The Gospel was made for this

TheGospel

I saw a video (see below) about Oprah Winfrey’s religion, which is nothing more than a mix of pluralism and panentheism. She’s even recruited Rob Bell to help her cause and is promoting her system of beliefs to millions online. The video is a warning to Christians and a call to pray. I certainly agree that Christians should pray but is Christianity in trouble because of Oprah Winfrey?

Should Christians be worried? Maybe. Or, maybe not.

  • On a side note, maybe we should be worried more about the people who are propagating a false gospel under the guise of Christianity. But, that’s a different discussion for a different day.

This video and the entire discussion of how quickly American culture is turning into a pluralistic, everyone is right, every path leads to the same place mindset gives me good reason to pause and take a fresh look at the nature of the Gospel. Why did God give us this good news? Where does it work? For what culture was the Gospel made?

You may be saying, “that video is old. I watched it a long time ago. Why are you talking about it now?” Well, according how we process information these days the video is ancient from all the way back in 2009.  Since it was published, as I mentioned above, Rob Bell has joined Oprah’s cause and her web presence and  audience has only grown. But, that actually helps me illustrate a very important truth.

 The Gospel was made for this!

Let me remind you of the cultural environment to which the Gospel was first delivered. It was as pluralistic and confused as a culture could be. There was a different god on every corner and a culture that thought knowledge and enlightenment was the key to all. This culture was also, at times, very hostile to the message of the cross. It was seen by many as a “stumbling block” and “folly,” (1 Cor 1:23)

If you are a Christian with just a little knowledge of Bible history, here’s something of which I don’t need convince you: the Gospel not only worked, but flourished, in this very culture. So much so that the early couriers of this truth were known as “men who have turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)

So, should I worry about what Oprah, Rob Bell and others are peddling? I think it needs to be confronted, but, the religion she is peddling is a path that leads to nowhere. And every person who searches for truth down that path will ultimately be left wanting, just like the people who heard the Gospel at the beginning of its history and were made new and alive through Christ. Worried? No.

The Gospel was made for this!

Will it be easy for the church to reach people in this culture with the Good News of Jesus? Was it easy in the early church? No. However, those of us who have a love for God and a passion for others will reach. Why? Because the Gospel was made for this and, in the last 2,000 years, it has flourished in cultures just like this one. Never forget that.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Armor Up

Samarai armor

This past Sunday I preached the second message out of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. The critical truth of this armor is two-fold. First, this is God’s armor, God’s strength and God’s protection for us. Secondly, knowing that it’s imperative that we have it to protect us from the Devil’s schemes, we must put it on. That’s our part. So the question arises; how do you put on the armor? Here’s a brief explanation of all six pieces of armor Paul describes in Ephesians 6:

  1. Truth
    • There’s no value in unapplied truth. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Seek the truth but put on the armor of truth by applying it.
  2. Righteousness
    • Putting on this piece of armor is as much about what you don’t do. Remember, that our righteousness does not come by way of anything we can do. Only true righteousness is imputed (put on us) by God through Jesus. Paul wrote, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) How do you put on the armor of righteousness? Stop trying to be righteous on your own. (We mostly do this through religious yet un-scriptural works.) God is not impressed by us, He’s impressed when He sees the Son’s righteousness on us by faith.
  3. Gospel (Good News) of peace
    • Even in the midst of the spiritual battle that Paul warns us about, and the one that we know’s going on deep down, we can  have peace. How? Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus promised that we can have peace, deep, soul-quenching peace even in the midst of the battle; in Him.
  4. Faith
    • This piece of armor deflects the “fiery darts” of the devil. How do we have it? By continually and deliberately placing the full weight of our faith in Jesus’ ability and not our own. That’s what faith is. So, continue in the process to which Jesus has called you and learn to take faith from your own ability and place it in Christ.
  5. Salvation
    1. I know what you’re thinking; how do you put on salvation? Salvation is of the Lord! That is correct, it is. You put it on, not in any way trying to save yourself, but living as though it matters. You put on salvation by remembering that there’s more to life than just this life. The Apostle John said, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16) If you’re only tied to the stuff of this world, Satan will use that against you. Make sure you’re tied to the next life, store up your treasure there as you live fully here.
  6. The Word
    • This is how God instructs in truth. Just like the armor of truth, it must be applied. But, you will never apply it if you don’t read it. Whatever you do, don’t let everything you know, or even most of what you know about the Bible be second hand. Read it for yourself.

Make sure you put on the whole armor today and live in the protection and security of the Lord!

Below is a link the the full sermon from Sunday:

http://www.viennabaptistchurch.org/sermon_audio/Full-%20Part%2019.mp3