Transcription of “The Goal of the Gospel: A Life And Ministry That Pleases God’s Heart”
From May, 2009
For this study we already have a title so I hope the Lord gives the rest of it too and it is, “The Goal of the Gospel: A Life and Ministry That Pleases God’s Heart.” We’re going to talk about what the Lord considers what the goal of the Gospel is. I’m sure we have all heard a lot of opinions in our lives from many people about what it is about but I want to see and hope that God gives us light to see what He considers the gospel to be about and a ministry that truly pleases his heart.
Some of you may know and some of you may not, there’s only one time in Jesus’ entire ministry that he says wherever the gospel is preached this must be also preached.
“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”Mark 14:3-9
So you see that is the scripture I am talking about and it is also in Matthew.
Wherever the Gospel is preached this account will be told with it.
Now the question is what does that exactly mean?
We all want to be faithful to preach the gospel but does that mean that we as part of preaching the gospel need to tell this story.
To be perfectly honest for a little time in my life I said, “I guess it does. Maybe we could help telling the story a little more to people.”
But then I was convicted and said, “We do have accounts of them preaching the Gospel in Acts and God blessing it and they did not share this story. And he said wherever the gospel is preached this story will also be told. But I think what he’s saying is that what happened here has to be a part of the Gospel presentation, not necessarily the exact story, but the substance of what you see here will be told wherever the gospel is preached.”
So let’s talk about what the substance of the story is. The woman comes and what does she have? She has costly oil, 300 denarii about a year’s wages, so very expensive oil. And remember, Jesus said, “This is the gospel message, wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached.”
So she has all this oil and the disciples want her to do what with it? To sell it and give it to the poor. She could have helped all those people, that has got to be the goal of the gospel. Isn’t that the goal of the gospel to help people? But Jesus actually says, No, and remember wherever the gospel is preached this will be a part of it.
Why does Jesus say No? The poor you’ll always have with you but you won’t always have me. So he says, “Go forward with it.“
This was the costliest thing she had. She poured it on his head, but Jesus says the oil goes somewhere else. In John 12 it shows that the oil is poured out on the feet. Where does Jesus say she has prepared? He says his body and then in John 12 it seems to assume that in Matthew, Mark, Luke; he shows the added details.
So she pours all of the oil on him, and again he says wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached.
The gospel is about Jesus, not about people. And I think we have perverted it and sometimes think it’s all about us. Now believe me, people will be blessed and hear me out, you know that Jesus has a heart for people so it doesn’t say God disregards people.
But the gospel is first and foremost about Jesus and pouring it all out on him. She pours all of the oil on the head of Jesus. She pours ALL of it. How in the world did it get to the body? It heaped up and flowed down to the body. I don’t know enough about anointing with oil and the Alabaster flask and such, but if she tried to put it directly on his body would it have been successful? Probably not.
Now that really happened to Jesus’ head and body but I think perhaps there is another detail to be emphasized here, who is the head of the Church? Christ, the body. I do believe this is a principle that God is showing us that when we pour it all out on the Him it overflows and the body will be ministered too.
This principle works out quite frequently with the Gospel. But I do think this is the only time you’ll ever see Jesus say that wherever the Gospel is preached this will be preached also. His emphasis is that the Gospel is all about him.
Another example is Matthew 22:34:
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And a lot of people talk about this that there are two commandments: love God and love people.
However, I think that it is taught to love God with 51% of your heart and people with the other 49%.
The general sense I get is that you only have so much heart so you do this and this. But how much of your heart do you give to God? Your soul? Your mind? So tell me this do you have an infinite eternal heart? No. So how much of your heart do you have for people? None. You’ve poured it all out on the Lord, so how do you get a heart for people? The Lord gives a supernatural heart for people. But the first part, our first responsibility is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
He is the goal and then people come and the emphasis is here.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life,”John 5:24
So how do you pass from death into life? From hearing and believing.
There’s only two times where that expression is used in the entire bible. This tells you that in order to pass from death into life you must believe the message.
The other time it is mentioned it tells the evidence in believing in the message.
Go to 1 John 3: 14:
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”
What is the evidence that you have received the Lord? There is a supernatural love. If you do not have a supernatural love for your brothers and sisters in Christ, I would be extremely concerned.
