Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Servant Leadership & Sully Notes Special | Faithmapping Part 1 of 3: The Whole Gospel

Emmaus City Church Servant Leadership Sully Notes Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Christian Reformed Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities 


An Exploration of a Whole Gospel for a Whole Church for the Sake of the Whole World Part 1 of 3

So far in the past few months, we have focused on these things in relation to Emmaus City's Servant Leadership Development:

Emmaus City Servant Leadership Sully Notes Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Multi-ethnic Network of Missional CommunitiesWe have also read The True Story of the Whole World: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama and Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions. This first post of three is about a book that we've spent the last two months on that has quickly become a new favorite of mine. Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey is an excellent reflection on how God has given us a whole gospel for a whole church for the sake of the whole world. For anyone exploring Jesus or desiring to become more like Jesus, these are core foundations for what the Bible tells us about who we are and how we can live.

Part 1 | One glorious gospel, in three aspects

the gospel of the kingdom

the gospel of the cross
the gospel of grace

Part 2 | Forms one church with five identities:


Part 3 | Who lives out those identities in all areas of life:
location – where we live
vocation – where we work
recreation – where we rest
restoration – where there's need
multiplication – where we reproduce


Quotes for Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey Review  

Part 1 of 3 | Introduction to the Whole Gospel

"Pastor Timothy Keller states that there are three frameworks, or lenses, or aspects to the gospel – three ways to understand the gospel that are equally true and central for the Christian on his or her journey:

  1. The gospel of Christ (or of the cross) is the historical truth of Jesus, who lived, died, and was resurrected, paying for his sins with his life
  2. The gospel of sonship (or grace) is about God's radical, transforming, adopting grace. It's about God's accepting us because he accepts Jesus and not because of anything we've done.
  3. The gospel of the kingdom is about God's kingdom coming to earth through Jesus and through the church. It's about the renewal of creation, the new-making of all things, a cosmic redemption project that has been inaugurated by Jesus.

The tendency is to latch onto one or another of these aspects to the exclusion of the others. If we tend to see legalistic moralism as the problem, we'll gravitate toward the gospel of sonship (or grace) 'with more emphasis on ... emotional freedom.' Likewise, if we tend to think that Christian are too relativistic and don't respect God's law, we'll gravitate toward the gospel of Christ, which puts our sins on display in the crucified body of Jesus. It's the pitfall of overreaction. We overreact to sinfulness and become Pharisees. We overreact to Pharisees and become hellions. One generation preaches only the cross, and the next 'discovers' the kingdom of God, tossing the cross out of the conversation. As Scotty Smith, founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, says, 'Overreaction usually leads to overcorrection – a lesson I am continually learning, especially in spiritual matters.' It's because of this cycle of overreaction and overcorrection that we need a broader, multifaceted perspective on the gospel. Such a perspective 'resolves many traditional arguments; it encourages balance in preaching; and it encourages church unity.' Our tendency toward pharisaism can be tempered by looking at God's scandalous grace. Our tendency toward individualism can be corrected by looking at God's kingdom, a transgenerational, global movement of new-making. And our tendency toward triumphalism and pride can be confronted with the crucified Savior, whose wounds are an eternal reminder of our sin and need." pgs. 21-22

The Whole Gospel | Three Aspects Kingdom, Cross, Grace

1) The Whole Gospel | The Gospel of the Kingdom

"To repent means to turn away from something and to turn toward something else. It means a reshaping of our mindset, a new way of looking at the world. It means rethinking our way of thinking and being and doing. We currently live in service of a variety of kingdoms: our personal kingdom; our family' kingdom, perhaps our business or political kingdom, and unbeknownst to most of us, we are subject to the evil king and his kingdom of darkness. His power in the world and in our hearts has caused us to live a life of resistance, rebellion, and denial of God's authority. When we repent, we not only acknowledge that reality, we change our allegiance. To be part of a kingdom means to have loyalty for a king. Repentance is a transformation of our loyalties, from a world of idols to the one true King. Paul praised this kind of transformation being reported in the Thessalonian church when he told them of their reputation for 'how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God' (1 Thess. 1:9). Repentance means facing the reality of our sinful alliance with these smaller kingdoms, turning away from them, and turning toward the greater kingdom revealed in Jesus Christ." pg. 40

Q: What is the gospel of the kingdom?
A: It is the good news that life with God under the rule of God is available to all who would turn from their rebellion and trust in King Jesus.

The Bible is filled with God calling us back into life with him. It's the story of God creating his kingdom, us being expelled from his kingdom, and God promising to restore us back into his kingdom. As you read, look for God's invitations and promises about life under his good rule. God's presence – in the stories, in the Psalms, in the promises of the prophets – is evidence of God's kingdom slowly breaking into the world.

