Sunday, April 24, 2016

Seeing the Gospel for what it is: Good News.

Audio: 2 min. 26 sec.

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When we speak of evangelism, what we're really talking about, you could say, is good-news-ism. Now, here's the funny thing to me. It's generally not difficult to tell somebody good news, right? So why is it, then, if Jesus is good news, why is it difficult for us to tell people about Jesus?  And the only reason for this is that I don't think that we're really seeing the gospel for what it is, that it is good news.

Evangelism is often equated with trying to get them to believe the way that you believe, to try to get them to do what you want them to do. It's trying to sell them something that they don't want, manipulating others, maybe even deceiving others into your way of thinking, your way of acting.

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Our effectiveness in evangelism and ministry does not originate in our cleverness, our methods, our hard work, but in the one who calls us to this task. When you really come to know the gospel as good news, when it's no longer like, "ahh I've got to be a christian, I've got to be a good little boy or girl." And it's no longer this guilt trip sort of a thing. As a matter of fact you realize this isn't a guilt trip, this is the end of guilt, right? It's transformative, and you want to tell others about it.

But here's the problem.  The battle is always about being blinded to the natural beauty of the gospel, whether for yourselves, or the people that you're trying to tell that gospel to. And maybe this blindness is from your own perspective because of false ideas that you have of the gospel, or maybe it's because you're not in a church where the radical freeness of salvation of Christ, the absolute riches of Christ's grace, are being lavishly unpacked week after week.

Maybe that's it, and all you're hearing is just one more thing I've got to do, one more thing I've got to be. But this is good news. Jesus isn't trying to sell you anything.

Richard Halverson, he was the chaplain of the United States senate, he put it this way. He said... Evangelism is not salesmanship. It's not urging people, pressuring them, coercing them, overwhelming them, or subduing them. Evangelism is telling a message. Evangelism is reporting good news.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

By Faith Alone ... But?


"You may receive forgiveness -- if you have sufficiently forsaken sin." 
"You may know the message of grace -- if you have experienced a sufficient degree of conviction of sin."

. . . But this was to put the cart before the horse and turn the message of the gospel on its head.  For whenever we make the warrant to believe in Christ to any degree dependent upon our subjective condition, we distort it.  Repentance, turning from sin, and degrees of conviction of sin do not constitute the grounds on which Christ is offered to us.

Neither conviction nor the forsaking of sin constitutes the warrant for the gospel offer. Christ himself is the warrant, since he is able to save all who come to him.  He is offered without conditions. We are to go straight to him!  It is not necessary to have any money in order to be able to buy Christ.

-- Sinclair Ferguson

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters