The Gospel is too great to keep to ourselves

Through the prophet Isaiah we are told:

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

(Isaiah 49:6 ESV)

What God was saying to the nation of Israel is this: the mission of the Messiah is so great, so global, so all encompassing that it could never be just for the physical descendants of Israel. That would be too light a thing for a mission so great.

When we think about it, the Fall of mankind was global, it affects us all. God’s plan through his Son, Jesus the Messiah was always to redeem all of mankind from this global Fall. And so, in the book of Romans, Paul when he speaks of the Church ‘with one voice’ glorifying God (Romans 15:7) he naturally goes on to consider the nations (or Gentiles). The word used in Isaiah for nations is the same word that the Jews began to use in a derogatory sense for all who were not Jews. The nations were in effect the ‘non Jews’. But praise God that he explicitly sent Jesus as a light to the nations, not just the Jews.

One of the aspects of the Fall was the joining together of people and nations to raise themselves up, but in Romans 15 we have a wonderful picture of true global unity. The Church, God’s chosen people come from every nation so that the ‘one voice’ of Romans 15:7 explicitly refers to Jew and Gentile alike. We all glorify God together. This is the antitheses of Babel which was mankind joining together to glorify man – the spirit of this world.

What could be greater than that men and women from every tribe and nation should join together, not to glorify self, but to glorify their God and their Redeemer, Jesus – the Messiah and the light to the nations?

If this Gospel is so great, it is too light a thing to keep to ourselves, it must break out of our lives and into the world in which we live. Do we realise how great this Gospel message and mission is? How can we not speak it out if we truly understand and believe it?

Christ became a servant in order to confirm the promise to the patriarchs and that the nations might glorify God for his mercy. That’s us – rejoice in the global redeeming mission of the Messiah, Jesus, and live in the light of the knowledge that we have the truth of the greatest news this world will ever know. It’s too light a thing to keep to ourselves, so let it out!


When Jesus foretold his death, he also promised his resurrection

It was just after Peter’s pronouncement, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” that Jesus announced two things that would soon happen. First he would die, then he would be raised from the dead. Peter seems to have suffered from selective hearing, because his reaction to Jesus’ statements is to say “this shall never happen to you”! Peter heard the part about Jesus’ death but failed to understand the part about Jesus’ resurrection. So too, we can think about Jesus’ death and all that it has won for us without continuing on to consider the resurrection that is part and parcel of what Jesus did on our behalf. It’s not a case of one or the other, but rather that the whole is more than we tend to think about or live by.

Consider this:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

We are told that we are in Christ and in Christ we have died to sin, yet, in Christ we have also been raised to walk in newness of life. The life we live now is the resurrection life of which Jesus is the firstfruits. Our death in Christ broke the bond of slavery to sin and allowed us to walk the resurrection life in Christ.

So, as we look beyond Easter, let’s walk in the newness of life that comes to those who have died in Christ and have been raised with Christ. Let us live lives given to God, presenting ourselves – body, mind and soul to the God who raised us and sustains us – we’re living now not under law, but under grace. Let’s live day by day in the awareness of both our death and resurrection in Christ Jesus!


9 to 5 Theses – #2

We should continually stand in awe of God – whereas we daily fail to do so.

The book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, is one which describes the declining days of what was the kingdom blessed by God. In among the predictions of judgement, humiliation, and rejection by God there is a note of hope and an indication of what honours God.

In Malachi 2 God says that his covenant with Levi will stand because “he stood in awe of me”. It sounds so simple, and yet it is something that we simply fail to do! If God really is the Creator of the universe, the sustainer of all that was, is and will be; if God really is our Redeemer and the one who offers a personal, forgiven relationship with himself, then to do anything else but stand in awe of him is sin. Israel sought other things and relegated God to someone who was irrelevant to their daily lives. That was a great and grievous sin, and one that rightly drew God’s judgement.

To stand in awe of God we need to know him, to know him we need to seek him. When we do know him we cannot but stand in awe. Whatever we are doing in our day to day, our Sundays, the busy times and the quiet times our awareness of and awe of God should be a constant. As Brother Lawrence taught we should practise the presence of God and as we maintain our consciousness of God we should live in awe of a God who not only made the universe, but made, redeemed, called and saved us for his pleasure and glory. Standing in awe of God is simply living out God’s plan and place for us in his creation.

In light of the fact that this year is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s courageous nailing of his beliefs to the door of the church in Wittenberg I’ve got into my head the idea of posting some pithy theses for today’s living. I’m not arguing against anything or raising these theses for dispute as Luther did, but it seemed an appropriate title to cover some succinct concepts to re-establish our mindsets and to keep in mind during the 9-5 which is our day by day life.