A demonstrative Gospel

As Christians we need to see the Gospel and the character of God for what it really is. We don’t believe in a powerless Gospel that only consists of nice words. Non-believers won’t be converted if you only tell them about the goodness of God and the power of the Gospel – they need to experience it as well. It needs to be demonstrated. Paul and Jesus proclaimed the same message:

Paul:

“For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).” 1 Cor 1:17

Jesus:

“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.]” John 14:11

Jesus (in reply to a question about whether He really was the Messiah:

“So He replied to them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news (the Gospel) preached to them.” Luke 7:22

Jesus said we will do the same things that He did, and even greater (John 14:12). We can demonstrate the incredible saving power of the cross. This includes praying for sickness or any dead situation and seeing the miraculous happen!

“For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on NOT talk but POWER.” 1 Cor 4:20

Effortless faith

Many Christians have heard a wrong message about the true meaning of faith. It has been preached many times that faith is something you need to achieve or attain out of your own strength. The truth is, faith is something that will effortlessly come to you as you hear about the good news of the Gospel.

Faith is not a science – it is a state of being.  Worry or fear does not need to be premeditated or summoned through effort – it just comes to you. In the same way (but in a more positive way!) faith will come to you as you start trusting in the goodness of God’s character. Your faith is therefore equal to your revelation of God’s goodness.

“So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).” Rom 10:17

“For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]…” Col 1:4

Jesus also showed us this in the following verse:

“And He said to them, Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great and wonderful calm (a perfect peaceableness).” Matt 8:26

He put the word faith directly opposite fear. In essence He is saying: “Why don’t you trust in my goodness and my character?“. Immediately after saying this He demonstrated His goodness by bringing a great and wonderful calm and peace upon the waters.

Remember – all you need to do to get more faith is to hear the message of the goodness of God (the message of the cross of Jesus and all that it entails – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). There is no human effort involved.

Looking at the Bible

There are different ways of reading your Bible – and each will bring forth different results. One way will lead to an overcoming life filled with the glory and life of God; the other will lead to a life of condemnation and eventual spiritual death.

When we read our Bible we should look at it and see what Jesus has ALREADY accomplished. Every verse is subject to God’s ultimate showcase of His glory – Jesus’ death and resurrection, which leads to a life of reconciliation, freedom, acceptance and supernatural provision. For most of my life I used to read the Bible from a self-accusing mindset. This lead to condemnation and depression – not a life that is glorifying to God.

“And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:18

As we behold God’s word as a mirror of His glory – i.e. to behold God and see the perfecting work of His Son on the cross (already accomplished) – we will be transformed. Look away from all that will distract (self-accusing thoughts and your own efforts to measure up) unto Jesus. This will truly change your life – from the inside out (effortlessly).

Bearing fruit

God uses many natural occurrences in order to teach us spiritual principles. One of these is spiritual growth. In nature, growth happens because a plant has its roots anchored in a solid substance (like ground), and because it receives nourishment and water from this substance. In a previous post I spoke about the truth about spiritual growth, and that it does not depend on your actions but on what Christ has already accomplished on the cross. Being rooted in THIS truth, and making Jesus our sole focal point will result in the most natural spiritual growth, the way God intended it to be.

“Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.” Col 2:7

“And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” Ps 1:3

Don’t attempt to bear fruit out of your own effort. If you are not naturally fed through the substance of Christ, your own efforts will result in burn-out and failed human attempts. God’s way is always the best way. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:30), because bearing fruit will come without your intervention if you stay rooted in Christ, and what He has already accomplished for you.

One with Christ

As Christians,  most of us have heard the following statement before: “You are now one with Christ”. I don’t think many of us realize the incredible impact of this statement.

“For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham’s Seed], then you are Abraham’s offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise.” Gal 3:27-29

To be in union with someone means to be merged or to become one (fused together). That means the following is true for every believer:

  • You will do the same things that Christ did, and even greater (John 14:12). Jesus changed lives wherever He went. He did not condemn sinners.  He healed the sick.  He fed thousands with one meal and He even raised the dead! Through Christ living in you, this can be your reality.
  • You have the true Word of God permanently fixed in you (John 1) – which means the truth will always resonate with your heart (also see post about what you have inside you). You know the voice of your Shepherd.

Selah. Pause and calmly think about that!

God is near

We don’t serve a God who lives “far, far away” in heaven. Although this image might have been imprinted in our minds since childhood – the truth is that He is infinitely closer to us than we can imagine. There is never a moment that we are alone. God is in the midst of us.  If something is ‘in the midst’ it means it is in the middle or center of its content. God forms the nucleus of our being – He is fixed in the core of our soul. That is how close He is.

“The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]!” Zeph 3:17

“For what great nation is there who has a god so near to them as the Lord our God is to us in all things for which we call upon Him?” Deut 4:7

God is called Immanuel, and this means “God with us” (Is 8:8, Is 8:10).

“So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:27

“Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off?” Jer 23:23

This shows another part of God’s character – that He wants to be close to His children. He does not distance Himself and leave us to fend for ourselves – He is involved in every aspect of our lives. How amazing!

The truth that changed my life

God will always reveal Himself to the hungry heart. I experienced this myself on the 11th of March 2004. For a while before this (at that stage being in a legalistic denomination) I felt like my Christian life was filled with half-truths and many contradictions. I prayed that God would break down the lopsided building and start rebuilding the foundation from scratch. He did not hesitate to answer my hunger and prayer with an amazing revelation on His character and truth through a ministry in Potchefstroom – Immanuel Bedieninge.

Some of the truths that became the core of my Christian foundation after that introductory night include the following:

Today I just realized again how precious this truth is, and how once we have experienced it, we should protect it and appreciate it. It truly has the power to change your life.