a tale of two gospels
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a tale of two gospels






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a tale of two gospels a tale of two gospels Presentation Transcript

  • a tale of Two Gospels
  • A story about a famous theologian and a Chinese restaurant … View slide
  • “ Most Christians don’t know what the gospel really is.” ! View slide
  • “ Brian, how would you define the gospel?” ?
  • “ Shouldn’t we let Jesus define the gospel?” ?
  • What if we have become confused about what the gospel of Jesus Christ really is? What if we are proclaiming a gospel about Jesus, but not the gospel Jesus proclaimed? What if there are two gospels being proclaimed within Christianity ?
    • One approach:
    • The gospel about going to heaven …
    • You are a sinner. You are going to hell.
        • If you believe our message and say a prayer, you will go to heaven.
        • It’s very easy, free, and convenient.
    • Our contemporary gospel is primarily
      • with a large footnote about increasing your personal happiness and success through God.
        • with a small footnote about character development
          • with a smaller footnote about spiritual experience
            • with a smaller footnote about social/global transformation.
  • Self (soul) church world Heaven
  • “ Shouldn’t we let Jesus define the gospel?” ?
  • After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15
  • There is a fascinating choreography between Jesus’ life and John’s. John is imprisoned … Jesus begins teaching the kingdom of God. Jesus John
  • John the Baptist: A Religious Revolutionary
  • Baptism wasn’t radical. Ceremonial washings were commonplace in Judaism.
  • It was WHERE John baptized that was radical … and who he was.
  • Where did John baptize? in the wilderness, at the Jordan - not in the temple. He was the son of a priest operating outside the priestly system.
  • What does it mean, then, for Jesus to accept John’s baptism? And why would Jesus begin preaching when John was put in prison?
  • And what would it mean for Jesus to preach “the kingdom of God?”
  • Remember: Kingdoms (or Empires) were contemporary realities in Jesus’ day!
  • There was no problem with proclaiming a new religion - but proclaiming a new kingdom could get you killed!
  • To proclaim a new kingdom meant a new supreme authority … and it meant a new way of life.
  • Jesus proclaimed a radically different framing story … Good news of the Kingdom of God. Good news - announcement of a new regime, administration, victory. Kingdom - reigning, relationships, values, laws, customs: the unified whole God - which one?
  • The kingdom of God … A God who forgives … A God who includes … A God who notices … A God who serves … A nonviolent God who reconciles … A God who heals … A God who transcends boundaries … A God who sides with the poor … A God who is present … A God bigger than organized religion …
  • Why do so few people realize the radical nature of the message of the Kingdom of God? 2 possible reasons …
    • The Matthew Problem:
    • Many think “kingdom of God” means heaven (after you die).
    • Why do Mark and Luke say “Kingdom of God,” but Matthew says “Kingdom of Heaven?”
  • As the most Jewish gospel … Matthew follows the Jewish reticence about using the name of God directly. “Heaven” substitutes for God.
  • It is clear that “kingdom of God” (or heaven) does NOT mean “heaven after you die,” because the Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray …
  • Your kingdom come . Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • It does NOT teach us to pray … May we come to your kingdom when we die . May we all go to heaven where, unlike earth, your will is done.
  • 2. The John Problem: John uses “kingdom” only in chapters 3 and 18. Elsewhere, he uses the phrase “life” - life to the full, or eternal life. But it is also clear that “eternal life” doesn’t simply mean “life in heaven after you die,” contrary to popular opinion.
  • Eternal life is defined by Jesus clearly in John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. ZOIEN AIONIAN - life of the ages, life knowing God in Christ …
  • Jesus doesn’t send us out to make “Christians” - but to make “disciples.”
  • The Gospel of Matthew ends with these important words: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make [spiritually form] disciples [apprentices] of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:16-20)
  • The gospel of the kingdom must produce disciples who learn a radical new way of life. As disciples, we learn to live the way of life that Jesus lived - life in the kingdom of God.
    • Similarly, Paul speaks of …
      • Being con-formed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8)
      • Being trans-formed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12)
      • Christ being “formed” in us (Galatians 4)
    • And Paul speaks of learning “a way …”
      • Walk in Christ …
      • Walk in the Spirit …
      • I will show you a more excellent way …
      • Follow the way of love …
  • Self (soul) church world Heaven
  • self church world Heaven
  • world self church Heaven (God’s will)
  • Two Gospels: Gospel of saving individual souls from hell, and abandoning earth to destruction. Gospel of saving earth* from human sin, beginning with us. *Including individuals
  • Two gospels … One of evacuation (warehouse) One of transformation (community of practice …)
  • The church is the unique disciple forming community that passes on ways of Jesus, the ways of the kingdom.
  • Learning to play …
  • … learning to play in the way of the master.
  • a tale of Two Turtles
    • The Prayer of the Kingdom of God
    • Our Father above us and all around us …
    • 2. May Your unspeakable Name be revered.
  • 3. Now, here on earth may Your kingdom come … 4. On earth as in heaven may Your will be done.
  • 5. Give us today our bread for today. 4. Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive.
  • 3. Lead us away from the perilous trial. 2. Liberate us from the evil.
    • For the kingdom is yours and yours alone.
    • The power is yours and yours alone.
    • The glory is yours and yours alone.
    • Now and forever, amen.
  • 5. Hallelujah 4. Hallelujah 3. Hallelujah 2. Hallelujah 1. Amen.
  • a tale of Two Turtles