Today’s evangelical protestant church in America preaches a cheap grace, one without commitment to ushering in the kingdom of God on earth. Salvation through belief in Christ has been preached and taught for so long, so often, and so loudly that we have forgotten the Gospel that Jesus came to teach and share, and that He expected His disciples to follow.
Before Jesus arrived on the scene, the Jewish people expected a political king, a messiah, to redeem Israel and establish a world ruled by God and the law.
When Jesus began His mission and ministry the power brokers of Jewish society saw Him not as a possible messiah because Jesus eschewed the political power expected of a messiah. He was also a threat to stability under the Roman rule. Peace in the provinces meant pax romana, peace for Rome.
The response to Jesus was profound. In just three years the crowds became so large, so loud, and so committed that the Jewish leaders became frightened of what looked to them like a revolt rising that would surely upset the stability that kept them in power and the Romans from being even more harsh in ruling the people. The only plan that made sense to the Jewish political and religious leaders was to remove Jesus by politically sanctioned murder.
When Jesus was killed, even His closest followers believed the story had ended in failure. Their view of Jesus as messiah required Him to conquer the existing ruling structure of the Romans, the Jewish political system, and the Jewish ruling priest establishment. The messiah was expected to return the throne of David back to power and to rule as God’s representative. Only when Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to them did they begin to see the “rest of the story.”
They realized that there was no political kingdom coming from God. They also began to realize that they, who believed in and followed the now risen Christ, were to bring the kingdom of God into their lives and the lives of those they sought, taught, and ushered into “the Way.”
Their mission was nothing short of turning the world upside down. Jesus’s life before His death was about fulfilling the long history of God’s commandments to His chosen people to care for those at the edges of society. These included the poor, oppressed, stranger, women, and children, what Jesus would later call “the least of these.”
Jesus said over and over that the lowest will become the highest, the servant would be raised above the master, the weak will be strong, the last will be first, the poor will be rich. In all cases, God would be on their side.
Jesus came to bring the “good news” (also translated as “gospel”) to people and to begin the process of bringing the kingdom of God into and onto the earth
Charlie is founder of Making Faith Matter, a movement to help the local church return to the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. This is expressed best by Jesus when He taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Charlie's new book “Reclaiming the Forgotten Gospel of Jesus” explores what could happen when churches adopt establishing the “Kingdom of God on earth” as their primary purpose. Learn more...
Reclaiming the Forgotten Gospel of Jesus
For decades, evangelical protestant churches in America have preached a salvation-centric Gospel of Christ. Today, a majority of protestants believe this is the complete gospel, and their churches have aligned their teachings to “seek and save the lost” only. In doing so, they relegated the life, words, and works of Jesus to secondary, non-gospel status.
But, what if the story of Jesus, passed down to us in the New Testament (especially Mark, Matthew, and Luke), describing His life, actions, death, and resurrection, is true? What if it accurately portrays the whole story of Jesus, the Son of God, as He lived among us? What if He still lives with us, showing us how to live out the kingdom of God on earth?
What if Jesus’s life was a living gospel, as He said it was, yet it has been forgotten by the evangelical protestant churches in America? And if this forgotten gospel has been ignored, what should the church do about it?
The purpose of this book is to explore how the life, words, and works of Jesus can bring churches, pastors, denominations, and members back to the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ.