I was thinking the other day and a scripture came to mind. Well, two scriptures anyway. They got me thinking… so here we go!
Every day in the temple complex, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Acts 5:42 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 1:23 (HCSB)
When is it necessary to preach anything other than Jesus Christ? When the majority of sermons you hear do not go near the Gospel, there is a problem. This is the good news of Jesus Christ! You can’t hear it enough! You NEED salvation every single day by the grace of God! There’s not a day that goes by that you do not need Jesus.
And so we come back to the first question. Why preach anything other than Jesus? Your concerns may be Good Living and Life Choices but if we believe Jesus is our Savior then why can’t we believe in His transformative power? Preach Jesus. Only Jesus!
Anecdote: Trying to help find a speaker for a retreat I was helping to plan. I asked if one of my friends that I’d met in Tokyo would be willing to preach. I told him the topic was the Gospel, and would it be possible to preach about that? His answer was “I of course would love to be the speaker on my favorite topic!” No difficulty.
And so in that story, I find it now so absurd that I needed even to ask that question to my friend. How can you preach WITHOUT the gospel? How can we go to retreats about growing deeper and walking harder with the Lord without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, promised to us by Jesus!? And Jesus’s connecting work of salvation to reunite us with God!
Jesus says He is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. So I say again, when is it acceptable to subtract Jesus from the crux of a sermon? Never! We rebuke in love, matching Christ’s example. We counsel in love, seeking Christ and His design for breaking bondages. We make day to day choices, life decisions because of Christ and his still, small voice. We seek the Father, whom is only reachable because of JESUS.
My aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation, but, as it is written: Those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.
Romans 15:20-21 (HCSB)
Perhaps my understanding of the scripture is too small. Consider this verse. What is God calling us to do here? Not to preach where Christ has already been named? Preach the gospel especially to those who haven’t heard it? That should convict us. That should startle us. That should make us uncomfortable. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a face check. Are you alive? You’re not in hell!
A comfortable gospel is a powerless gospel. When things become routine, they become mundane. When things are mundane, you either zone out or choose God again. When I hear the same message over and over about Christ, I guarantee you I will be sore about it. But I know that I am receiving LIFE. The feeling of repetition and irk over hearing the same thing – that is the brokenness of man. The brokenness of man saying you can do things without Christ. But what does the scripture counter with: You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The brokenness of man says Yeah I get it, which is equivocable to Stop. I’ve heard enough. But we haven’t heard enough of Jesus! This is the saving grace of God! This is the finished work of the cross! This is the Son who sets us free and makes us free, indeed!
Decide never to allow complaint in your heart if you are hearing the message of the gospel once again that Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. Decide to embrace the truth that the Lord has done a great work and continues to do so. Decide in your own life to preach Christ. Decide not to let a message go by without calling on the name of Jesus and lifting Him high!
We are always in the Father’s house. Friends, we are always welcome in His home and He dwells with us. Since the work of Christ, He chooses not a physical temple but us as His people, temples of the Holy Spirit. Let me expound- most of us have left our earthly fathers to be in mission here in Tokyo. We might come out from that covering of our fathers providing for us, but God’s covering will NEVER be removed from us. [..]
On Good Friday, March 29, 2013 the newly purchased YWAM Marine Reach ship M/Y PACIFIC HOPE and her crew sailed on her maiden voyage from Hakodate, Japan to Manila, Fiji and Vanuatu before returning to her home port of Tauranga, New Zealand. Thanks to the generosity of many people in New Zealand and other countries, the ship was able to be purchased, dry docked and made ready for ministry. There is still a lot of work remaining to be done to prepare the vessel for ministry.
The ship will eventually carry volunteer medical teams of doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists and ophthalmologists to the island nations of the South Pacific. Hundreds of patients will receive their eyesight back through cataract surgeries and thousands more will be given reading glasses and dental treatment. The reason for all of this is to show the love of Jesus Christ to the poorest of the poor. [..]