In the realm of faith, you couldn’t be further from the truth!
‘If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is too good to be true,’ said Deborah Meaden wisely on the popular TV show Dragon’s Den. And as a self-made multi-millionaire no doubt she knows a thing or two, so that is probably a pretty good guide in the world of finance. But I’m sorry, Deborah, in the realm of faith you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our problem with the gospel is exactly the opposite… if it sounds too good to be true, then you probably haven’t even begun to grasp the utterly staggering realities of salvation. And it’s about time that we did.
“Preach the gospel to all creation”
‘Go into all the world,’ said Jesus to his bemused group of followers, ‘and preach the gospel to all creation.’ And as if to demonstrate that he hadn’t read the latest business bestseller, Jesus missed the perfect opportunity to set out his world-conquering target when his trusty band were on a high after he fed 5,000 men with a small boy’s lunch. He chose instead to issue the challenge to a bunch of dispirited disciples who had just seen the bottom fall out of their world on Calvary. And then he departed for heaven, leaving them to it. This truly is not a tactic to be found in ‘How to build a global brand in six easy steps’. Why, it would take God himself working alongside the church to make that happen...
The tiny island of Mustique is proof positive that Jesus never rose from the dead, according to Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame, writing in the Sunday Times after a day visit to the paradise isle for billionaires. If he had, argued Jeremy, he would be living in this, the best place on the planet. While I was staggered that the Sunday Times was prepared to publish such drivel, Jeremy certainly does know how to get a reader. But he really ought to face a much bigger problem: if Jesus did not rise from the dead, how in heaven’s name did a tiny band of quaking disciples turn into more than two billion followers today? Can it really be that we are all deluded dimwits who are simply too stupid to see the smoke and mirrors.
Hmm. Either that or we really do serve our Creator and Redeemer, who has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us.
Our task is to make sure that we are about the Master’s business. Don’t get hijacked by the needs of the Church; there are mil-lions of people in Britain who have never even heard that God loves them. Resolve today to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ and let everything else take second place. We cannot fail – the Holy Spirit was specifically sent to help us in this task.
With God all things are possible. But without his active presence, church quickly becomes a dull and dreary club for the religious.
Following spiritual fashion trends is always a disaster
‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christian faith is not some patched-up, second-rate existence for losers who need a crutch; it is eternal life for everyone who believes. It is where heaven meets earth. True faith is not a matter of trying harder. Outside of Christ there is no hope… in Christ there is no condemnation. Life or death, heaven or hell – the choice is yours. Fall on your knees today and ask him in.
Following spiritual fashion trends is always a disaster. We must reopen the wells our fathers dug. The wells of audacious faith, confident assurance and determined obedience are still there, but an enemy has filled them in, choking them up with the dirt of unbelief and doubt.
Don’t side with the devil – Jesus has clear advice for any that are finding it hard to trust in God’s amazing promises: ‘Stop doubting and believe!’ (John 20:27).
This challenge is for every reader, and today I determine anew to follow Christ more closely. My prayer is that you will join me.
What must we do to do the works that God requires? We must believe in the one he has sent (John 6:28). Reading your Bible, praying, going to church, being good, caring for the poor – it’s all useless without a real, active, life-shaping, joy-giving, world-changing faith in Christ.
If the gospel is real, the most vital thing you and I can do is to believe it!
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