1 John 5:2:
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands,”
This is also a great example to add. Loving God and carrying out his commandments.
My emphasis here is this, that we should expect a supernatural love for the brethren, and if we don’t have that then we should be very concerned that we may not have the life of the Lord within us, because he gives us the love for others.
The goal of the gospel is that it is all for Jesus and that we please his heart. What does supernatural love look like compared to regular love?
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy,”Matthew 5:43
What he shows is that there are two kinds of love.
There is a conditional love and there is an unconditional love.
The conditional love, everyone knows how to do, but who knows how to show unconditional love?
In fact, when I was in China, I shared this with a non-Christian. He asked me,” Why do I need your religion? I can love people.”
I shared this with them and he said that is impossible to love that way. And I said, “Amen, it is impossible, were on the same page. It is impossible for a man to love that way but God will give you a love that is unconditional.”
I think that is the kind of love that God gives. That God provides an unconditional love for your brethren. It’s like a parent. I can’t speak from experience but I’m sure many of you can speak on that, that yeah you might disagree with things your kid is doing but you will love them no matter what they do.
There is an unconditional love involved there.
There is a love that happens when only you come to the Lord and his life is within you. The first part is giving 100% of your heart to the Lord and he uses it to give to others.
Jesus said that there’s all this company here, how are we supposed to get all this food for them? What are they among so many? 5 loafs and 2 fish? How many can they feed? Not many. Could it feed the thousands? No.
He was able to feed everyone. It all went into the Lord’s hands, and only when it was all in his hands he distributed it out to the thousands, it’s like when the oil was poured out on the head it went to the rest of the body.
In both cases there was a breaking, as a side note. There was a breaking of the flask and of the bread. But we see the pattern again that it’s all meant to go to the Lord, people are going to be way more ministered to, if you try to go straight to the people.
The problem I see today is that so many people say that if were really do the gospel, we have to help people. How do we minister to people? How do we please people?
That is the number question I hear and that is the wrong question to ask. We need to ask how do we minister to the Lord. How do we see if the Lord’s heart is pleased? If that is answered the people part is easy, because his heart is way bigger for people than yours.
If you are a 100% in his hands you watch how fast he will be able to distribute you to the people. That is not the problem; the problem is giving 100% of yourself to the Lord.
Another example of this is in Luke 17: 1-increase our faith.
Even seven times in a day, if they come with repentance, forgive. Now, some people say, see Jesus says we don’t have to forgive unless they do this, this and this, I don’t think that’s at the heart of what he is saying. The Lord forgave me way before I repented. I think he’s saying if there’s a transaction, a reconciliation that all of a sudden there’s repentance, even seven times in a day. He is going to come to you if you keep coming back.
Increase our faith!
So how does Jesus respond to this.
“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?”Luke 17:7
As long as you have some faith he will work in power.
“Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty”.Luke 17:8-9
What we really need is obedience. Who are we to say that we are not going to obey the Lord? He talks about servants, plowing or tending to the sheep. The order is so important. He is talking about his servant. This is a natural question to ask, “What do you want?” Is my master pleased? Then you can eat and drink. A ministry that pleases God, a true service to God, does not come first to God and say how can I be pleased? No, instead they say how can I please you? Have you been satisfied?
The problem we’re asking most of the time is are the people satisfied? That is the wrong question; we should be asking is God’s heart satisfied.
Afterwards, there is a satisfaction that comes with that. Afterwards he says you will eat and drink. The problem is the order that comes with that.
Someone said it this way; they talked about how humanism has crept into how the gospel is preached. Humanism is people centered; the end of all things is the happiness of people. We talk about the gospel as if God is of means to people’s happiness. Is that not how we preach it? That we go and whether it’s the social justice part or even the eternal part of it, both sides we say, “Man, if you know God you will be in heaven forever.”
Is that true? Yes, it’s true but emphasizes that God can be of means to your happiness forever. We have made God a means to our happiness.
So many times we have seen the gospel is preached, and that is unholy, it is really unholy.
Like we saw at the beginning there is one place that where the gospel is preached this will be preached as well, that whole story was about serving him first and foremost that it would be all poured out on him. Instead of saying God being a means to our happiness, it should be that we are a means to God’s glory.
