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Devotional - The Whole Gospel Is Love

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! - 1Corinthians 9: 16 (KJV)

    On August 5, 1855, Charles Spurgeon took to the pulpit of New Park Street Chapel to speak about the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. His key verse that day is the same you see above. In the remarks contained in his opening point is this brief portion:

    No man can be said to preach the whole gospel of God if he leaves it out, knowingly and intentionally, one single truth of the blessed God. This remark of mine must be a very cutting one, and ought to strike into the consciences of many who make it almost a matter of principle to keep back certain truths from the people, because they are afraid of them. In conversation, a week or two ago, with an eminent professor, he said to me, "Sir, we know that we ought not to preach the doctrine of election, because it is not calculated to convert sinners." "But," said I to him, "who is the men that dares to find fault with the truth of God? You admit, with me, that it is a truth, and yet you say it must not be preached. I dare not have said that thing. I should reckon it supreme arrogance to have ventured to say that a doctrine ought not to be preached when the all-wise God has seen fit to reveal it.

    Who indeed is the men that find fault with the truth of God? I reckon as well it to be supreme arrogance to omit doctrine from preaching which God has provided through His revelation. Yet fast forward 158 years and we see that while the details may have changed the problem continues to this day. First let us establish the severity of which we speak.

    And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. - Acts 20: 25-27 (ESV)

    This is the Apostle Paul saying farewell to the elders at Ephesus. Knowing he would not see them again, he testifies that his hands are free of their blood. Why? Because he did not hesitate to proclaim the whole counsel of God - the whole Gospel. The inference cannot be clearer and should give any minister pause. There is blood on the line beloved. The eternal destinations of the souls of men are on the line. Amidst the pageantry and showiness of modern churchianity there is blood on the line. In between the current Easter Egg Hunt and next Christmas Cantata there is blood on the line. In the details of that watered down sinners prayer and the subsequent SHAPE application there is blood on the line. When I watch Christian television my spirit is weary and my soul saddened to watch people who will stand before Christ one day and give an account not only for their own reprehensible behaviors but for the blood they caused to be spilled. The souls they led to the broad path of destruction. Yes, individually we are responsible for ourselves but the Bible says that those who bring the Word are held to a higher account. Pastors are responsible for and will answer for every sheep they were entrusted with - not just the ones that agreed with them. Regardless of what the Purpose Driven Church says. There is always blood on the line. Whether it be 1855 or 2013.

    I say this with profound sadness as the backdrop of the continuing devaluation of the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see it every day beloved. Partial gospels designed to make the preacher rich. Watered down gospels designed to fill the pews. Compromised gospels designed to not offend anyone. I wrote recently how one major denomination outlawed the usage of a hymn because it referred to the wrath of God! Dear Lord where are we going? The worst however is the constant defense of such clear apostasy.

    "Well, Jesus said neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more..."

    Yes that is true but He also said:

    “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” - Matthew 12: 33-37 (NLT)

    Presenting one without the other is an incomplete picture. I know that "Neither do I condemn you" sells much better than the Matthew verses but ignoring them doesn't remove them from Scripture. You may say that was just Jesus speaking to the Pharisees. That is right. The Pharisees were the group in charge of the religion of Jesus' day. They enjoyed the perks of being in charge of the religion. They bristled when anyone questioned their religiosity. In modern times they would be the ones on TBN, holding Praise-athons, and building mega churches. When Jesus cleared the Temple He did so because of the money they were making off of people seeking God - sound familiar? We need to ask ourselves where we find ourselves today. The Matthew verses were for us just as much as they were for the Pharisees.

    Our heart determines what we say and our words will either acquit or condemn us one day. There is nothing wrong with "Neither do I condemn you." It is a beautiful portion of the Gospel that shows the unending grace of God. Likewise so is this a beautiful picture of the love God has for us:

    I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. - John 15: 15 (NLT)

    A glorious reminder of the friendship we have in Christ. The "Friend of God" theology permeates modern churchianity today. Entire generations are now being raised in churches that push man centered worship music, preach man centered sermons and assure them beyond their wildest imaginations that God is their friend who only seeks to bless them at every waking moment of their lives. But while this verse is a great picture of the friendship we can have in Christ - it also is incomplete:

    “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? - Luke 6: 46 (NLT)

    A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. - Luke 14: 25-27 (NLT)

    Wait a minute preacher! What's all this "Lord" business? I thought He was my friend who gives me advice! No beloved. The truth is there is no friendship with God without first establishing His Lordship in your life. Jesus is not in the advisement business. Wait a minute preacher! What is with all this hating everyone by comparison stuff? I never heard that! I am supposed to place Christ before my family? Yes. And what is with all of this carrying my cross thing? I thought He took care of that already...

