Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Shout of The Gospel!

     I came across the following video a few hours ago, and have been replaying it a few times while clearing up my room. The words of this short but powerful and riveting vignette, created by South Hills Evangelical Church (SHEC) in Missoula, Montana [1] for their Easter 2011 service are a compilation of verses from across the Old and New Testament that relate to the person of Jesus Christ and the saving power of God through His Cross.

     It stirred my heart deeply, because my mind and heart hears once again the thundering shout of the Gospel - the message of the unfathomable love, forgiveness and justice of God upon the evil of the wretched man that I am, visibly demonstrated with real power on the broken body of Jesus Christ that hung on His blood-soaked Cross. I do not compose these words out of maudlin emotion, brought on by a need to vent a superficial sentimentality. Rather, it is grounded upon solid conviction of the reality and depth of my own depraved nature, written with very real grief and sorrow in the kinship that I share with the Apostle Paul who wrote thus of his own desperate struggle:

    "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with ythe law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" - Romans 7:15-25, ESV

    Yet even as I share sorrow with the Apostle over the contemplation of my struggle against sin, I also share his joy and hope as I follow his call to turn my thoughts to the person of Jesus Christ. The call to persevere, struggle and overcome is worthwhile and meaningful because of the One who has won. It is a message with power because of Him who has the power in Himself to save us, because He has done the impossible. A passage that was quoted from in the compilation used in this video is one of the most famous prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament. It is taken from the book of Isaiah, and says:

    "...he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected2 by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and lwe esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

    Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities."
- Isaiah 53:2-11, ESV

    This is the thundering and victorious roar of the Gospel, its "Good News"- that there is hope for mankind, because God has sent redemption. And it sets my soul on fire because the burning passion of my heart is that same message that brought life to my dead spirit be shouted across the streets and rooftops of this city. I want the millions of parched souls across the GVA to hear the words of the Gospel of John, that "these things are written so that you may believe that that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31, ESV)

    May I live and breathe this message for the sake of His name and glory.

- The Wisdom Seeker