Recently, I received a letter from a friend, which stated that the most important message for mankind is the preaching of the approaching armaggedon (death, blood, destruction) – to my surprise, she gave a passage from the Holy Bible, specifically from the Gospel of Matthew 24, 14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Also read the earlier verses.)
She is very focused on this end and I am focused on… the gospel. But this event inspired me –
I decided to discuss with her what the Gospel means to her?
I know she is a Jehovah’s Witness so we have a completely different view of it – and guess what…. when you are dealing with someone who is talking about the Christian faith (or something similar), it is worth first establishing whether you mean the same by the gospel. I found that this is a good basis for any further development of the topic.
What does the gospel mean to you?
Today I know that the gospel is just good news. I am interested in foreign languages, I know Greek and I can immediately see two words here! Evge / evgenis – good, nobility and angelija – an announcement that is literally…. Good news!
Today I know, but once I just strayed from this path and preached anti-gospel to people. How did this happen?
I remember the day of my conversion. Or rather, literally being paralyzed by the Holy Spirit – everything blossomed in me with spring, I saw the world completely different than a few days earlier, joy was pouring out of me – I couldn’t sleep due to this joy! Although I did not know many words – terms that Christians use today, when I wrote an SMS to a loved one, I did not know how to describe what was happening to me! And right after I titled it, not knowing the term before (!) With „good news” I simply described: I feel as if Jesus lived in me and filled me up.
That was the gospel to me. And that had to be stopped, perhaps adding that I could accept Him because He had been crucified for me earlier and has risen again and He is alive!
Meanwhile, I found myself in a Christian denomination called the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and although I experienced many valuable things there, I grew up in my own way (including to finally leave this church), I learned a lot, I gave up some things, unfortunately – I started preaching anti-gospel to people.
Check to see if you are also failing to preach the gospel.
Let’s settle it again. The Gospel is good news. The gospel is not bad news. The good news about Christ says that although we do not deserve God’s favor (grace), God gave it to us by giving His Son – God in a human flesh, who freely consented to experience death for us, separation from God – but on the third day He has risen from the dead, paving the way for us to the Father.
This is the Happy End story! This is the reason for joy that is to begin now and last for all eternity! When we hear it, let us accept it in the simplicity of our heart and hold to it to the end, no matter what the price! And let us be in joy!
However, you are missing the truth of the gospel dear Brother or Sister, if you focus mainly on something else, e.g.
– you proclaim salvation to people ON THE CONDITION …… ..
– you scare people with eternal damnation
– you instruct people about appropriate clothing, food and lifestyle
– you proclaim to people some denomination as a path to the truth
– you teach people the Mosaic Law
– you are recommending people to study the Bible PLUS some other book / magazine
I started well – I was sharing my love in a natural, pure way.
But you know what it is like in a church that claims to be the only one who knows the truth and loves the law before grace…. The structure drew me in, and soon I began preaching salvation to people on the Sabbath, sincerely believing that I am preaching the real gospel to them.
Where did it come from?
Completely imperceptibly – because we know „faith without works is dead”, so when people one after another accepted Christ with joy and simplicity of heart, I knew (I, who had been instructed earlier myself), that they needed to build up this matter of faith somehow. That it is not THAT SIMPLE. It can not be!
I can be.
And I would like to quote Matthew 5:37 („Let your speech be: Yes, yes; no, no. And what is more, comes from the evil”) but I will tell you what it comes from: yes, from evil – from the father of self-centeredness.
Who is preaching the anti-gospel?
The one who wants to stand out, draw attention to himself. Such a person cannot simply tell a man, „Believe in Jesus, you and your house,” but must add – often asked – where is the best place to go to share faith and why there. We were „special” because we kept the Sabbath, like purebred Jews!
So in our church this gospel was more true, stronger, fuller….
There is a saying: leave well alone. I know something about it after numerous experiments with the hair.
But representing Jesus Christ will have more serious consequences. I once had a dream in which Jesus instructed me that a person would really give an account of every word (s)he said. And the Bible tells us not to try so hard to be someone else’s teachers (James 3: 1)
Our younger brothers, spiritual infants, may ask what else to do to please God. And this is where our spiritual maturity turns out to be – if we start giving them instructions (even useful ones), we will leave them in the place of religion. So in the middle of nowhere.
My advice is: always pay attention to your „infant” personal contact with God. And personal (with the Holy Spirit) Bible study. There is nothing wrong with studying together! But for that you need a person who will not cry if suddenly all copies of the Scriptures or some „faith-building” books or newsletters are taken away from him.
Believe it or not, I am writing every „spiritual” post with trembling heart and hand! I pray before and during, and even after, that God’s Spirit will guide me in this, and if I have to preach anything to the contrary of the gospel, let it stop, because I don’t want to preach anything to a man that God’s Spirit won’t encourage or approve of.
Yes, sometimes you must (in my spiritual life and everyday walk with God I use the term „must” only when I got a word, a sign from God that I should tell someone something, announce something, write about something. Without God’s urging, I don’t have to do anything) tell someone about their lifestyle, behavior, etc., but I have the impression that this human need (!) is so often ahead of preaching the truth of the gospel.
I think that many Christians preach the Gospel plus something extra, because they want to have some control over this new believer – of course, out of 'good heart’, they are afraid to leave him alone with the Holy Spirit, so that he would deal with Him, so that in Him matured. We Christians; good aunts and good uncles want to move things forward and help this „infant” grow up faster, understand something faster. Adapt faster to OUR (not God’s !!) standards. That is a sin.
I was killed this way.
When I met Jesus, I was full of the joy of springs – suddenly I knew intuitively what was wrong and what was good! His spirit taught me in everything, and I wanted to listen to him! I loved Jesus with all my heart and soul, I didn’t care about the whole world but Him! I was looking at Him and listening to Him – and unfortunately I believed that the kind Christians around me speak from His spirit.
And it was like a bad marriage – you are getting married, there is love, just you and he / she and the day after the wedding when everything was about to start in an exciting way, when you were just accepted, suddenly you get a to-do list – you get taken off wedding dress, put on a burlap sack and they tell you that you must earn that joy of the Bridegroom.
What’s the best way to do that? Cook broth and chops (preferably vegetarian) every day, remove all jewelry, no more dancing and visiting the cafe. You are to behave not like a newlywed bride, but like a penitent sinner. You are to stand out and show the holy way you live, enjoying otherwise, as funeral mourners tell you.
Hey, but we who believed are attending the WEDDING! We missed the funeral, we won’t be here at the place of death!
Look, I once said to my husband this: If I die and people at my funeral burst into tears, it means they completely misunderstood me, my life and where I am going! And that they don’t trust the Lord! I would like to see people flooding with tears of joy at most, or even dancing – they will understand that I just COME BACK HOME.
I have the impression that Jesus also disgusts watching many preachers – apparently – of His Word.
Do we really want to preach to people something that Jesus himself would not have preached to them? Something He would never consent to?
Do we want to promote ourselves, our church or raise Jesus Christ, crucified and risen?
How to check? Here is a simple test:
Does what you preach bring to life?
Whenever we preach more than the gospel, we preach ourselves. A man who wants to add something to the cross. Often we even preach death, the words of death. I started dying in the church, I had to leave before it was too late. I had to go back to the minimalism of the gospel – to the pure love that Jesus proclaimed and commanded to live.
Let us repent and grow up free from excess. This minimalism may affect our being (on the right hand) or not being. Because who knows how many people we killed along the way, 'kindly’ preaching the gospel plus something extra?