Thursday, June 2, 2016

Touching Base, Part 308

05 Jun 16
Series - Discipleship - The Life of Being an Apprentice - Part 7
A Whole Heart for the Whole Gospel: The Embrace That Changed The World

This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This morning we continue an important series at Bethel, Discipleship - The Life of Being an Apprentice. Thus far we have looked at three marks or characteristics of being a disciple of Christ. They are: relationally healthy, biblically measured and prayerfully engaged. For the next two weeks we are going to address the fourth mark - Fully Committed to the Whole Gospel for the Whole World.

Note it says the Whole Gospel”. What is the whole Gospel? The word “gospel” means good news. So what is the good news? What is the whole good news?

Text: Luke 4:18, 19
In this text Jesus applies a messianic text to Himself, and declares the good news. Note that he says he has been appointed to proclaim the good news.
In Jesus’ declaration about Himself, He is announcing the whole Gospel. In fact I would say it this way, The Gospel Embraces the Whole Person.

“to proclaim good news to the poor.”

Did Jesus minister to the physically poor? The biographies of Jesus depict him repeatedly reaching out to those at the bottom of the social pyramid - poor people, women, Samaritans, lepers, children, prostitutes and tax collectors. Yet did this good news address another kind of poverty?
What about spiritual poverty?
As a group or on your own take some time to finger through some of the following texts that speak of our spiritual poverty: Matt. 23 (the whole chapter), John 3:1-21, Acts 2 (check out Peter’s sermon)

“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives…”

The Jewish culture knew what it meant to be prisoners or held captive. And they knew what it meant to anxiously await pardon - freedom. The Jews were enslaved and dominated by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and now they were under the boot of the Romans.

Turn to John 8:31-38 - Is there another kind of imprisonment?

Galatians 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

“ and recovery of sight to the blind,”

Jesus healed the physically blind, this was a way of validating His ministry (check out Matt 11:1-5). But did Jesus address another kind of blindness? Check out Matthew 15:14.

“to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”

I think that we are now seeing the pattern. The gospel addresses the whole person. Certainly Jesus ministered to the oppressed - those that society had cast aside and relegated to the lower rungs on the social ladder. However, when we understand the whole gospel we realize that spiritually, we are all oppressed.

Oppressed - refers to those that are bruised. It means to break in pieces, broken, in heart and often in body as well. Like broken pottery.

Does sin that holds us captive have the ability to break us into pieces?
Discuss the following quote and how it connects with this whole issue of being oppressed.

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Author Unknown

“ to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Concretely, the allusion is to the ‘Year of Jubilee’, the year of liberation among men appointed by Yahweh (Lev. 25) and now made symbolic of his own saving acts. It was held every fifty years, and during it, the fields lay fallow, persons returned to their own homes, debts were relinquished and slaves set free. Jesus is the bearer of such good news – note v.20 and 21.

The Gospel for the whole person. We have physical needs that the gospel, the good news, can address. Jesus modeled this in his ministry. However, the gospel addresses also the deepest and most profound needs of humanity, the spiritual needs. Note how this proclamation describes the spiritual condition of humanity:

-       We are spiritually bankrupt- (poor)
-       We are bound to this bankruptcy with no human way out (captives)
-       We are blinded and thus cannot at times even see our own state of affairs (blind)
-       We are beaten down and beaten up.(oppressed)

Discuss the following quote. Think about the balance between feeding the hungry stomach (which is part of the good news) and addressing the spiritual hunger and need of the soul.

“Efforts at social improvement that neglect this great goal (spiritual poverty) will be looked back on by poor people in hell as a horrible form of ecclesiastical malpractice.” John Piper

Let’s live out the whole Gospel! The Whole Gospel for the Whole World.

Mark Kotchapaw

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