Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A MORE BEAUTIFUL GOSPEL



Did you know that when Paul preached the Gospel to Gentiles he never mentioned Hell or Sin? Sometimes he never even mentioned Jesus by name at all.

Instead, Paul told them about the God who “has shown you kindness” and who “fills your hearts with joy” and who was “not far from each one of us”.

Seriously.

Just read Acts 14 when Paul speaks to the Gentiles in Lystra, or Acts 17 when he speaks to the Athenians and see for yourself. No mention of Hell, no mention of their sins, and hardly any mention of Jesus.

What you’ll see is Paul expounding on this beautiful God who calls us “His children” and “in whom we live and move and have our being”. 

You’ll see Paul describe a God who is our Father, and who “gave rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying (our) hearts with food and gladness”.

You’ll hear Paul entice people to discover “the unsearchable riches of Christ” and to know a God who loves them more than they ever imagined.

Isn’t that refreshing?

Wouldn’t it be great if those people who hold signs and scream at people through megaphones were expressing these same ideas about a God who is good and who loves us? 

Wouldn’t people want to find out more about a God like that?

I know I would.

-kg

**


“We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” [Acts 14:15-17]

“Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” [Acts 17:22-31]




8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul never preached the love of God either. What is the fruit of preaching the love of God to unbelievers? A generation of people who want to continue in their sins because God loves them, hybrid believers.

Anonymous said...

Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, Acts 22:16- Paul's own conversion, Acts 26:18. Sins weren't preached, forgiveness or remission of sins were. It's pointless to just point out that people are sinners, they're probably already aware of that.

Erik Merksamer said...

Yes! That is truly beautiful and transformational, Amen.

Keith Giles said...

My post is sort of focused on how Paul communicated the Gospel to Gentiles.

The Acts 10:43 reference is what Peter said to Cornelius, who was a Gentile and he already had a Jewish background so he wasn't a true "Gentile" in the sense that those in Lystra and Athens, etc. were without any frame of reference for a Messiah, the Law, etc.

The Acts 13 reference is Paul, but that was spoken in a Jewish Synagogue...not to Gentiles.

The Acts 22 reference is Paul sharing what happened to him on the road to Damascus...and he was in Jerusalem at the steps of the Temple...so, not to Gentiles at all, really...and his reference to being baptized and having his sins washed away is a quote of what God spoke to him after the experience.

The Acts 26 reference is Paul speaking to King Agrippa who is a Gentile...but the "forgiveness of sins" reference isn't Paul telling Agrippa to be forgiven of his own sins, but it's Paul (once again) quoting what God sent him to do in his ministry to the Jewish people.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, I love your posts and I'm a regular visitor to your blog but I believe I should make some contributions.‎
First of all‎ is there a different gospel for the gentiles than there is for the Jews? Or what exactly is the message you intend to pass by saying Paul never preached certain things to gentiles? Did Paul and Peter preach different gospels? ‎
Secondly, the fruit of preaching a kind and loving God without talking about sins doesn't actually produce the fruit you think it will. I've even actually watched street preachers preach the love of God to unbelievers and most of them laugh or just ignore them...Same way they'd react to a street preacher yelling about sins. ‎‎
 Also, it's not so much about using certain cute words because the true gospel is not in multiplicity of words. Peter preached a seeminly harsh message in Acts 2 but the hearers were cut to the heart and thousands were added to the church. 
 Furthermore, in Acts 14 which you posted Paul said to them to 'turn away from such vain things'. What vain things? In Acts 17 as well, Paul also tells them that God who overlooked in times of ignorance is declaring to men that they repent because there is a day when He will judge the world in righteousness through a man... Even at that the hearers mocked when they heard the resurrection of the dead, others said they would hear again of the matter, while certain believed. Do we then no longer preach the resurrection? So that people will not laugh? We are not to preach a more beautiful gospel, we are to preach the gospel. But we are assured that it's Christ who adds to the church. Some strong words like "as many as are ordained to eternal life believed" are even used in the bible. If we preach any other gospel whether it be a harsher gospel or a nicer gospel Paul said we will be cursed. And those other gospels aren't any even the gospel. As Jesus said as recorded in Luke 24: 46-47... It behoved Christ to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among ALL NATIONS beginning at Jerusalem... 
 ‎

Keith Giles said...

