Is this the Gospel of Jesus?
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
Betty and I were discussing WHY people left or fled from England to the Colonies of America.
In brief, many people left everything behind in England and came to the colonies in America in search of Religious Freedom.
But, is that really what happened? Did people really leave everything they owned and knew, to be able to freely and openly worship God and to live out the convictions of their faith?
Would you leave all you have and know, move to - let's say - Israel, start you life over, just so you could worship God and express that worship in the way you live?
"The most celebrated reason (people left England and came to the colonies in America) was the pursuit of religious liberty. The Church of England was an official institution, which the King at its head. People who disagreed with official Church teachings and refused to accept its authority were called dissenters. Such folk were subject to serious discrimination. They were excluded from most professions, including government or law." excerpt from an article by Northern State University
It is difficult, for most of us in America, to understand such radical thinking. Most Americans move for reasons of comfort or financial advantage. But, rarely for religious reasons. We may say we 'believe in something' but few of us believe in anything as passionately as the early American colonists - who were later called Patriots, by the way.
It is hard to find that kind of conviction or faith in America now-a-days. Considering the condition of our world and our Nation, we could use some men and women who believe so deeply that it moves them to sacrifice their own comfort for the good of others. It is even harder to find that type of man or woman anywhere in our nation.
Some people blame the comfort and luxury of life in America. Others blame our loss of moral compass. And while both of these reasons may contain some truth, I believe the church in America bears much of the blame for the half-believing Christian ideology we now call Christianity.
The message of the Church in America has been re-made into a gospel of psycho-therapy. It has become politicized. It preaches free enterprise economics. It pronounces its beliefs through entertainment. It has become a model for moderate socialist thought and teaches Christian consumerism.
Our seminaries have systematically deconstructed the Gospel message and revised it to resemble a corporate model for religious expansionism.
On most Sundays, the gospel message is little more than a motivational speech of self-help sold as a scheme of risk and reward theology.
This could explain why we, in America, cannot understand the radical ideology of ISIS. They have been called Islamic radical (religious) extremists. They not only believe "IN" something, they BELIEVE they are on a mission from Allah to usher in the final caliphate to begin the End of Days - Armageddon. Everything and everyone who does not further that goal is expendable. Their cause and belief is worth dying for. (For more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/what-isis-really-wants/ar-BBhFUKq)
So, what is the Gospel really about? Why shouldn't we revise a message that is 2000 years old?
Here is an excerpt from a message from pastor and teacher David Wilkerson on the problem of preaching and accepting "an accommodating Gospel message":
" We constantly hear exaggerations about the numbers of people who come to Jesus through various ministries. Christians report that scores of people were saved as they preached in prisons, schools, and other venues. They say,
“Everybody in the place gave his heart to Jesus. When I finished preaching, they all came forward for salvation.”
All too often, what actually happens is that everyone simply repeats a prayer. They merely pray what they’re told to pray and many do not grasp what they’re saying. Then most go back to their heathen ways!"
Go here for the sermon on MP3
Go here for the sermon transcript: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=58152&forum=45
So, what are we to do? Here is just some what Jesus says we must do (Be warned. It's RADICAL):
Mt 4:19 And He (JESUS)*said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Mt 8:21 Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father."
22 But Jesus *said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead."
Mt 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He *said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him.
Mt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mt 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Mr 8:34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mr 10:21 Looking at him (the ‘rich young ruler’), Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Lu 18:22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Joh 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
Joh 21:22 Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 "He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 4:17 gives us the outline for Jesus discourse on "How we are to believe and live the Gospel". Then Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 28:19 gives specific instructions.
American Westernized religion has put up barriers to ministry. It demands you have a college degree in religious studies, then seminary training, then a big denomination behind you (and still, 90% of the trained graduates will drop out). Jesus warned about these obstructionists.
All of us, as Christians, are called to ministry. Not having a religious degree is just an excuse that many use to avoid his or her calling. The bible is clear. You and I are called to perform our ministry.
BUT, FIRST, YOU MUST BELIEVE.
Your Brother and Friend,