How do you chose a plane? When you go to the airport with your purchased tickets, how do you pick a plane? Do you walk around and look for a plane with your favorite color? Or the biggest one or maybe the “newest” one? Do you look in the lines and find where the most “stylish, rich or educated” people are? Or do you pick the plane closest to the entrance to save you from a long walk?
Do you look for a plane based on the culture of the pilot… so do you ask if the pilot is white, latino, black, middle eastern or asian? Do you pick a plane based on the age of the passengers because you only like to fly with people your age? Do you start asking different companies what movies their planes will play on the flight and pick the plane based on the desired movie you want to watch that day?
You probably don’t consider any of those things when picking a plane, but why not? Because none of the above criteria have anything to do with your ticket’s destination.
When you go to the airport you pick the plane that corresponds to your purchased ticket’s destination. For example, if your ticket says your plane is at “Gate 5” and is “Flight 2861” from Ohare to Dallas, then that is your plane- regardless of everything else.
You let your ticket, which is based on your chosen destination, pick your plane. And you accept the following: (1) The age and design of the plane, (2) The size of the plane, (3) The culture of the pilot and staff, (4) The entertainment on the plane, (5) The age, style and economic status of the passengers (6) The color and (7) The distance it is from the entrance.
With that in mind, “How do you pick a church?”
Do you pick a church based on; (1) The age, (2) The size of the church, (3) The culture of the pastor and staff, (4) The entertainment at church (music style), (5) The age, style and economic status of the attendees, (6) The building or (7) The distance it is from your home?
Sadly, many people in the U.S. have become more “consumer driven” than they are “destination” driven when finding a church. The Bible, your ticket, gives you the destination or the path a church should take. Have you chosen your church based on these things?
- How they preach the gospel and win souls…
- How they make disciples of you and your family…
- How they equip you to be a leader…
- How they encourage you and help keep you accountable in small groups…
- How they serve the community…
- How they teach sound doctrine…
- How they worship God in Spirit and in Truth…
- How they practice church discipline…
- How they expect growth both inward and outward of all people..
- How they stand against sin and stand for righteousness?
Or have you just picked a church that has people that look like you, some good programs for the kids, a good band, nice preaching and is close to your home?
Bottom Line: How you pick a church tells a lot about how you view your destination. As a result, is it any wonder only 4% of U.S. Christians have a biblical worldview and even less than that have even personally won someone to the Lord and made a new disciple?
WHO ARE YOU IN THE GOSPEL STORIES?
The Bible teaches in 1 John 4:17, “…In this world we are like Jesus;” we are not like the woman with the issue of blood, blind Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus trying to find Jesus, the woman caught in adultery nor the sinful and confused woman at the well, or the sick man at the pool Bethesda or Lazarus dead in a grave… IN THIS WORLD, after being born again, WE ARE LIKE JESUS! And since we are like Jesus we are to go to the hurting, like Jesus did, and see them healed and set free!
As a disciple of Christ, stop seeing yourself as the broken person, you are the one called to be like Jesus and bring them healing!
John 14:12-14, “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Ephesians 1:3-14, “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
FOURTEEN THINGS PAUL WAS THANKFUL TO GOD FOR:
- Blessed with Every Spiritual Blessing, (v. 3).
- Chosen to be Holy & Blameless, (v. 4).
- Adoption to Sonship, (v. 5).
- Glorious Grace, (v. 6).
- Redemption & Forgiveness, (v. 7).
- All Wisdom & Understanding, (v. 8).
- Knowing God’s Mysterious Will, (v. 9).
- Unified with Christ, (v. 10).
- God’s Plan, (v. 11).
- Made to Praise God’s Glory, (v. 12).
- The Gospel, (v. 13a).
- Marked & Sealed by the Holy Spirit, (v. 13b).
- Guaranteed Inheritance, (v. 14a).
- God’s Possession, (v. 14b).
- TRUTH/ALETHEIA: All that corresponds to God’s reality.
- GOSPEL/EVANGELION: The good news about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
- SALVATION/SOTERIA: To be delivered from sin, judgment and death.
- BELIEVED/PISTEUO: To put trust in God.
REFERENCES TO THE GOSPEL IN EPHESIANS
- Ephesians 1:13, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
- Ephesians 3:6, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
- Ephesians 6:15, “And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
- Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
TWELVE FACTS ABOUT THE GOSPEL
1. Jesus Preached the Gospel
Matthew 9:35-38, “35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news [gospel] of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
2. Jesus Made Disciples to Live for the Gospel
Mark 8:34-38, “34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
3. Jesus Promised the Gospel Would be Preached in the Whole World
Matthew 24:12–14, “12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
4. Jesus Commanded His Disciples to Preach the Gospel to the Whole World
Mark 16:15–16, “15 He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'”
5. The Disciples Preached the Gospel
Acts 15:7, “After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.”
6. Disciples Like Paul Preached the Gospel because They Knew its Power
Romans 1:16-17, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
7. Preaching the Gospel is all Disciples’ Priestly Duty
Romans 15:15-16, “15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
8. The Devil Hides the Gospel from Sinners
2 Corinthians 4:3-6, “3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
9. False Gospels are to be Rejected
Galatians 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”
10. Disciples are to Live Worthy of the Gospel
Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”
11. Disciples are to Serve and Work for the Gospel
Philippians 2:22, “But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.”
12. God will Punish Those who Don’t Obey the Gospel
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10, “8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
I was included in Christ when I believed the gospel!