Thanks for the comment! Let me respond to some of your questions and points, if I may:

*Is there a different gospel for gentiles and for jews?
No, the Gospel is the Gospel. But I am pointing out that Paul seems to have taken a different approach to sharing the Gospel with Gentiles as compared to how he did so with Jews.

It's not the Gospel that changes. It's how Paul communicates it to people based on who they are and what their common assumptions are/are not.

This is more about tactics and strategy, not about content.

Does it mean that, for those Gentiles who responded to him, that Paul wouldn't eventually get around to talking about sin and judgment? Certainly! My point is how Paul initiated the conversation.

*Did Paul and Peter preach different Gospels?
No, they did not. But I'm not sure that you and I are on the same page about what the Gospel actually is. The Gospel that Jesus preached, and that is recorded in the "Gospels" of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, is simply this: "Repent! [think differently] The Kingdom of God is near! [or "within you" or "upon you", etc.]

Paul and Peter preached this exact same Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom of God. It's not about saying a prayer so you can go to heaven when you die.

It's about who you will follow today and how you will live your life. Jesus invites us to "follow" Him. If we surrender our entire lives to Christ and put His words into practice - abiding in Him as He abides in us - then we are "in Christ".

*The fruit of preaching a kind and loving God without talking about sins doesn't produce the kind of fruit you think...
Really? I disagree. In fact, I think that scripture reveals that it is the kindness of God who leads to repentance.

*Peter preached a seemingly harsh message in Acts 2...
Yes, but once again, Peter was not speaking to Gentiles was he? The message of judgement and repentance seems to most often be preached to the Jews, not to the Gentiles.

*Do we no longer preach the resurrection? [because people will mock or laugh]
Of course we do not change the message of the resurrection. If Christ be not raised we are dead in our sins.

*If we preach another Gospel...Paul said we will be cursed.
Yes, but the Gospel that Jesus preached - and that Peter and the other Apostles preached - was the Good News of the Kingdom. [See Acts 28:31, Acts 8:12, Acts 19:8, Acts 20:25, etc.]

Anonymous said...

I understand you way better now Keith. I am also weary of hearing threats which are handed out on the streets as the gospel.
The goodness of God indeed leads us to repentance, but how that plays out I believe, is exemplified in Paul's message in Acts 14:15-17 where he did not just talk about God's goodness but told them to turn away... We can't be silent on sins and by that I mean repentance and remission of sins, persuading them to because frankly most people believe that the fact that God loves them means He's okay with their sins. And they subject to years of bondage for nothing. Someone who identifies as a believer and strongly advocates the love of God asked how a loving God can send people to hell the other day on facebook. I'm saying there are faulty mindsets and errors that preaching the goodness of God without mentioning certain things can cause. I don't want to paint an incomplete picture of God. The gospel is the good news and it's the power of God unto salvation to those who believe, Jew or Greek. I believe we need to get back to the gospel, the full gospel. Where we preach the doctrine of Christ and of repentance, faith, baptism, the laying of hands, eternal judgement and the resurrection of the dead(Hebrews 6). So that people can have a healthy and fruitful life in Christ, not just a good day from hearing God loves them. That's my point.

Chelly said...

I still do not know how and why I got to this website. I read the article on tithing which I fully agree with as I stopped tithing in 2006 and since then no "church" would allow me serve as a non tither. But I'm not bothered by that.

I think I understand what Keith is trying to convey. Peter spoke to an audience conversant with the Law who fully understood his harsh message, while Paul's audience were Gentiles who probably knew nothing of the Law. I spent 40 years in the church and had no real relationship with Christ because of the stupid things I believed and the mixture that was preached from the pulpit. I sought the Lord through different avenues including Christian Science but it took the mercy of God to bring me to a true relationship with Him. In my years of witnessing, I have come to realize that the one you are talking to determines the way you frame the message. To Muslims, I come from where they are, their beliefs; to Buddhists, Hindus, etc, and those that grew up in the church I try to understand what they believe and approach them from where they are and all the time depending on Holy Spirit to guide me. This is how I have had some success. Yes we preach the full Gospel but you have to first bring them to the place of conviction and repentance before anything else that you preach can bear fruit.