“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” -Romans 10:14
A Lacking Story
Not all preaching is created equal. Have you heard the real gospel?
We live in one of the most “churched” nations of the world, but how many of us who call ourselves Christians truly understand God’s heart and the purposes inside of it for our lives? The Bible says that God wants us to! God desires that we be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). But sadly, so many of us “churched ones” think we understand the gospel and haven’t actually heard the half of it. I know I hadn’t, and I had been in and out of churches my whole life. There’s something wrong with that…
If we’ve spent any time in church (or even possibly just rubbed elbows with any significant amount of the human population here in the “Bible Belt” of the South), we’ve heard “the story”: that God loves us and because sin entered the world at the fall, He sent His Son Jesus so we can spend eternity with Him – instead of somewhere else. We learn of the world-wide war between good and evil that we’re born into, but are taught that we’re relegated for life to an existence of only pain and suffering, falling short, and doing the best we can to get by – until one way we get to finally go be with God somewhere else where everything is better. So thank God for this super-nice Jesus guy who went out of His way to make it possible for us to escape this cursed existence someday, right??
Does that sound familiar at all to anyone else besides me?! You might have grown up to a different gospel tune, but that’s the one I got. TO BE CLEAR: I am not for a second downplaying the significance of God’s grace-purchased eternity for us. But when the gospel isn’t preached with power to conquer hell on earth and not just in heaven (what Jesus actually lived and taught), we are NOT getting the full story. As well-meaning as they may be, many churches today are teaching spin-off’s of the gospel that leave us lacking and missing the entire point of salvation for our lives NOW.
The Gospel You Might Not Have Heard
Growing up in and out of churches, I learned that I was a sinner in need of saving but never once did anyone tell me that the whole reason Jesus died for me was to get sin OFF of me and make me COMPLETELY NEW in my very nature; that in Christ I have a brand new identity and when I say yes to Jesus I’m no longer a sinner – I’m in fact by His grace something entirely new: a saint, a king, a son (daughter) with a propensity toward righteousness not sinfulness, with full heir rights to the entire kingdom of God and all the resources of heaven. – Because GOD IS MY DAD. I never heard that because of what Jesus did for me, I’m no longer destined to fail but by His power and grace am instead now positioned for victory in all things pertaining to my life.
I heard absolutely NOTHING about this incredibly good, extravagantly loving, radically accepting Father who not only gives me complete and assured victory over sin, sickness and bondage, but completely and totally approves of and delights in me unconditionally – apart from anything I do. All this, by the way, you can find in your Bible: (Rom. 6:14 & 8:15-16, 2 Cor. 2:14 & 5:17). And I especially didn’t hear that this message of freedom and victorious new life in Jesus applied to the darkness that plagued me, my marriage, my family, my life… Until God Himself intervened – in spite of the wrong things I believed about Him because of churches I’d been in – and stood everything right-side-up, including my understanding of the gospel.
God is so good! And He wants us FREE! He wants us living EMPOWERED! God’s heart for this generation is that we would come ALIVE in the fullness of what this amazing gospel actually means for our lives TODAY.
I hear God saying that this is the hour in which He wants to take His church from victim to victor, from slave to free, from blinded or blurry to seeing perfectly clear through His eyes. All through relationship. All through knowing Him.
He wants to replace any passivity or skewed perspectives we’ve been walking in as a body with a lifestyle of INTIMACY & VICTORY – victorious advancement of His kingdom on the earth through deep intimacy with Him and a crystal-clear understanding of what this gospel is actually all about.
The Lord wants to make us into weapons for His kingdom purposes on the earth and we each have a unique, God-ordained role to play in this exciting fight – should we say “YES.”
