So, what’s the point of having an Old Testament if the whole story of Christianity is wrapped up in the New?
While listening to one of our special guests, Fred Markert, at church Sunday morning, I took particular interest when he passionately brought up “healing the Gospel”. Whatever could he mean? As I intently took in his words my heart resounded with every point he was making. He expounded on Ephesians 3:8 – pointing out that “God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when He said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” (NLT)
If God proclaimed the Good News centuries before Jesus was crucified for our sin, why do we start with the book of John?
|(Fred Markert teaching at CFAN)|
I love Fred Markert. His joy is unbridled. I want to seek him out and become close, personal friends with him. Mind you, not in a stalker kind of way. I’d love to absorb the contents of his heart and his brain! He has more knowledge and wisdom than most of the people I know all rolled into one. Google him, he's an amazing man. Here's just one link: Fred Markert YWAM )
Here in America, our Gospel generally begins with the New Testament; with the short, pointed message that we are sinners in need of a Savior. I suppose as “westerners” we’re inclined to make it more about us than the God that created us and loves us. But, that’s not where the Good News begins! As Mr. Markert so perfectly reveals, it begins with God and all that He is, not with us or our sinfulness.
How can we assure joy to those we’d seek to make known the message of salvation when we start with our own condemnation? Romans 8:1, another one of my favorites, heralds the news that in Christ, there is no condemnation. Yet many of us who declare we are in Christ often reach out to those we perceive as “lost” with empty hearts; no joy in our soul and no love in our message. Ouch!
Not pointing fingers at others, not even the ones who may have sternly presented the Good News to us, but looking inside at our own hearts; what is our mindset? Why do we share the message of salvation? Do we “preach Jesus” out of love for our fellow man? Or because “that’s what we’re supposed to do”? Do we even understand the Gospel we believe we’re sharing?
Do we look past the loving, creative God Who literally gave us life because we want to “spare someone the agonies of hell”?
True. I hate the very thought of anyone finding themselves facing Satan and the fires of hell.
But, let’s marvel at the diamond in front of us, lest we freak out over the idea of washing our hands before we reach out and touch it! Let’s stand in awe of the One Who gives life before we even look at ourselves. Let’s take notice of God’s love.
God’s salvation comes gift-wrapped in His love. He IS love! Before God even sees our sin, He loves us. Before He sees our accomplishments, He loves us!
Let’s aim higher; think bigger; open our eyes wider and expose our hearts more deeply. Let’s lay fear aside for the moment and seek to take in the awesomeness of our Creator and His creation. Then perhaps we’ll forget what we were afraid of in the first place.
“In the beginning, God……” Genesis 1:1