Jason Haskell: The power of the gospel
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. Salvation is not merely a promise to get a person to Heaven when they die, but the transformation of a person’s heart. It is not merely a future appointment in Heaven, but the present descent of the Kingdom of Heaven into the heart of man upon earth.
Because salvation changes the heart of man, and the gospel is the message and power of salvation, the spreading of the gospel is the key for the transformation of cities and nations. The answer does not lie in politics or creation of new laws. These things do not carry the power to change the heart and nature of man. The gospel does carry this power and, in fact, is intended by God to do just that.
The heart that receives the gospel is changed by its power, because it connects man with God. Through this connection, eternal life flows into the heart of man and transforms it into God’s very image and nature.
In the same way that one heart can be changed by receiving the good news, entire groups that receive are blessed and transformed, as well. So then, a city, or even a nation, that receives the gospel is lifted and transformed. Psalms 33:12 says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …” A study of history and even present culture confirms this truth and reveals that cities and nations that have received the gospel of Jesus Christ have been lifted and blessed.
This is how the United States of America became a great nation. As far as I know, our country is the only country that was ever founded upon the freedom of being able to serve Jesus Christ. I believe it is this submission to God that lifted the U.S.A. into prominence, not our political policies or even our freedom, dreams or hard work. These are good things that come about where God’s will reigns, but they are not the root cause of the blessing. The blessing of any person or people comes only from submission to God, alone. He is the source of all good and of all blessing.
Jesus called His message the gospel of the kingdom. The Kingdom of God is used interchangeably with the Kingdom of heaven in the scriptures. It is the realm or domain where God is king and where his will prevails. Just as his will is done in Heaven, Jesus told his followers to pray that God’s kingdom would come and his will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus’ first message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This surely reveals that God’s kingdom was not present on earth before Jesus came. When Jesus arose from the dead, he commissioned his followers to carry on preaching the message that the Kingdom of God is here.
When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the kingdom, he told them to heal anyone who was sick in the city and then tell them that the kingdom of God just came near to them. That is awesome! It reveals that, in the kingdom, where God’s will prevails, there is no sickness. This is confirmed by what the Scripture reveals about heaven, that there is nothing there that will harm or hurt. The message of the kingdom is that God’s will can be done in your life here upon the earth, just as it will be when you get to Heaven. This is possible, because Jesus bore our sins upon the cross. His kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. His kingdom is established in the hearts of those who believe in Jesus and who follow him.
It is this message, and the subsequent work of the Spirit of God in the hearts of those who believe it, that has power to change nations. So, if you have never believed in Jesus, his message to you is that you can have true life here and now and for eternity, as you believe in and follow him. If you are a believer already, then stand up and boldly live and proclaim this message that carries power to change nations!
Jason Haskell is senior pastor at New Creation Church.
Springs seep, burble and gush. Lakes beckon us, welcome us, provide us with both the noisy fun of liquid playgrounds and the quiet beauty of murmuring moments of solitude.