The following is a writing from the Minister of Chinchilla Church Of Christ.
I watched a video recently where a person got up to give a testimony about Jesus, when suddenly they were taken by something. They couldn’t speak, and rather than share the Gospel of Jesus Christ they suddenly began laughing uncontrollably, others around them made animal noises and moans and groans. I have to ask the question: would the Holy Spirit interrupt someone and stop them from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I don’t believe the Holy Spirit would do this, it is clear from Scripture that there is another spirit at work here. I’m not a cescationalists. I believe the gifts of the Spirit are still in play, but I have no reason to believe from Scripture that the Spirit would stop someone from speaking the truth of Jesus Christ. In this case, whatever this spirit was, became a hindrance and a point of confusion.
I came to this text in 1 Corinthians. “…for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). He said this while speaking about orderly worship. I started thinking about all the things we add to our faith, not only or worship time, but our lives as Christians that confuse things for us.
The Holy spirit has one major role as outlined by Jesus. He is our helper (John 14:26) and our teacher. He teaches us and reminds us of the Word of God. He enables us to pray (Romans 8:26) and he allows us to share the Truth of Jesus Christ as in the time of the Pentecost.
There are many things that cause confusion and these things that cause confusion make understanding and following Jesus difficult. A recent Barna study found that nearly 20% of Church attendees never read the Bible. Less than half of the adults surveyed can name all four Gospels. Nearly 60% of Christians surveyed said they would like to share the Gospel but do not understand it well enough.
See to many, the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are confusing things. This is not because the Bible is difficult to read or Jesus difficult to understand, it’s often because what is written in the word is often confused by the way our practice contradicts that word.
For instance Jesus says our call is to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. Jesus says that is the call for every believer, but often the Church says the call of believers is to go to Church and abide by the Churches traditions.
The Bible says that new believers come because the word is proclaimed and they respond. In Acts 1 we read that “God added to their number”, but the Church often teaches that to bring people in we have to put on a big show.
The Gospel of Jesus is the good news that Christ died to save sinners. It’s all about grace, getting something we didn’t deserve. Jesus reached out to the outcasts like tax collectors, lepors, corrupt officials, and prostitutes. Yet, many believers live and teach that “God helps those who help themselves”. In fact, that same study found that most adults believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is a verse in the Bible. It is not, in fact it is contrary to the principle of grace.
Jesus teaches in Matthew 4:4 that the Word of God is the sustenance of life. While often what is being taught is that knowing your Bible is not that important or that knowing the Bible is something for pastors and Church leaders.
1 Corinthians says we are one body yet the Church is fragmented, often unable to worship or fellowship together. Churches compete and even market themselves to other believers.
Jesus teaches that we are destined to Hell because of our sins. He teaches that we must repent of sins. Yet, often we don’t talk about sin preferring, rather to focus on simply being a good person.
In 1 Peter 2 we read that we are royal priesthood. That means all of who have faith in Jesus Christ can communicate with him, we can receive prophetic truths, we can receive blessing and healing, we can receive understanding, and we can teach and minister as he calls us and equips us. Yet, far too often the Church teaches that you have to rely on Pastors and theologians to get your Biblical Truths. Much of the Church has taught that pastors and theologians are a different class of Christian to be believed without question.
But the truth is quite simple. The wages of sin is death but he free gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:28). That Jesus Christ died that the price for our sins might be paid for and the rose again from the dead so that those who believe in him might have eternal life. God so loved us, though we did not deserve it, that he gave his only son to die on the cross so that all who believe in him could have eternal life (John 3:16). Our call is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we are to do this by teaching everything Jesus taught (Matthew 28). We are called to love one another as Christ loved us (John 15). We are called to forgive one another as he forgave us (Matthew 6).
The gospel message never mentions individual Churches, Church buildings, the Christian entertainment industry, sermons, pastoral leadership (Jesus is called the only good Pastor/shepherd), putting on a show to attract non believers or believers from other Churches, sewing financial seeds ( the only time sewing seeds is mentioned in the Bible is when it is speaking about the Word of God being sewed), self promotion, political affiliations, etc. So let’s not complicate it.
Keep it simple, and share the simplicity of the message, the Good news of Jesus that Christ died to save sinners. That we have forgiveness of sins and salvation from death and hell, and that we have eternal life.