Tim Chester shares some notes he took at the second Reaching the Unreached conference on his blog today. The last part of the article chimes in well with a theme I have been hearing over and over again lately. It is part of the passion that drives me to continue my own blog. I keep coming back to Zacchaeus the tax collector and the other gospel stories where Jesus heart for the lost was right there having dinner with them and talking with them and showing compassion for their needs. You can read the whole article at Tim's site but I am sharing the conclusion here for those not inclined to follow links.
Implication: the Missionary Heart of God
Nothing of this is new to us. But what are the implications?
1. There is one gospel for all people
Peter said: ‘“Can anyone keep these people from being baptised with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.’ (Acts 10:47-48) What happened to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem in Acts 2 has happened to Gentiles here in Acts 10. It is the same gospel for a respectable corporate lawyer, a hard-working single mother, a teenager toying with petty crime and so on.
2. The gospel is made for outsiders
In Luke-Acts there is a disproportionate number of people who are outsiders: Gentiles, prostitutes, tax-collectors, lepers – people who sins and failures go before them. The people who would attract ‘tuts’ in many churches. Jesus takes outsiders and brings them in and says, ‘Look what I’m going to do with you.’ Jesus is not the Messiah that the world wants. He did not use his power for his own ends. He gave it away so he could help those who are weak. He saves by serving and losing his power. And I get his salvation not by being strong or pure or accomplished, but by admitting I have none of these things.
If our churches do not communicate this then we are not being revolutionary enough. If outsiders do not feel welcome then we are mis-communicating the grace of God.
3. The gospel is not too hard for anyone
Many people in our area do not want to come through the church door because they view it has self-improvement. The first time one friend came to church he would not go inside. The next week he sat in the entrance lobby. The third week he sat by the door. It took four weeks to get him to sit in a pew.
Many people in our area look at the church and say, ‘I can’t be like them.’ They have understood a message, but it is not the gospel. If they hear the message of grace then they will think, ‘I can do that!’