We preach an incomplete gospel

Growing up in a Christian family of missionaries, the gospel of Jesus was told and explained to me from an early age. As a seven-year-old, I asked Jesus with full conviction to forgive my sins and to come and live in my ‘heart’. What a privilege to belong to Jesus. Yet I also remember that in our youth group we thought about the following question: ‘Suppose you are now having a huge argument and you walk out of this building swearing. You are hit by a car on the street and you die. Are you going to heaven or not?’ At the time, I wasn’t sure of the answer. Fortunately now! That change has everything to do with the discovery of the Kingdom of God. In most churches we hardly preach about it and therefore an incomplete gospel. The result is that we produce weak, doubting Christians. Let me explain. The above picture is a well-known illustration to explain the gospel. Man is sinful and stands at an unbridgeable distance from God. Through Jesus that gap is bridged, you can come to God and you go to heaven. Beautiful, but incomplete. God’s plan for this world is not an ‘evacuation plan’ in which as many people as possible must go to heaven. God’s project, called the Kingdom of God, is a ‘restoration plan’ for this world in which he uses us as executors of that plan. Our focus is therefore not ‘to heaven’, but heaven on earth. God has placed the building of His Kingdom in the hands of men. Let me try to make it clear by contrasting two ‘types of gospel’. Paul actually doesn’t allow that, because there is only one gospel, but I do it anyway to clarify the difference: The ‘gospel of salvation’ compared to the ‘gospel of the Kingdom’. The ‘gospel of salvation’ focuses on your shortcomings, repentance, humiliation and ‘starting over’ again and again. It calls you to deal with sin and it focuses your attention on yourself and how weak you are. While the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ focuses your attention on Jesus as an example that you want to imitate. He is not only your Savior, but also your King. You are challenged to become like Him and to dedicate yourself to others as a King’s child. The ‘gospel of salvation’ that is the basic message in many churches keeps you small and sometimes even doubtful about your salvation. Like I did with the question in my youth group. The ‘gospel of the Kingdom’ makes you realize that you have become a citizen and representative of another kingdom. That citizenship is not up for discussion. The challenge is to be a strong representative of God himself through the power of the Spirit. Therefore, the 12 disciples and the group of 72 are to say, “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Their presence brings the Kingdom of God to new places. The “gospel of the kingdom” strengthens you in Him and challenges you to go to the darkest places without fear. Precisely because you know that you have become the light of the world through Jesus. While the ‘gospel of salvation’ actually calls you to separate yourself and not mingle with the evil world around you. Actually a sign of weakness, because suppose you don’t make it in that sinful world. I realize this is a caricature, but the gist is clear and painful. The ‘gospel of the Kingdom’ seems to have been stolen from the church. Let us (re)discover and preach this royal gospel, as Jesus did. Then Christians will become more like Jesus and better representatives of God on earth. This way the world will see who Jesus is and He can ultimately return to restore everything here on earth. I believe in a revival of the church when this gospel becomes our good message again. Luke 4:43 KJV But he said to them, I must preach the gospel of the kingdom of God to other cities also, for that is why I was sent. Matthew 9:35 KJV And Jesus went into all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, andHe preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and healed every sickness and every disease among the people. Matthew 24:14 ESV Andthis Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.

About Martin Koornstra

Getrouwd met Karin, 2 mooie dochters, passie voor Jezus, spreker, schrijver, trainer en een beetje gek!

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