The Gospel Message: Contextualization (Acts 10)


The Colonial Era Model of missions continues to today according to Paul G. Hiebert’s essay, The Gospel in Human Context. “The Churches that were planted during the Colonial Era emulated western Churches in theology, worship and Church polity.” Critical Contextualization is necessary in missionary endeavors. “The gospel must be Biblical but relevant to the context. If the early missionaries adjusted too little, these missionaries in the twentieth century accommodated too freely and the result was syncretism.”[1] Every culture possesses both good and evil, and Christianity has the potential to transcend any cultural ethos if the missionaries are allowed by the Church to do so. Even in church-planting efforts, contextualization must be an active part of the planters’ consideration. A new paradigm, or a rediscovered paradigm, has emerged. According to Paul G. Hiebert’s essay, The Gospel in Human Context, “In recent years Evangelical missiologists, especially anthropologists, have emphasized the importance of contextual hermeneutics. A contextual hermeneutics seeks to interpret the scriptures in a way that is Biblically correct but also culturally appropriate and relevant. This approach reflects the importance of the two hermeneutical questions: what did the Biblical text mean originally and what does this text mean for us today.”[2] According to Hiebert, what we need is a more “contextual hermeneutics & critical contextualization that must be informed by Holy Scriptures, guided by the Holy Spirit and discerned by the Church” if we are going to be true to the Great Commission.

In the essay by Paul G. Hiebert, he identified several types of contextualization.[3] Hiebert posited that contextualization is a critical aspect of missions. I agree with him that all of us participate in some aspects of contextualization. The world is at our doorstep, and we have to minister to people within their context without losing the essence of the Biblical message. Hiebert argues that there are “changing perceptions of contextualization among missionaries and missions scholars. Missions must include social, historical, personal and other contexts in which people are living.” He maintained that minimal contextualization is when one is unaware of the contexts in which they live or the depth to which these contexts shape how and what they think.[4] He continues to define uncritical contextualization where there is a watered-down presentation of the gospel leading to syncretism[5] (“This would mean the “old religion” would become mixed in with the new Biblical faith and that culture would have more authority than revelation.[6] Critical contextualization tends to seek a balanced approach to which missionary interactions with societies is both true to the Bible and sensitive to the cultures of the particular people group”) and Divine revelation given in human context.

In Acts 10, we see that the Holy Spirit was the guiding hand in this missionary endeavor and that the message was all about Jesus Christ. Peter did not go to Cornelius with a message of cultural change, but one of spiritual revolution. Good deeds do not complete the conversion process, but a full acceptance of the person and work of Jesus does. It was at this point in the message that the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his friends and family who were present. Lawrence O. Richards in his book The Bible Readers Companion said,

The fact that Gentiles were given this gift, just as the apostles had been on Pentecost (cf. Acts 2), was proof of God’s acceptance of Gentiles into the Church. Peter’s phrase “at the beginning” (v. 15) suggests that this event was unusual because it involved Gentiles, and speaking in tongues, γλώσσαις (glossolalia), was not a common phenomenon in the early church.[7]

It was at the introduction of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptural prophecies that the Holy Spirit did what only He could do; He came into their hearts, anointing them with the evidence of other tongues, γλώσσαις (glossolalia). In Acts 10:43, Peter said about Jesus, “He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

Before an invitation was given, the Spirit already readied the heart of Cornelius, filled him and anointing him. This process of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit began way back in Acts 10:1. It was evident in Matthew 4 at the introduction of Jesus’ ministry and at His baptism by John the Baptist. Cornelius saw something among the Jews that moved him. He practiced two out of the three virtues of the Jews at that time: prayer, alms giving, and fasting. He was obedient to the Holy Spirit and now as the full counsel of the gospel was being revealed he accepted and as a sign of God’s acceptance of this Gentile He gave them His Spirit with the sign of the γλώσσαις (glossolalia). Since these two men, the seeker and the messenger, were obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit, Acts 12 indicated that The Good News spread rapidly, and many more became believers. The message Cornelius heard was the same message that was preached in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”[8] This is the gospel message; that there is salvation only through Jesus Christ. This salvation requires that one repents as stated in Acts 3:19 and accept Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior as seen in Acts 4:12. Here we have seen the gospel being presented in context of the culture; however, the message did not change and the requirements remained.

