is a strong word that means “to turn upside down.” Why a “Gospel Revolution?” Why not words like “renewal” or “revival?” Simply put, the problem is so deep that nothing less than a revolution will do – a paradigm shift in our understanding of the Gospel is needed. Some suggest that America has become Gospel hardened. I don’t think so. America must hear the Gospel.
As long as our question is, “What must I do?” the answer will always be, “One thing you lack.”
Religion focuses on what “we must do” to be saved, healed, prosper or have revival. The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus responded, “One thing you lack.” This summarizes the dilemma of all religions. As long as our question is, “What must I do?” the answer will always be, “One thing you lack.” What must we do to get revival? What will it take? How much prayer, fasting, studying and faith is required? What will it take to be healed? Five steps, ten steps or fifteen steps to my healing? Somehow each sick person will fall below the grade. Religion focuses on human performance and self-effort, while the Gospel liberates. Our question is no longer, “What must I do?” but, “What has Jesus done?” Our prayer is, “Lord, let my eyes be open to see what You have done for me.”
It does not merely release God’s power – it is the power of God! When we speak the Gospel, power comes out of our mouth. While we depend on the Holy Spirit, it is not a matter of praying the power down but rather, preaching the power out. When the good news of what God in Christ has done comes out of our mouth, it is like beams of light driving away darkness.
it is not a matter of praying the power down but rather, preaching the power out
This era began with the death and resurrection of Jesus, and by the time the day of Pentecost came, the Gospel era was in full swing. Before that time, people looked forward to what was to come; now we look back to what has already happened. We read the Old Testament in a new light – each account viewed through the light of what Jesus has already done. We filter the Old Testament through our New Covenant glasses. The primary application of the story of David and Goliath can no longer be that of Goliath symbolizing our human problems. Rather, David represents the Son of David (Jesus), and Goliath, the devil and his kingdom. We see in David’s defeat of Goliath a symbol of what Jesus had done when He stomped on the devil’s head at the cross of Calvary. We no longer seek “our victory” – we now enter into the victory of our “David,” Jesus Christ.
When we wrestle against the schemes of evil principalities and powers, we seek not to defeat them. We merely stand in the victory Christ has already provided – Satan was defeated 2,000 years ago.
In the pre-resurrection era people worked in order to get things. Our spiritual activities are discovering and learning to walk in what we already have through Christ. Everything is now ours – things past, present, or future; heavenly things, earthly things; every blessing is ours through Christ Jesus. When we look at Jabez’ prayer, “Oh Lord that You would bless me,” we filter that prayer. We pray in the New Covenant fashion: “Thank You Lord that you have already blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Help me to see more fully all that you have given me.” (Ephesians 1:3)
The core of the Gospel is Christ as our righteousness. I find myself preaching less salvation, prosperity, healing, and signs and wonders than before. Instead I preach Jesus Christ our righteousness – and salvations, healings, signs and wonders follow.
This is one of the stark differences before and after the resurrection. The pre-resurrection preachers, for example John the Baptist, preached about the sins and flaws of the people in order to induce repentance. The New Testament preachers, starting with the apostles and Philip the evangelist, preached Christ. They induced repentance from self-reliance and trust in our own righteousness by pointing people to Christ.
“The world does not have a SIN problem; the world has a SON problem.”
The founder of the Missionary Alliance church, A.B. Simpson, coined the phrase: “The world does not have a SIN problem; the world has a SON problem.” At first glance this statement is difficult for many to digest. However, as we look at the scriptures without the blinders of tradition, we see that Jesus is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He did it by one sacrifice – once and for all. Jesus’ blood is not only the appropriation for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). People have not heard this message. Instead they have been told they need to deal with their sin, when in fact Christ has already dealt with our sins and reconciled the world to Himself – not counting people’s sins against them (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). The Holy Spirit no longer convicts people of their sins, but of the sin of not believing in Jesus (John 16:8-11).
It’s all wrapped up in Jesus now.
Frequently I hear people talk about God judging America or some other nation. Very little is spoken of how God has already judged the sins of America with the judgment that fell on Christ (Isaiah 53:5-6).
The grace of God that saves us is the same grace of God that teaches us to live holy and righteous in an ungodly world (Titus 2:11). Many have heard they must “clean up” their lives to receive God’s grace. This is a false teaching, because humans do not have the ability to “clean up” themselves. If they did there would be no need for Christ’s death on the cross. In fact, we humans are hopeless. Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformers had it right when they spoke of the doctrine of the “total depravity” of man. The apostle Paul describes this depravity in vivid language: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lip; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-13)
What a statement! This is the human race, incapable to reform ourselves. At best, we camouflage the true condition of our sinful heart by religious behavior.
once the human heart is transformed then the behavior will also change
Only one hope remains – becoming a new creation in Christ. Our own willpower is insufficient to make us repent; in us lies nothing good. All that matters is if we become a new creation in Christ (Galatians 6:15).
That is why Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” Why? The Gospel makes us new creations. It is the power of God! It is not just a story that sounds nice, logical and religious. It transforms the human heart; once the human heart is transformed then the behavior will also change.
The Gospel is glorious, fantastic, awesome, and beautiful. Let’s not reduce it to the level of mere religion.
