My family traveled to Georgia last week and as we were driving through Atlanta, I got a chance to listen to the Janet Medford Show. I was tuning in late to an interview with Mitchell Chase, author of The Gospel Is for Christians. I had never heard of him before, but this interview was excellent and I found myself “amening” throughout the conversation.
Having listened to the entire show a couple days ago, there’s a couple of things I’d like to highlight.
Mitchell succinctly defined the Gospel as a “work of Christ on behalf of sinners to satisfy the wrath of God.” I’ve also heard it recently said the Gospel is God saving us for Himself, by Himself, from Himself. Think about that for a moment. The plan of redemption, as Mitchell said, is not a Plan B for humanity. There is no Plan B. The plan of redemption is Plan A and always has been. It is not a reaction to fallen humanity, it is merely the unfolding of history according to God’s eternal plan to save a people for Himself to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.
The cross, therefore, is the centerpiece of redemptive history. God’s redemptive purposes for mankind are centered on the cross, a work that was foreordained in eternity past according to the counsel of God’s own will. Knowing this, how humbling is it then for His children to be the recipient’s of the riches of His divine grace and mercy, to not only partake in the glories of the Kingdom in this life and the next, but to partake in the plan of redemption by being the vessels by which the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is proclaimed to the ends of the earth.
The primary mission for the church is to proclaim this message of Good News. This is the responsibility of the hands and feet of the Body of Christ, namely you and I as individuals, to GO out and make disciples. While the Gospel is surely proclaimed from faithful pulpits preaching the whole counsel of God, the primary purpose of the pulpit is not evangelism. While it is acceptable to invite the lost to come to church with us (and we should), this is not a substitute for evangelism. No, Jesus said to GO. As we are shepherded, equipped, and prepared in the local church for evangelism (as we should be), our mandate is to take the message of Christ and Him crucified to the world. Church is a time of Christian fellowship, teaching, correction, exhortation, conviction, sanctification, and being stirred unto good works. But evangelism takes place outside of the church doors, where the darkness hides, the blind walk, and the wanderers navigate the wilderness of the world with no compass. Our mandate is to take the message of Hope to the hopeless, not depending on the corporate church to bare that responsibility as that is not the corporate church’s primary responsibility – it is yours and mine.
How then do we become compelled to be faithful to the Great Commission? By truly understanding the Gospel in that it not only saves us from the bondage of sin and the wrath of God, but it gives us eternal life and changes us to be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are changed from being dead in our trespasses and sins into new creations walking in newness of life. When we are born again, we are awakened from the spiritual dead and given Life, namely Jesus Himself. Hopelessness is exchanged for an enduring Hope, condemnation is exchanged for Grace, wrath is exchanged for mercy, and love for the world is exchanged for love of the worthy and glorious Lamb of God.
That is what the world needs, and God has designed His plan of redemption in a manner to utilize His found sheep to call His lost sheep to repentance. He has blessed us with the mandate to proclaim the mercies of God against the backdrop of the wrath to come. Such sinners were we who have been showered with grace – how can we not be compelled to tell others the truth and glory of the Gospel of Christ that they would also be recipients of God’s love, grace, and mercy?
I’m really looking forward to reading Mitchell Chase’s book (you can purchase it here at Amazon and read reviews from Al Mohler, Tim Challies, and Tullian Tchividjian). In the meantime, I hope you take the time to listen to Janet Medford’s interview with Mitchell as they cover other topics including repentance, the attributes of God, and the current condition of the visible church. The interview is covered in the first 20 minutes of the show’s first segment: Janet Mefferd-7/14/2011-Hour 1-Janet Mefferd Radio Show