Monday, May 20, 2013

Mission = Gospel

The mission of the Church comes up in many a conversation. How do we make sense of social justice, community/relationship building, doctrinal truth, and the Great Commission? Remember, we are the Church, the Church is not some abstract idea or building with steeples and bells, or is it an organization that is to maximize its resources in order to grow the organization.

Let me cut to the quick, I say this without any qualifications, or without any apologies, the one thing that the Church is to be (in terms of mission) is that she is to be proclaiming the gospel in all she does, she is to be a gospel community. The gospel you say? well, isn't that helping people, and building relationships? wouldn't that include being involved in the sex slave trade movement?

It seems whenever we speak or write we need to make sure that we are all on the same page or at least playing in the same ball park. Defining our words and our Bible talk is extremely important in a post-christian culture. I'd purport that anyone who is even halfway Biblical literate would conclude that the focal point in the book of Acts (the history of the early christian church), would be the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul told us that he was not sent or commissioned to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). Paul again repeats this theme of the importance of the gospel when he writes his letter to the Church at Corinth, he says, "... it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe ( 1 Cor. 1:21). Paul then speaks of the gospel as the means of salvation when he says that the gospel is the power of God that leads to salvation see (Rom. 1:16).

So what was this gospel that the early church preached, and that the Apostle Paul was so emphatic about? Well, Gilbert Beebe gives us a good workable definition when he states, "the Greek word "evanggelion" is translated "gospel" in the King James Version. This word, together with its rendering of "good tidings," glad tidings" and "preach the gospel" occurs some one hundred and eight times in the New Testament, none of which intimate anything less than "finished redemption" in Christ"

Good news, glad tidings,--- that Jesus the Messiah has accomplished redemption for His people, the price has been paid at the cross, victory was evidenced through the miracle of the resurrection, this is the good news for the sinner who was under the curse of the laws penalty. Jesus rescued His people, He accomplished their salvation when He cried from the cross, "it is finished."

So if the gospel is anything we know that it is this: The proclamation of the good news, the glad tidings, that Jesus has provided redemption for those who were once separated from God because of their sin. Eternal life, eternal life, eternal life, this is the message the church carries to the world, for she has the words of eternal life.

                                                         Go, tell it on the mountain,
                                                         Over the hills and everywhere
                                                         Go, tell it on the mountain,
                                                        That Jesus Christ is born

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