Gospel Is Now Psalms 115: 16 (ESV) – The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. Anything that happens on the earth is our responsibility. So if we notice chaos, instead of complaining, we must fix it. For instance, air pollution is a crisis that is […]
November 7, 2022
Gospel Is Now
Psalms 115: 16 (ESV) – The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
Anything that happens on the earth is our responsibility. So if we notice chaos, instead of complaining, we must fix it. For instance, air pollution is a crisis that is bothering Delhi. Rather than being a victim of it or blaming the government, we need to take ownership and ask for divine wisdom to solve the problem. We must not forget that everything that happens on the earth is our responsibility.
For a long time, the church has scared people into believing in Jesus. Indeed, fear is a great motivator when one is challenged to believe in Jesus if one wants to go to heaven. Likewise, hope is also a great motivator when they say, “If we believe in Jesus, we will go to heaven.” However, both fear and hope are futuristic. The greater motivator when we preach the gospel is faith. And faith is now. If we are the children of God and any problem we see is our responsibility to fix, we are no longer victims and enslaved people. We have been redeemed. When faith is our motivation, we are not bothered about heaven or hell. Jesus said, “I am the truth and the life.” The truth here means reality. We believe in Jesus, and He has become our present reality.
John 11: 25 (ESV) – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Today Jesus is telling us, “I can become your reality, not when you die. I can become your reality today, right now.” Heaven should not be the retirement plan we have, where we assume everything will be perfect and made right when we get to heaven. The perfection we are hoping for can now be a reality in Jesus. He did not say, “I’ve come to give you life after death.” Instead, He came to give us abundant and God-quality life.
Ends of the Earth
The Garden of Eden is a unique place as it symbolises the union between heaven and earth. In other words, the Garden of Eden is an atmosphere pulled from heaven but stays on earth. And God gave the responsibility to Adam, saying, “Hey, what I have cultivated for
you, I want you to reproduce it into the entire ends of the earth. Multiply, be fruitful, replenish and subdue is how we bring the union of the supernatural and natural.” It is not just about going to heaven; however, the union between heaven and earth.
We might wonder if the end goal is to survive on earth somehow, be a good person, get to heaven, and then everything will be perfect. Everybody who comes to church is in the hope that somehow they get that ticket which takes them to heaven, and that is what motivated us. The purpose of humans was never just to go to heaven but it is to know Jesus.
Being fruitful means living a purposeful life pursuing God’s destiny, and fulfilling it. For Adam and Eve, being fruitful was replicating the garden of Eden to the ends of the earth. The same would happen when the earth is redeemed; it would be brought back into the form, shape, and likeness of the Garden of Eden. We are not simply voyagers to heaven; however, we are responsible for fulfilling this responsibility given to humankind.
When we are passively waiting for a revival, God is waiting on us to become the revival.
Luke 4: 18-19 ESV – The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
This is the first preaching of Jesus when he goes to a synagogue at the beginning of his ministry. He was anointed to preach the good news. The word “gospel” is “good news.” The gospel to the poor cannot be the promise of heaven when they die. The good news of Jesus is more than going to heaven. Prosperity and abundance of life are good news to the poor. Like wholeness and health are the gospel to the sick, and freedom is the gospel to the oppressed. The kingdom of God became our reality as Jesus died for us, and He has made us partakers of His abundance, freedom, wholeness and health.
We have a seed
When we plant a tree from a seed, the tree has the potential to be fruitful. However, a seed is needed for a tree to grow and be fruitful. It is unfair of the Lord to expect us to be fruitful without giving us the seed.
1 Peter 1: 23 ESV – since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God
A cub born of a lion behaves like a lion because it has the parent’s DNA and characteristics. We are born of the word of God. We have the characteristics of God in us. Behaving like Jesus Christ is our default setting. We do not see Jesus struggling, blaming and being a victim of problems, but He solved all kinds of crises that He saw around. The Word tells us that His divine power has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness. Then it is ignorance to believe that we only have an entry ticket to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross.
