The Vision of our Church: Pursuing the Simplicity of the Gospel
October 4, 2009
Take the woman at the well in John 4, for example. She sat by the welltalking to Jesus, then left the well a redeemed woman, and immediately wentdown into her hometown and told everybody about Jesus and then led themall back to Him. And how about the 72 disciples Jesus sent out to preach? They had only just been following Jesus for a short time, yet He turns aroundand sends them out to preach the gospel! My favorite is about Saul who,before he changed his name to Paul, got knocked off his horse, was carriedback to Ananias' house, then according to Acts 9:19-20, "stayed with thebelievers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preachingabout Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is indeed the Son of God!'" Paul'sown model became the example the Thessalonian church followed. For aswe read there in chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians, they "received the messagewith joy from the Holy Spirit," and as a result, they "became an example toall the Christians in Greece," so that "the word of the Lord is ringing out fromyou top eple everywhere, even beyond Greece, for wherever we go, we findpeople telling us about your faith in God" (vv. 6-8).Why did these people go from sinners to evangelists so quickly? In short,because it's all so very simple. As the blind man in John 9 said, "But I knowthis: I was blind, and now I can see!" (v. 25). One moment, they are goingtheir own way, living their own lives, pursuing their own selfish desires. Andin the very next moment they are going Christ's way, living His life, pursuingHis desires. It's that simple. They were lost and then they were found.It's the simplicity of what happened that produces such a simple response towhat happened. The simple reason why these people and many others sincethen have turned immediately from sinner to evangelist is because, simplyput, they were forgiven of their sins. And when they were forgiven, their sinswere washed away, done away with, never to be remembered again, andthey were changed, transformed in an instant, a brand new creature, a newperson. Their minds and hearts, cleansed from sin through forgiveness, wereable to function as they were created to in the first place: to go out and seekpeople to worship God. Forgiveness transformed the operating system of their heart, if you will. They went from an operating system rife with virusesand malicious software that had been hacked and hijacked, to a newinstallation of an upgrade forever more free from all the crapware.At Church in the Boro this is what we are pursuing: the simplicity of thegospel. We believe Jesus kept the message of good news pretty simple. Andwe also believe that because it is simple, the devil and his idiots are workingnight and day to junk it up and make it more complex than it needs to be. You see the devil knows that the more complex he can make the gospel inour finite little brains, the less likely we are to relish it and share it withothers. He knows if he can add all sorts of other theological assumptions,presuppositions, distinctions, and implications to it that he'll accomplish twothings.