When we examine the ministry of Paul, we can see that he was born in a Hellenistic Greek culture, Tarsus; he was a Jew and Roman citizen. To add to the complexity of contextualization as stated in Acts 22:3, “he was educated under Gamaliel as a strict Pharisee?”[9] Yet we can learn a lot from the apostle’s presentation of truth that was based on Jesus Christ, and he was more concerned, I think, with critical contextualization of the gospel. Paul did not stray from the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He has provided a way for sinners to reconnect with God through conversion. In Acts 17, we witness Paul on Mars’ Hill, the pinnacle of philosophy, as he gently used their context to present the Gospel. Paul looked around and noticed how religious they were and pointed them to Jesus by speaking in their context. This method can be seen throughout the Pauline Epistles. It is very noticeable in Luke’s writings in Acts 15, about the story of Peter and Cornelius. On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached a sermon that had its basis in the life, work and teachings of Jesus Christ (Acts 3). What developed later was an institution that formed the basis of what we call Church today. The challenge that the early Church faced was how to contextualize the gospel. In the story of Peter and Cornelius this was evident. It took the revelation of the Holy Spirit to transform Peter.

Presenting the Gospel has to be strategic, holistic, and deliberate. This requires meeting persons in their context and applying the gospel contextually. There is a physical and a spiritual dimension to mission and the Church; if it is going to be effective we cannot continue to present a one-sided Gospel. I agree to some degree with Hoekendijk as he challenged missionaries to identify and integrate with the suffering masses, seeking to realize God’s shalom on earth, but he fell short of advocating for a holistic approach inclusive of the Church.[10] He went to the left of the evangelical community and focused on social, economic, and political liberation and less on the church as the vehicle to present the gospel message. Holistic approaches to mission are demonstrated in countries like Africa and Latin America; Asian church leaders have embraced Creation Care, an environment mission’s agency hosted by God and Creation conference in Kenya. In a recent article in the Christian Today magazine-July 2010, a “faith-based model”, in Mieze, Mozambique, they “teach rural poor how to use trade to rise out of poverty”. The founders of the program (Iris Ministries), Don Kantel and his wife, said, “We are determined to create a holistic model for transforming life among Africa’s poorest families through job creation and evangelistic outreach”.[11] Here, they were strategic and deliberate while maintaining a holistic approach to mission. They show the communities how to become self-sufficient economically and at the same time teach them about the life-transforming message of the Bible. In a unique way “the project brings together farming, animal husbandry, long-term orphan care, education, and newly planted church, all in a sustainable way with indigenous leaders”, a mission geared towards orphans and vulnerable children. As we bring the Gospel to the world we have to be aware of the context but we have to be anchored in a strong scriptural foundation.

;


[1] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 100.

[2] Ibid., 101

[3] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 82 – 94.

[4] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 84.

[5] Ibid., 89 – 91 and 107

[6] A. Scott Moreau, Harold Netland and Charles van Engen, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Baker Books; A. Scott Moreau, 2000), 226.

[7] Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Readers Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 718.

[8] W. Hall Harris, III, The Lexham English Bible (Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), Ac 2:36.

[9] Logos Bible Software. http://blog.logos.com/archives/2010/07/mind_the_gap.html?FBF (Access 2010) – Make of Logos Bible Software.

[10] Johannes Christiaan Hoekendijk, The Church Inside Out, (London: Scm Press, 1967), 25-31.

[11] Cassandra Soars, “A Hand Up,” Christian Today, July 2010, 13.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 4


When one finds meaning to life, he or she will find it easier to deal with issues of death and dying, pain and suffering. The pastor has to take the lead role in helping to change the pre-conceived notions about end of life issues of the community, beginning with the congregants.  Since the average life span is increasing, the pastor should play a more active role in educating the congregation about these issues.   The internal structures and systems of the church have to include pastoral care with emphasis on end of life and death and dying issues. We have to become “missional” from a holistic framework without losing the basic understanding of mission as laid out in the Bible, addressing the body, soul, and spirit. The individual has a soul, which we are preparing to meet God in eternity, but he or she also has to live in this life and both body and spirit need to be ministered to, thereby completing holistic missions.  When the structures and systems of the church are addressed from a holistic point of view, then the church will be more successful in bringing the Gospel Message to the community.  This message is wrapped in the principle of love; we must love God and love each other.  Jesus said that if we do not love, then we are not His children.  This is important because it is only the children of God that will inherit eternal life with God.  John wrote in his epistle in 1 John 4:20, “If someone says, ‘I love God’, but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” This principle of love is critical to the understanding of the missional church.

