Friday, 5 October 2012

18 Gospel Truths

I have to say this started with discontent.  I found our Sunday night gospel presentations trite and unimaginative.  You know, a gyration around the predictable, "You’re guilty and Jesus paid the penalty”, having had a bash at some obvious sin.  Come on, it's far bigger than that.  Now I find that there's even a recent Evangelical Alliance magazine article suggesting the church takes up the challenge of this deficit.

So I offer this list to stimulate some more creative preparation for "gospel messages".

1 Death to life.  There's death in our relationships too.
Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:13)

2 Darkness to light.  Jesus was big on darkness: like blindness, it was a symptom of a hard, corrupt and unbelieving heart.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (Ephesians 5:8)

3 Bondage/captivity to deliverance.  Freedom is as full product of salvation as forgiveness is. 
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6)

4 Foreigners to citizens.  I particularly like to expand this where you've got asylum seekers in the audience.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,  (Ephesians 2:19)

5 Despair to hope.  Hope is the Cinderella affect, whether earthly or transcendent/heavenly.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18)

6 Curse to blessing.  Can take in self-curse or inner vows.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)

7 Disobedience to righteousness.  Don't get snagged up in the OT Law: in the NT righteousness is living just like Jesus, "acting right with every person with whom you come into dealings".
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.  (Romans 5:19)

8 Independence to dependence. O this is so basic, from the definition of Adam's (therefore humans') life as "contingent", to the fall of Satan, and the spirit of our age.
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.  (Romans 9:16)

9 Alienation to friendship.  Alienation, constitutional disfranchising, rejection, marginalisation - all in here.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. (Colossians 1:21)

10 Orphans now adopted.  Jim Packer says adoption is the summit of God's redemptive purpose.   
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

11 Scattered now gathered people.  Ah, but your group/church/fellowship has to be a gathered people - there can be no fudging this one.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)

12 Defiled now clean.  Andrew Murray writes of this - think of shame, too.
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)

13 Enemies now surrendered.  Not passivity - you bring your weapons and prowess into the service of a new lord. 
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)

14 In debt now remitted.  I like this: I have a lot number sticker from Banbury Cattle Market and dramatise an auction. 
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14)

15 Condemned now acquitted.  Think of taken-into-accounts as you confess the fullness of your offence.  Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. (Romans 5:18)

16 Captivity to freedom.  God wants us to be creative grown-up sons, not cramped by self-limitations.
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

17 Offending to reconciled.  I like offence - even scandal - it overturns today's insipid tolerance.
that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

18 Weak now ruling.  This is in Romans 5:17, too. We're preparing for an amazing new earth ministry.
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Scripture quotes from the New International Version.
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