Something I have wondered for a while is ‘do Christians really understand the gospel?’ We might all know how to become a Christian – that we need to repent and trust in Jesus death and resurrection but is that where we leave Jesus? Is Jesus only for beginners?
Last Friday in the ministry team training hour we discussed this very topic. At the moment we are reading a book called ‘Setting Hearts on Fire’ which is written by John Chapman. In a nutshell the book is about ‘being servants of the word of God and servants of the people we are telling about Jesus’. The book very clearly outlines the gospel and I reckon most people would agree with most of what the author has to say. But here’s the thing: why doesn’t the gospel overflow into every aspect of our lives and into every issue that we come across?
I reckon it’s because generally people don’t have a good biblical theology (a good understanding of how all of the Old Testament points forward to Jesus and how all of the New Testament points back to Jesus). We just don’t seem to understand how everything is about Jesus.
I think Steve’s talk on Sunday really helped us to start thinking about fighting this disease. Firstly we need to soak ourselves in God’s word the Bible – actually apply God’s word to our lives. And secondly we need to see how Jesus is the answer to all things. Steve also talked about the bush fires and how in such an horrific event we need to be the first to give money, blood etc. But not to miss the real issue – the real tragedy – that millions of people don’t know Jesus.
What do you reckon?
- Do Christians really understand what they believe?
- If you answered ‘no’ to the above question – What do you think is getting in the way us realising that everything is about Jesus?
I think it has to do with several things the way we have been taught in the past eg less focus on the old testament because with teach more from the new and see the old as being old. Maybe it shouldn’t be called old testament.
We tend to love material things first an example lately we would spend more time talking about the financial crisis than talk about how we should be immersing our selves in the word of God. We do need to think of these things but we have a far greater mission that GOD has called us to do. So lets equip ourselves with the word of God daily and be prepared to give an answer and also ask the hard questions.
Coming from a Pentecostal background, I found it strange that the Gospel would be something that would be preached each week to Christians (as well as non-Christians). Pentecostals are taught to move on to other “deeper” teachings (often unbiblical) now that they are Christians. I think it is still hard for me to comprehend just how much Gospel can and should be impacting my thinking now that I’m a Christian. I think this could be spelt out regularly at Church.
Part of the “good news” is the whole predestination idea. E.g Ephesians 1 verses 4 to 6 we read “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” The idea that God in his graciousness chose me for salvation before the creation of the world is something I’m trying to get to sink into my brain more. If God loved me from before I was born, then no hardship in my life, even when I wasn’t a Christian, can separate me from God’s love. This should help me to be content and secure in any situation, but I easily start thinking “Life sucks. God doesn’t or didn’t care about me when that “bad” thing happened”. This sort of thinking can stop the gospel from helping to live for God now.
I think another thing that can stop the gospel from impacting our lives more is dividing life into “spiritual” and “non-spiritual” parts. E.g. How I behave at work is “non-spiritual”, but how I “worship” during the singing at church is “spiritual”. All of our lives should be seen as “spiritual” and how we live for God in everything should be seen as “worship”.
Another thing that may reduce the impact of the gospel in our lives is the potentially eroding effect of lies about the Bible or God. E.g. The secular media keeps sending messages about how you can’t believe the Bible – “science” has proved that the world is millions of years old, or that there is some cover up about Jesus like the Da Vinci Code. Research shows a lot of Christians drift away from God during Uni years (see http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/3226). Apologetics is something that is very important, because if we have doubts about how true the Bible or Jesus is, then we won’t live for God with all our heart. Thanks for your Blog.
I was just thinking Simon (& others), is the question: “do we understand what we believe?” or is it really: “do we believe what we understand?”
Both, you have to understand to some degree but all so responding in what we believe.
Great thoughts Simon. It’s hard to think Christians do understand what they believe – otherwise they wouldn’t do such a good job at keeping it to themselves. It was put well at church recently – if someone found the cure to cancer and didn’t tell anyone, it’d be criminal. So why do we withhold the cure to death, the shelter from hell? Ignorance has got to play a part, surely. Shallow faith. Don’t talk about Jesus because we don’t think about Him that much or spend enough time with him.
What do others think?
The point Pastor Steve made about being in a triangle relationship whenever we talk got me thinking. There is me on the right the other on the left and Jesus above us. This is convicting! I know that i often disregard God in some conversations, sometimes for hours or whole days!
I heard it said that ungodliness is the biggest problem in the world. Godliness was explained as thinking/being aware of God. When we sin ect it is normally because we are not thinking of God and how he would have us live – we forget God for that time.
But trying to be godly isn’t that easy. Others including Christians sometime don’t want to be thinking/aware of God and would call you fanatical if you would try to be godly (all!) the time.
but we are to try in the power of Gods Spirit to strive to be godly.
i think this will help show we understand what we know and know what we understand.
Thanks to all those bloggers who have been thinking about this difficult issue… I still think the problem is a result of poor biblical theology. However for people from an evangelical background I think Pete’s question might have more relevance.