There exists a gospel that does not resemble that which was preached by Christ, the apostles or the early church. It goes something like this:
You were lost, dying and destined for hell because of sin. Jesus came, took your punishment and gave His life on the cross, so you could be saved and go to heaven. If you believe this, you now have a choice between heaven and hell. If you ask for forgiveness and accept the free gift of salvation, you will receive Christ into your heart. You are now a Christian.
This gospel is often presented as a decision about what will happen when you die. Once you are saved, you have to make sure you stay saved (depending on the denomination you were converted under) because Jesus could return today, or you could die tonight. If you are a good Christian, you should help save others from hell too. The focus of this gospel is Christ as Savior. Whether you are in the wafers and wine or bread and juice club, sprinkled or dunked, the basic story is the same. So what's the problem?
The church has been reading the right book and telling the wrong story. The central theme of the Bible is not the redemption of man. It is the kingdom of God. It is the story of a King, His kingdom and His royal family from Genesis to Revelation.
The gospel preached throughout the New Testament was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). The motivation for repentance was the kingdom of God. This gospel is more concerned with fulfilling God's purpose for your life than your destination after death.
While many are waiting with their ticket to heaven, there is a kingdom to advance on the earth. Mankind did not fall from heaven; we fell from dominion.
I believe God is calling the church to rise up and reveal the kingdom that is "not in word, but in power" by walking in signs, wonders and miracles (1 Cor. 4:20). To do this, we must understand Jesus' response to Pilate. "You say correctly that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world" (John 18:37).
For more about our discussion on the kingdom of God, tune into the Envoy Podcast episode titled Living a Life of Signs, Wonders and Miracles on the Charisma Podcast Network.
HG Strickland has planted churches, launched ministries, and has raised up leaders across denominational lines for the past 25 years. In fulfilling that call, God has taken him far beyond traditional ministry and church leadership to lead charities, foundations, businesses, and even train government leaders on Capitol Hill to operate in their identity and purpose. HG currently serves as a founding pastor of Kingdom Life Ministries DC, a church planted a couple of blocks from the White House. Learn more about Envoy at envoynews.org.
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