Thursday, September 27, 2007
Necessary, but not Sufficient
Here's the class material from Wed September 26:
People are always looking for a single answer to complicated problems, but here’s a principle I want us to think about: “Necessary, but not Sufficient” So let’s look at some examples of what I mean. We’ll start easy and get harder with each one. Is oxygen necessary for life? Is it sufficient/enough? Obviously not. What about clinical depression – is a church environment necessary for happiness if you are a Christian? Yes, but it’s not sufficient? You need medication as well. Is love necessary for fulfillment in a marriage? Obviously, but there has to be more, so it’s not sufficient. Is scripture necessary to guide us and provide answers? Is it sufficient? I would say no. We deal with many issues that scripture does not address. Is a relationship with God necessary for peace and happiness? Is it sufficient? Most people want to say yes, but if all mankind needed was God, then Eve would not have been created as a helper for Adam. Clearly, God wasn’t enough for Adam! Is baptism necessary for salvation? Yes. But is it sufficient? No! Without faith, confession, repentance, and discipleship, you’re just wet, not saved!
So, concerning salvation, the church has typically “sold” salvation as a promise of heaven when you die – an escape mechanism from this world. The problem is that not once, in the gospels, does Jesus ever define salvation this way! Read these examples from Luke. Look at how Jesus uses the word “saved.” Luke 7:36-50; 8:40-48; 19:1-10. Salvation in the gospel is more than the promise of heaven when you die. It is not an escape from this world – it is peace, joy, healing, restoration of relationships, a new standing in the community! So what does salvation look like in our world/ culture? A divorced woman with 2 kids? A person in abject poverty? Someone dying of Aids in Africa? A busy couple in the metroplex who work 60 hrs a week? Someone abused as a child?