Pastor Wade's Blog

Correcting Our Misunderstanding of the Size and Success of the Gospel

In last week’s blog, I dealt with the subject of the most powerful force on the planet – the gospel of the kingdom of God. (http://tridm.org/v1/the-most-powerful-force-on-the-planet/)

I used a quote from Pastor Chris Strivel and repeat it in part: “To our shame, we have lost our faith in the transforming power of the gospel. Few Christians sincerely believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most powerful force on this planet. We are willing to give the gospel a certain relevance and power in a few scattered individuals, but what we see it do in a few, we do not believe it can do in the majority. In so thinking, we self-consciously believe that the forces of evil are too powerful to be dislodged, unbelief too stubborn to be overcome, and unbelieving human authorities too numerous and well organized to be resisted on a broad scale successfully…”

Our misunderstanding of the size and success of the Gospel has caused us to reduce it down to some spiritual laws or a plan leading to the individual saving of souls for life in heaven.

The Gospel the first century church proclaimed was radically different from the one we preach and share today. They didn’t do any sharing of a simple plan for finding spiritual union with God. It was the announcement of the work of God in Christ, who had, because of his successful mission, been made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).  

The early believers went through the Roman Empire as heralds of King Jesus announcing the story of God’s Unfolding Drama of Redemption from creation to consummation. When a royal herald in ancient times arrived in a city, he did not shout as he ran down the street, “I’ve had an experience with the king, you can, too. Join me over here and I can tell you how.” Rather, he announced the soon arrival of the king whose coming would reorder and reorganize the lives of all who lived in the city. As royal heralds, we go out announcing the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). We proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19). We tell men and women that the Gospel of the kingdom of God has put the curse into reverse and will eventually take us back and far beyond what Adam experienced in the Garden of Eden before the fall. As victory born ambassadors of King Jesus, we announce the good news to men and women that in the first coming of Jesus the course of history has shifted leaving nothing the same. So, reorient your life (repent) to this new reality and entrust everything to the gracious rule of the King (believe).

What this means then, is that the Gospel is not simply a message about my personal salvation and assurance about life after death. Rather, the Gospel is the public story of the world and everything in it. To put it another way, the Gospel is a way of viewing the whole of our existence in the world created by God; it’s the interpretive framework we use to make sense of the totality of our experience. To put it even more simply, the Gospel is our worldview.

How big and powerful is the gospel of the kingdom of God? We don’t have to speculate; the Scriptures tell us. Having been given all authority in heaven and on earth, Christ commanded that all nations be made His disciples through the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 28:18,19). The expansion of Christ’s gospel of the kingdom of heaven is a progressive redemptive act likened both to a tiny mustard seed that grows and grows until it becomes a large tree (Luke 13:19) and to leaven which permeates the whole loaf (Luke 13:21). The successful evangelism of the world will continue to the end of history “for He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:25).

The Great Commission launched the gospel blitzkrieg. Satan, the strong man, is bound and Christ is plundering his house (Matt. 12:29). All power and authority under heaven and on earth belong to Christ (Matt. 28:18). Christ builds His church such that the gates of hell cannot withstand the onslaught (Matt. 16:18). Daniel prophesied “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:27). This God-ordained gospel victory will continue until its global aims have been reached. In other words, until all Christ’s enemies are subdued. Until “he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:24-25). Let us rejoice and thank the God of peace, who promised to crush Satan, the evil serpent, under our feet (Rom. 16:20).

Because Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a vicarious death, rose bodily from the grave and has ascended into heaven and occupies the throne from which He rules and reigns over heaven and earth, and sent back the Holy Spirit, life has purpose, love will win the day and last forever, the record of history has reason, Satan has lost and can’t ever win, death has lost its victory and the grave has been denied. Those who have come to Him in repentance and faith have been liberated from slavery to Satan and sin, crowned as King’s Kids in training for reigning, and ordained as priest unto God and as Prophets. In those roles assigned us, we go forth declaring, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

Considering the true biblical gospel of the kingdom of heaven, we must correct our misunderstanding of the size and success that the gospel, has, and will have, before the return of King Jesus. We must abandon our pessimistic view that we are going from bad to worse and that the devil wins in history and start announcing: He has come to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found and all the forces of unbelief and rebellion combined will not frustrate the gospel’s ongoing success!

In 1978 the Mercedes Benz automobile company ran some ads describing a brand-new brake technology they had developed and patented. Although they owned the rights to the technology, they freely shared it with other car companies in the interest of promoting safety. The tag line of the ad contained these sobering words: Some things in life are too important not to share. Christian, the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is the best news in all the world. It’s too important, too big, and too powerful, not to share with others, and Others, and OTHERS!

From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead, ‘til every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed! GLORY!!

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