“And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord . . . and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons'” (Luke 2:22-24). Under the law, the regular sacrifice was a lamb, but there was a provision for poor mothers: “If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons” (Leviticus 12:8). This is what Mary brought. Jesus, who had all the riches of the world at his disposal, chose to be incarnate into a family that could not even afford a regular sacrifice. Let us not love riches.–Bethany Jenkins
It is true that Jesus, the owner of the whole universe, chose to be born into this world he created, into a poor manger. The most stunning thing to me is that when the time came for offerings to be made for the dedication of the baby to God, his parents Joseph and Mary were in the category of the poor as they couldn’t afford a lamb offering. I guess, in today’s terms, Jesus would have been raised in the low cost housing of New York, The God of the universe grows up in the low cost housing. Is that incarnation? Is that implication for our lives?
I pray for myself and my church and my christian friends to know the incarnation of Christ.
I have heard people preach this way: “The good news is that God is healing and will heal the world of all its hurts; therefore, the work of the gospel is to work for justice and peace in the world.” The danger in this line of thought is that the good news becomes a divine rehabilitation program for the world, rather than an accomplished substitutionary work. “Believing the good news” means joining that program, rather than receiving Christ’s finished work.
In other words, the gospel becomes primarily a salvation by practice instead of a salvation by faith. As J. I. Packer says, “The gospel does bring us solutions to these problems, but it does so by first solving…the deepest of all human problems, the problem of man’s relation with his Maker; … and unless we make it plain that the solution of these former problems depends on the settling of this latter one, we are misrepresenting the message and becoming false witnesses of God. –Tim Keller
What shocked me here is the sentence “good news (gospel) becomes a divine rehabilitation program for the world.”—That is pretty shocking and I feel guilty that to some measure we, evangelicals, charismatics, are guilty. And that’s precisely what diminished the power of the gospel or the word of God in our lives because we misrepresent the gospel. We preach a gospel that’s cheap. We want to stress the divine healing. Or we say “Come to Christ, and you will be blessed with healings, eternal life etc”. This is true, but the emphasis is not reflecting the real gospel. The true gospel is to resolve the deepest of all human problems, the problem of man’s relation with his Maker. Only then through this, we can see solution to all the problems of hurts, brokenness that we face in the world.
Very powerfully stated, we can be misrepresenting the gospel and becoming false witnesses of God.
This is December 2013, Christmas bell is ringing and 2014 is just round the corner. We are going to believe God for great harvest coming.
As we move into 2014, harvest awaits us but something has to change in our group. 2014 will be a crucial year for us and me.
Can you pray for hope New York church as we are going to start biweekly dinner cum short gospel sharing outreach meetings starting this Sunday? This is new which I learnt from my incubator course. Pretty radical .
Kick off this Christmas meal December 22. After that we will review and plan for biweekly outreach example Chinese New Year and new students intake in jan . Need a lot of prayer because we don’t have enough man power and contacts. Work is difficult and challenging.
Also starting a core team training and planning group weekly with prayers teaching and communion and offerings . Teaching rich gospel centered theology for internal transformation with grace and outreach focused and challenge . (No more Sunday or sat service, no church service until we launch with 40-50 people). Learnt that having service with less than 20 people does not retain Americans . We need to be good and ready to launch .
We are starting our weekly fast and a core group weekly brain storm and sharing and teaching cum prayer that’s closed group.
Thanks for praying and u appreciate that.
In God we trust