Recovering The Gospel - part 1
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ... Romans 1:16
Today the church is seeking the power of God as never before. Some ministries demonstrate the power of God, but there is a general lack of consistent Kingdom living in the Body Of Christ. We have much religion, tradition and hype, but the answer to walking in the power of God been with us all along - The preaching of the good news the cross! The Greek word "preaching" is logos, which is speaking, not pulpit oratory! Anyone can do it!
Power Comes From Telling The Good News
What Paul says is very informative and worth looking up in Greek. He says he was sent to preach the gospel -meaning simply "telling the good news", something any Christian can do. Then he says if we speak with wisdom it neutralizes the power of the cross! But if we speak the good news of the cross, it is the power of God. (dunamis - miracle working power). It's that simple. No accomplished speakers involved. Paul confirms this in another scripture.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
The Churches Greatest Need
The greatest need of the church today is to recover the good news of Christ - and get away from presenting wisdom. There are two obstacles to this.
2. We have a Christian teaching "industry" and are buried under conferences. We run to experience God's power at the meetings, then wonder where it is at home.
But the power of God is at hand and is built into the good news! We have been creators of our own lack by focusing on wisdom and methods rather than the good news of the cross! We need to recover the gospel. So what is the good news ?
The very best way to understand the good news is to see it in the life of Jesus. When we see Him we see the Father. Everything He did is a perfect reflection of the Father. He are the first of many aspects of recovering the good news.
1. God's Total Love For The World
The word "world" is Cosmos -everything God made. Gods love for the world is total, it is not conditional, not partial. Most people have a forensic view of God, as a judge evaluating everything. They believe they are not loved until they qualify. Jesus was not like that at all. For example, He healed all and never said to anyone "you are not worthy." He loved them all, especially sinners! His view of God was as a Father loving and reconciling. This rubs against the religious grain, but it is the good news that needs to be preached!
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, Ephesian 2:4,5
He Sends Rain on The Just and The Unjust
Often we preach that God's loving kindness is conditional on faith, as if God is holding back blessings until people believe. But this is not what the Father is like. His love is total. Listen to Jesus description of the Fathers love and how we can be like Him.
But I say unto you,
-Love your enemies,
-bless them that curse you,
-do good to them that hate you, and
-pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for
-he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and
-sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
I used to think God sending rain on the unjust meant judgment. Then one day I realized rain was a blessing to an agricultural society! He blesses the just and the unjust with both sun and rain! Even though He does intervene to limit evil in His world, He truly loves the world. This is good news that carries God's power.
A Revelation of God's Love
I encountered this degree of God's love when I first went to India. A temple was being dedicated near us and every day the worship and prayers were broadcast on loud speakers. (very loud) On the second day I asked my host to translate as they prayed to their ugly green idol. They were saying "Oh you are our god and we love you. We prayed to you and our crops did not fail and the cattle gave birth to healthy calves."
Suddenly I was aware of God's jealousy. The Lord said to me "Oh...I want them to worship me like that." From that point on I was filled with His love for India. I knew there was nothing, no man, idol or demon, that could stand in the way of His love. He was not angry, He loved them! I preached this good news of the God who loves them NOW and paid for their sin at the cross. The power of God came easily, and resulted in miracles and salvation.
2. God Has Reconciled The World To Himself
This is an amazing scripture. Reconciliation is an accounting term for balancing the books. As far a God is concerned He is NOW reconciled to the world in Christ, he does not have a problem with man and sin. The gospel I often preached said God is the judge holding a writ of condemnation against us until we believe.... our sin being a barrier to Him until we accept His offer of forgiveness. But this is not the case! Sin is barrier to us, but He has reconciled the world to Himself already. The writ against us has been destroyed. Si
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:14
There are no longer any barriers as far as God is concerned. He is totally available, totally loving the world as Christ demonstrated! The debt is paid, the books are balanced. Gods relationship to the world is totally reconciled! But men still serve sin and Satan. So what is needed? Men need to reconcile themselves to God in response to what He has done!
Paul says he is an ambassador of Christ with a ministry of reconciliation, calling men to be reconciled to God. In other words, God has reconciled Himself to men . Now men need to open their heart to God and receive His reconciliation.
...we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20
Such good news brings Gods power on the scene. We died with Christ, our sins were nailed to the cross, the reconciliation of God IS finished! He wants us to reconciled to Him.
3. Total Favor As His Children
When someone believes in Christ they become a child of God. There is a difference between being a child of the world and a child of God. Even though both are totally loved, His children have total favor! "The children are free!"
Seeking God's Favor
Years ago a friend was experiencing remarkable provision from God. Doors opened, money came, and today all sorts of wonderful things still happen to him. When I asked why he was blessed, he said it was God's favor. So I set out to find the favor of God in my own life. I tried to discover what would delight God Him and to change my life in various ways. It didn't work.
In Ephesians Paul tells our remarkable blessing.
- ...who has -blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,..
- ...He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ,
- ...according to the good pleasure of his will,
- ...his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us
- ...according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.
