God so as to make disciples of them. (1 Ti 2:5; Mt 28:19,20)*

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ we’re to proclaim? — that He was God come in the flesh, that He died on the cross for the sins of ALL men (believer and unbeliever) that He was buried and resurrected on the third day, and that “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (1 Co 15:3,4; John 3:16-18)*

The Gospel is good news — the good news that, though we were born sinners and have all sinned in various ways, our sins are no longer a hindrance to us having a relationship with God.  Jesus bore the penalty for those sins on behalf of every one of us in His death on the cross so that we can have a life with the God who is love, justice, and righteousness, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, gracious, generous, wise…

No one’s sins will ever send him to the Lake of Fire; it is only the refusal to believe in and accept the work Christ has done on one’s behalf that sends him to hell. By doing so this person is saying, “No thanks. I don’t really want anything to do with you, God.” And God says, “Okay then. I will remove Myself from your presence and leave you to yourself. You can be with all the others who feel the same way.” (John 3:18)*

The choice is ours. Believe in Jesus Christ and be saved, or reject Him.

The second part of the Church’s biblically mandated mission is to teach the unadulterated Word of God to believers so as to make disciples of them.

Just because one has believed in Christ doesn’t automatically make him a disciple. The Greek word translated “disciple” is mathetes and it means pupil, learner, student, an adherent, a follower. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) The apostles were instructed to teach believers from every nation “to observe all that the Lord has commanded in His Word,” with emphasis on the New Testament epistles which are directed specifically to the church.

In addition to the apostles, the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher was (and still is) given to individual men to  instruct the believers “in the commandments of the Lord.” With the passing of the apostles, this gift is now the primary source of the teaching needed to make disciples of believers in Christ. (Eph 4:12)*

But again, the choice is ours.

Those with the gift of pastor-teacher can choose to actually study the word and teach it, or focus instead on works programs, social activities, social action, entertainment, etc.

The would-be disciple can then choose whether he wants to be a true student of the Word, or would rather pursue the works programs, social activities, social action, and/or entertainment.

The more both parties deviate from God’s instruction in these matters, the more the nation as a whole will suffer.

It was the same way with Israel with her priests in the role of the pastor-teacher. They could either learn the commandments of the Lord (and I’m not talking about the 10 Commandments — there are WAY more than that) and carry them out, or they could go off on their own, following false gods and doctrines. When they did that, the nation inevitably suffered, as much from the immediate results of their bad decisions as from the discipline that God brought in on them to get them to wake up and return to Him.

And so it will be — is, in fact, occurring now —  with us.

**

 * 1 Ti 2:4 “[God, our Savior] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Mat 28:19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations … teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;

I Co 15:3,4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Eph 4:12- 15 “[pastor-teachers] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

     As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”

Tricked Into Reading About Jesus

Reviews have been increasing on Amazon for my novel The Light of Eidon ever since the Kindle version came out for free, and last week I found a really cool one, though it’s not at all what you might think. For one thing the reviewer gave it only one star (and probably would’ve given it a zero were that possible):

 I hate being tricked into reading about Jesus, June 3, 2010

By M. S. “M.S.” – See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase  This review is from: Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) (Paperback)

This book started out as a decent fantasy novel that dealt with an interesting premise–What if you were a good guy who had been raised by the bad guys? How would you know? If you discovered it were true, how would you move forward? It’s a really cool idea, but the author ruined her own novel by the end.

Pros: The plot was fun and the characters were likable and showed enough development.

Ok Cons: There was a thread of deep sex negativity that ran through the whole book, but it seemed consistent within the universe. A minor point, but many of the character names were so similar that it was difficult to keep them straight. Also, there was a theme of anti-Middle Eastern racism that seemed misinformed rather than malicious, but still made me uncomfortable.

The Bad Con: What completely killed this book for me was getting slammed with Jesus right at the end. I find religion interesting and I’m always pleased when authors think seriously about it in scifi/fantasy novels set in other universes. However, because this book is marketed as fantasy and NOT as Christian literature, I was offended when all of a sudden the main character was converted by a mythical savior who was the only one in the whole universe that could pay the debt of humanity and was killed in order to absolve them of their wretchedness. Seriously? The Bible was already written once. Leave us happily-secular fantasy readers alone. Also, the proselytizing felt forced and jarring and it completely wrecked the otherwise easily flowing plot line.

One of the most offensive parts of the whole thing was the ending discussion, which claimed that those people who resist conversion the hardest are the ones who are somehow the most fated to have religious conversion experiences. It totally disregards the major break the main character made with his family and his culture. His insistence on trying to convert his sister drives the wedge between them deeper. I think destroying a family, whatever its shape, is one of the world’s greatest evils and I will never condone a story that prioritizes selfishness (even religious selfishness) above family. Why should the main character insist that his sister abandon her support network just because he chooses to abandon it himself?

Anyway, to summarize: This is a book about Jesus. If you’re looking for a genuine fantasy novel, look elsewhere. (Emphasis mine)

Awesome! I am so jazzed by this review, first because she got it! With some readers I’m not always so sure. One lady, who was a personal acquaintance, was all excited about Abramm’s journey, but didn’t really seem to understand it was Christian. This reviewer, however, got it without question. Not only that, she more or less put the gospel message into her review!

I was also intrigued by her claim that she had no idea the book was Christian. I could maybe understand if she had read the Kindle version — though even a cursory glance through the information regarding the book on the Amazon page shows that it’s Christian allegory. But she’s reviewing the paperback, one she bought through Amazon. Granted the back cover blurb and the first two endorsements don’t clearly state the story is Christian allegory either, but endorsement number 4 does and is offered by Christianity Today, no less. Those that follow are also clear. Finally the second line of the acknowledgements right before the map leaps into the issue of my faith, so it’s really odd she wouldn’t have seen anything that might have tipped her off. But not an accident.

I am sure that she was indeed “tricked” — by God the Holy Spirit.

Because from what I read of her “other reviews” she doesn’t seem much of a match for the book, and I could not imagine why she’d choose to read it in the first place.

List of other items reviewed by M.S. (with my commentary):

–4 books on learning Arabic, all “excellent”
–a CD supplement to the above, also “excellent and very useful”
–high thread count Egyptian cotton duvet and sheets set, both “excellent”
–a pair of purple pumps, which are “adorable,” but not of made quality materials, and itchy around the trim but still two stars better than reading about Jesus
–a pair of black, 4″ heeled, ultrawide shaft thigh boots, which are a bit wide at the top and too stiff, but “decent boots” nonetheless, and also two stars better than reading about Jesus
–a “wonderful” ergonomic kneeling posture chair
–two different types of perfume, both “fabulous”
–a four-star tabletop, magnifying make-up mirror
–An absolutely wonderful book (five stars) about “the Iranian side of the Iran-Iraq war and the martyrdom culture in Iran. [One which is highly recommended] to anyone who is interested in learning more about the day-to-day reality of Iran”
–some dark brownish red nail polish, and some bluish purple nail polish, both of which are also significantly (4 stars) better than reading about Jesus…

LOL. The most ironic part of all is that she seems to be on a very similar story arc to the one Abramm took in LOE. At least in the sense that she is fighting the truth every bit as fiercely as he did, and yet, clearly being drawn as inexorably as he was. I am praying for this person. I invite my readers to do likewise.


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