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Another Jesus...a different spirit... a different gospel
2 Corinthians 11:4
In an old Peanuts cartoon strip, on the first day of the new school year students are told to write an essay about returning to class. Lucy wrote, 'Vacations are nice, but it's good to get back to school. There's nothing more satisfying or challenging than education, and I look forward to a year of expanding knowledge.' The teacher was pleased and complimented Lucy on her essay. In the final frame of the cartoon Lucy leans over and whispers to Charlie Brown, 'After a while, you learn what sells.' The temptation to preach 'what sells' is always with us. Paul warns the Corinthian church to be on guard against anyone who preaches 'another Jesus...a different spirit...or a different gospel.'
Like Jonah, we are called to preach to people who'd rather hear something different. But running away didn't work for Jonah, and it won't work for us. 'The Lord sent out a great wind on the sea...so that the ship was about to be broken up' (Jonah 1:4 NKJV). If He has to, God will shipwreck our plans in order to get us to go where we need to go, and to say what He's called us to say. One pastor recently acknowledged that his message was attracting big crowds but not turning people into disciples, so he changed direction. The first thing God told Jonah to say when he reached Nineveh was, 'Repent.' The Gospel does two things: It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. The truth that sets us free will make us feel bad before it makes us feel good. God's goal is not our comfort; it's producing in us the character of Christ so the world will be drawn to Him.
Used with permission from UCB Word for Today. Free issues are available here for the UK and Republic of Ireland.