    People across this country are being sold a false bill of goods. They are being sold a Christianity that costs them nothing (except the tithe of course), challenges them little, requires no work on their behalf, and guarantees them endless blessings. Just come up to the altar for five minutes so we can count you as a salvation and then you can return to your regularity scheduled carnality. No discussion of sin and repentance. No discussion of the blood of Christ and the cross. Just say these three sentences and voila! Welcome to the family of God! Only it doesn't work that way.

    The staunch defenders of the current Pharisaical system of Churchianity are always quick to label dissent as legalism or burdensome. Joel Osteen once said that preaching the "do's and don'ts" of the Bible is not his "gifting." As if preaching the whole Gospel were a choice or an option that God gives through the bestowing of gifts. Perhaps the most egregious misinformation about the whole Gospel is the failure to realize that it is all love. The whole Gospel is love. Even the parts that make us cringe. Even the parts we may not want to hear. As parents we often have to tell our children things they do not want to hear but we tell them anyway because we love them. It is not love to hide part of the truth - even if your motive is pure. It is not love to preach grace alone and ignore the dangers of sin. And please - stop purposefully confusing the law with sin. When someone preaches to be wary of sin they are merely preaching the whole Gospel and they are doing it out of love. The Bible says that the wages of sin are death. That the enemy is waiting to devour us. That he who sins is a slave to sin. Don't these portions of the Gospel count too? Despite the harshness of the warnings - is it not love? Let us pretend that we have a friend who is cheating on his wife. Which of the following shows more love:

    A) "Don't worry. Jesus died for that sin on the cross. He loves you with an everlasting love. He has plans for you - plans to give you hope and a future. He wants you to be the head and not the tail. A lender and not a borrower. You are the apple of His eye. He wants to bless you and bless you and bless you..."

    B) "God does love you and Jesus did die for this sin on the cross. There are temporal consequences however you need to consider. What happens to your marriage? What happens to your children? 1John chapter three says that if we keep on sinning then we do not know Christ. What makes us Christian is not perfection from sin. It is the realization and the repentance from it. You need to make it right with God first and then your family."

    Now I understand that we might prefer to hear friend A but is friend B any less loving? How exactly is it love to see someone jumping off a cliff and hold their hand on the way down singing kumbya? It should be our job to warn them about the direction they are going! Wait a minute preacher - judge not! Beloved it is not judgment to point out to a brother or sister that the path they are on is not of Christ. It is in fact, love. Staying silent or providing hollow words of faux comfort while you watch them drive off a cliff is not love.

    “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. - John 3: 16 (NLT)

    The greatest verse about the love of God. I love to hear sermons about how great this love is that God has for me. It is incomprehensible to me but I long to hear about God's never-ending love. In this one verse is also the promise of eternal life. I love to hear sermons about the life to come. That there is more than this existence here on earth. That my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. But that is only half the picture from this verse. This verse also speaks about the fact that God had to sacrifice His only Son. That was a bloody sacrifice and it was offered for my redemption! I love to hear sermons about how God loved me so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son. It provides much needed context and reverence for what God has done. It places blessings in their proper perspective of things I have already received - not things I am demanding from God now. This verse also speaks about perishing - my state before Christ. I love to hear sermons about my imperfect state before a holy God. It keeps me humble and reminds me that I am nothing and He is everything. The whole Gospel beloved. Woe unto me if I do not preach the whole Gospel. I want to be able to say to the leaders at my Ephesus that I am free of their blood. Only the whole Gospel will save someone. Only the whole Gospel will keep someone. Only the whole Gospel will protect someone during the coming persecution. The false and incomplete gospels we hear today accomplish none of this. They make people feel better about themselves when they need to feel better about God. It is a superficial love selling a compromised god who has no power to save anyone. The whole Gospel however is the power of God unto our very salvation and woe is me if I do not preach it. I leave you with some of the parting words from Charles Spurgeon way back in 1855, hearkening unto us today...

    Put thine ear at hell's gate, and for a little while list to the commingled screams and shrieks of agony and fell despair that shall lend thine ear; and as thou comest from that sad place with that doleful music still affrighting thee, thou wilt hear the voice, "Minister! minister! woe is unto thee if thou preaches not the gospel." Only let us have these things before our eyes, and we must preach. Stop preaching! Stop preaching! Let the sun stop shining, and we will preach in darkness. Let the waves stop their ebb and flow, and still our voice shall preach the gospel, let the world stop its revolutions, let the planets stay their motion; we will still preach the gospel. Until the fiery center of this earth shall burst through the thick ribs of her brazen mountains, we shall still preach the gospel; till the universal conflagration shall dissolve the earth, and matter shall be swept away, these lips, or the lips of some others called of God, shall still thunder forth the voice of Jehovah. We cannot help it. "Necessity is laid upon us, yea woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - August 14, 2013
     

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