Friday, 16 August 2013

Where are the spiritual fathers?

"I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church." 1 Corinthians 4:14-17

Made in God's image

Man was originally made in the image of God, thus revealing the nature and character of God. Through the Fall, the revelation of the image of God in man became distorted. Christ therefore came as the revelation of the Father to restore man to his original purpose of revealing the nature and character of God. Those who are in Christ have the power to reveal the very nature of God (see Ephesians 4:24; 5:1; 2 Peter 1:3,4; 1 John 2:6).

God's image distorted

Satan's purpose is to distort the image of God. Over the ages, the enemy has sought to destroy the image of God: as Creator with the theory of evolution; as loving and just King with corrupted and perverted authoritarian leaders and as Father of all by destroying families as men abandon their responsibility as fathers.

Spiritual fathers

In Christ, Paul became a father through the gospel. In reconciling people to the Father through the gospel of righteousness in Christ, Paul not only helped new converts to be properly birthed into the Kingdom but he also took  responsibility as a spiritual father for the maturation of these "dear children" in Christ. Those who give birth to spiritual children must also continue the responsibility of being a spiritual parent in raising their children properly.


In Ephesians 3:14, Paul prays, "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives its name." 

Fatherhood derives its name (its nature and character) from God the Father. Abba Father is Father of all and He is our example of true fatherhood. God is restoring His image as Father in man as believers understand their purpose and responsibility of being God's instruments in birthing and raising spiritual children.

True fatherhood

Paul was a spiritual father who revealed the nature and character of true fatherhood.
  • Paul loved those who were converted through the gospel he preached. They were his dear children.
  • Paul spoke the truth in love to warn them and help them. He was not afraid to correct his children.
  • Paul identified himself as the church's spiritual father - he understood his responsibility toward his children.
  • Paul lived by example. He urged the church to imitate him as he imitated the Lord (1 Cor 11:1).
  • Paul raised fathers like him. He sent Timothy as his representative to remind the church of Paul's way of life and teaching that they were to imitate and obey.

Spiritual orphans

I believe every believer is called to share the gospel with the lost in order to reconcile them to the Father. However, our responsibility does not end once we have led someone to the Lord. Through the gospel we become spiritual parents whose responsibility is to help new born believers to maturity. We may not be able raise them personally but it is every believer's responsibility as a spiritual parent to ensure that the new born child of God has a spiritual parent.  It is irresponsible to abandon the new born child of God and leave him/her to fend for him/herself! They become spiritual orphans, abandoned by their spiritual parents.

Be a spiritual parent

As believers, our goal must be to reveal the Father and to reconcile people to the Father as we take up our responsibility as spiritual parents to those we lead to the Lord through the gospel. True fatherhood must be restored in the Church if we are to reveal the Father and raise believers to maturity. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

What is the fruit of your gospel?

Good news

The greek word euaggelion is translated in english translations of the Bible as the gospel or the good news. The word is used to describe the good news: of the kingdom (Mt 24:24), about Jesus Christ (Mk 1:1), of God's grace (Acts 20:24), of God (Ro 15:16), of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4), of your salvation (Eph 1:13), of peace (Acts 10:36), about the Lord (Acts 11:20), etc.

The Kingdom of God

"Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!'" Mk 1:14,15

Jesus' primary message was of the good news of the kingdom of God. For 40 days, before He ascended to heaven, Jesus taught on the kingdom (see Acts 1:3). Most of Jesus' parables were about the reality of the kingdom of God. His purpose in sharing the good news of the kingdom was that people would believe in the reality of God's kingdom and enter into it (see Jn 3:1-8).

Christ crucified

The apostle Paul's primary message was the good news of Christ's death and resurrection. He writes, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). The purpose of Paul's message was to bring people into right standing with God through continuing dependence on Christ's righteousness (1 Cor 1:30).

Eternal life

The apostle John's primary message was of the good news of eternal life in Christ. He writes, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 Jn 5:11,12).

The purpose of the gospel

Clearly, the message or the gospel has different forms but its purpose is always the same. This is very important. Unless we understand the purpose of the gospel, we will seek to lead people to believ
e a message rather than help them enter the Kingdom of God! 

Preaching the gospel is not the goal. 
Leading people to complete and ongoing dependence upon Christ and devotion to Him is. 

Aquaintance or disciple?

We are called to make disciples (Mt 28:18). A disciple is not an aquaintance of Christ. A disciple is married to Christ. Do sinners understand that we are leading them to be married to Christ when they say "I do" to Christ?

Whatever happened to unconditional commitment?

The sad truth is that the principle of unconditional commitment is leaving the gospel and consequently the church. Many preach a gospel that says, "Come to Jesus and receive everything you need. All you have to do is pray the sinner's prayer and you're in." There is a huge difference between receiving Jesus and surrendering one's life to Jesus. The first does not require any commitment, the second costs you your life. Unless people are led to commit their lives to Christ and to enter a covenant relationship with Him, they will also treat His Body, the Church, like an aquaintance rather than the Bride of Christ.

The fruit of the gospel

When I look at the book of Acts, I see a people who were cut to the heart by the Holy Spirit, who repented of their sinful, independent lives, who were baptised because they truly believed, who depended on Christ to be right with God and who devoted their lives to Christ and His bride (see Acts 2:42-47). That is and should always be the fruit of the gospel.Anything less and we're preaching an incomplete or at worst a different gospel!

The bride of Christ

Saying "I do" to Jesus is entering into a relationship with Him that ever depends on Him and is ever devoted to Him and His people. We leave our single status and enter into a covenant relationship with Him and His people. We live our lives as those who belong to Christ and belong to His Body. Paul says, we are not our own any longer. We belong to God and one another. Christian, does your life reflect that you belong to Jesus and His bride?

Jesus will return for His Bride - not an aquaintance. He will present those who depend on Him and who are devoted to Him to Himself, "as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Eph 5:27). Hallelujah!


Let us be sure to preach the true gospel in the Spirit's power to lead people to make a proper and considered decision for Christ. Let us not be hasty in getting people to pray a quick prayer (for our sake). Let us help others make a genuine, unconditional commitment to Christ that will lead them to live a life dependent on and devoted to Christ and to His people.