The Israelites got out of Egypt in a day, but Egypt did not get out of them. God delivered us from sin, sickness, shame, condemnation, and everything that stops us from enjoying His fullness, but it hasn’t gotten out of us. These things will get out of us when we remember God has delivered us completely. He sees us as perfect, righteous and whole. We often fail to accomplish what God wants through us because we fail to see ourselves as God sees us. In Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Thus, we have the seed to bring the Kingdom of God into reality. The reason we pray, read the Bible, have fellowship, etc., are not attempts to twist God’s arm to fix things in our lives. However, it is crucial to be diligent in all these to align ourselves to the reality that we have been delivered from Egypt. Instead of having a victim-minded attitude, we are called to conquer and subdue like Joshua and Caleb because God has given us the authority and power to drive out all kinds of giants.
Tree of Knowledge
Once a teacher entered the class and gave a surprise test. The students were shocked because they were not prepared. Then the teacher adds a clause to the test. The clause was, “I’ll help you out over here. If you write your name and do not attempt any answers, and give them to me, I’ll give you full marks. But I will judge you based on your performance if you attempt even one answer.”
Ephesians 2.8 (ESV)-For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Interestingly, despite knowing that we need to write our names and give them to Jesus, we still try to attempt the problems of life. It is hard to write our names, give them to Him, and live by the Lord’s favour. Many of us might have asked, “Adam and Eve were only asked not to eat from the tree of knowledge. How could they fail to do that?” However, we fail to understand whenever we want to earn prosperity, freedom, health and wholeness; we are dismissing God’s favour. When we strive daily to meet our needs, we eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating from the tree of knowledge gives us an illusion of control, where we become the judge of our lives. We have wars fought because people thought my idea of good was better than theirs, so let’s kill them. Every religion stands on the premise that I am more right. It fills us with pride which enables us to choose between good and evil. The image is that of sitting in the seats of judgement to decide what is good or evil; we are saying, “I don’t need God. I am the God of my life.” However, the fruit of it is always death.
The other tree in the garden of Eden was the tree of Life. We were not designed to know good and evil. We were always meant to know God. And in the pursuit of knowing God, trust Him to make that decision for us. Knowing God is life. Knowing good and evil is a disconnection from God. Knowing God is the connection from God, the connection with God. When we submit to Jesus as our Lord, He can make better decisions for us. In submission, we allow Jesus to sit at the seat of judgement for our lives.
Every time we do that, grace and peace are multiplied in every domain of our life (2 Peter 1: 3). We were entirely saved by favour and not because of our performance. Our performance was terrible. The Bible calls our righteousness filthy rags.
Romans 5.17 ESV– For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
There’s so much more grace available for us. And as we know him, that grace gets multiplied over our life. It is not our excellence, knowledge or diligence that sets us apart from the world. However, we need to be excellent, knowledgeable and diligent. But it is God’s favour that separates us from the mainstream.
The condition of our life does not define the quality of our life. It is defined by the choices that we make. We hope to go to a first-world country to live a better life. But we can have a better life here because it is not dependent on the conditions of our life. It is dependent on the choices that we make. If Jesus can multiply five pieces of bread and two fish to feed 20,000 people in the wilderness, He can do much more for our city, families and lives. Although heaven is a reality, we must give utmost importance to what the Lord does today.
There’s a purpose that God has for us, and it is not to survive on earth but to reign in life. We are seated with Christ because God knows that we can fulfil the purpose and plan of the kingdom that is upon our life. So God has given us the seat of favour far above every power, rule, principality, and name. We are seated in favour of God for a purpose. So whenever we walk in that purpose, we see that favour overflowing into our life. We might continue our daily chores and work like usual, but our lives change when the priority in our minds changes.
When God takes the seat of judgement, when He takes prominent, all that we do is for His kingdom. It will no longer be about the salary or the recognition. When the Lord’s favour is activated in our lives, we overflow with His purposes. We can be anywhere, doing anything, but the favour of God will set us apart because God, more than anybody, wants us to prosper. Prosperity is not the volume of money that’s in our bank balance. Prosperity is the presence of God that can push us forward in life. The prosperity of God pushes us to get out of our comfort zone and be diligent.
