The Gospel + nothing = truth

Please. Just give me the gospel and nothing else. Please don’t give me theatrics, and a light show and a sermon spoken with the smooth intonations of a perfectly polished Persuasive Speech.

Just the gospel. Only Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And RISEN.

Yes, we must not forget the resurrection without which we are still in our sins, according to the Apostle Paul.

The gospel is this: Jesus died, Jesus was buried, Jesus rose again.

THAT is the truth. THAT is what we are asked to believe in. THAT is what we are asked to put our faith in. THAT is the message that we are to “hear with faith” and be saved. Saved from hell. Yes, hell. Because you were given a choice.

Eternal life? Or eternal death? Your choice.

So, if you’re not into church with all of its exhibitionism, well then, not to worry. God didn’t ask you to put your faith in church. He’s asked you to trust in the gospel. The gospel plus nothing.

The gospel is a solution to a problem. The problem is spelled out in Genesis chapter 3 where we learn that Adam and Eve died spiritually. They were given a choice. And when they ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were deciding to reject God and His indwelling Spirit and to instead believe the words of Satan. God responded with mercy and, right then and there, He promised to send a man who would “crush the head of Satan.”

The Promised Messiah came. He was called Jesus. He was God in the flesh. He came to die to forgive all sin, and then He was buried for three days and three nights, and then he ROSE from the dead to offer His Holy Spirit. . . . THAT is the good news – the gospel!

It is good news because humanity needs the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives life, and we need to be made spiritually alive. We are all born “in Adam.” Dead in our sins. But Jesus came to save us, to offer good news, glad tidings, “the gospel,” through His death, burial and resurrection.

The gospel is good news. And is it not good of God (more good news!) that the only thing He requires of is to believe in the gospel?

. . . Cause the religious stuff is getting really irritating, don’t you think!?

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I have many other blog posts on the topic of “the gospel.” If you are interested, there is:

The New Life – outside of church

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage

Pexels.com

I was pretty shocked when I began to hear the Lord speak quietly to my heart that it was time to quit church.  “Not so, Lord,” I said, in the spirit of Peter from Acts 10 and 11.

But I finally relented.  . . . Although it seemed as though I was having an inner temper tantrum in my “obedience” to my Lord and Master, Jesus the Messiah.  (Good job, Lisa.)

The following Sunday, it was a huge surprise to me when Jesus made Himself known.  His presence was manifested to me. “Oh!!  Jesus!”  I said.  “Well, hello there!  It’s been so long!”  And His glorious joy was poured out to my spirit.

Of course He had never left me nor forsaken me.  But I had forsaken Him.  For 15 years.  Why?  Well, heck, I was trying to be a “good Christian.”

Before quitting church, the Lord had been stripping me of a belief system that was based on rules and regulations.  I was all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that.”

He led me to quit church in 2004, and by 2006 the only ‘law’ I was still holding on to tenaciously was that we  “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.”  Finally, the Lord gently removed that one last requirement through learning the proper meaning of 1 John 1:8&9.  Simply put, John was speaking to unbelievers (most likely the Gnostics in his audience) in verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1.

So, I came to understand that I did not have to ask for forgiveness; that His death on the cross had already accomplished my forgiveness, and I simply had to believe that “it is finished.”

Realizing that I no longer had a Christian To-Do List, there was simply nothing left for me to do.  Except to love Him back.  To trust Him.  To rely on Him.  To depend on Him.  I began to live my life in a totally different way.  I trusted Him to lead me and guide me.

The way I parented our three kids became completely different; the way I viewed God began to line up with reality; I began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’  The TREE OF LIFE became my daily food; I had left behind the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  I now live every day with Jesus, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  It’s a glorious life.

And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t go to “church.”  Well, I never went back to “formalized” church.  Yet to this day, I do gather together with believers on a regular basis, and there is more true fellowship in my life now than there ever was in the days when I went to church four times a week.

Written March 10, 2020

What goes on in most churches is heartbreaking.

The sheep are being beaten.  And, bottom line, THAT is what is heartbreaking.  But what is perhaps even worse, is that the sheep are allowing themselves to be beaten.  They sit idly in their chairs or pews as the guy up front tells them all of the things they are doing wrong.  Forgetting that Jesus Christ paid a tremendous price to take away the sins of the entire world.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  (John 1:29)

The last time I was in an actual “real” church — as opposed to the outside-of-the-box Bible Studies I’ve been attending the past decade — I witnessed one of these public beatings.  I went to hear their guest speaker, a famous author of “Christian books” (How did his books become a Christian?  I guess the books got saved?).

He gave an end-times message which ended by telling the humongous audience (1,000 or more) that since Jesus was coming back soon they had better shape up.  They were reading the wrong novels and magazines, watching the wrong movies, and doing all sorts of other things wrong, and “When Jesus comes back, people, do you really want to feel ashamed when you stand before Him!?”

By this time in my life, I had only recently surrendered to the fact that I am a completely forgiven person, so my own welts and bruises were still raw; the lashes on my own back from 12 years of such beatings were not yet healed.  So when the guest speaker finished his message and asked the packed-out crowd to bow our heads in a prayer of repentance, I wanted to scream out, “No!”  Instead of bowing my head during his prayer, I kept my head lifted high and searched the room for the pastor of this church; why wasn’t he running up to the podium to interfere and apologize to everyone for letting this happen!?  Why wasn’t the pastor reminding the crowd that Jesus is NOT ashamed of us!! (Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 11:16).

But it wasn’t only his fault . . .

The sheep accepted their beating; they took their lashing without complaint.

Once it was all over, I walked among the huge crowd looking for anyone who might be as upset as I was.

Nope.  They were all fine.

Some were visibly giddy.  They were busy chatting to friends, and perhaps making plans to watch “Fireproof” for their next movie night.

Meanwhile, I felt as if I were about to burst into hysterical sobbing.  (Which I later did, once home, and after holding back the storm of tears during the 20-minute drive home.)

My experience that night was not unique.  I have been to an enormous number of churches in my life, and these beatings are taking place everywhere.

Yet, He is not ashamed of you if you have believed in Him and believed in the gospel.  If you have done that, then you have done all the work that He requires of you.  Now it is time for you to rest.

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.””  (John 6:28) 

 

May 19, 2017