Peace and grace: the greeting that can deliver (Ephesians 6:23-24)

More than a wish; this good news heals the world.

Ephesians closes with two brief blessings that pull together the main themes of the letter. Peace and grace were common greetings in both the Jewish and Asian communities, but these words are much more than well-wishes. The good news in this letter is the divine grace that brings peace to the world. Continue reading “Peace and grace: the greeting that can deliver (Ephesians 6:23-24)”

Christ and the rulers of this world

How does seeking God’s kingdom affect the way we relate to existing rulers?

Some of my conservative friends worry about me. They fear that seeking the kingdom will make me a “leftie,” advocating for social change. They remind me Australia is a great place to live, with a Christian prime minister, who’s doing a good job with the Covid-19 lockdown. Surely, we all need to pray for him and support him as God’s man?

I’ve disappointed my radical friends too. I’m seeking the kingdom, but they don’t see me pushing for social change. They fear if we don’t call out the systemic injustice, nothing will change. They remind me how inhumanely Scott Morrison treated people seeking asylum when he was immigration minister. Surely, we must disrupt the way things are if we are to have a better society, a kingdom of God? Continue reading “Christ and the rulers of this world”

The apostles’ gospel explained

In our previous post (the apostles’ gospel), we surveyed 16 samples of the gospel in Acts. What phrases did you find recurring?

The heart of the apostolic gospel is a person: Jesus. They used these phrases to say Jesus is good news:

  • Jesus is the Christ (Messiah)
  • Jesus is Lord
  • Jesus is resurrected
  • Kingdom of God

Are those the phrases you would use to explain the gospel to someone? How are these four things the gospel?

Let’s enrich our understanding of the gospel by unpacking what the apostles said. It turns out to be the same gospel Jesus announced.

Continue reading “The apostles’ gospel explained”

The apostles’ gospel (Acts)

A quick survey of the good news announced by the apostles in Acts.

Here’s an interactive study for you or your small group. We scan the Acts of the Apostles, asking “What was the gospel they proclaimed?”

Below are 16 texts that summarize their message. Print the list (or use a notes app) to jot down the key phrase in each one. We’re not asking how they asked people to respond; just the content of the good news the apostles proclaimed. Continue reading “The apostles’ gospel (Acts)”

Why didn’t God kill the devil instead of his Son?

Interesting question.

Recently I was asked this in a text message:
Q: Why did God sacrifice his only Son to save us instead of killing Satan directly?

Love this question! It accumulates so many misunderstandings of the gospel. Truth is, God’s goal wasn’t to kill Satan. God didn’t need a blood sacrifice before he would save us. And God didn’t kill his Son. Continue reading “Why didn’t God kill the devil instead of his Son?”

Jesus as Saviour

What do we mean when we call Jesus “Saviour”?

Would you describe Jesus as your personal Saviour? That’s good, but that’s only a tiny fraction of what the Bible means when it calls Jesus Saviour.

Let’s try a story. What’s your favourite spy movie? You know those ones where our agents have been incarcerated in a foreign land and condemned to death. With meticulous planning, satellite intelligence, and drone support, we send in the commandos to bring them home. Commandos are the “saviours” in our culture.

The gospel is that kind of story, with more intrigue and less gunfire.

Continue reading “Jesus as Saviour”