Knowing God is how we can function in favour of God. When we look at the life of King David, we see how he would enquire of the Lord every time his nation was under attack. And God would bless him with new strategies every time. When we don’t inquire of the Lord, we will always have the same strategy. Once a man was in his workplace and was having a headache. He prayed, “Lord, I have this bad headache. What should I do?” So the Lord said, “Jump seven times.” So he closed all the shades of his office windows and jumped seven times. He was healed immediately. The next time he had a headache, he jumped seven times, but nothing happened. It’s not really in the action; it is in the action that comes out of obeying Him. It is not that we are unaware of how to be effective, but functioning in favour of the Lord is to inquire of the Lord about every detail. Thus, we are telling our minds that Jesus is seated on the judgement seat of our lives, and He has the decision-making power.
Gifting and weakness
All of us have a variety of struggles. If the devil has been attacking us in the same area, then that area is where God has gifted the most. The devil is attacking so that he can distract us from our gifting. From the life of the Samaritan woman, we know that she struggled the most in her relationships with men and society at large. She had six failed relationships and would prefer an odd time to fetch water from the well so that she may avoid any interaction. But she was the key player in letting the people of Samaria know the good news of Jesus. For her to go through the city, which knows about her and say that she found the Messiah was not easy. She was ashamed of her past, but Jesus redeemed her to redeem a city.
Another instance is of the man who was possessed by the legion. Legion means 6,000 soldiers. The demonic realm put all its power and forces together to keep him down. Because when he got delivered, he was the messenger to preach the gospel to 10 cities. The area where you are struggling, where you are fighting, is the area where God has blessed you with enough strength and grace to overcome it. In the Bible, we see that Abraham was afraid and would lie. His habit was also seen in Isaac and Jacob. But God calls Abraham the man of faith. All of them had weaknesses. God can turn our weakness into our most powerful strength. We are getting drained out, frustrated and desperate because we are not seeing what the spiritual realm has for us. The demonic forces see it and want us to be distracted. Asking the Lord for His wisdom and favour in those attacks is how we can overflow in the favour of God.
The fights with the bear and lion were the training ground for David before he faced Goliath. We can only build muscles when we exercise. In the process, our muscles get broken and rebuilt. So every struggle we face in the spirit realm might seem like a failure outwardly. But every time we get up, this power of resurrection is activated in our life, and we are being rebuilt.
Furthermore, it may seem we have been fighting the same battle for the last 20-30 years, but know that we are always moving forward. We may fall sick often. It’s a sign that God has gifted us with wholeness and healing. If our finances are attacked, we have a gift in that area. The challenge is to trust God for what He’s doing in the spiritual realm. Then only we will be able to enjoy the seat of favour. Because with a vision of reigning, we will have to become a slave and be sent to prison like Joseph. Though his life seemed to go downhill in the natural realm, God was setting everything to uplift him in due time.
2 Corinthians 12.9 ESV– But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Our weaknesses can be turned into strengths for His glory. God is not concerned about our weakness because He can use our weakness. So we need to stop bothering about them and be fixated on knowing Jesus.
Humility: the secret
James 4.6 ESV– But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
The secret to living in more favour is humility. Humility to confess, “Lord, I don’t want to take that seat of judgement and depend on my knowledge of good and evil. I want to be humble and trust You.”
Isaiah 55.8 ESV– For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
God says this to tell the people that they are not thinking like Him. If they had thought like God, they would have behaved like God. The picture of the inability to think as God vanishes in the new covenant, as we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2: 16). With the mind of Christ, we can think and behave like God, but it begins with humility, which is a posture of our hearts. If we are humble before the Lord, we will not be distracted by the demonic forces and can continue in the kingdom’s purposes with all passion. We will never lose our passion for the kingdom if we are humble.