2a) The Whole Gospel | The Gospel of the Cross

"The cross is an instrument of punishment for condemned criminals, and if we believe that Jesus went there in our place, we must believe that it's a death we deserve. Some of us don't want to acknowledge that we deserve that punishment. We think we can do our best and earn God's approval. Most religions of the world are built around an economy wherein we obey and are accepted. In Islam, faithful participation in the habits of religion are the key to salvation. Hindus seek transcendence by pleasing their gods. Buddhists seek enlightenment from refining the habits of the mind. Like all the other religions of the world, we want to believe that we can do something we want to believe that we can earn approval and pay the debt ourselves. But the cross shames those who refuse it, and looms large by displaying the cost of our sins. The Romans hung criminals at crossroads and byways to declare the price by those guilty of treason, and the crucified Savior hangs like just such a criminal, but declares that he's there in our place. The cross declares an end to earned approval before God, and calls us to a radical new way of acceptance: resting in Jesus's finished work. 'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree' (Galatians 3:13). The Bible is clear from front to back that we are incapable of repairing the rift between God and us, but the gospel of God's cross announces that it is Jesus's life, death, and resurrection that saves us from our sins and makes us right with God. Isaiah 30:15 is helpful: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation ... but you would have none of it' (NIV). We refuse the offer of rest in Jesus's finished work because we refuse to believe what he says about our desperate state apart from him." – pgs. 55-56

2b) The Whole Gospel | The Gospel of the Cross

"Consider how the cross speaks to our regular, everyday needs:

  1. Do you ever feel like your sins are unforgiven? Do you ever feel like there's something you need to do to earn God's approval? Do you ever think, 'If I can just get ______ taken care of (my finances, my addiction, my anger, my pride, etc.), then I'll be able to rest before God'? In such moments, you need to remind yourself that God's work is finished ("Propitiation means since the Lamb has died, His work is finished God's wrath is satisfied"). God is entirely and perfectly satisfied with the pure and sinless life of Jesus and the sacrifice of his death on your behalf. That payment is enough. Your attempts at pleasing God are like fig leaves. They won't add up, and glory to God they don't have to!
  2. Have you ever felt dirty and stained by your sins? Has it ever been hard to look at yourself in the mirror because of shame over what you've done? Remember ("Expiation means God's removed my filthiness, the Old Testament type was the goat into the wilderness"). Your filthiness, your stains, your blemishes are all loaded on Christ and removed from you as far as the east is from the west.
  3. When you wake up feeling burdened by God's anger, fearful of wrath and judgment, painfully unable to please him, you need to remember the double cure: You're safe from wrath ("Justification God declares us righteous") and made pure ("Imputation – God takes Jesus' righteousness amount and through faith He credits it into the Christian's account"). It means that whatever the mess of your life may be, if your faith is in Christ, you can offer your life, and Christ perfects it. Not only is God not angry with you – he delights in you.
  4. And finally, when you struggles with loneliness, when you struggle with a sense that no one is by your side or understands your battles, remember that you've been reconciled to God ("Reconciliation means there's no more enmity; God is now a friend to me, we're no longer enemies"), and moreover, he lives in you and you in him. All the resources of his strength, character, and grace are available to you in Christ Jesus. You're never alone. 

... The Bible uses many words to describe our Savior, but when it opens the curtain to eternity and allows a peek at the world to come, we see the sacrificial Lamb, whose blood covers our doorways in faith. The Savior, who died a sacrificial death on the cross, in our place, is worshiped forevermore." pgs. 65-66

Q: What is the gospel of the cross?
A: It is the good news that through faith in Jesus's perfect life, death for our sins, and victorious resurrection from the dead, we are justified and reconciled to God.

The whole storyline of the Bible is haunted by images of the cross. It's promised as early as Genesis 3:15, foreshadowed in the lamb in Exodus, symbolized in the sacrificial system, and seen in the visions of the prophets. It's the turning point the Scriptures, and it is unapologetically the center point of the entire New Testament. 

3) The Whole Gospel | The Gospel of Grace

 "Few have better articulated the meaning of the gospel of grace than slave-trader-turned-pastor John Newton, author of 'Amazing Grace.' Newton said: 'You have one hard lesson to learn, that is, the evil of your own heart: you know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves, the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His salvation. ... Our sins are many, but his mercies are more: our sins are great, but his righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power.' ... Moralistic religion lays commands in front of you as hurdles to jump. 'Do this, and you'll be accepted.' Grace, on the other hand, lays them before you as an invitation. You were dead to all of them before, unable to do them with joy, but now, the pressure is off the race was won by Jesus before the starting pistol fired. Instead, these commands are an invitation to a better way to live, and they come with the power of the Spirit who is bringing life to your body and soul and can help you accomplish them. ... (But) We cling to our sins because we don't believe Jesus is better. We cling to our religion because we don't believe that grace is better. But this is blindness. We need a fresh encounter with God's grace something only he can do in our hearts that transforms the way we see the world. At its core, God's grace is not a principle; it's a person. We seek him we seek Jesus, and discover the life-altering power of God's grace in his presence." pgs. 81, 83-84

Q: What is the gospel of grace?
A: The gospel of grace is the good news of God's wonderful acceptance of us not because we have earned it or deserve it but because he gives it to us freely at Christ's expense.

God's grace is evident throughout the story of the Bible. Grace shows up the moment Adam and Eve first sin, when God clothes them and shows mercy. It's evident in how he relentlessly keeps his promise to Abraham and Abraham's descendants, even as they abandon him, forget him, and turn to other gods. And of course, it's most evident in Jesus, who makes a way for sinners to be once-and-for-all restored to fellowship with God. God's love toward his children is never contingent upon their obedience we have nothing to earn or deserve but is always dependent upon his promises.

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