This is a continuation of the series, "Ways to see more harvest."
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. What do we preach?
I often think that we preach a Santa Claus gospel. We portray God to those who don't yet know him as some kind of divine genie who is there to give us an easy life. "Invite Jesus into your life and he will give you peace and joy." "You can know your sins are forgiven and you will go to heaven." "Raise your hand and Jesus will come into your life." We give the impression that God will answer all our prayers in just the way we want, that health and wealth and happiness will follow a decision to commit to him.
There is a grain of truth to much of this, but it is far from being the whole story. So what is the Gospel of the Kingdom? The blessings are even more than portrayed above, but there is another side to it too. Our side. Our responsibilities as members and ambassadors for the Kingdom.
What do you think is the Gospel of the Kingdom?
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8 replies on “The Santa Claus Gospel”
had a very tragic vision yesterday In the vision I could see many preachers, their pulpits were lined up next to each other,they were very learned men, some
where in suits and some were in robes,and they were preaching to a very large congregation . The eyes of everyone in the congregation and their complete attention were on these preachers. In back of these preachers I saw the Lord Jesus on the cross. Not one of the preachers ever mentioned the cross in his preaching and no one in the congregation ever looked
at the cross, their eyes were on the preachers and they were attentive to the “wisdom” that was being taught by them.
When presenting the gospel we in the church seem to err to one side or the other instead of staying balanced.
Because the goodness of God leads men to repentance, it’s easy to understand why many preach that God will bless you and help you and provide for you.
But if you never teach that persecution comes along with the package, then you are not presenting the whole story.
But then again, many preachers preach a “scrooge” gospel rather than the Santa Claus gospel and try to scare people into the kingdom.
If I had to err to one side, I would rather present the goodness of God instead of going negative in my presentation.
The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God in the heart of man. “Peace, joy, righteousness in the Holy Ghost”.
A Santa Claus gospel denies the work of Christ because in it you are rewarded for your good behavior. Remember? You will be favored with really good gifts if you are good, and a lump of coal if you are bad.
The message of grace declares to us that we have an entrance into the kingdom of God, where there is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, because of what Jesus did. God saw what we needed, and prepared a means by which we could enter into it.
However, being raised with the early knowledge of Santa Claus, it is hard for us to realize the freedom of the gift of life (which has great benefits) given freely to us in Christ Jesus. There is no Santa Claus, thank God, to take account of our sins. We are washed in the blood of Jesus and may freely walk forgiven.
I just bought a book called “Jesus Freaks” It is about the Martyrs now and in times past. It is interesting that in wealthy countries we can so easily come to the conclusion that God wants us rich and will answer our every prayer while many of our brothers and sisters give their lives for the gospel of the kingdom. I just came across a quote from Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world, Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
I do not see how the estabishment of house churches will be the answer to reaching the nations. It will come through the commitment of people making disciples. I really believe that more books need to be written about the cost of prayer, relationships, and bringing the gospel to our towns, cities and villages and nations. Actually that was Jesus’ starting point all the time to his disciples.
I’ll end with two quotes:
“Consequently, I propose the only way to re awaken the church to mission will be to release a movement around her that is so striking and powerful that she cannot help but to be inspired to action herself.” Peter Dent
“If we’re going to experience what they are experiencing in other countries,we’re going to have to want it more than anything else in the world. I’m not sure you want it that bad.” Reggie McNeal
Great thoughts everyone. Thank you for taking time to comment. I will be blogging further about this topic next week in response.
Wonderful and interesting explanations. Thank you