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June 18, 2006

So I’m still pretty new to blogging. Why am I doing it? It’s my effort to keep up a conversation with people I care about. Why have I closed comments to non-members? Because I don’t want to be burdened by the need to respond to people I don’t know. If you want to be a member and I know you, all you have to do is ask and I’ll add you to the conversation.

But there’s a downside to keeping our community small. I realize that I can’t really keep the conversation going unless I post every day. But I don’t think of postworthy things every day. So, I’m going to try a new thing. On days when I have nothing new to say, I will post a paragraph from one of my old sermon manuscripts. Here’s today’s installment…

What is the gospel? There is much in just these first four verses of Romans to begin an answer to that question, but let me begin by examining the word itself. What does the word “gospel” mean? It means good news. It’s a compound word in Greek meaning a good proclamation, a good announcement. When I think of the word proclamation, I think of a herald riding into town with news from the king and he blows a trumpet. Hear ye! Hear ye! The King has spoken… and he delivers his message. Now when he does that, that’s not an invitation to dialog. It’s just an announcement. You can believe it or not believe it but it remains a stubborn fact. The gospel is not an argument to be debated, it’s an announcement to be delivered. The gospel is not a world-view. The gospel is not a philosophy, it’s a proclamation. The gospel is not a list of demands about what you must do, it is a declaration of what God has done.

That’s why it’s called here in verse 1 “the gospel of God” It’s God’s gospel. It’s about Him. It announces good news of salvation for you, but ultimately it’s not about you. It’s about God, it’s about his glory, his salvation. Salvation is of the Lord. The reason why many people are frustrated and confused when they read the Bible is that they do not read it in a God-centered way. They don’t come to the Bible to learn of God, they come to the Bible constantly asking it to tell them what they must do. But you don’t need to be told what to do, you need to be told what God has done. When you understand what God has done it will change your life to be sure. But it’s not a self-help manual. The whole point is you can’t help yourself. You need to receive God’s help, so be still and listen to the good news of what God has done for you and quit trying to use the Bible’s teaching to save yourself. If you just want to be told what to do so that you can go do it for yourself, Romans is going to drive you nuts, because there is not a single command in the book of Romans until chapter 6:11, and then you know what he commands you to do? Think!

So I’m probably going to be preaching this book for a year or more before you ever get told what to do. But that’s OK, because, as we’ll see in verse 16, the gospel is the power of God. This message has power to save you all by itself quite apart from your moral striving. So just listen and receive and believe and soak in the good news of the gospel and trust God to change you through it.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2006 9:25 am

    (per the Gospel) You can believe it or not believe it but it remains a stubborn fact.

    I like this quote, as it reminds me of those Looney Toon anvils or stage weights that fall to smash someone. Now I’m not trying to make some profound statement about being crushed by the stone of stumbling, really. What I’m trying to point out by that word picture of the anvil is that, it’s there! Bam, it’s there. You can not dispute the fact that the weight just clobbered the talking duck.
    ~there ends the random neuron firing of mark.

  2. June 19, 2006 2:53 pm

    and another one joins the fray…

  3. June 26, 2006 9:53 am

    Toward this end you could also post the manuscript from Sunday’s sermon. I know I’d enjoy the opportunity to read it.

  4. June 26, 2006 9:53 am

    That is *each* Sunday’s sermon. Say, every Monday or so.

  5. June 26, 2006 3:56 pm

    I second MN’s recommendation. I would love that. I could print it out and pour over it.

    hagah…

    hagah…

    hagah…

  6. June 26, 2006 7:34 pm

    I appreciate the desire for manuscripts online. Here’s why I hesitate.

    1) That’d be awful long for a blogpost. It’s aesthetically not pleasing. This “Meta” post, for example, is less than a fifth of the length of an entire sermon.

    2) My manuscripts are of not quite publishable quality. I would feel the need to edit them before posting, and that would take a while.

    But I am happy to attach them to an email to anyone who emails me and asks for one.

  7. June 27, 2006 2:40 pm

    Ah, this would be a good use for the LJ friends filters. You could create a filter that contains only the people who have requested the manuscripts, and then you could post the manuscripts under that filter.

    When’s Gorfchild going to add friends filters to his blog engine? We need to get everybody using it! :) Seriously, Although I think WordPress is limited, I’ll buy a beer for anyone who switches from Blogger.

    I’d be happy to host the manuscripts somewhere. Then you could just send the URL to someone and he could grab it.

    However you do it, I’d recommend distribution of a manuscript file rather than cut/paste into an email/blog.

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