Read Ephesians 1:1-8
He Delights In His Children
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.” Zephaniah 3:17
God's children are His delight no matter how mature! As parents we are like God. Imagine the Father in heaven delighting over the new born, diaper and all, or watching the teetering toddler, the noisy 10 year old, the risky teenager or the stable adult. Ephesians 5:1 says we are "beloved children."
Why Preaching The Prodigal Son brings God's Power
I discovered preaching the story of the prodigal son usually brings the power of God in the meeting. Why? It is preaching the good news that we enter into a favored child relationship with God! That God loves when we are lost. That He forgives when we sin. That He bestows favor when we expect to perform. The good news that brings power includes total favor to His children.
In our healing meetings I find a remarkable thing, the more I talk about how Jesus didn't make distinctions in healing or measure up people, but healed them all. The more healings we see. The more I talk about God's love for people and how it is not about "qualifying" but accepting His love, the more miracles happen. Why is this? It is the good news bringing the power of God for salvation in bodies.
Recovering The Gospel - part 2
4. Total Access To The Father - No Human Mediator
Until the coming of Jesus, no one dared to approach the living God except through a holy man, (a priest) interceding on our behalf. Around the world men still believe God is inaccessible, even in the church! But Jesus came as our great high priest opening direct access to the Father for all believers!
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
The early church walked in this open relationship to the Father. By 400 AD another priestly system moved in. Christian elders, became priests, bishops, and dispensers of grace to "ordinary believers". Finally Martin Luther led the shift back to grace by faith alone, but the church kept the hierarchical system of "clergy and laity". That sends the "mediator needed" message to the world in spite of our good intentions. Even today modern teaching of "covering and Apostolic order, convey the idea that a mediator is involved.
In Europe I encounter many Christians living under condemnation. Legalism produces the idea that they are not worthy of receiving anything from God. They believed they needed my intervention. As I taught them Gods love and open access to the Father grace began to flow.
THE NEED GOOD NEWS of total access to God through Jesus Christ needs to be preached!
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I could take several newsletters to cover this subject. But here is a summary of the good news of the coming of the Spirit...
-We are the temple of God (no longer buildings)
-The Spirit leads us into truth - He opens our understanding
-The Spirit leads us in righteous living
-The Holy Spirit brings communion with the Father
-The Holy Spirit brings gifts and the power of God into our lives
-The Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption
-The Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of Adoption" and son ship.
- The Holy Spirit totally qualifies us. "Not by might or power"
6. Satan and All Demons are Totally Defeated
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Yes, Satan is still at work and tries to bring us down through deception, sin and the flesh. But the "Spirit filled church" of today has a lot of the fear of the devil and misses grace! Many in the church try to combat demons with legalism and self righteousness. They look for the "hidden sin" that gives the devil 'rights". They try to find the "key" for victory, saying or doing the right thing! This is works not grace.
WAKE UP CHURCH! Christians need to believe the good news! Jesus is our victory. If you depend on your ability the devil WILL defeat you. The weapons of our warfare are might in the Holy Ghost - that means grace that has been accomplished at the cross. It's amazing! When you just believe the good news of victory and rest in it, the devil loses his grip! Peter said "...resist Him firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:9)
Smith Wigglesworth tells the story of being awakened from sound sleep by a terrible presence of evil in his room. The turned over and saw Satan himself, standing in front of his bed. Smith said "Oh, it's only you", rolled over and went back to sleep. He just believed the good news!
7. The Kingdom Is Here
The church was told by Jesus to preach the good news that the Kingdom is here! (at hand means "right here" ) His rule, and reign are here right now, but do we believe it? The Lord shows it by signs and wonders in delivering men from sin and the world and the devil. We need to understand the good news that the Kingdom IS HERE. What does it mean?
SOME KINGDOM FACTS
The word Kingdom means "the rule or reign of a sovereign" .
The earth is and always was the Lords.
We come into Gods world with nothing and leaven with nothing.
We play a momentary part of what belongs to God. Though he gave man stewardship, God has always acted in history and overrules in the affairs of man.
Jesus is Lord NOW!
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. I Corinthians 15:25
Yes, men still serve sin and Satan but Jesus IS Lord of all the earth. He is reigning even in financial crisis, greed and wickedness. One day He will bring ALL his enemies under His feet, but till then we represent Him.
Jesus Opened The Way for all mankind to be restored to God's purposes on the earth. He commands all men to believe the gospel and repent. The church is the family of God that participates in His Kingdom on earth. This brings order and life.
Jesus the King Will Personally Return and Rule
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
I Corinthians 15:24
One day Jesus will physically reign on the this earth along with His church. The church will no longer walk as Ambassadors, but as co-regents.
Total Change Ministries
Website : www.totalchange.org
GOOD NEWS TREE
I am God's child (John 1:12 )
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17 )
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19 -20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13 -14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27 )
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3:20 )
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17 -21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18 )
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35 -39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21 -22 )
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 )
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16 ). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10 )
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected.(Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven ( Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph. 1:5)