St Andrew

What is the Gospel?

 

The Gospel - the heart of the Christian message 

The Good news is that God delights in you and that we were ‘created’ to live in joyful, loving fellowship with the Trinity.

 

Why did God make us?

Happy spontaneous love is never selfish! We believe that the love that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have for each other is so deep and joyful that they constantly want to share it so that other can experience what have..

So they made us. We are the expression of their love, created so that we could join in and experience the joy of that love. This is at the heart of the meaning of life - we were made for fellowship and to share in the inner life of the Trinity.

 

 

Free will – a blessing and a bane!

God desire was for us to receive and to respond to him in a relationship of mutual love but this gave God a problem. He could have made us like robots and then programmed us to love him and live in harmony with him. But responses that are programmed aren’t real. For love to be real, it has to be freely chosen, and so, in order for our response to be genuine the Trinity gave us a gift which is both a blessing and a bane, they gave us the gift of choice – the gift of free will.

How did we use the gift of free will? Look at the news channels, see what happens when we exclude God and put ourselves in his place. On a day to day level we use our gift of choice to choose to love ourselves and hurt both God and others.

Even more sadly our choices have implications – not just cause and effect but something more dangerous.

 

Sin cuts us off from the source of life

When we sin we choose to separate ourselves from the source of life. That isn’t just an act of will itactuallydamages our souls. When St. Paul said that the wages of sin is death he wasn’t being melodramatic. Being cut off from the source of life damages our souls and there is no way we can repair them or scrape our way back up to God.

 

God loves us enough to rescue us

But the Trinity have never given up on us. Knowing that we could never restore things ourselves they set in motion a rescue plan of breath-taking proportions. It unfolded through the centuries of the Old Testament, it reached its middle in the things God the son did when he came in person, and it is continuing even now while you sit there and reflect.

The greatest miracle of all is that even after all the things we have done the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit still love us and want to invite us back into the love and fellowship that we were created to enjoy in the beginning.

God the Son, ‘through whom all things were made’, was the one who came in person to rescue us. As John’s Gospel reminds us he is the Word who became incarnate as Jesus so as to offer us another chance to start gain and live in fellowship with the Trinity.

 

Why did Jesus come?

  • To physically embody God’s love and concern.
  • To explain about God and to clear up all the misunderstandings and strange ideas that people had acquired.
  • To explain God’s way of seeing things and how to start living the way of heavenhere on earth.
  • To save us by not only becoming one of us but also by accepting the separation caused by our sins and by being crucified on our behalf. Only then could the source of life enter into death and from the inside destroy its stranglehold and power through the Easter resurrection.
  • To invite us home

The mission of Jesus was to clear the way for us to return home. He invites us to be rescuedand restored to the original love and fellowship we made to share in but of course the choice is ours.

 

Rescue - the Choice is yours

Jesus went through hell to rescue us. Because of his sacrificial death and resurrection we now have a choice. Just as our free will got us into this mess so we have to use our free will to choose whether or not we want to be rescued and follow Christ .. or equally to stay and live this life without him. Free will is crucial to God’s plan, so for good or ill,God accepts the choice you make.

 

What is a Christian?

A Christian is some one who chooses to say ‘Yes’ to all that Jesus has done for us and ‘Yes’ to coming back into fellowship. Living in fellowship with the Trinity and with all the other people who have accepted the invitation is a crucial part of what it means to be a Christian. We all have the same heavenly Father so all Christians are related.. we’re all ‘family.’

Jesus gives us the earthly church for strengthening, support and companionship on our journey. Some people try and wriggle out of it but being a Christian is about both believing and belonging. Whenever the New Testamenttalks about God’s people it uses words that emphasise belonging together – the vine, the flock, the household of faith, the body.

 

The Holy Spirit – the everyday companion

It’s the last member of the Trinity team, the Holy Spirit,who connects us to all that Jesus has done through his cross and resurrection. The Holy Spirit comes to continue the work begun by Jesus. He empowers us, lives in us and he prompts and guides us, he is the one who reminds us of the teaching of Jesus and the one who in his role as ‘connector’ makes the sacraments encounters and not just visual aids.

 

God hasn’t given up on you

The Gospel- the Good News is that the Trinity hasn’t given up on us. The Good news is that they went  to extremes to rescue us and invite us to come and share in the joy and delight that stands at the heart of their fellowship.

God’s invitation is to everyone irrespective of the mess they’ve made of life. It is a genuine invitation to start again – to have a new beginning or as it says in scripture – to be born a second time! All God asks is that you are genuine.

Those who say 'yes' are rescued, cleansed, forgiven and adopted into the family – the inner life of the Trinity!.

How should we respond?

We don’t have to do things to gain God’s love. When we get things wrong he still loves us and when we get things right he delights in us! In his generosity he has already given us the invitation - all we have to do is to grow into a genuine response.

 

The goal of our lives now is quite simple ...

  • To use everything God gives us to grow into oneness and fellowship with God.
  • To gather with his people and help build up the life of his church.
  • To let our lives and choices reflect our love and thanks and our desire to put him first.
  • To avoid everything that pulls us away from him and his people.
  • To work both with and alongside the Trinity as they refuse to give up on people and reach out to them with compassion and love.

 

Listen out for the ways God whispers to you.

God is constantly communicating with each one of us, directly to our hearts and souls, through the words of the bible and through the conversation of those whose hearts are open. Listen out for what God is saying to you.

It’s up to you.

We passionately believe that God not only loves you but actually longs for you. That’s why he is constantly touching the edges of your consciousness. You are being invited to come home and reconnect with the purpose behind your existence.

All we have to do is to

  • say a big 'yes' to all that Jesus has said and done
  • a big 'yes please' to all that Jesus offers
  • and a big 'yes' to living out the gospel in the real world with the rest of God's family - the church

 

An added gift

When someone genuinely does this – God the Father is so overjoyed that we are honouring his Son that he adopts us and gives us the status of being part of the family. Jesus and the Holy Spirit share their love for God the Father with us and through them we have the privilege of knowing that we can access him at any time because he is now ‘Abba- Father'.

 

A Prayer that you can use ...

Lord Jesus, you know who I am,
you know me better than I know myself.

You understand that I long to find truth,
that I long to be loved with a love that is unselfish and pure ...
and yet I hold back - because I know myself to be
a jumble of motives and moods.

Lord, you have never stopped loving me.
Forgive my mistakes and my sins,
Wash me clean
help me start again.

Thank you for loving me. 
Come to me,
and, in the security of your love,
help me recognise your prompting in my heart.

Amen