Posts Tagged ‘gospel of the kingdom’

Starving at the Buffet

August 27th, 2010 5 comments

I once read about an experiment in which researchers placed a large fish in an aquarium filled with an ample supply of mouth watering minnows. The big fish basically enjoyed what we would call an “all you can eat buffet.”

After a while, the researchers inserted a clear glass partition into the tank. Now the big fish could only enjoy half the aquarium and half the minnows. After eating the last minnow on his side of the tank, the big fish made an attempt to eat the minnows on the other side of the glass. You can imagine what happened. After banging his body repeatedly into the glass partition with no reward to show for his efforts, the fish gave up. He stopped trying.

What happened next was amazing. The researchers removed the glass partition, allowing the minnows to swim freely around the big fish. To their surprise, the fish never attempted to eat the minnows. He smelled them, bumped into them, watched them swim all around him, but he would not eat them! Perhaps the fish developed a belief that the minnows were unreachable. For whatever the reason, the big fish actually starved to death in the midst of an aquarium filled with minnows!

Can you relate? Sometimes we develop stinking thinking, especially after we encounter obstacles or when we experience failures or setbacks. We go negative in our mental disposition. We become despondent and discouraged. We feel like nothing we do really matters. We just quit on our dreams!

But if we fight the good fight of faith, choosing to live in the Kingdom of God, where right thinking, right relationships, peace and joy (Romans 14:17) fill the fish tank, we’ll soon discover that we are surrounded by minnows! It takes faith, a yielded, fully confident, loving affection for our heavenly Father, to see the opportunities God is bringing our way. Unbelief will keep you from possessing what the Lord has promised. Don’t starve to death when the Lord is preparing a banquet feast in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). Live in faith. Look for answers and opportunities. Expect God’s provision.  Remember, it’s your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom! (Luke 12:32)

Winning is Not Salvation: Exhibit #1

November 18th, 2009 1 comment

I made the point in the last blog that there is a big difference between preaching the “gospel of salvation” and preaching the “gospel of the Kingdom.” The former focuses on getting souls ready for heaven. The latter preaches a much broader message which involves bringing the reign of Christ, not only to the individual, but also to the major domains of life.

There are seven spheres or domains which influence the values and beliefs of any society: education, church, family, government, business and technology, the performing arts, and the media. When we preach the gospel of the Kingdom, weunderstand that our task is to bring the Lordship of Christ into all of life. As Chuck Colson says, “Transformed people transform culture.”

Africa is a perfect example of the weakness of the salvation message without an emphasis on disciplemaking and culture building. Africa is the most evangelized nation on the planet with 80% of the people claiming to be Christian south of the Sahara. Yet in every nation we see basically the same things: poverty, disease, violence, corruption, injustice and chaos.

How could this be?

Because we have failed to teach new believers the principles of the Kingdom. We have failed to disciple young Christians and to teach them how to rebuild their nation upon biblical principles. So many have heaven in their hearts while they live in communities that look like hell. They received a message of salvation but not kingdom transformation. Jesus commanded the Church to disciple nations. It’s time to enlarge our vision and to get to work.

Winning is Not Salvation

November 11th, 2009 No comments

Hold on…don’t start launching the charges of heresy just yet! Hear me out!

As we are trying to define what “WINNING” means for the Church, we need to address a sensitive, but critically important point. Much of the Church is preaching a very narrow gospel message. Let’s call it “the gospel of salvation.” The message is straightforward – repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved. Amen! This is the cornerstone of our message and the entry point. But is this the end? In other words, if our WIN is to get people ready for heaven, then what do we do with them after they are saved? Is salvation THE message or is it just part of what it means to WIN?

Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15). While new birth, or salvation, is the entry into the Kingdom of God, it nevertheless is just the starting place. Our job as believers and citizens of the Kingdom, is to spread the good news that “Our God Reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7) We have been created for dominion, not for defeat.

So many Christians have a pessimistic view of the future. They expect things to get progressively worse, with only a handful of faithful believers huddled together in a closet awaiting Jesus’ rescue. They see the world as a sinking ship, so the job of the Church is to merely rescue as many people as you can before the ship sinks.

I’m sorry, but to me, this doesn’t look like a WIN at all! Surely Jesus has more in mind for His Church than this. We’ll contine to explore this in the next blog…