Thursday, June 15, 2017

Matthew 9:35-10:8 A Spiritual and Supernatural Gospel

KEY TEXT: Matthew 9:35-10:1 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 

KEY THOT: Unlike the rationalistic Gospel that has been the legacy of Westernised Christianity, Jesus' Gospel contains both rational and non-rational elements. Rationalism has reduced Christianity into a powerless religion vis-a-vis other Eastern religions. But Jesus' Gospel in unlike the rationalistic religion preached in the West. Jesus' Gospel is the invasion of God's spiritual and supernatural Kingdom into Satan's kingdom on earth. Earth, not heaven, is the sphere where the Kingdom of God is proclaimed and manifested. 

When the Kingdom of God meets the kingdom of darkness that is occupying the earth, an inevitable conflict takes place. Darkness and demons will have to vacate when the kingdom of Christ is proclaimed. That is why, Jesus not only proclaimed the Gospel; He also demonstrated its arrival by "healing every disease and every affliction" (Mt. 9:35). And He gave his twelve disciples the same instruction to proclaim the arrival of the Kingdom of God and to have authority "over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction" (Mt 10:1). 

Unfortunately, there are still pastors trained in Western-styled seminaries that reject the supernatural dimension of the Gospel. They have bought into the rationalistic religion taught in many such seminaries. This rationalistic religion has very little similarity with the biblical Gospel Jesus came to proclaim. The rationalistic Christian worldview is undergirded by faith-assumptions that are unbiblical and humanistic. They are sceptical of supernatural encounters and divine interventions in the daily life of the church. They reject whatever reason cannot accept. 

Sometime I come across churches whose pastors have removed the Holy Spirit weekend and the Healing session from their Alpha course. What this tells me is that these pastors have bought into a rationalistic religion that is unlike the Gospel that Jesus preached. Thankfully, as more churches adopt Alpha in its entirety (rather than adapting it to fit their rationalistic worldview), we see more churches proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel is proclaimed as the arrival of God's spiritual and supernatural kingdom in our midst to set people in darkness free from their spiritual bondage to sin, sicknesses and spirits. 

Jesus has given the Church a Gospel of the Kingdom that incorporates the supernatural. We should not reduce it into into a humanistic religion that is devoid of spiritual power. Jesus has said, "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Mt 12:28). The Good News is not just that the Kingdom is coming, but that the kingdom "has come upon you". When did the kingdom come? It came on the Day of Pentecost about some 2,000 years ago when the Holy Spirit descended in power of signs and wonders (Acts 2). Even now we pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10). Unless a church denies it has the Holy Spirit, then it has no choice but to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has come among us--and start demonstrating its presence by expecting supernatural signs as normal Christianity in their church life and ministry. 

Abba-Father, we repent of our unbelief. Deliver us from our bondage to rationalistic worldview foisted upon us by the devil through the rationalistic theology learned in seminaries. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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