The challenge as to how to be truly missional requires those persons who consider themselves to be disciples to engage their communities in their everyday lives.  This has posed a challenge to the church: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be different from the 1st century to the 20th century? How can one truly and radically live out the mission of the Church? To capture the full essence of missions, we should look:

1) To raise awareness by helping to clarify the nature of the structures and practices of the church relating to its missional focus;

2) To develop a better awareness of local missions;

3) To develop a process that will assist persons to live out the mission by engaging their communities.

The idea of being missional is not about the church coming up with some program and fancy name, but more so, it is about understanding the needs of the community – spiritual, social, financial – and how to live in ways that can help transform the community.  Every person must begin at his or her own doorstep.  According to Dave Black, the practical application of missionary congregations is actually to “live out their spiritual life not only as the Church, but also as God’s people in the world.[1]”  According to Rick Warren, “The Church is God’s people living in this world and acting as catalysis for change.”[2]  The Church’s basic mission is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; this message has social and political aspects to its application.  We are called, commissioned, and authorized to go with the gospel.  This is the fundamental responsibility of the Church, but this message is holistic, and affects the total person: body, soul, and spirit.


[1] Dave Black is currently Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. http://www.daveblackonline.com/why_church.htm, Accessed 6/2010.

[2] Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), 238-40.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 3


Part 3

As the Church develops a comprehensive and practical understanding of missions, this will propel Christians to act out their missional call.  For example, this message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ transforms not only Cornelius, but his entire family, and Peter as well, as stated in Acts 10.  God was the underlying connection between Peter and Cornelius.  God is both sending the seeker, Cornelius, and preparing the messenger, Peter the missionary, the disciple.  This circle of missions is the thrust of the project; it begins with the call of the Church and then the commissioning of the church.  As the Church carries the gospel to the world the Church is being transformed and then is re-commissioned.

Refocusing the mindset and view of missions requires change.  In order to foster a new paradigm we must deal with the issue of change within the Church with regards to the understanding of missions.  How does understanding the theology of change contributed to this process?  Theology of change refers to the understanding of all aspects of change and the philosophy that is buried in this word “change”.  We have to consider several aspects of change but will maintain as the foundation, what I term, the Circle of Missions.  This involves looking at the community where the work of missions is carried out, the congregation where training is done and the core (people) that is doing the work of missions.   Change is the agent that gets one from one quadrant to the next, form community to the core.

While there are many stories of individuals throughout Church history that have demonstrated a holistic approach to missions; our time is not void of individuals that are continuing this process.  These individuals are demonstrating in practical ways the Biblical understanding of missions and the Kingdom of God.  They are from different backgrounds and operate in different parts of our culture but are stirred by the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s mission.  Lives are being transformed and the Kingdom is expanding.  The application of Biblical missions will result in transformation, growth, and will bring glory to the name of God.

The Church must take the lead in being holistic in its approach to mission.  Fulfilling the call of mission requires the Church to approach this call from a holistic point of view.  The Church has done an excellent job in preparing people for the afterlife; but one of the areas in which we are lagging behind is preparing the church for end of life experiences and even traumatic experiences.  In order to address these issues adequately there has to be a deliberate effort taken to look at the religious structures and spiritual practices at work in the context of the community the church is ministering.  I believe issues of death and dying, euthanasia and Advance Directives as discussed by Dr. Martha Jacobs[1] in her book a Clergy Guide To End Of Life Issues is important as it relates to missions.


[1] For an informed discussion on end of life issues and information to assist the pastor in educating the church read Martha A Jacobs book, Clergy Guide to End-Of-Life Issues, (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2010), 17.

