Monday, 9 March 2009

What does it mean to be evangelistic?

Here's my preliminary thoughts for my first talk at the SBM weekend away. I try and lay the foundation of what the "gospel" is, and why it should motivate everything we do.
By the way - I haven't read any books yet. This is purely the result of me reading the Bible & thinking hard.
Feedback welcome! Tell me what you think!
* * * * *
To be evangelistic, we must know what the “evangel” is.
“Evangel” is the Greek word for “Gospel”. We usually translate it as “good news”, but it really means “important news”, “significant news”. Something really important has happened, which we need to listen to and act upon. What is this weighty, important news? It is that in Jesus, God has restored his rule over the world. The basic Christian message is that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the king over the universe.
How does Jesus become king over the world, and thus restore God’s rule? By dying as a sacrifice for us rebels, who reject God’s rule. So, when we become Jesus’ servants, we become servants of the servant-king, who came to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). When we come under Jesus’ rule, we are ruled by the one who died for those who rejected his rule. This is what it means to be a Christian: to be ruled by Christ’s redemption; to be ruled by the cross.
This gospel, this evangel, is powerful. It has energy, dynamism, within itself (Rom 1:16). This is because the God, whose gospel it is, is a dynamic God. God is living and active; therefore his gospel is living and active; and the Bible, which proclaims the gospel, is living and active (Heb 4:12a). The living, active God created the world as a living, active place (Genesis ch 1-2). This same God is now re-creating us, bringing us to new life, new activity, in his gospel of redemption. The gospel itself changes people, from being sinners in rebellion against God, to be followers and subjects of Jesus, who serve him and stand for him in the face of a hostile world. It makes us see everything from Jesus’ point of view. It makes us want to live for this king, who died for us. We want to follow his example of serving people with our whole lives. We want other people to also be redeemed, to also follow this king who died for them. This is what it means to be evangelistic: it means to be redeemed, and in the process of being transformed, by the powerful gospel of Christ, in a world that’s hostile to him. It means to be a normal Christian.
This does not mean it’ll be easy—in fact, the opposite. We should expect it to be difficult. The sinfulness of the world we live in, our own sinfulness, and the supernatural powers in rebellion against God, all combine to try and crush this gospel dynamic out of us. We battle the world, the flesh, and the devil.
But, we need not fear. For the content of the gospel is that God, in Christ, has defeated all these foes. Jesus is Lord—Satan is not. So, we return to the gospel of the crucified Christ, to be re-energised by him through it. And we go out to the world, to do battle for him.

3 comments:

cyberpastor said...

Hi K,

One question, "Is this gospel describing God's plan B for creation?"

Kamal Weerakoon said...

No, because God always intended to perfect creation in the new creation, even without sin.
I'm intrigued why you ask this question. What prompted it? I can't see anything in my post that would imply a plan B.

John McClean said...

Kamal,
Maybe David aka Cyberpastor means that the whole idea of redemption can sound like a plan B. I think the answer is, in one way it is, in that the ruin by sin was not necessary and so things became what they were not meant to be. But the gospel declares God's action to redeem and to bring his creation to the fulfillment of what is could have been. From another perspective God's mysterious will was that sin would ruin and that he would redeem.

I think you summary is fine. You may want to think about making it very clear that the gospel announces God's act in history in Christ. The gospel does tells us about forgiveness and renewal now, but we decentre it if we make that what it is all about. You might also like to show how that means that the gospel has an eschatology.

Just some things you might want to highlight.

John