Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gospel Relevance - going wide, high and deep

The message was preached by Stephen Van Rhyn at THE HUB Conference , Dubai. This is a summary of the sermon.
You can listen to this message by clicking here.

The gospel is relevant in our  lives even as we are being called to go higher and wider.  However it is important, that we go deeper . We need to dig deep foundations.

TEXT:2 Cor. 1: 9-11 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

  1. 1     Gospel Honesty- Paul planted this church- he saw people being saved and a community established. He wrote letters to them to help them grow to maturity therefore the letters are full of correction, calling them to a kingdom lifestyle.

A new breed of leaders was emerging who were calling themselves Apostles and they didn’t thing that Paul was very great! So now Paul is defending himself but in a different way. Paul doesn’t talk big about himself – in fact he tells them that he is even weaker than they think he is!! The world tells you to air brush all your weakness but Paul wants to inform and draw attention to his weakness. Paul understood that the gospel changes everything and flips everything – it makes us realize that before a holy God we are bankrupt. The gospel released Paul from any pretence and tells the truth like it is. He did not have to prove himself. This releases us from being driven and competitive. God is for each one of us no matter who and where we are from. Once you know that, it will release you to Gospel Honesty.

   2.Gospel Focus: Gospel honesty will release you to gospel focus. What Paul was doing was intentionally undermining the super pastor model that was distorting the biblical view of leadership.
Followers of Christ are not supposed to be jockeying for leadership and position. Leaders point to who God is and to present Christ to a broken world. It’s servant leadership. Mark1 John the Baptist pointed to Jesus.

3 Gospel Bearer: Too many Christians are being deceived into the prosperity gospel. 2Cor1 is a picture of God bigger than that and more.  In 2 Cor 1:10- there is  pretty bad stuff happening there.
Paul explained the redemptive purpose of the hardships he faced. Too many people bail out when they are going through rough weather. That is why Paul could write Rom 8:28 “… all things God works together for our good” i.e all the bad things will be worked out for our good – even the worst things.

4.Gospel Partnership – verse 11. Their advance was vitally connected to the prayers of the Corinthian church. Ch 10:15-16.
The gospel should not lead you to a position of isolation but of partnership because you realize you need help. The gospel should lead us into partnership because we need to go to the ends of the earth.

5. Gospel Power – The redemptive purpose of all that happened is to depend on the power of God. If you think about the gospel, the problem is not our weakness but our strength. With God weakness is never a problem. Its when we think we are something and when we rely on ourselves that we grieve the Holy Spirit. Ps. 127 – unless the Lord builds the house, the labourers  labour in vain.
With the Lord we can advance. Jer 17:5-8
This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Cursed is the man who depends upon himself – when we do that we block God out.
Lets dig deep foundations on Christ alone.

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