One of the great tragedies of modern Christianity is there are all too many bound-up, intimidated, held-back believers. People who have gone to church their entire lives are still looking for their “breakthrough.” Sadly, some have not yet discovered their sins have been forgiven, and that we already have everything in Christ. In this state of defeatism, what hope do we have to offer the world? This makes our message unattractive. If we who profess to have the truth are not yet free, why would anyone want to join our ranks? This battle for the freedom of believers is not new. The believers in Galatia had retreated from their freedom in Christ, away from the Gospel of grace into performance-driven religion. Paul wrote: “Stand fast in the liberty where Christ has set you free.”
It does away with the distasteful picture of believers holding a tin cup, asking God for evermore breakthroughs, blessings, and benefits. Instead, we are now living in the light of the revelation that “of Him we are in Christ Jesus who has become for us wisdom from God – and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
our task is not to pass on human wisdom – we are to preach the cross of Christ
Human wisdom teaching continues to be popular. Without God’s grace through what Jesus has done, the best we have today is the self-help section in the local bookstore where many authors give good advices. There are many life enhancement gurus on TV who do their very best to inspire people to live better lives. I applaud their efforts, but all this advice lacks the power to transform human behavior. It is one thing to have our problems analyzed and to receive advice on how to solve our situation. We nod our heads agreeing to deal with our situation differently, in the hope it will change. We may even have some degree of success through human wisdom, though ultimately we will all fail.
The Gospel is in a totally different sphere. Paul warns of human wisdom making the cross of “no effect.” Just like the Greeks 2,000 years ago, many today look for wisdom. It appeals to our mind and logic. We all like things which sound reasonable and well thought out. However, our task is not to pass on human wisdom – we are to preach the cross of Christ. Why? Human wisdom at its best will still fail. Even well-intentioned people cannot live up to the wisdom principles they know to be right.
All too often, Christ’s Gospel is pushed aside for human wisdom teaching. It is popular to draw much teaching out of the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. These books are the Word of God, but if you read them in the light of the New Covenant, you realize that Jesus Christ has become our Wisdom. Jesus Christ is the one who makes it possible to live these truths. Without a 24/7 relationship with Christ, we will all fall short of the truths put forth by Solomon and other writers. This is why the scriptures read: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-24)
The world must hear that their sins have been cancelled.
Today some focus much time on the devil and darkness, but this was never the case in the Book of Acts. They did not engage in the type of spiritual warfare that we see quite prevalent in some circles today. Instead their focus was on letting the light shine so darkness would be dispelled. One of my favorite shows for years on television was CNN’s “Crossfire”, where two opposing sides would argue different political positions. Sometimes current Christianity has become like the “Crossfire” show. We argue about many things that really are not all that important. We go to great lengths to protest when city hall puts “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” on its lawn. Naturally, if I should make the decision I would put “Merry Christmas” everywhere. I like the name of Christ. To be honest though, what difference does it make if people are not born-again? Why do we fight so hard in these areas when the apostle Paul says neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but what means something is that we are a new creation in Christ (Galatians 6:15)? What good is it if our country adheres to Christian values or traditions and yet people are not born-again? Naturally, I favor Christian values, but mere values do not save people – the Gospel is the power of God to salvation.
The apostle Paul wrote about the light of the Gospel and he added: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made His light shine in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 4:6a) That light is in us! We have this Gospel treasure in us. The solution to every human dilemma is to let God’s light shine forth. The world must hear that their sins have been cancelled. Do you want your family, your city, your church, and your nation to love God? How does it happen? It is quite simple. We love God because He first loved us.
When people see the brilliance of the Gospel, they will naturally want to share it.
The more we show people how much God loves them, the more they will love Him back. We are not initiators – God has initiated everything. We no longer look for a move of God – we see that God has already moved. When we discover what He has done, our response is one of reciprocal love, service, dedication and sanctification.
Sometimes we decide to “go witnessing” for a couple of hours. How unnatural to set aside witnessing for a time slot, instead of sharing Christ whenever someone comes across our path by simply letting the light in us shine. For years I have tried to get people to share the Gospel with their friends. I’ve since stopped. I now focus on helping people discover how great the Gospel is. When people see the brilliance of the Gospel, they will naturally want to share it. If you found out that your local Mercedes Benz dealership was selling their cars at a 90% discount, wouldn’t you tell your friends? Of course. If Dell were giving away their latest home computer for free, in unlimited supply, then surely you would share it with people. When we discover the awesome reality of the Gospel, we can’t be held back.
This message speaks to the hurting human conscience, wounded by trying to live up to what one knows is right and continually failing.
Millions, even billions, are tired of their old worn-out lives full of failures and regrets. What an opportunity to offer people new life! Exchange your old for new. This message speaks to the hurting human conscience, wounded by trying to live up to what one knows is right and continually failing. The message of God’s grace – the underserved, unearned, unmerited favor of God – brings freedom to all who believe. As long as we look at Christianity as merely values, ethics, and human performance, we are no different than any other religion. Once we free the Gospel from man-made religion, a new day will dawn. Let the Gospel be what it is – brilliant, shining, beautiful, attractive, and empowering. The revolution has begun – the world is waiting!