Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lies Christians Believe #6


The salvation message is the totality of the gospel message.

I’m fresh from a trip to Southeast Asia; I spent eight days in Cambodia (Siem Reap & Phnom Penh) and eight days in Penang, Malaysia. While I was away I communicated some of what I witnessed to friends and family at home via social networking sites. Most of what I saw were healing miracles in people’s bodies; it’s what I expected to see because most of the scheduled meetings were dubbed as “healing services”. Amongst the testimonies of healing, I was asked a question if we were presenting the gospel message. I replied, “People's lives are being changed because of his transformative grace and yes we are preaching the gospel message but if your question is to ask if we are preaching the salvation message, then no.”

Jesus’ favourite message (some might argue it was his only message) was about the kingdom of heaven, a.k.a, kingdom of God. In Matthew 10 and Luke 10, we see examples of his commissioning his followers to go out and preach the kingdom of God is near. In other words, it is at hand, or within reach. In the great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, we are told to go out and make disciples and teach them to do everything Jesus taught. Jesus taught by demonstration what the kingdom of God was like; we are wise to do likewise. Throughout the gospel books I don't find a single example or mention of the salvation message Jesus taught.

The kingdom of God begins with salvation but it doesn’t end there. Let me say that again another way: we must be forgiven of our sins to enter the kingdom of God. The gospel includes salvation but there's more, much more.

Imagine the kingdom of God is like a mansion a generous benefactor has given us. Salvation is the key that unlocks the door to the house. Some (many) receive the key and the deed to the house but never go inside. They treat the mansion as a mausoleum; they plan their funeral and arrange their final resting place within the mausoleum but never take advantage of what it offers to them while they are still on this earth.

When I was a child and received cash as a gift, my parents taught me to honour the gift and the giver by using it for something I would not have been able to purchase on my own. A gift is special and should be enjoyed.  I appreciate the lesson and I’ve contemplated and reflected on it every time I receive a cash gift. It’s a kingdom mindset operating out of abundance, and not lack. We do not have to be miserly about the gifts we’ve been given, instead appreciate the gift and be extravagant in your enjoyment of it.

In the mansion there are many rooms to explore. There is a library to learn about history, science and the arts.  There is a sitting room which is ideal for quiet intimacy. We have access to a projection room, which is like prophetic pictures that give us greater perspective, and a health & fitness room which is fully equipped to keep our bodies in divine health. The view is heavenly (literally) and from this perspective the things of earth are small and hardly seem worthy of anxious thoughts. And if you find you have “stinkin’ thinkin’”, well, there’s a room to take care of that too.

We’ve been given the whole kingdom of heaven that’s the gospel message. Not only do we need to live in the rooms we’ve been given, we should be teaching others to do the same. Our heavenly papa has given us many gifts, let’s enjoy them.

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