Kingdom People Living by Kingdom Principles – Part 2


As we deal with the issue of living out the missional call  the Church has to effectively deal with the attitudes of the congregation to be more “holistic” in their approach to missions, while being theologically consistent with the Biblical mandates. It will require an understanding of the theology as it relates to missions: Church, world and Kingdom of God, this is call the holistic approach.  There are several themes that are illustrated in the Bible relating to different aspects of missions that can be seen throughout Church history as documented by Henry Chadwick in his book The Early Church.[1]  Two of these themes are the understanding of the main object of mission and the structures involved.  Jan A. B. Jongeneel also defines these in his book, Philosophy, Science, And Theology of Mission in the 19th And 20th Centuries.[2]  We have to have a solid theological foundation that rest on the gospel message dealing with the Great Commandment, Commission and Compassion.[3]

It is therefore helpful to explore some of the definitions that are used to define missions, since these definitions are somewhat slanted to the theological view of the authors; it is pertinent for anyone or group that is embarking on the journey of being missional to posit a working definition that will follow them throughout their journey.  One cannot define missions without defining the Kingdom of God.  As we seek to clearly articulate this meaning it will be helpful to consider these meanings as they relate to eschatology (study of end times) and the ecclesiasticalogy (study of the church).  Entrance into the Kingdom of God is clearly defined in scriptures; what is its meaning within this context of your journey?  Of a fact, the full gospel message is about is about Restoration is the focus of the new era; Gabe Lyons in his book The next Christians spoke about telling the full gospel story, God’s story: creation, fall, redemption, restoration and ultimately consummation.[4]

Church History is a hidden treasure of practical and demonstrative information relating to missions and the Church’s understanding and application of missions.  The early Church took the commission very seriously because they believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime; armed with this conviction they wanted to take the gospel message to the entire world as they knew it.  The foundation of the early Church was about advancing the Kingdom of God by spreading the gospel message.  Throughout Church history there were many who benefited from the advancement of the gospel and they were sometimes willing supporters because of other reasons apart from the gospel.  What they found were that people were converted into the Kingdom of God and living a life that was admirable and these new converts became responsible citizens, workers, neighbors, and employees.

In the first 100 years we saw the purely Jewish Christian Church developed into the majority Gentile Church.  It was the Apostles’ commitment to the Great Commission empowered by the Holy Spirit that led to the spread of Christianity during this time.  They were also obeying the Great Commandment and demonstrating Compassion but the foundation of their missional quest was the Gospel Message.  Later, The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church took up a similar thrust and once again missions were at the forefront of their endeavors.  The birth of Protestantism came from a desire to become more like the Christ of the Bible.  They originally were not actively involved in missions because of their efforts to codify their doctrines during the reformation.  On the other hand, the benefits of their sound doctrines and the codification of these doctrines was the catalyst for the future generations of Protestantism who were now adequately armed.  Their desire for missions as their focus, led to the spread of the Gospel everywhere they went.  While the effect of their actions was originally felt in the west and the subsequent colonies, it later spread throughout the rest of the world, literally.  Historically missions had at its core the gospel message; everything was done to advance the gospel.

We more forward to the Great revivals and the birth of Pentecostalism where these periods were marked by the desire to be like the Christ of the Bible and those involved in these movements participated in missions, as they perceived it with emphasis on the gospel.   There is an ongoing struggle for those who are seeking to be true to Jesus’ command to present a holistic missional approach to the gospel.  As the Church grew, some sections were more tilted towards just the commission, others were more tilted towards compassion and still others were more focused on the commandments.  However, there is a consistent theme that undergirds all of the generations throughout Church history and that is missions’ main purpose is to bring the gospel message to all those who have not yet received it.  These missionaries would travel to foreign countries and suffer great feats determined to see the natives transformed and accept the message they brought.  They were holistic in their approaches; focusing on the Great Commandment, Commission, and Compassion.  The holistic approach to missions is necessary to fulfill the call of God on our lives.


[1] For a more detail information on this subject read Henry Chadwick book, The Early Church (The Penguin History of the Church), (Revised ed. Boston: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1993), 13-20.

[2] Jan A. B Jongeneel, Philosophy, Science, and Theology of Mission in  the 19th And 20th Centuries: A Missiological Encyclopedia: The Philosophy And Science Of Mission (Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity), (2nd Rev ed. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2002), 88-93.

[3] See Ed Stetzer’s post at  http://www.edstetzer.com/2012/03/monday-is-for-missiology-credo.html for a look at some efforts to define missions.

