I wrote this blog post August 23, 2016 after pondering the current state of the church. Around 2011, the Lord began to stir in my heart that the church is not reaching her fullest potential. I do not pretend to be a leading authority on the condition of the church. I love the church and all that it represents in Christ Jesus, yet at times I am concerned with the message that is being preached today. The church is not perfect, the church can lose its way at times and get too focused on things that will not matter in Heaven.
Henry Blackaby said, “Claiming to be a “Bible-believing church” does not guarantee that the Bible is faithfully being preached or taught.”
Matthew Chapter 4 says, after Jesus had been tested in the wilderness, He began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He called His first disciples and “went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He preached “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23; Mark 1:14). The word “gospel” is derived from the Greek word euangelion, which means “good news.” So Jesus was preaching “good news” about the coming Kingdom of God. The prophet Isaiah prophesied this in Isaiah 61:1 and Jesus confirmed it in Luke 4:18.
Jesus’ message is also called “the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1), “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), “the glorious gospel” (2 Cor. 4:4, KJV), “the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13) and “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). While there is only one true gospel, each of these descriptions focuses on a different aspect of the same message.
The gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom is the message that Jesus urges us to believe today. The gospel of the kingdom is the good-news message of repentance, redemption, and restoration offered by God to all who will receive Christ. It is a message of hope and healing to the to the poor and brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Although grace makes this offer available to anyone who will receive it, Jesus warned that it would be very difficult to enter His kingdom and few would do so (Matt. 7:14). Since He is the only Being through whom we may receive salvation (Acts 4:12), we must heed His instruction to “repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The gospel of the kingdom is the news that there is freedom from slavery to sin if we will repent and turn to God (Rom. 6:18–19). Those who receive the gospel of the kingdom become citizens of heaven and are freed from bondage to this world (Gal. 4:3–9). Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).
Are we preaching another gospel?
Since teaching “another” gospel comes with being accursed and leads God’s people astray, then this is a questioned that needs to be considered. It seems that much of what is being taught in mainstream churches today is “another” gospel. During a time of prayer, it came to me that we hear very little taught in our churches today about “The Beatitudes” a proclamation of the kingdom. Jesus had been announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and He had been calling for people to repent. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus unveils the foundations and character of life in that kingdom
As a new believer, I hungered and thirsted for truth so I became a student of the Scriptures. My desire was and still is to know how to live out my spiritual life and my daily walk with the Lord according to His purposes.
Many in our congregations are biblically illiterate and malnourished. When was the last time you heard a message on the “Beatitudes” or “Salvation” or “Grace” or “Holy Spirit.” And Lord for forbid if we preach about sin or our sin nature. OMG, people would be ready to stone the Pastor.
Why isn’t this being taught in many churches today?
I am of the belief that what was spoken of in the New Testament is occurring today, we would be wise to examine our belief system in light of Jesus’ mission while He was here on earth. This may be a painful process, but a necessary one that requires re-examining what we think we know.
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.