IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD
HOW MANY GOSPELS?
OPEN: Good morning! Welcome to STAG. My voice today is available to the whole world. I point that out because I want to thank all those who supported KMUD in our just ended pledge drive. I’m not just talking to the believers out there. Yes, it’s great that my work can be accessed by someone in Australia or Texas. I think that’s amazing. Bu what about the many, many, many other alternative views that come out of our little town: We are one of maybe a dozen voices on the air that isn’t corporate oriented. You won’t hear about the Illuminati on NBC. This station is a guiding light to the whole world in many different areas of life. And it’s only because of you Truth seeking folks who help pay the bills, and man the microphones and keyboards that KMUD can continue to be a haven of reality in the dark wilderness. And you know what else? They play some pretty neat music on this station too! So thanks again. Uh, oh. You didn’t make a pledge? Mmmm. Well,…it’s not to late. There will be folks here later and tomorrow that will help you out. If you can’t wait, go to KMUD.org.
Today, I want to return to Job and then investigate the gospel. Just what is the gospel? Is there more than one? But first…
DISC: The views…..
UW: The following hour of…..
ALL ABOUT GOD: Once before I’ve talked about Job and how he might have reacted to his circumstances if he’d known in advance the reason for his tribulation. But since then, I’ve come to view another part of this scenario.
Before, I was talking about easing Job’s stress by recognizing that the stress was being allowed by God for His own Glorification. By focusing on that part, we could relate our own negative circumstances to Job’s and stop worrying.
Yes, God did glorify Himself through His allowance of the devil into Job’s life, but that always left a small nagging doubt in my mind. A little part of me didn’t like it that God would allow the destruction of even Job’s children, I mean, goods and cattle, etc. is one thing, but the man’s Kids!?
I know God never does anything without good reason and this reason usually winds up having to do with God’s “sake.” God always does things for Himself, not for us. We might get a blessing on the side, but God does things for Himself. Well, what might be a secondary reason for allowing the devil to get after Job? Why does God work with us defective humans? Are we just God’s Hobby? Does He just dabble with humanity on the weekends?
Nutshell: God is gathering those He has chosen to fill a part of His greater kingdom, the universe and beyond. But He can’t take us along with Him while we are in this defective human state of being. So He “perfects” us. And that’s what He was doing with Job. By focusing on Job and all his, OBVIOUS, righteousness we can easily get drawn into sympathizing with Job. Awwww, poor Job!” “The patience of Job.” We’ll mention the patience later, but here I want you to see that this old saying is a distraction, a diversion. Those four words line up on the other side of the street from God. They put God on
trial. Job had to endure this great hardship, that came from God. “Poor Job!”
Anyway, as introduction, here’s the original short piece on the way to the present point.
What would Job have done to glorify God? He stuck with Him for quite a ways before God stepped in to display His position. Job was really on God's side, I think.
I wonder if things had been a bit different if Job would have been willing to glorify God. Maybe God even knew that Job wouldn't go all the way.
If God had come to Job and said,, "Job?" "I've got a little task for you. You don't have to take it on, but I have my reason for asking. I'd like to glorify Myself through you. If you will just suffer the loss of your children, lands, cattle, and friends, in addition to extreme physical stress in the form of boils, etc., just for a season, it will glorify Me and My Name. And afterwards, I'll restore everything ten fold. How about it?" Would Job have agreed to suffer all he did, the way Christ agreed to glorify God with his death?
What if Job had had these thoughts about glorifying God, instead of God talking to him? What if Job concluded, based on God's track record, that the untoward events he was suffering were being allowed by God for His glorification; even if Job didn't understand how that might come about? What if Job said in his heart, "God must be behind these fateful things, and He does things for His Own sake, and He's chosen me to be a player in this event of His glorification?"
Do you think that that kind of thinking would have given Job any relief from the stress he was experiencing? I do.
By recognizing God's allowance of our troubles, we might be more able to gain relief in adversity. God allows our challenges, ultimately, to bring about His glorification, not to save us or to glorify us. He's using even our life details to serve His purpose of exposing His reality to the world; before setting up His Millennial Kingdom.
When trouble hits, remember, God is glorifying Himself though us. Give God a hand. He wants your help.
Adversity is for training us in faithing. Those things are based on God's glorification, too.
Are you in a Jam? It's all about God.
But, what is Job’s part in the glorification of God? He was already a very devout man. Remember how God described Job to Satan? He said, “…none like him”, “a perfect and upright man, , who fears God and turns away from evil.” God even uses the word that means “complete” for the word “perfect.” There must be something lacking in Job’s total walk.
