July 15, 2014

Sharing good news — with each other and with those who have never heard it

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19–21)

My current seminary course is called “The Missional Church,” a title that could be misunderstood. It is about the purpose of God in creating a Body of believers, both Old Testament and New so we could be His Gospel messengers. We are to tell the good news of salvation to one another and to those who have never heard it.

Stephen did it as a deacon saying, “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran . . .” (Acts 7:2ff)

Paul referred to this pattern of Christians teaching Christians when he said, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6–7).
Paul also encouraged Timothy to continue this practice, words that have encouraged Christians ever since . . .  

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also . . . Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness . . . (2 Timothy 2:1–17).

Paul gave Titus similar instruction, telling him that church leaders “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1:9–11).

Teaching Gospel truth is vital. It is the main task of the church and the most important message God wants the entire world to hear. It is for both those who know it and for those who have never heard it.

As I read and study this topic, God is helping me understand something I’d not seen before concerning the doctrine of election. Many think this means that God picks some to be saved and some not, but that is misleading.

Instead, it means that God elects some so we will go and share the Gospel with others. Christians are not an elite group but a group with a purpose. While we cannot ‘make’ people believe it, the ‘elect’ have been picked to announce this good news so that no one is left out of the family of God unless they decide to ignore or reject what they have heard.

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