One Gospel

I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  Galatians 1:6&8.

Over time many have felt the need to adapt the Gospel to a particular time and place as a strategy for outreach and church growth. Let us be clear as to why the Gospel you preach must be pure and true.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.  John 16:7&8.

An evangelical presentation of the Gospel may prove effective for the “winning of souls”, but will only fail to gather those chosen by the Lord absent the conviction of the Holy Spirit. 

Of sin, because they believe not on me.  John 16:9.

True conviction of sin does not occur by preaching against sin. Someone may feel ashamed if they feel called out for their behavior. They may want to be a better person, spouse, and citizen. There is only one Holy conviction: Jesus Christ, crucified for sin.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Co 2:2.

Therefore, the first element of the Gospel is WHO Jesus is, not what He has become to the world. He may be our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King, but first and foremost, He is the only begotten Son of God. This truth is beyond dispute.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16. (most beloved verse, and the highest truth.)

He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31.

The most prevalent adaptation to the Gospel is the “die and go to heaven” message. This evolved out of the myth that “good people” go to heaven when they die. This is easily debunked with the familiar verses from Paul:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23.

However, the message of: accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite Him into your heart, and if you die tonight you will go straight to heaven, does not appear in the New Testament. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never presented as a die and go to heaven message, but a live in holiness and righteousness in the sight of God.

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:2.

The consistent apostolic message and of Jesus Christ himself is that of a coming resurrection of the dead and the righteous judgment of God, to which He is appointed the only Potentate.

Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 1 Tim 6:15.

Jesus taught that we MUST be born again. The apostle John offers a clear presentation that this is only accomplished by believing in the Son of God.

Gentiles preach confess Jesus as Lord. Messianic Jews preach Yeshua haMashiach.  But Paul preached:

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit. 1 Co 12:3.

Before anyone can truly serve the Lord in obedience to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they must be born of God. This is by faith in the Son.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.               1 John 4:15.

Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?      1 John 5:5.

We are not called to simply believe, but to overcome. To be called AND chosen AND faithful.

He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Revelations 21:7.

…and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Rev 17:14.

Jesus died to restore us to a right relationship with His Father. He lives forevermore so that we too may live by the faith of the only begotten Son of God.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  Romans 5:10.

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.Hebrews 7:25.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.

Not Another Gospel!

I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  Galatians 1:6&8.

Over time many have felt the need to adapt the Gospel to a particular time and place as a strategy for outreach and church growth. Let us be clear as to why the Gospel you preach must be pure and true.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.  John 16:7&8.

An evangelical presentation of the Gospel may prove effective for the “winning of souls”, but will only fail to gather those chosen by the Lord absent the conviction of the Holy Spirit. 

Of sin, because they believe not on me.  John 16:9.

True conviction of sin does not occur by preaching against sin. Someone may feel ashamed if they feel called out for their behavior. They may want to be a better person, spouse, and citizen. There is only one Holy conviction: Jesus Christ, crucified for sin.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Co 2:2.

Therefore, the first element of the Gospel is WHO Jesus is, not what He has become to the world. He may be our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King, but first and foremost, He is the only begotten Son of God. This truth is beyond dispute.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16. (most beloved verse, and the highest truth.)

He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31.

The most prevalent adaptation to the Gospel is the “die and go to heaven” message. This evolved out of the myth that “good people” go to heaven when they die. This is easily debunked with the familiar verses from Paul:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23.

However, the message of: accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite Him into your heart, and if you die tonight you will go straight to heaven, does not appear in the New Testament. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never presented as a die and go to heaven message, but a live in holiness and righteousness in the sight of God.

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:2.

The consistent apostolic message and of Jesus Christ himself is that of a coming resurrection of the dead and the righteous judgment of God, to which He is appointed the only Potentate.

Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 1 Tim 6:15.

Jesus taught that we MUST be born again. The apostle John offers a clear presentation that this is only accomplished by believing in the Son of God.

Gentiles preach confess Jesus as Lord. Messianic Jews preach Yeshua haMashiach.  But Paul preached:

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.                 1 Co 12:3.

Before anyone can truly serve the Lord in obedience to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they must be born of God. This is by faith in the Son.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.               1 John 4:15.

Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?      1 John 5:5.

We are not called to simply believe, but to overcome. To be called AND chosen AND faithful.

He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Revelations 21:7.

…and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Rev 17:14.

Jesus died to restore us to a right relationship with His Father. He lives forevermore so that we too may live by the faith of the only begotten Son of God.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  Romans 5:10.

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.

Is the Law Sin?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  Romans 7:7.

What is the dynamic here, that we know something is wrong and do it anyway?  The answer is direct, but not at all simple.