I’m reminded of Hebrews 11:16, “For without faith, it’s impossible to please Him (God).” Remembering that the word we read as faith is really a verb and must contain some kind of action, we need to determine how Job wasn’t faithing, wasn’t pleasing God. That will help us understand how we may run our lives, what to focus on in our Walk.
Why Job? “Blame it on God.”
We believe that God allows things to happen to us. Stressful events are allowed by God to help us find out more about ourselves and to promote trust in Him. We commonly say, “everything that happens is a lesson.
In the case of Job, God allowed the devil to bring calamitous events to Job’s life. Do we really know Job? At the least, we know people who say, “The patience of Job.” I don’t know where that comes from. All of Job’s complaining, stating that he was doing it right and didn’t deserve this treatment. That doesn’t sound very patient to me.
In fact, God had finally to step in and squelch Job with a description of Himself and His accomplishments. Then Job gave in.
Other folks will be able to tell Job’s basic story. He was very well off. The devil killed a bunch of his family and destroyed his wealth and gave him a lot of physical problems. The local dogs even came around to lick Job’s wounds.
Now, the point I’m making was made clear to me by A W Tozer. Tozer was talking on self denial. One of the constant activities for Christians is over coming our fleshly desires. Not doing away with desire. Desire itself isn’t bad. Tozer had many paragraphs on the idea before he brought up Job.
His point was, that Job certainly needed to recognize his true “mind”, that it was corrupt and dirty, and needed continued monitoring. Tozer was listing all the reasons why Job needed this information. Job was a Great man. Not only was he great in wealth, he was serving God enough for God to remind Satan about Job’s attitude and practices.
We read in the story that even after Job’s losses he didn’t give up on God. His wife was also used by the devil to goad Job into denouncing God. But Job stood firm. If he was such a good guy for God, why let him suffer this way?
We like to think it’s all the devil’s doing. God allowed it. What could God possibly be teaching Job? It says that Job was the greatest man in the east. He was so “Godly” that he even did sacrifices for his kids, just in case they sinned and didn’t realize it. They always used to get together at each other’s houses and have some big parties. My guess is that they were pretty wild parties if Job felt the need to pray for them. It’s no wonder that folks take Job’s side and feel he was unjustly treated.
Well, what occurred to me while reading Tozer was that my way of thinking was wrong. I had taken the traditional view that Job’s problems were all about the devil. He’s the one who did all the dirty work. He’s the Accuser. But who brought up the subject of Job in the first place?
It was God!!” Not the Devil. The sons of God, angels, and Satan himself, showed up in heaven to report to God. Notice that the Devil still had access to heaven, at least in Job’s time. And God said, “Where’ve you been? What did you do?”
The devil said, “I’ve been down on the earth walking around, looking at stuff. The usual.” At this point God might have puffed Himself up ever so slightly and tilted His head back so as to look slightly down His nose at Satan, He said in a slightly affected voice, “And did you see my buddy Job, what a good guy he is?”
If God hadn’t mentioned Job, the Devil would have just gone on with his usual report. He’d have a long list of folks he wanted to accuse. If Job was even on that list, he was way at the bottom. God had some kind of hedge around Job. The devil couldn’t get to Job, so I’m sure he didn’t even try.
I could see that God, the Great Delegator, was up to His old tricks. He knew it was time to bring Job the rest of the way Home. God was OK with all the devout stuff the Job was doing. But he still had somewhat against Job.
Again, Job was a great man, rich and respected. He sat in the street or at the gate of the city. Those places were reserved for the highest mucky-mucks. The Elders of Israel are said to sit in the gate. Lot even sat in the gate when the angles arrived to blow up the city. Part of Job’s complaint is that he wishes for the old times when even the princes reverenced him. They wouldn’t even talk in his presence. The young bucks would stand up when Job arrived.
Notice that Job goes a whole 39 chapters telling how good he is, both materially and spiritually. 39 chapters!!! And then God interrupts him. The last thing Job had to learn was his own fallibility. In spite of all his Right acts, he still was hanging on to the idea that he had something to do with his prosperity. And he took great comfort in that prosperity, wishing for it again.
When Job finally comes around what is his bottom line? “I am vile.” His vileness was his attitude toward his belongings and his ability to get belongings. Especially vile was his idea that he was Right with God.
What did I say above about all our jams being about God? Well, Job’s jam was also all about God. Remember I said that it was God, not Satan that brought up the subject of Job. We want to blame everybody but God for Job’s plight. It wasn’t the devil that accused Job. He didn’t have anything to say about Job until God brought up the subject. Once God opened His mouth, Satan just did his job. Accuse.