[4] Gabe Lyons, The next Christians: the good news about the end of Christian America. New York: Doubleday Religion, 2010.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 1 of 7


Reflection of Missions

The challenge to be truly missional requires that persons consider themselves to be disciples, and begin to engage their communities in their everyday life, to be incarnate.  This has posed a challenge to the church and seeks to answer the question: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be any different from the Colonial Periods? The challenges that seem to be facing the local churches are similar to those which face the North American Churches.[1] Some of these challenges are diversity of the harvest, an increasingly large harvest, lack of harvesters, lack of focus in the Church, a dying Church and an unclear presentation of the Gospel. In the Book of Luke chapter 10 verse 2 it reads, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  This was Jesus’ view of the many souls that were not saved.  This picture is true today of the North American Church and begs the question “Has the Church lost its focus of the Great Commission?”  Many churches are declining, and even dying, while the ‘unchurched’ population is increasing.  Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson state that three denominations – Assemblies of God, Nazarene, and Southern Baptists – all reported a decline in their membership.[2]  While many churches in these denominations are growing the greater portion is declining.

We do not have to travel miles and overseas to some foreign country to locate the mission field.  Right here, literally in our backyards, the world has come to us, as Sadiri Joy Tira, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization senior associate for Diasporas, said, “The world has become borderless.”[3]   The next challenge that Jesus identified was that the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).  Many churches lack disciples or self-feeders (Christ-centered persons) that are harvesters.  According to Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson in the book entitled Come Back Churches, 70 to 80 percent (70-80%) of North American Churches are in decline and 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. churches close their doors every year.   To be truly missional requires a holistic approach that includes the Great Commandment, Great Commission and the Great Compassion, this I call “The Circle of Mission”.  It is about ministering to the total person and requires an investment into person’s lives of our time and our finance.


[1] In their book Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Geiger, Eric, and Thom S. Rainer, researched and present a clear and detail picture of the North American Church community.  The book is published by Kiev Russia: B&H Publishing Group, 2006.

[2] Mike Dodson,  and Ed Stetzer in their Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too evaluated 300 churches that were declining and undertook a process that led to their turn around.  The book is published in New York by B&H Books, 2007.

 [3] Sadiri Joy Tira, “Evangelism vs. Missions” Christianity Today, July 2010.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles: The Call of Missions, A Holistic Approach


The challenge to be truly missional requires that persons consider themselves to be disciples, and begin to engage their communities in their everyday life, to be incarnate.  This has posed a challenge to the church and seeks to answer the question: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be any different from the Colonial Periods? The challenges that seem to be facing the Yonkers churches are similar to those which face the North American Churches.[1] Some of these challenges are diversity of the harvest, an increasingly large harvest, lack of harvesters, lack of focus in the Church, a dying Church and an unclear presentation of the Gospel. In the Book of Luke chapter 10 verse 2 it reads, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  This was Jesus’ view of the many souls that were not saved.  This picture is true today of the North American Church and begs the question “Has the Church lost its focus of the Great Commission?”  Many churches are declining, and even dying, while the ‘unchurched’ population is increasing.  Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson state that three denominations – Assemblies of God, Nazarene, and Southern Baptists – all reported a decline in their membership.[2]  While many churches in these denominations are growing the greater portion is declining.

We do not have to travel miles and overseas to some foreign country to locate the mission field.  Right here, literally in our backyards, the world has come to us, as Sadiri Joy Tira, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization senior associate for Diasporas, said, “The world has become borderless.”[3]   The next challenge that Jesus identified was that the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).  Many churches lack disciples or self-feeders (Christ-centered persons) that are harvesters.  According to Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson in the book entitled Come Back Churches, 70 to 80 percent (70-80%) of North American Churches are in decline and 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. churches close their doors every year.   To be truly missional requires a holistic approach that includes the Great Commandment, Great Commission and the Great Compassion, this I call “The Circle of Mission”.  It is about ministering to the total person and requires an investment into person’s lives of our time and our finance.


[1] In their book Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Geiger, Eric, and Thom S. Rainer, researched and present a clear and detail picture of the North American Church community.  The book is published by Kiev Russia: B&H Publishing Group, 2006.

[2] Mike Dodson,  and Ed Stetzer in their Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too evaluated 300 churches that were declining and undertook a process that led to their turn around.  The book is published in New York by B&H Books, 2007.

            [3] Sadiri Joy Tira, “Evangelism vs. Missions” Christianity Today, July 2010.