The Coming Shift
I believe there is a paradigm shift coming for the body of Christ, should we embrace it. Those who do will advance in His purposes on the earth, experiencing both the personal freedom and impact on the world around us that God intends for us to have as we give our “yes” to all that He wants to do in and through us in this hour. Those who opt out will be given the freedom to do so, as God has always been and will forever remain a gentleman, always giving us the dignity of free choice. No matter where we picked it up, if we desire to remain stuck in wrong-believing and consequently ineffective for the gospel, He will allow us to do so. We cannot inherit the kingdom and keep agendas of needing to be right or justify theology we’ve built on our life experience apart of the word of God. Jesus is perfect theology. If you can’t find it in the life of Jesus, it shouldn’t be in your doctrine! If you learned it in church but can’t find it in the life of Jesus, toss it out! It doesn’t matter what you call yourself, the lingo you use, how you come off when you speak to people, or what the name of your church or your ministry is. All that matters is how you’re seen by heaven. And now that Christ has come and the Holy Spirit is being poured out, God is not endorsing powerless living. If we desire Him more than anything, we’ll lay every other thing down and the Truth will find us.
The truth is, if you’ve said YES to Jesus:
- You’re no longer a sinner. You’re a saint.
- You’re no longer destined to fail or fall short. You’re positioned to WIN.
- You’re no longer subject to the enemy or his works of darkness. You’ve been given authority over him.
- You’re not called to walk powerless. You’re called to wait on the Holy Spirit until He endues you with power.
- You’re not following a set of guidelines for living that make you a Christian. You’re following a Person who’s name is Christ and He will only ever lead you in a life that looks like the one He lived on earth.
When Jesus walked this planet He modeled for us through His life two things that make up the inheritance of every true believer and follower of Jesus: PURITY and POWER. Jesus modeled and therefore calls us into a life of both absolute purity and absolute power over the powers of darkness on the earth. This reality is the root of the shift taking place in the body of Christ today.
God is moving us from powerless to empowered, victimized to victorious, from oppressed by the darkness to over-the-top impressed with who He is – both on our behalf and through us to reach the world around.
For the ones of us who respond, this shift may require a lens change – a new perspective, and laying down the comforts of what we may have wrongly understood to be true for so long, especially our right to understand with our minds what God has designed for us to first embrace from the heart. God’s already on the move and there are many already partnering with His right-now purposes to advance His kingdom on the earth in power: reaching the lost, healing the sick, restoring the broken, even raising the dead if you’ll have it. It’s all the same to Him – God’s light and love conquering darkness THROUGH US as we seek His face above all and surrender to the person of Holy Spirit: the One sent to minister the reality of God’s kingdom to us and empower us in our God-given commission on the earth. Yes, every-day people just like you and me, partnering with heaven to bring the Bible to life and advance God’s kingdom as we follow the King, walking in the new identity He has freely given us: sons and daughters filled with God’s nature and ignited by His love-filled power. Giving beauty for ashes, rebuilding the ruins, and doing “the greater works” Jesus talked about when He walked the same earth we’re living on today.
Freedom is our inheritance. Power should be a lifestyle. His love will change everything if you let it.
This my friends, is the true gospel: COMPLETE and TOTAL freedom from all sin and bondage so that we can live in unhindered fellowship with the God of perfect love, partnering with Him to bring that love to others as we step into our God-given authority in Christ over the enemy. Simple. Yet incredibly amazing.
And wouldn’t you know that the Father actually believes in you and me enough to put this calling on each of our lives?! That should move us, stir our hearts, cause us to press into Him until we see what He has deemed possible for our life become the reality we’re walking in…
So LET’s GO for it! Let’s press into heaven for ALL that He has in store for us. Destiny is on the line and eternity is hanging in the balance.
And if you’re where I found myself not too long ago and recognize that you have adopted a perspective of the gospel that isn’t consistent with COMPLETE FREEDOM from all sin and bondage that you might walk EMPOWERED by God’s love to reach the world around, I encourage you to do what He led me to and take some time with Lord to acknowledge before Him a shift in your thinking and believing. Invite Him to show you what it means to fully embrace this amazing gospel that takes us from bondage to freedom, from powerlessness to impact, from brokenness to wholeness and restoration by His amazing love! He loves to fill the hungry and will never leave lacking those who lay everything down to take up all that He has in store.