God just used Satan to bring Job around, show him his true standing with God. Job had to finally admit his true condition and told God he’d shut up. And notice that even through all Job’s Godly practices God still had to direct him in one. I think maybe Job didn’t pray for folks outside the family. At least, it’s indicated in verse 10 of chapter 42.
God tells Job’s friends that He didn’t like the things they said. He told them to make a sacrifice for their attitude. Normally, that’s where the requirement stops. You sin. You see it. And you sacrifice. But more was needed this time. They were told to go to Job and have him pray for them, on top of the sacrifices.
I know that one of the hardest things we are told to do is to pray for our enemies. While we may not see Job’s friends as his enemies, after all, they did come over to validate his condition, they were God’s enemies. He tells them His “wrath was kindled against them.”
Our changes of heart are followed by changes of action. Job just acknowledging that he was nothing without God wasn’t enough. So, God gave him a small task to get him started on a more humble life. He told Job to pray for his “enemies.”
God was playing a little chess game with the Devil in order to teach Job his lesson in humility. Look! Didn’t God already know that Job’s heart wasn’t humble? He could see Job’s thoughts. He knew Job’s pride in his wealth and position. And didn’t God know that the Devil would take every opportunity to accuse Job, or anyone else?
So God defeats the Devil, exalts Himself and brings Job a little farther on the path to true righteousness. He’s pretty smart, God is.
Glorification of God is all about faithing. Faithing is all about surrender. The end of all believers is total surrender of Self. The more we trust God, the less we’ll trust ourselves. What’s the practical side of surrender? How exactly do we surrender to God? Whoa! Take a breath. Surrender can be said to be doing something someone else’s way. Following someone else’s rules. Spike Lee stated all God’s rules in a four words, “Do the right thing.” That’s very easy to understand. It’s very hard to do. Doing the right thing goes the wrong way down a one-way street. The right thing is always the hardest option we see in any situation. We want things to be easy. We just want to “sit here where it’s nice.”
Things directed toward us are not directed toward God. We need to make God look good, not ourselves. We need to faithe so that God gets all the credit and not us.
I repeat, are you in a jam? It’s all about God. So surrender. Faithe.
Now let’s turn to the New Testament. I want to look at the word “gospel”. Most folks understand and even say that gospel means good news or glad tidings. So it’s a generic word that can apply to many different Good News-es. Here’s some good news. “It’s Spring!” or “The mountain bobsled ride is now open!” You get the idea.
But hard look at the big picture of the Bible and Christianity brings confusion. The way some people talk, there are several gospels. How many gospels are there? Isn’t there supposed to be only one?
The word gospel has been used so long that it has come to mean many different things. Truth is the first one that comes to mind. And of course we hear the word Gospel used as a generic word for almost any message pertaining to the New Testament.
More serious contact with the Bible frame will soon narrow the meaning of gospel to the more specific area of “being saved.” This is still a rather big box of topics, though. It includes “The Cross.” “Commandments and rituals.” “Love.” “Living Like Jesus.” And more.
What’s extremely interesting to me, even fascinating, is that out of all Jesus preaching, he never talked about being saved. I know, he told that one fellow about being born again, but that was rather vague and was given only to one person. It wasn’t some message on a mountain. It wasn’t preached.
The reason for my fascination is the fact that the reason for being of most churches, especially the Fundamentalist ones, seems to be evangelism. Saving souls. Witnessing to others; in the hope of “leading them to the Lord.” It’s all an enormous exercise in Ego.
Right here we’re not going to deal with the other of the two main focuses of the Church. That would be behavior. Evangelism and behavior. I call it the 1st Church of Behavioral Science.
It doesn’t seem to matter what the context of the sermon is, the message is “Don’t sin.” Or, “Witness.”
How did that evangelistic void in Christ’s preaching become the mainstay of most of Christendom? Did Jesus preach a gospel of salvation or not? The word Gospel appears 105 times in the King James. Nine of those times they are coming out of Jesus’ mouth. Now, is there any reason to go farther than Jesus’ own statements to establish what he was talking about when he said the word “gospel?” I don’t think so, but we’ll look at the other times, too.
First, I want to take those nine statements of Jesus. Eight of those times he doesn’t include a description of the gospel. He just says, “This gospel”, or “the gospel”. Before we look at the remaining use of the word, let me ask, “Do you think that Jesus taught many different gospels or that all the non-descript mentions of the gospel refer to only one gospel? I think it follows that if he talked about different gospels, they would be clarified, so as not to confuse.
Now the last reference is from Matthew 24:14. I’ll just read the whole verse.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The Disciples have asked Jesus when the End will come, what will be the signs. One of the conditions that Jesus puts on the end coming is that the good news of the kingdom that God is going to set up here on earth will be made available to everyone on the planet.