Back to Basics: Walking the Talk


In Matthew 22:34-40 we had a deceptive lawyer (“scribes of the Pharisees”, Mark described him in a more favorable light) asking Jesus a fundamental question.  In his deception he could not realize the significance of his question but Jesus used the moment, as he often does, as a teaching moment.

I believe that the answer speaks to the foundation of our Christian faith.  Judeo-Christian faith is filled with significance and the symbolisms in the Old Testament (OT) that are fulfilled in the NewTestament and we are to be able to apply them in our everyday life.  You cannot have and apply the OT without the application of the NT. So, the lawyer’s question sought to question Jesus’ commitment to the fundaments of the faith as given in the commandments in the OT.

I pause to call to remembrance the fundamental mission of the Church.  We at Bethel have embraced this mission and stand now to remind ourselves of our individual responsibilities to this mission.  The core mission of the Church is, the sending of the Church with the good news of forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration and love.  This message is holistic and is rooted on Biblical doctrines working through the church. This mission is practical, contextual, it can be translated into practice it is ecclesiastical (relates to the church) and eschatological (it is about the future of the soul).  This “Missions call for obeying the Great Commandment the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the practical demonstration of the Great Compassion.”

In Matthew 28:18 to 20 we have the scripture verses, which will be our focus during this year.  It embodies the invitation of God to join Him in this wonderful plan of salvation.  Jesus reminded the disciples, and by extension every Christian, that His instructions came from and authorized source.  He was not just commanding us in isolation, no, the Father has granted Him this authority and in turn He was relaying the Fathers’ wishes.  What a wonderful opportunity, the Almighty God is inviting us to join Him in what He is doing.

What we are asked to do is to obey the great commandment (love), the great commission (go), and fulfill the great compassion (do).  In God’s agenda, are things He is doing in order to restore our broken relationship.  Every person can help to advance the Kingdom since it has no borders and it has an individual and a universal view. Christians must move onto God’s agenda if we are going to fulfill His call on our lives to join Him where He is working.  We are servants of the King, and as such, we serve at the pleasure of the King.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us to seek or pursue the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness first, and then God will provide us with everything we need.  The onus is on us to pursue the things of God’s Kingdom.  It is in this pursuit that our will begins to lineup with God’s will.

If we are going to go back to basics we have to be comfortable embracing the historical nature of our faith and be willing to apply them in our everyday life.

In response to the question asked by the lawyer, Jesus replied

Matthew 22:37 x‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: y‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 zOn these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” [1]

What Jesus was saying is that all the Law and the Prophets are left null without the key ingredient of love.  A matter of fact it was this love that wrote salvation story. Now, there is a natural sequence that is taught in these directives.  Firstly, love is the fundamental ingredient in the Kingdom of God.  In God’s prospective love canonized the whole understanding of the principles of the Kingdom, it is not just abstract love or a theological love and or a theory; it is a practical demonstration.

This love addresses two district personalities the creator and the creature.  Since the creature was created in the image of the Creator (God) then the creature has to exhibit the characteristic of the Creator.   Therefore, since the God loves then we must love.

Once we have understood and obey the principle of love we can now move to the commission of love.  In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus clearly using the authority that was fully given Him by God the Father to send out the disciples or commissioned the disciples.  While we might have a good understanding of the principle of Love if it is not practice then it is null and void.  The commission put form to the principles; it is the vocation of love.

This love will drive us to reach, teach and fellowship, not in a spirit of isolation but one that place us among the masses. Now, as we fulfill the commission we have to demonstrate compassion.  Jesus in Luke 4:18-19, made this clear.  The heart of the Christian has to embrace compassion.  It is the divine love of God that tugs on our heart to love with a compassionate spirit.  In Luke 4:18 the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.  And this reference is also reference in

Is. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Love addresses the issue of sin.  In 1 John 1 we are told in verse we cannot say we love God and we are still having fellowship with the things of the dark.  John put is this way,

1John 1:6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.

1John 1:8  ¶ If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

1John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1John 1:10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

We often start off by condemning but Jesus want us to present the whole Gospel beginning with the creation, fall, restoration (including advent, work, death, resurrection, ascension and promised return), Penalty and reward, and Culmination in the reign in heaven.


x Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 30:6

y Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; [Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8]

z [Matt. 7:12; Rom. 13:10; 1 Tim. 1:5]

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 22:37–40.