WHAT ARE WE TELLING THE WORLD?
© Rosemary Bardsley 2016
[A message for Christians in today's world]
1. WHAT THE WORLD IS SAYING
A. ABOUT GOD:
(1) There is no God [atheism, secular humanism, evolutionism, postmodernism, naturalism, philosophical materialism]
(2) Every 'god is 'god' [syncretism, liberal theology, ecumenism]
(3) Everything is 'god' [pantheism, Eastern Religion, New Age]
(4) belief in 'the supernatural' instead of God [spiritism, occult and psychic practices]
(5) 'god' is within you [New Age]
(6) 'god is whatever you call 'god' [postmodernism, relativism]
(7) 'god' is just the fabrication of human minds and human cultures.
The result is that 'god' is a very relative concept. With no clear definition and, for many, without objective existence.
B. ABOUT SIN [about 'right' and 'wrong':
(1) There are no absolutes - everything is relative.
(2) There is no objective authority - everything is subjective.
(3) Whatever is, is right.
(4) If it feels good, or makes you feel good, it is right.
(5) If most people do it, or think it is right, it is right.
(6) We are not responsible for our actions because they are determined by our chemistry, our genes, our experiences or our environment.
The result is that every one does what is right in his own eyes, just as in the time of the Judges.
C. THE RESULT IS:
(1) The world does not know who God is.
(2) The world does not know who Jesus Christ is.
(3) The word 'sin' is meaningless.
(4) The word 'salvation' is meaningless - OR, is understood as something different from the biblical meaning.
(5) The Church and the Gospel are seen to be irrelevant.
D. CHRISTIANS ARE ALSO AFFECTED:
(1) There is a loss of Christian confidence in:
(2) There is a loss of Christian certainty about:
- the exclusive claims of Jesus
- the sinfulness of sin
- the lostness of the lost
- the reason for our existence.
2. WHAT SHOULD WE TELL THE WORLD?
A. WHAT DID JESUS TELL THE WORLD?
In Matthew Jesus presented himself in exclusive terms:
(1) the narrow gate - 7:13-14
(2) the one whose words must be obeyed - 7:21-36
(3) the one to whom absolute allegiance is due - 10:34-39
(4) the only One who knows the Father - 11:27
In Mark Jesus presented himself as Lord over all:
In John Jesus presented himself in exclusive and divine terms as:
Son of the Father, equal to the Father - 5:17,18,23
One with the Father - 10:30
The one who must be recognized and acknowledged - 8:24
The pre-existent one - 8:58
The exclusive, one-and-only -
B. WHAT DID PETER TELL THE WORLD?
C.WHAT DID PAUL TELL THE WORLD?
Acts 9:20 - he preached that Jesus is the Son of God.
Acts 17:7 - he preached that Jesus is King
Acts 17:18 - he preached about Jesus and the resurrection
Acts 17:24-31 - he identified God as Creator and Lord of all who commands all humans to repent
Acts 20:25 - he preached the kingdom of God
Acts 28:23 - he explained the message about the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus
Romans 10:9 - he taught that salvation depends on acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord and belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead
1Corinthians 1:23 - he preached Christ crucified
1Corinthians 2:2 - he preached Jesus Christ and his death
1Corinthians 15:3ff - he preached that Christ died, was buried, and was raised to life, appearing to many witnesses.
D. WHAT DID JOHN SAY?
The whole Gospel of John presents Jesus Christ as God and as the only source of spiritual life.
1John 2:23 - John taught that rejection of Jesus the Son is rejection of God the Father, and acceptance of the Son is acceptance of the Father.
1John 4:2 - John taught that anyone who acknowledges that Jesus came as a human being has the Holy Spirit
1John 4:15 - John taught that if anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, that person lives in union with God and God lives in union with that person.
1John 5:1 - John taught that whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is a child of God.
1John 5:10-13 - John taught that whoever has the Son has eternal life, and whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
3. WHAT MUST WE TELL THE WORLD TO DO?
In a word - we must tell the world to repent. This repentance has two aspects:
A change of belief - we must tell them that they must acknowledge [= believe] that Jesus is the Lord [that is, that Jesus is God].
A change of attitude/action - we must tell them that acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord affects the whole of their lives; it is a commitment to live under his authority as Lord and God.
Repentance is a reversal of the Genesis 3 rejection of God. Repentance undoes rebellion. See Matthew 7:15-20,21-23,24-27]
The opposite of faith is disobedience - see John 3:36; 8:30-32,42-47; 8:51; 10:27,28; 14:15,21-24; Acts 2:38f; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; Romans 1:5; James 2:14-17,28-26; 1John 1:6; 2:3-4,9-11; 3:13, 6-10; 4:7-8.
We must also tell them, that when they thus believe in Jesus Christ, the saving impact of his death is granted to them as a sheer gift, removing all impediments between them and God caused by sin.