We are continuing our "gospel check" series looking at four different models to make sure we are believing, living, and sharing the fullness of the gospel! Today, we take a look at our third model, "THE RESCUE MISSION GOSPEL."
The Rescue Mission Gospel
STOPS THE STORY AT
The empty tomb
WHAT IT SAYS
“The Gospel is that Jesus came to rescue us from our sins so that we could live with Him forever.”
WHY WE MUST BELIEVE THIS GOSPEL
The empty tomb is the proof that Jesus is victorious over His (and our) enemies: sin, death, and the devil. The empty tomb is what gives us the hope necessary to work, pray, and serve in a world that mocks hope on a daily basis. The empty tomb is the promise that all the consequences of our brokenness, namely death and separation from God, have been removed forever, even as we await the complete fulfillment of that promise.
WHY WE CAN'T STOP THE STORY HERE
The Rescue Mission Gospel (which I grew up being taught, by the way) has two main weaknesses. First it can lead to a shallow understanding of exactly what God is up to in salvation. By stopping the story at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we risk creating an understanding of the gospel in which Jesus come to a broken creation, rescues some souls, then writes creation off as He and His followers now go somewhere else (Heaven) to spend eternity. We miss out on grasping just how big God's redemption project is! Second, by emphasizing Heaven as our true home (where we will go to be with God forever), the Rescue Mission gospel can lead to a lack of activity among Christians now as we risk seeing salvation as hanging around until Jesus comes back to take us away.
The easiest way to combat the risks of the Rescue Mission Gospel is to speak about Jesus' resurrection not as an isolated event, but as the beginning of the resurrection -- the first visible clue that a reclamation project beyond our wildest imaginations is currently underway. We must carry the story of the gospel past the empty tomb all the way to the second coming.
Tomorrow we will look at what I call, "THE RECONQUEST/RECREATION GOSPEL."