Archive for the ‘Great Commission Resurgence’ Tag

Jesus’ Compassion On The Harassed And Helpless!

jesus' compassion

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/14-11-16-jesus-compassion-on-the-harassed-and-helpless-matt-9-35-10-8-tah.mp3

Have YOU ever felt harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd? Not without clothing, food or water but, in the midst of plenty, still feeling LOST, despite knowing there is a Shepherd????

Of course you have, and do!!!

In this 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims a Gospel Message entitled ” Jesus’ Compassion On The Harassed And Helpless!”. In this Gospel he explores Matthew 9: 35 through Matthew 10: 1-8 proclaiming The GOOD NEWS of God’s compassion revealed and active in Jesus! Observing the literal Body of Jesus Christ in Mission reveals God: Father, Son and Spirit does all kinds of interesting and redemptive things with “foolish” participation, people, preaching and pausing!

In this message we hear that:

1~ God in Jesus begins a radical form of calling people to Himself in a gathered and scattered way that transforms their lives and the lives of others as he reaches out in compassion to His world and humanity. God in Christ DOES have an agenda and He DOES care to make himself known to people even as He does good works. He is even willing to become broken to reach out in His compassion and see humanity healed!

2~ Even with money in the bank, food to eat, shelter, we can still find ourselves harassed and helpless, but WHY??? Pastor Tim gives one compelling reason this may be so in our times, considering the present mission of God revealed in Jesus and His determination not to be Himself without us!

3~ We have not understood the “foolishness” of God in Jesus Christ and why we need to be willing to RECEIVE His foolishness as He works in this world to compassionately SAVE people!

4~ Jesus Christ is not only GOD’S GOOD NEWS, He is GOD’S GOOD NEWS in LOVING MOTION: in Gospel Mission and Ministry action, in and through His special believers! In and by the Spirit, believers become THE BODY OF CHRIST – JOINING in what GOD is DOING as He calls and gathers even more disciples and sends them with HIMSELF in MISSION. From the Father, in Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit, believers are the compassion of God, helping to heal His harassed and helpless humanity.

Listen and ask yourself: DO I SEE THE COMPASSION OF GOD REVEALED EVEN IN THE BROKEN HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST? AND AM I, THROUGH JESUS AND BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WILLING TO RESPOND TO GOD’S CALLING TO BE HIS BODY AND COMPASSION RIGHT NOW, AS HE WORKS OUT HOPE AND HEALING IN AND THROUGH MY BROKEN HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS?!

Great Commission Resurgence

Some folks over at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are challenging their fellow Southern Baptists to embrace a “great commission resurgence.” You can read their challenge letter here.

As usual, I have some rather critical comments to make.

But before I do, let me just say there’s nothing personal about this. I have many friends and relatives who are in SBC churches and I know they are doing their best to respond to the awesome grace of the Father, in Christ, as the Spirit leads them – just as we all are. I also don’t know anything about the people who created this document, but I’m sure they love Jesus and their families – as we all do since we are all sharing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

All I am critiquing here is the actual language of the letter itself.

For those of us who believe that the Spirit is calling the North American Church back to a fully Christ-centered, fully Trinitarian understanding of God, there are a couple of interesting aspects of this document:

1. The only place the document invokes the Trinity is when it quotes the Bible (Matthew 28:18-20) at the very start. The rest of the document is decidedly Unitarian in its language. I’m sure the people who wrote the letter believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but their vision of human existence and the Church is not a Trinitarian vision.

Consider these stats: The word “God” is used 32 times, far more than any other word for the Divine Being. If, when you say “God” you immediately think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then the word “God” is probably okay. But the fact that the document no where mentions the Father – not even once – and only mentions the Holy Spirit in passing references in 2 places, tells me that in this document “God” does not mean Trinity it means “Omnipotent Being.”

The name of Jesus (or the combo “Jesus Christ”) is used 10 times and the title “Christ” is used 9 times by itself. Again, I’m not trying to judge what’s in the hearts and minds of the authors of the letter, I’m simply evaluating the language of the document itself. Based on the language alone we have to conclude that this document is about “God,” and to a lesser extent about Jesus Christ. Nothing in the language of the letter makes it very clear what the relationship is between God and the person Jesus or what the relationship between the two of them has to do with the Great Commission, the Church, or humanity. This letter is not about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are described in Matthew 28.

2. Since the letter is not Trinitarian it bubbles over with langauge about what people need to do to please this distant, Unitarian God in the sky and do his work. I won’t cite a bunch of stats on this point, I’ll just let you read it (if you want to take the time) and decide for yourself.

I can tell you this, though: if my pastor read this letter to me I would feel like I was being sent on a guilt trip to please the omnipotent deity. I would not feel that I was being baptized in the assurance of the Father who loves me in Jesus and had poured his Holy Spirit into my life. (By the way, that sentence I just wrote is an example of what I mean when I talk about writing in a Trinitarian way instead of just writing about “God.”)

So, what’s my point in all this? Nothing too serious – after all, the guys who wrote this document are just sincerely trying to help themselves and others live out a Christian life. I’m not down on that.

I just want to make the point that when the Bible talks about the Great Commission it talks about baptizing people into the name “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I think that if we in the Church want to talk about the Great Commission we ought to use the same Trinitarian language. There is no other gospel than humanity’s adoption into the life of the Father, through the incarnation of the Son, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – and that’s the good news we’re commissioned to preach.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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