If there’s any absolute in the world, it’s that the Gospel that Jesus was talking about, and was always talking about, the gospel that he told his disciples to preach, the gospel that Jesus gave Paul to preach, and the gospel that is talked about those other 96 times is the gospel of the kingdom of God.
But what do Christians say is the Gospel? How many Christians did you ask? I’ve told about a long time churchgoer who I asked that question. I said, “What is the Gospel?” After a studied pause, she said, “Love.” I didn’t see Jesus say that “this gospel of love shall be preached…” I repeat, most of the church world will say that the gospel is of Salvation, being Born Again, Going to Heaven.
Then why didn’t Jesus at least mention it? Check out all the times when Jesus used the terms “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” A brief look will show that he said the “kingdom of heaven” 31 times. He said the “kingdom of God” 60 times. Out of those 91 statements, 20 times he said what the kingdom of God was like. These are only references out of Jesus mouth, not the many times when the disciples described Jesus’ preaching.
The words “preach”, “preached” and “preaching” aren’t the same words in Greek. “Preach” and “preaching” are related, being translated from a word that means to herald or A proclamation. Five times Jesus uses the word “euaggelizo”. This is the word from which we get “evangelize.” So it’s not just any proclamation. It’s the proclamation of the Good News, the Evangel.
I won’t spend time on the parables except to say that they mostly relate to the “requirements” of getting into the kingdom. Jesus is teaching what kind of folks will make it and what kind won’t. He also throws in a few about what God does in relation to believers. Those would be the ones about the lost being found, like the lost coin, sheep, even the pearl or treasure in the field.
It all starts with Isaiah 61:1. This is the verse that founds what’s called the Gap Theory. This particular gap is the one between Jesus’ death and his second coming. When Jesus was in a synagogue, he read this passage and told the people there that this prophecy was being fulfilled before their eyes. In other words, he was telling them that he was the one being talked about.
We won’t go into why this proves the gap except to say that Jesus left out the last half of verse two. His presence fulfilled all the above parts, but not “the day of vengeance of our God:…” But what concerns us is what comes before. These are all things that the Messiah would do. Isaiah was talking about the Messiah, and all the Israelites of Jesus time knew it. They didn’t mistake this. He says the same thing five different ways.
Here’s the passage:
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,….
Dot, dot, dot, because that’s where he stops reading and tells them that it’s been done.
He’s to preach the good tidings (gospel in Greek means just that, good tidings, an announcement).
Binding up broken hearts is what happens when the gospel is heard and accepted.
Liberty to captives refers to the freedom felt by those who believe the word. They are set free from doing all the ritual practices they were encumbered with.
The same goes for the next one about getting out of prison.
Lastly, there’s the description of the Kingdom, “an acceptable year of the Lord.” That’s got to be God he’s talking about. He didn’t call himself Lord. That was the Father. I doubt if any year that we know of in history could be called “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Wouldn’t that have to be in some “perfect” world that hasn’t happened yet?
I’ve found at least ten times when Jesus’ preaching is about the kingdom of God. I’ve also found six references to the disciples preaching. These are all about the kingdom of God, not salvation or Right behavior.
But those who like to argue will throw Paul up. Paul’s seemingly constant message is about being saved. He calls it being justified, sanctified, and saved. He says that these things happen when we act in faith of something God has said. One of his famous statements is, “saved by Grace, through faith”
Paul’s main argument is that faithing replaces trying to gain salvation by self-accomplishment, the way Judaism taught. When he wasn’t talking to folks who knew about the Law, he preached Christ resurrected.
Let me remind you here that Luke is considered, by those who can judge such things, as a preeminent historian. It’s his attention to verifiable detail that gives his book of Acts its credibility. It’s in the book of Acts that we lock down what Paul preached.
In Acts 9:15 and 22:21 we find his mission confirmed as to where he would go. There are five additional references to Paul’s preaching. One says only the word gospel. The remaining four verses say what the preaching was, the kingdom of God.
Paul was only following orders, like the other Apostles. In Matthew 10:7 Jesus tells his disciples exactly what
to preach. Here’s that verse; Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Now, this refers specifically to Jesus as the Express Representative and eventual Ruler of God’s earthly kingdom. There are many verses that indicate that Jesus is “the kingdom of God.” In one place he’s talking to people and tells them that the kingdom of God is “among” them.
Ego driven, survival oriented people have taken the interpretation that serves them best and made it into the Gospel. This gospel doesn’t address the responsibilities that go with God’s kingdom. This gospel allows them to use terms like, “Jesus is knocking at the door, will you let him in?” “I’m saved! I’m going to heaven!” Nah, nah, nah, na nah, nah.
