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The Foolishness of the Christian Gospel

2 comments | 11:18 pm | top |
In the first Century AD the Apostle Paul whose former occupation had been hunting and killing members of an annoying new belief-system called Christianity, went out on a limb, stating that the "Good News" was foolishness - here's the context in the book of Corinthians.

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Because I believe that the Bible is God's infalible word to all people, and that within it I find the most reasonable path to peace with God, I visited a rest-home today with two friends and we shared the Gospel with the fifteen or so people gathered in the lounge there. I'm no Spurgeon (he started preaching at the age of 18), and I'm not perfect just forgiven - in fact, I might just push back the next time you shove. Paul states later on in Corinthians that people who share the gospel are like jars of clay containing treasure. What he means is that it's not necessarily through persuasive words and a quality presentation that God saves people, but rather through the inherent value of the message itself. Further, the Christian gospel being the most reasonable path to peace with God is important as it is subsequently the only way to gain peace with God. Anyway, above is my reasoning for sharing the gospel with the residents at the rest-home - below is a summary of my message based on a section of the Apostle John's version of the gospel...

Jesus was talking to His followers, teaching them about how to be good disciples. He was essentially giving them the instructions they needed to understand how to be like Jesus, how to be Christians.

John 3:15 Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life.

What does it mean to believe in Jesus? First, we are all sinful – we are kind and good a lot of the time, but we are also often sinful. Since God is absolutely holy, He cannot abide sin and must punish it. But God, very graciously provided a solution to our problem. God sent His only Son Jesus to the World as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. If we believe that Jesus did this for us, and we ask God to forgive us for our sins, God will not punish us.

Then Jesus said, “you will have eternal life if you believe in Me”. What is Eternal life? Jesus says that if we believe in Him, we will have eternal life, which means that when we die, we will go to Heaven to be with Him there – forever*. It’s hard to imagine…

Now, here is what Jesus said about God’s plan to save His people from their sins… Listen to Jesus’ words,

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

As I was saying before, God sent His Son to the World to provide a way for us to escape punishment and go to Heaven to be with Him. God is extremely loving and gracious to provide us with this way out. Because by nature, we all deserve the punishment for our sins – however God amazingly has given us this way out.

Can we please God with the good things that we do? The Bible says that we cannot be good enough for God. This is because God is so perfect, He is absolutely perfect and so – as the Apostle Paul said, even the very best things we do are as filthy rags in God’s eyes.

This puts us in a bad position because by ourselves, without Jesus’ help, we have to face God’s righteous wrath. But as Jesus said, God loved us so much that He sent His Son – Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Instead of us having to try to please God with good works – which is impossible, God promises us that if we put our trust in His Son, Jesus, then we need do nothing but have faith in Jesus’ death.

But how can God accept Jesus’ sacrifice? Can Jesus’ death really pay for our sins? Yes He can because Jesus was God and man. Because Jesus was God, when He died on behalf of us, that was sufficient payment to cover the sins of all people in the World. And because Jesus was also man, He was able to be tempted as we are tempted and to suffer as we suffered – but it is important to remember that through all of His earthly life, Jesus never ever sinned – He was absolutely perfect. Of course it spins back round here - Jesus was only able to be perfect because He was God. God is therefore able to accept Jesus’ death as a perfect sacrifice, payment for our sins.

By itself, this was not enough. Jesus also rose again – this meant that He had the power over death, and we are then able – after we die, to also be resurrected and go to Heaven forever – if we first put our faith in Jesus.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that,

the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Jesus is here talking about how people so often do the things that are wrong. Often men and women hate to do the things God has said we must do. For instance, Jesus says to us in the Bible that we must love the Lord with all our hearts. Now, often this is true, and we do love God, but there are times when we do not love Him with all of our hearts.

But not only this, they also delight in doing the things God has said we must not do. For instance The Ten Commandments is a list of rules that God has given us. The 5th commandment says “you shall not murder”. Now we all know it is wrong to murder! And we think “well I haven’t ever killed anyone, so perhaps God will be happy with me…” But Jesus said to his followers, “If any of you hates your brother, it is the same as murdering him”. This is a high standard, Jesus said that hating someone and murdering them were the same. I don’t know about you, but from time to time I have hated people.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Jesus continues talking about human-nature. He says, people who are sinful do not want to come to the light – because if they did, people would see that they were sinful.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

This means that if we are followers of Jesus, and we try to do what God has commanded us to do, then we won’t want to be in the dark, but instead we will want to be with God’s people – in the light. This is essentially a reference to the need for Christians to do good works. For without good works we cannot see Heaven - yet at the same time we're not saved through our good works - rather, they're an outworking of faith.

* I do not believe in the concept of eternity. I hold that everything that is not of this World operates outside time - a natural conclusion from my understanding that God created time itself. The terms "forever" and "eternity", then are an simplified expression of the reality, as many struggle with the concept of an existence outside of the dimension of time.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

" * I do not believe in the concept of eternity. I hold that everything that is not of this World operates outside time - a natural conclusion from my understanding that God created time itself. The terms "forever" and "eternity", then are an simplified expression of the reality, as many struggle with the concept of an existence outside of the dimension of time."

Sure God created time and is outside of time but is there anyway you could you expand a bit? Would it maybe be helpful if I thought of God's people becoming like him as in without sin but also able to live forever (eg he is without beginning and end so we would be able to live forever without end)I'm not sure if I understand...

5:50 pm, October 06, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

As far as I can tell, time is measured from one point to another. If there was never a beginning point, and there is no ending point, then time (at least as we understand it) cannot exist.

10:58 pm, October 06, 2009 

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