Pastor's Blog

Many evangelicals believe preaching the gospel means pleading with people to believe in Jesus so they can escape an eternal destiny in hell.

But this isn’t quite the message the apostles preached.  You won’t find hell even mentioned in the book of Acts, much less mentioned as the chief motivation for coming to faith in Christ.

Instead, the apostles call for allegiance to Jesus, the King promised in the Law and the Prophets, an identity confirmed by His resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection also confirms that God’s plan for creating a world that worships, honors, and loves God and obeys His ways, though resisted in the world, will certainly come to pass. That plan is on track and moving toward its completion in the followers of the risen King.  The gospel message invites (or “commands” in Acts 17.30) every person to quit “the resistance” and pledge allegiance (faith and faithfulness, continuing loyalty) to King Jesus. Switch sides, exchange loyalties.  Change the course of your entire life in the choice of one moment.  Decide to follow Jesus.

The plea of the apostles isn’t “Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?” (who isn’t?), but “Are you interested in becoming part of God’s new creation or not?”.  That is a slightly different question and is the challenge of the message of the apostles.

If you want to be a part of that new creation and pledge allegiance to Jesus, that decision throws you into a mighty river that has been flowing through history since at least the day that God confronted our first parents in the garden of Eden.  You don’t control it or determine its course.  It controls you and determines many things about life for you. 

When you believe in Jesus, your Christianity isn’t an isolated fact about your eternal destiny, though it includes that.  When you believe in Jesus, you become part of something bigger than yourself – the body of Christ, the hands and mouth that God uses to touch the world and speak to it. 

When you believe in Jesus, you are immediately connected to everyone else that believes in Jesus, to everyone that has ever believed in Jesus, and to everyone that will believe in Jesus in days to come. 

“Faith, Family, and Friendships” isn’t merely a marketing slogan.  It is a summary of what our church ought to be and do.  The church as a body exists first for itself.  If the church isn’t functioning to some degree, it will struggle to reach unbelievers, because coming to Jesus isn’t merely about you and your eternal destiny.  It’s about a larger thing that you are becoming a part of – and it was made to have skin on it.

When you follow Jesus, you become part of a body that builds the faith of its members (love God!) and that builds relationships of family and friendships to each other (love your neighbor!).

Faith, Family, and Friendships…

 

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