We have to sort out the different parts of Paul’s preaching and letters to get his mission in perspective. We have to reconcile his enormous output on “saved by faith” with the news of God’s kingdom.
One doesn’t just walk into God’s kingdom at will. There is at least one prerequisite. Faithing. No sense preaching the kingdom if you don’t tell how to get in. So Paul went around preaching how to get in. Remembering that faithing is acting on something God has said helps us see why Paul preached about Jesus. His first message after salvation is Christ. He tells us all kinds of things about Jesus.
Basically, it’s what he told those Philosophers on Mars hill. He told them that Jesus was raised from the dead. They said, “Yeah, right. See ya.”
You see, it’s a three-part message. You can’t get into the kingdom without faithing. Faithing takes believing in God and things He’s said. How do I verify God? Jesus’ resurrection. It’s said to be the founding fact of Christianity. Without the resurrection, Christianity is no different than many other religions.
So Paul taught that we could trust the prophecy of God’s kingdom, by referring to Christ and then acting on that belief. Paul preached Christ as proof of the kingdom, and faithing as the way to access God/Christ/the Holy Spirit/a place in the coming kingdom.
Most of Christianity is locked into the gospel ABOUT Christ. It’s all about Christ. His actions have made a way for us to get to heaven. There’s nothing false about that statement. Indeed, Jesus’ death has made it possible for God to get in touch with us. And that certainly is “Good News.” But it’s the news that has led many away from their responsibility. That responsibility, regarding the Gospel, is to tell others about God’s coming kingdom.
Herbert W. Armstrong was the one who brought this idea home to me. He pointed out that there seemed to be two gospels. The gospel OF Christ and the gospel ABOUT Christ. How many gospels are there?
The only good news that Jesus and the disciples and Paul preached was the news that God was going to set up an earthly kingdom.
But just to show that God has no limitations, we find that there are three gospels and one gospel, all at the same time. Just like the Father, Son and Hoy Ghost.
The Gospel, Good News of Christ, is the kingdom of God.
The Good News about Christ, is the resurrection.
The Good News of salvation, is faithing.
1-Time to open the door to the Gospel, the kingdom of God, by helping God get in touch with us. It’s called faithing, you know, acting with our bodies like something God has said will be true.
2-Is it true that Jesus’ death made righteousness possible for defective humans?
Is it true the Jesus’ death made healing possible for defective humans? That’s what the Bible says in Isaiah.
3-Jesus gave us a way to act on those words. He set up symbols of focus for us to use to act on those words.
4-Of course, the wine isn’t Jesus’ real blood. It wasn’t his real blood the night he called it that. Same with the
bread. It was bread, not meat.
5-God always makes sure there’s a way out for us. One scripture plainly says that He won’t tempt us beyond what we’re able AND in the temptation makes a way of escape. He really wants us to make it. But He doesn’t put us on a leash. He’s left us four very clear ways to open the door to Him. Four ways we can be Righteous in His eyes; not really Righteous, just in His eyes. Three are in Matthew 6. They are clearly termed as acts of Righteousness. There’s giving, prayer and fasting. Notice the first thing on God’s list of Righteous acts is giving. The other clear act of faithing is Communion. It’s an outward act, based on something God has promised. That is, by Jesus’ death we can access salvation and healing. Read Isaiah 53. He took our bad stuff and our physical stuff on himself. He did this through the side door. By opening that door, God was now able to give us that salvation and healing. How that happens on the practical level is that for faithing we get a little implant of God’s Life Force, the Holy Spirit. That’s what God sees when He looks our way, AND it’s what affects our cells and helps them heal.
Let’s do some faithing now with the wine. Thank God for His grace, and ask His mercy. “Thank you for your grace, LORD. Please have mercy on me, in Jesus' name.
And the bread, put it in the past tense, it’s already done. Say it with me, “By his hurt, I was healed. In Jesus’ name.”
1-Thanks for being there today. God’s going to set up a kingdom here on the earth and He’s getting some folks ready to help Him run it.
2-That jam you’re in, or the one that comes tomorrow is there to help you let go of your ego and do it God’s way.
3-Wanna talk? S.T.A.G. is a comfortable place for it. Nobody over there has an agenda. The number there is 707 923 ALLY. STAG.WS for the web. And you can hear this show again on both the KMUD and STAG archives.
4-I’ll be back June first. I’ll be looking for you then.
5-You know what? God is real. And He’s said a lot of things that will help you get through. It’s true.
This is Jack,
I love mail.