Friday, January 16, 2015

Are The Teachings of The Gospels For The Believers? - Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Brothers and sisters, so many are deceived. They even try to keep Jesus out of the New Testament. 


The message of many frequently 
avoided New Testament passages.
by Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Looking to Jesus now and His teachings, some have taken
the fact that when Jesus was speaking the law was still there,
being fulfilled by Him (it was fully fulfilled with His crucifixion),
and based on this they support that what Jesus said does not refer
to us but to people under the law. Thus parts of the epistles are
elevated and the gospels are downgraded as not that relevant to
us, hence creating an artificial antithesis between Jesus and the
writings of His very disciples. I believe this is wrong, for though
Jesus lived in an age when the law was valid and was still being
fulfilled by Him, He did not come to teach about the Mosaic law! What
was His mission then? Why was He sent? Let’s allow Him to give
the answer. This He does in Luke 4:43 where we read:

“But he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of
God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."

The purpose for which Jesus was sent was to preach the
good news of the Kingdom of God. He did not come to preach just
some good news, but something specific: the good news of the

Kingdom of God, the good news that the Kingdom of God is
coming! The preaching about the coming Kingdom of God, was –
as He Himself said - the very reason He was sent!

Matthew 4:17 verifies very clearly that the Kingdom of
God (or Kingdom of heaven, as it is called in Matthew) was the
start and remained the main subject of Jesus’ teaching:

Matthew 4:17
“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

And again after a few verses:

Matthew 4:23
“And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues
and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease
and every affliction among the people.”

What was Jesus preaching was not the law but the gospel
of the Kingdom of God. Then in his first recorded in Matthew
teaching, the so called sermon of the mount, we find Him opening
it as follows:

Matthew 5:2-3
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Furthermore in Luke 8:1
“Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages,
proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God”.

And Luke 9:59-60
"To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first
go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead
to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom
of God."

The phrases “kingdom of God” and its synonym
“kingdom of heaven” occur in total 84 times in the gospels. The
Kingdom of God was the main subject of the teaching of the
Master. So guess what: what He mainly spoke about and which is
recorded in the gospels is about the kingdom of God – Jesus’ main subject
and mission - and not about the law, though of course since the law
had not yet been fulfilled but was being fulfilled, you can see
things here and there referring to the law. But in no way can
somebody classify the message of Jesus as referring only to the
Jews living under the law. In contrast, the message of Jesus was
about the good news of the Kingdom of God and how to enter
into it. Is not this, the entering into the Kingdom of God, the main
goal for me and you? If yes, let us pay attention to what the
specialist on the matter, the King Himself says about it, instead of
making the grave error of essentially putting Him aside as not
relevant to us.

Moving on, let us look at what Jesus was speaking about
with His disciples after He was raised from the dead and until His
ascension. In Acts 1:3 we find a summary of it:

“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many
proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the
kingdom of God.”

The Kingdom of God was not something that Jesus was
teaching only before His crucifixion or just a topic among many
others. In contrast it was chief topic, the chief topic I would say, of
His ministry. He was preaching about it before the crucifixion and
continued to speak about it after the resurrection too, all the way
up to the time of his ascension. Now what did the disciples do
after the ascension? Was there a change of policy? Again the book
of Acts gives us the answer:

Philip, preached the Kingdom of God (Acts 8:12):

“But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the
kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized,
both men and women.”

Paul and Barnabas, preached about the Kingdom of God
and how to enter it, which apparently is “through many

Acts 14: 21-22
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made
many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to
Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them
to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we
must enter the kingdom of God.”

Paul again, this time in Ephesus:
Acts 19:8
“And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke
boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.”

Paul, now in Rome, in arrest:
Acts 28:23
“When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his
lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he
expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to
convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from
the Prophets.”

And the book of Acts closes as follows, referring to this great

Acts 28:30-31
"He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and
welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and
teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and

without hindrance."

To summarize: the Kingdom of God was the purpose that
Jesus was sent. He preached about it all the time, all the way up to
His ascension. Then the apostles took over and did the same. Paul
preached about the Kingdom of God proclaiming it all the way till
the end of his life. The same did Philip and I am sure all the others
too. We see therefore that the message did not vary: both Jesus
and His apostles were preaching about the Kingdom of God. It is
a grave error to downgrade the gospels as supposedly being part
of the law, because though the law was still being fulfilled, what
the gospels mainly describe, what their main theme is, is the
Kingdom of God and not the law.

The gospels therefore have much more to do with the new
era we are living in than with the old era of the law. This is
especially so for the parts we read previously in chapter 3 of this
study, which were in fact addressed to His disciples and were
given – most of them - just hours before His arrest. To the
question then: are these passages for us, the answer is short and
simple: yes, they are. If we are disciples of Christ, people who
want to enter into the Kingdom of God, what both the Master and
His apostles say is relevant to us and they do not contradict each
other. How could they, anyway? Here is what the Lord
commanded His disciples just before His ascension:

Matthew 28:18-20
“And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and
on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have
commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of
the age."

The Lord commanded the apostles to make disciples and
teach them to observe “all that I have commanded you”. “I have
commanded you” is in the past tense. Therefore it was not new
revelation He was speaking about here, but commandments and
teachings that He had already given to them and there is only one
place where these already given teachings and commandments of
the Lord are recorded: the gospels.

So, are the gospels, the sayings of Christ, and in particular
His sayings to His disciples, relevant to the Christian of today?
Absolutely! Let us make no mistake about it.

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