Friday, March 21, 2014

Good News

Jesus died on the cross 

He lived "perfect" and then died for us
Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a good life, and then died so that we could be good too
Jesus came so that we would have a way to go to heaven when we die

All of those things are true...and none of them are the gospel. They are part of it. But they're definitely not itWhat is it? Lots say different things. Some say the same thing, and the way people live it out differs across the board.

plain and simple, is, what was the original Good News? It was what the apostles of Christ went around telling everyone - its what garnered 3,000 new believers in a day.

The Good News from God is that, according to the promises He made to Israel, He sent His Son Jesus to save us. He came and lived and died... and rose from death. SO that, as Jesus promised, when we believe in Him, we no longer face death!

He is alive! The Good News of Jesus Christ is not that He died, but that He is alive. He is alive to hear when we trust Him as the one and only Son of God - God's Anointed, the Lord of lords - Who gave all to save us. He is alive to rescue us. He is alive to give us true life and make us new - and that true life begins now and ends in eternity with Him.

Again: He rose from the grave, and then into heaven. He is now alive, so that when people direct their hearts and minds to Him and sincerely surrender, He listens. God forgives because we trust His Son, Who took our place on the Cross. He sends the Holy Spirit, Who immerses your old self in Himself, and makes you new. How is a person "made new"? Jesus paved the way; He is the Way. He calls us up into Himself. //

bigger picture.
When we're talking about the salvation of mankind and the Most High God's purposes for all creation, its clear that the gospel is not your average news. (Hence its ~2000 year staying power, and its not going anywhere!)
You have to start with knowing Jesus more. We're gonna start from the outside of that circle and work our way in for just a second, then jump to the center of that circle and work our way out. The end result is to see the gospel in context of...well, everything.

start from the outside of that circle.
So, what I'm gonna call the cosmic gospel is a broad view of human life which is surprisingly specific to each of our lives. It is that "sin" separates us from the Creator and all of history proves not only that, but that we have longed to be back with our Creator from the start. We act selfishly - who knew, right? Well, it doesn't take a lot to prove that history is marked by human pain more than anything. Do you know pain, or suffering, or defeat? Sorrow, guilt, or shame? We all do...we all must. But God is totally good. Total Light and Life. He made us free to choose, and from the first man to every man, we chose to go our own way.

What happens when you are separated from Life? Death. Thats it. Its a disjointedness that we stitched into our bodies - we can't get it out. Every other religion or philosophy on the planet will suggest ya can over time. Ya can't. No one ever has. Our sin is a wedge between us and exactly everything we want and need: God.

God chose Israel as the nation through whom He'd reveal Himself to the world, and interestingly, what happened with them before Jesus came is very representative of each of us. There are periods of really strong effort! There are times when its hard, but a few good men pull together. There are times of shame. But all in all, it comes out alright, right? The story just ends on a good feeling? No, not at all. Israel's capital fell, and horrible things devoured the nation. They walked the plank all the way...and each of us do the same. When we start to see who Jesus is, He starts to show us how true this is.

The last part of the "cosmic gospel", as I put it, is this: I believe everyone is already looking for Christ, they just might not know it. Some are looking for the one good relationship. Some, the one good drug. Some, that one good job. Point is, that one thing. For what? To make sense of the pain and confusion, and make everything good in your life. Our reaction to our fractured nature is to fix it, but we cannot on our own...

from the center of the circle, moving outward
God's response to our sin and fractured nature is to save us. He is a Deliverer. Always has been. Always will be.

People say Jesus lived a perfect life, but for me that sentence is lacking. Not one living human can perfectly describe what "perfect human life" means. So while its true Jesus was faultless, to say He "lived a perfect life" is going to fall on deaf ears 98% of the time.
Human + Perfect = ???(confusion)
What use is it if no one gets what you're saying?

What we mean to say is that Jesus lived rightly and beautifully before His Father, never veering to the right or left but always doing "those things which please the Father". His Father literally is God. To be a Christian is to believe that He was truly born of a virgin.
Then theres that - God is His Father, yet Jesus is God too? Further, the Spirit that He sends to change our lives is not just a reg spirit...He is God too? Yes. The Trinity - Father, Son, Spirit - is the One True God. 3 is 1, yet 3. If He wasn't God, He would be simpler and more human for us to understand. Praise Him that He is not.

Jesus taught for about 3 years. He walked all over, healing everyone around (and the gospel records lots of people coming to Him, all the time. Its not like anyone can blame them for crowding Him - He healed everything.) He then allowed Himself to be betrayed, tortured, and crucified. On the third day, He rose. This validated everything.

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4, TLV)

"God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17, TLV)

Yeshua [Jesus] spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12, TLV)

"This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:12-14, TLV)

"And if the Ruach [Spirit] of the One who raised Yeshua [Jesus] from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Messiah Yeshua [Jesus] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Ruach [Spirit] who dwells in you." (Romans 8:11, TLV)

He taught the way of peace - the way to live reconciled to God.

All these things are true. I know; its my witness of faith.