It is a switch of Lordships.
That some people treat God like he is our servant and we are the master. The way we pray the way we act. Instead of him being the master and us the servants. We are all guilty of this time-to-time.
We say, “I don’t understand, I’ve prayed for this and it didn’t happen, man I don’t know about this Christianity thing.”
That is not Christianity. The question is first and foremost what did God want. The point of the gospel is that he has been satisfied.
Another view on this is in Song of Song, staring with 4: 12:
“You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.”
I do think that Song of Songs is a love story about a bride betrothed to a King.
I think there are principles in here and there’s an eternal story going on, about the bride of Christ and Christ our King and the romance between the two.
I think we can see principles when we see the bride talking to the husband and the husband talking bride. There was a change where it went from her garden to his garden.
She understood, that there are all these wonderful things in my garden, fruits, and etc. If you think about it in a spiritual application, think of the fruit of the spirit.
And he says look at how beautiful and wonderful my bride is, you have all these things. And we should say, “Amen.”
The Lord has given us gifts and how much more he wants to give us. Who does this ultimately belong to? It’s his; he makes us beautiful and gives us all these things so that we can pour it out on him.
“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk,”Song of Songs 5:1
How many ‘my’s’ were there? So whom did it belong to ultimately? The husband.
It was the husband’s stuff! All of the beauty and wonder all belonged to him.
She prayed, “May it come to you, may it be given to you, come into it.”
Song of Songs 5 goes on, saying, “eat both friends and drink”. Isn’t the principle the same?
Once He is satisfied then his friends are able to be? The first order is always that the Lord be satisfied. That his heart would be pleased. The goal of the gospel, is his heart well pleased? And then when we’ve seen that, then I have no doubt that at the heart of God is us, he loves people, he will help people.
If we’re truly pleasing God then social things will happen, healing will happen, and all that stuff, because that is at his heart. But our first question must be, “Is the Lord ministered to?”
There was a place recently in Holland that was conducting a survey, and I think it’s a great ministry that they had there, but this is the question they asked me, “What do you think we can do to best minister to the community that we have here?”
My answer was, you have the wrong question. You are not going to find what you want if you ask that question. The question should be how can we minister to the Lord.
That wasn’t just that church but at many churches. And again that is at the heart of God. Wherever the gospel is preached this will be preached also, about giving it all to me, that is what is at the heart of the gospel.
One more thing, in Genesis 24:1-4 you have Abraham getting a bride for his son Isaac. Is it a historical story? Yes. But there are also principles within it. Abraham, the father, Isaac, his son, and his servant. I do think that this is a principle of how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together. What job is he giving the servant to do? To go and find a bride for my son, and get her ready. And he even gives specific charge to the servant.
What is the specific thing? From his family, part of the family on the fathers side. He goes on, he finds the bride, and “Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master,” Genesis 24:10.
The servant did not come empty handed; he had gifts in his hands. If the servant came with 10 camels and gave 9 away, there are also 9 gifts of the spirit, 9 fruit of the spirit. He has all these gifts to give and he has favor. And then,
“Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful,”Genesis 24:15-20
He said, “God show me the wife that I am looking for that she would do these things.”
What was the first thing she had to do? Serve him. That was the first thing he was looking for in a bride. That she would take the water that she drew out of that well, and pour it back to him. And serve him with that water. Genesis 24:22-52.
The servant adorns the bride with these beautiful gifts. That she would be beautiful for her husband. She was brought back for him, and there’s a meeting all together. The whole adornment of this was not for her but for one person, the husband.
That’s what the Lord does for us, He is willing to give all these wonderful things, the gifts of the spirit, the fruit of the spirit, and everything you have is a gift from God, guess why He is giving you these things? So that God can be satisfied. That is the heart of the Gospel, that is the thing that we should all be asking the Lord with our ministry.
If you have all those crowds of people, I don’t care, if you know the Lord has not been satisfied, then you have to stop and change, because the goal of the gospel is not to please or help people. Hear me right, the people will be helped but the goal is to bless and satisfy God’s heart and that he would be ministered to and served to. And you watch how many people will be blessed and ministered to.