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Ro 7:14.

Here is where we must answer a very direct question: are we willing to die to our selves so that the life of Christ can manifest?

Found Faithful

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Co 4:2.

To be faithful to the Gospel is to go beyond belief. Those who have heard and believe the Gospel Paul identifies as “the called”.

“among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ”. Romans 1:6.

This is just a first step, in what is “a walk of faith”, while abiding in the gift of the Spirit. For Jesus said this to His followers, many of whom would fall away:

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14.

Seek the Lord for a personal  dispensation, and be among the elect.

if indeed you have heard of the dispensation (=stewardship) of the grace of God which was given to me for you. Ephesians 3:2.

Now you will have a direction to allow your faith to be transformed to faithfulness.

and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Rev 17:14.

And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mk 13:27.

Jesus told Thomas, who doubted:  “be not faithless;  be faithful”,  not “believing”, as most translations render John 20:27.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Rev 2:10.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.        Rev 3:11.

The Mystery of Godliness

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
1 Timothy 3:16.

God was manifested in the flesh,

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14.

Justified in the Spirit,

And declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.   Romans 1:4.

Seen by angels,

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:12.

Preached among the Gentiles,

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.   Acts 1:8.

Believed on in the world,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12&13.

Received up in glory.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.   Rev 4:11.

Who by Him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  1 Peter 1:21.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  Hebrews 2:9.

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Tim 2:10.

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.       1 Th 2:12.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in gloryCol 3:4.

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.  Romans 11:36.

Newness of Life

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   Romans 6:4.

Paul begins this chapter of his letter to the Romans by proposing this question:                Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  Romans 6:1.

We see  within the scope of this question the inherent stumbling block of preaching the abounding Grace of God. The  clear and present danger is that many immature Christians will take license to continue in sin. This was already an issue in Paul’s day, how much more now as that day approaches when the Lord will judge the world in righteousness?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Ro. 6:2&3.

And now in the tradition of his training, Paul continues to answer his own question by proposing two more questions. Do we know that we are dead to sin? Do you not know that this is the very point of your baptism.?

We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.  1 John 5:18.

If you have not come to know this as a fact, know that the abounding grace is given to those who ask in genuine humility.

But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6.

We now move forward in Paul’s exposition to witness to the word and work of the Holy Spirit in presenting the Apostolic Memorials of our Faith. For every word must be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6.

As Paul continues in the argument, he uses the word newness for the second time. Previously, the word was newness of life. Now, we refine the definition to newness of spirit. You can bear witness to how Paul is able to teach Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, even though he was not among the disciples of Jesus prior to His death and resurrection. For Jesus gave this testimony that you can confirm within yourself.

It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63.

 

 

Who is running The House?

You may be familiar with a Greek yogurt in most supermarkets called Oikos. The word means house/home in Greek and at some level may suggest “homemade” goodness. On the other hand, I have never seen Oikos milk, cottage cheese or sour cream. They are dedicated to making good yogurt, therefore, they are “building their house” on yogurt, the way the Hersey family built their house on chocolate and the Busch family built their house on beer.

Oikos is the root of many important words found in the New Testament, none more important than Romans chapters 7 and 8. Three times in chapter seven Paul uses the word oikeo in regards to sin which is translated dwells in, or living in me. He describes  our struggle with a carnal nature, and the ineffectiveness of the Law to overcome the “law of sin and death.”

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  Romans 7:15.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:17.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18.
Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:20.

And so we see Paul repeat this word three times to emphasize the nature of sin as a “resident” in my house, who is a home wrecker. The will of sin is contrary to our own and leads us  to self-destructive behavior that man was unable to overcome without a Savior. This he purposely presents to serve as a contrast to the point he intends to make in chapter 8. He closes the chapter and builds a bridge to the next with this proclamation:

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,
but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.  Romans 7:22-25.
Only now, with a thorough understanding of chapter 7 can a disciple grasp the victory described in Chapter 8. Many times I have heard preaching directly from Romans 8 that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in you by faith. This is not the point that Paul was trying to make at all. This is not,”the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” theology.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Romans 8:9.
We now see Paul using the same word that he used three times in Romans 7, to say that if the Spirit of God directs your will the way the sin nature did before, then you will walk in victory.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  Romans 8:11.
When he says “by his Spirit that dwells in you”,  he uses enoikeo, a strengthened form of the word oikeo used five times previously that implies dwelling in harmony and cooperation. This is what the Lord and the apostle John referred to as “abiding in” the Spirit.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  Romans 8:13&14.
This is working out your salvation with “fear and trembling.” Ph 2:12.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Ga 5:24.