The following blog is a compilation of notes taken during our annual Upper School Retreat. Our 2018 speaker was Jason Jimenez of Summit Ministries. Jason’s presentation during our two-day retreat focused on The Gospel, its power, and how we can live out the Gospel in our daily lives. Living the Gospel is our theme for the 2018-2019 school year.
We are surrounded by ideas. Everywhere we look, we can see ideas and we are easily inspired with new ideas. But, ideas don’t come to us fully formed. They penetrate our minds, and often, we don’t even realize they are there—until we start to see their “symptoms”.
Ideas can multiply quickly in our minds. So quickly, in fact, that we often don’t sort the bad ideas from the good ideas soon enough. How many times do we find ourselves in a circumstance realizing too late that we could have or should have made a different choice?
So, how do we sort the bad ideas from the good ones, especially when we don’t always realize that the idea we have just internalized may be misleading? As Christians, it is important for us to grasp the ideas that rule the world that we live in and find answers to the “big questions” that plague each and every one of us.
When we hold ideas up to biblical truth, we can stop being confused and tricked by the bad ones. When we hold ideas up to biblical truth, we can find answers to our big questions. Then, we can relate confidently to others without judgment, and we can learn how to truly make a difference.
There are 5 prominent worldviews in our culture today: Christianity, Islam, Marxism/Socialism, New Spirituality, and Postmodernism. In our daily lives, we hear ideas from each of these worldviews that sound very good, but in reality, lead us down paths that are not congruent with God’s Word.
These influences and ideas may be complicated, but as we study them, patterns emerge making it possible to unlock reality and understand the times. We can stand strong (Ephesians 6:11) as we hold the ideas we hear up to the light of God’s Word (John 8:12). As Romans 12:2 says, we will be deceived if we do not take the time to renew our minds and test what we see and hear. When we are able to see the patterns in the worldviews, and we do not conform, we are transformed!
A recent study that Summit Ministries undertook with the Barna Group found that:
- 54% of practicing Christians—those who attend church at least monthly and consider their faith very important in their life—have non-biblical perspectives that come from postmodernism
- and 29% take some key beliefs from secularism.
This Barna study has shown that only 17% of practicing Christians have a Christian worldview on the key questions that were surveyed. This new research found many non-biblical ideas infecting Christianity.
Ideas from Postmodernism:
- 23% strongly agree that “What is morally right and wrong depends on what an individual believes”
- 19% strongly agree that “No one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life”
Ideas from Secularism:
- 20% strongly agree that “Meaning and purpose comes from working hard to earn as much as possible so you can make the most of life”
- 13% strongly agree that “A person’s life is only valuable if society sees it as valuable”
In addition to these two worldviews, the study also found that among practicing Christians,
- 61% agree with ideas rooted in new spirituality
- 38% agree with ideas rooted in Islam
- and 36% agree with ideas rooted in Marxism.
Additionally, 29% of Christians believe ideas that are based in Secularism.
Biblical truth is our key to unlocking reality. Just as we need water to rehydrate our bodies, we need to replenish our souls. How do we do this? We ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and we read His Word daily.
So, what are some of the “big questions” that we struggle with? Here are a few:
What is my purpose?
Why do I (and/or others) suffer?
Why is there so much division?
Is there any hope?
If we don’t know the truth of the Gospel, how do we answer these questions? If we don’t grasp the fullness of the Gospel, how can we stand firm?
What is the Gospel?
1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us that the angels can’t get enough of the Gospel! Our Resurrected Christ is a glimpse of what we will have and experience one day! Our bodies will rise to be reunited with our Savior, without sin! What an incredible thought!
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul puts forth the essential pieces of the Gospel and beseeches us to stand on them.
Those essential pieces are:
- that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures
- that he was buried
- that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
- and that his resurrection was witnessed (he appeared to Cephas, the twelve, then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and finally, to Paul)
When we compare Christianity to other religions, one truth shines through—that no other religion has a Savior. John 17:3 states “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Romans 4:24-25 tells us that we are delivered from death because of Jesus AND we are declared righteous before God.
