September 2, 2018

"Did Jesus Just Happen"

"The Life of Christ"

Only after the resurrection and the forty days of intensive instruction,did the disciples really dare to discuss the matter out loud. And only then were they prepared to understand its implications. Now it became for them the "heart of their gospel" ( or rather the first half of its heart).

The Letters of Paul and the others are permeated with gratitude each writer felt because his Master by dying for him had become his Savior. Paul was determined never to preach a sermon without its being controlled by the recollection of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. "Scarcely for a righteous man would one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die, but God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!" (Romans 5: 7-8

Here is the answer to man's instinctive longing for the cleansing of his conscience. Here is why the murder of world's best man and greatest teacher is good news. For good news is what the word "Gospel" means in literal English. The first half of the heart of the Gospel is the story of purification, just as it is with the right side of the heart that beats within us.

For some people, the characteristic Scripture stress on sin sounds like anything but good news. The liberal theologian cries "lets hear more about the nobility of man, about his achievements over the centuries, about his exciting prospects in the decades just ahead! Why this morbid preoccupation with man's faults? Give him time and he will grow out of them." One might as well plead for a candy valentine heart in the man's chest as for as a gospel which would consist of telling folks how nice they are! Or, to be a little less fanciful, why is thee not one interior pump for circulating the bloodstream?

Let us omit the purification cycle! The thought has the merit of simplicity, and to implement it would probably solve all our problems for we would presently be dead.

But our Creator (God, Christ) knew better what we needed, and so, instead of smothering us with body sewage, our heart works night and day with its one side to keep its output pure. Thanks be to Thee, O Lord! And thank God too for refusing to ignore sin's poison in our lives.

Not all preaching about the subject is wholesome, and no doubt certain of the objections church goers raise are deserving of our sympathy. Preachers sometimes flog their congregations because of their own inner frustrations, just as there are husbands whom come home from work and vent their weariness of their exasperation about the boss by snarling at their wives and browbeating their children. Charles Spurgeon once remarked, "One should never preach on hell except with tears, and sin ought be dealt with in church, or in the counseling room, or wherever it is encountered by the Christian, in accordance with how God's Word confronts it. "

Jesus makes the method most clear. He hated sin, but loved the sinner. He was tough with the defiant, but tender with the contrite . He dealt with the penitent always in a context of forgiveness, and He could say with authority, "Thy sins be forgiven thee!" because He was in perfect touch with the will of the Father into whose hands He would soon commend His Spirit while dying on the Atoning Cross. "He died that we might be forgiven; He died to make us good; That we might go at last to heaven, saved by His precious Blood."

Wayne McDoanld, Pastor
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