The power only comes with the truth

Sometimes I think we promote the Gospel like advertising companies promote products. We select our target audience, do some research on what they want, and spin our narrative to match their perceived needs.

While this may be an effective marketing technique, it is entirely ineffective when it comes to the Gospel. Unlike the latest iPhone or breakfast cereal, the good news of Jesus Christ does not need to be adapted based on culture or context, for one key reason: it has the power of God within it.

I think often we forget this, as we look for fancy, eloquent words or clever coercive devices, twisting the message into the most relevantly palatable morsel we can. We forget that God, not us, defines His method of salvation. He has given and empowered ONE Gospel: That Jesus was crucified, according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that He was raised to life again for the forgiveness of sins.

We must be careful never to water down the truth, for it is only the true Gospel that has within it the ‘power of God unto Salvation.’

It is not the words, or the persuasiveness with which they are proclaimed, that saves people; it’s the power of God. So if you want to see results that last, preach the truth that has the power, not what elicits a feel-good or emotive response in the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will you speak out for people entirely unlike you?

locked-green-door_434-19316046I’m half way through reading ‘I am Malala,’ the famous book by the Nobel Prize winning girl who spoke out for education and was shot by the Taliban.

It gives a lot of insight into the lives of Pakistani peasants in the decades following the September 11, 2001 attack.

Malala’s father was a man who courageously spoke out against the Taliban, holding truth above cowardice. Malala records that he used to carry the following poem with him in his pocket. It is by Martin Niemöller, who had lived in Nazi Germany. It has really challenged me.

First they came for the communists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak for me.

Give Me the Truth that Hurts, Over a Lie that Makes Me Feel Good.

916513_28615130I’ve always had a passion for truth, but I know that sometimes it hurts. Sometimes facing the truth is like getting out of bed on a cold morning. You really don’t want to, but you know you’re not going anywhere until you do.

It bothers me how many people are willing to hide from the truth behind weakly spun webs of emotional reasoning and self-gratifying feelings.

Sometimes the truth tastes bad, but like medicine, it gives strength and healing in the end.

I think that’s one of the reasons I love the Bible. That book can pack a punch. It doesn’t bend to feelings or indulge human egos. It stands before us like a mirror and shows us our reflection: the good, the bad and the ugly. It is the best piece of human anthropology ever written.

So many people reject the Bible because it doesn’t feel good; because it doesn’t ‘sit well’ with their human reasoning. I encourage you to be open to the fact that the truth might hurt, but that its value is beyond measure.

Truth that Surpasses a Bed of Flowers

Kamille und Mohn am Wegrand im Sommer

Scarcely have I read a passage that resonated so deeply both with the objections of my own heart and my desire to hear truth, as this one from Stepping Heavenward:

‘Having been pardoned by your God and Saviour, the next thing you have to do is show your gratitude for this infinite favour by consecrating yourself entirely to Him, body, soul and spirit. This is the least you can do. He has bought you with a price, and you are no longer your own.

“But,” you may reply, “This is contrary to my nature. I love my own way. I desire ease and pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers. Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, and be sure of final salvation, and yet, to a certain extent, indulge and gratify myself? If I give myself entirely away to Him and lose all ownership of myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable.”

But, I reply, this is no matter of parley and discussion; it is not optional with God’s children whether they will pay Him with a part of the price they owe Him and keep back the rest. He asks, and He has a right to ask, for all you have and all you are.’

Stepping Heavenward. Elizabeth Prentiss. P86-86

Why is the message of Christianity offensive?

stock.xchngoneway

The message of Christianity is offensive because it’s exclusive.

One of the foundational premises of Christianity is that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. He claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life and that ‘no one comes to the Father except through me.’ Acts also states that ‘…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.

Christianity claims to be the one true religion, reconciling people with the One True God. You can accept it or reject it, but you can’t mix it with other faiths or worldviews.

I’m sick of people ranting about how Christianity is all about tolerance and acceptance. I wonder if these people have ever read a Bible. While Christianity welcomes all people, irrespective of their sinfulness or their past, it demands total allegiance; the renouncing of all other paths and the acceptance of salvation through Jesus alone.

This can be hard to swallow, but there is one massive payoff: It’s the truth! As Paul said ‘… the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’

The Gospel message saves people! It offers hope, it transforms lives and it restores fellowship with God. It is the greatest miracle to have ever touched humanity.

It’s exclusive because it has to be; because it IS the only way. It’s a Jesus plus nothing message, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What if Christians actually acted like Jesus?

seek_truth_by_beautifullyevilI found this discussion topic on another blog that I follow (jonlilley.com) and it really got me thinking.

How often do we hear or read something that sounds good, and automatically agree with it without even thinking about whether it’s true?

The following quote is by Mahatma Gandhi:

If all Christians acted like Christ, the whole world would be Christian.

Sounds good, sounds challenging. But is it true ?

What are your thoughts?