The Gospel is Constantly Present in Our Lives
With this definition of the Gospel (that Jesus died, was buried, rose, and was seen), we understand that:
- The Trinity is prominent in our lives (Ephesians 1:3-15)
- The Person of the Gospel is Jesus Christ (Luke 2:10-11, Mark 1:1, Mark 1:14, Mark 8:13, Matthew 4:23). Jesus is the messenger, the author of the message, and the subject of the message.
- God will establish His eternal Kingdom and in doing so, He will redeem His entire creation, us included (Romans 8:19-23). Jesus will overthrow all satanic opposition and oppression, too. (Romans 16:20)
- Jesus is the only way to salvation. Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death”. There is nothing we can do of our own power to save ourselves from death. God desires to offer us the free gift of eternal life, and the way that He bridges the gap between our sin and His holiness is through Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the penalty of our sin once and for all so we can stand before God holy and blameless.
- The Gospel is not a message or an idea, it is a way of life. We are to live in such a way that is worthy of the Gospel. By refusing to conform to the world by living holy, productive, and spirit-filled lives, our conduct will reflect Christ. (Romans 12:2)
- We are to be aware of God’s holiness while at the same time being aware of our flesh and sinful nature.
The Gospel Life
The closer we draw to God’s holiness, the further we will be from sin. 1 Peter 4:1 says “arm yourselves with the same way of thinking” as Christ. We are to have the same attitude that Jesus had while here on earth. When we live as Jesus lived, we will be inclined to focus on others before ourselves. Essentially, the outlook (worldview) that we have on life will determine the outcome of our lives.
Peter goes on to say in 1 Peter 4:2 that the Gospel makes us “dead unto sin and alive in Christ.” We are free from sin! As believers, our natural response should be that:
- We know that we are dead to sin (Romans 6:2,6,9)
- We reckon (believe) this to be a fact (Romans 6:11)
- So, we yield to God’s righteous commands (Romans 6:12-23)
Knowing we are loved by God produces a desire and willingness in us to obey. Therefore, we become witnesses of Christ because our security is in Christ which prompts us to serve others like Christ. (1 Peter 4:4-10)
Sin is like an explosion that happened many years ago but that we still feel the effects of. Consequently, there continues to be a blindness to the Gospel and the freedom in Christ Jesus that is offered in it.
II Corinthians 4:3-6 tells us that the Gospel is hidden from those that do not believe. In other words, the Gospel is present, but their eyes cannot see it. The “little g” god of this age, Satan, has blinded the thinking of these individuals to the Gospel. We are called to pray for and proclaim Jesus to these individuals. But, in our influence of them, we must be wary of our thinking so not to lead them into sin. This is why it is imperative that we hold every idea that is presented to us up to the Word of God.
Blinded minds may try to “knock us down”. If we are not on a firm foundation, we are easily led astray. If we do not hold the ideas we are given up to the Word of God, it can lead to our own self-destruction.
I Corinthians 15:58 beseeches us with:
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Unveiling Patterns in Ideas
In light of the Gospel, we can see patterns emerge from the ideas we have and from the ideas we hear. In the battle of ideas, understanding these patterns is the key to success. As we study the ideas we are exposed to, while the ideas may be complicated and complex, we can both unlock reality and understand the times through the patterns we see. John 8:12 says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” So, how do we uncover these patterns? When we hold our ideas up to the Word (Jesus), we bring light to the situation.
Just as in a game of chess the players watch their opponent’s moves to uncover the patterns in their movements in effort to win the game, so can we watch the patterns of our enemy so that we are not deceived, just as Romans 12:2 commands us. Unveiling these patterns ensures that we are not conformed to the world, rather we are transformed by the Lord.
While it may seem trivial to hold every idea up to God’s Word, we are told that it is not in vain that we make this effort to live out the Gospel daily, for truth changes everything.
At Dayspring Christian Academy, we are committed to raising up the next generation of Christian leaders who acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life, demonstrate a biblical worldview, become citizens of excellence in Christian character and scholarship, and aid in the restoration of America’s biblical foundation. If you would like to learn more about Dayspring Christian Academy, please contact Karol Hasting at 717-285-2000 or schedule a private tour using the button below.