Summary: Our last stream or tradition that we will address is the word-centered life or the evangelical tradition. The natural balance to the compassionate life is the word-centered life. In fact, the word-centered life is also a very valuable to offsetting weakne
Streams of Living Water
Words Flowing With Life
November 14, 2004
Our last stream or tradition that we will address is the word-centered life or the evangelical tradition. If you remember from last week, one of the great weaknesses of the compassionate life is doing good things for people and doing the right thing but often forsaking the opportunity to explain why you do what you do. The natural balance to the compassionate life is the word-centered life. In fact, the word-centered life is also a very valuable to offsetting weaknesses of the spirit-filled life (that has a tendency to downplay the intellectual and rational).
We read from John 6 about how Jesus has the words of eternal life. In fact, in John 1 we are told that Jesus Himself is the eternal logos or Word. Not only does Jesus have the words to eternal life, He is the living Word. He is eternal life. He is the truth, the way, and the life.
An archaeologist digging in the Negev Desert in Israel came upon a sarcophagus containing a mummy. He called the curator of a prestigious museum.
“I’ve just discovered the 3,000-year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited archaeologist exclaimed.
The curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.”
A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?”
“Easy,” the archaeologist replied, “there was a piece of paper in his hand that read, ‘10,000 shekels on Goliath.’”
The word-centered life like all the streams of living water is extremely important to the Church of God movement. The bible, God’s Word, has a critical place in the life of God’s people and their relationship with God. So just what does having a word-centered life mean? What has this tradition given to us?
The Word-Centered Life
1. Good News.
The first thing that the word-centered life does is bring to the forefront the importance of the good news of Jesus Christ. It reminds us that while serving others and seeking justice is very important, without Jesus Christ as the focal point, we fail miserably. The word-centered life is also known as the evangelistic tradition. People who subscribe to a word-centered life are known as evangelicals. Now in our day, the meaning of this word has been twisted. It is been political connotations that while sometimes are accurate, they are far from the original meaning.
God’s people have been entrusted with a message. It is a message of good news. It is the message that Jesus Christ died for our sins so we won’t have to. It is a message that God reigns supreme and the Kingdom of God becomes real first in the hearts of His people. The Greek word evangelion means good news. So an evangelical is one who has a message of good news to tell others.
This good news has three implications for every person.
When one hears the good news of forgiveness through the blood of Christ, God calls for a response of repentance or turning from a sin-full way of living to follow the way of Christ. When that happens we are reconciled to and given a ministry of reconciliation to bring the message of the good news so that others can be reconciled to God as well as each other. This reconciliation means relationship restored in all its fullness. Our relationship to God and our relationship to each other. It means that we actively become a follower or disciple of Christ.
Believing and Disciple Are the Same Action.
This is a huge misconception. There seems to be some strange anti-biblical notion that I can believe in Jesus but I don’t have become a disciple. I don’t have to seek His will and His ways. I don’t have to seek to learn the ways of Jesus let alone practice them. This is not true. Believing means that you will become one of His followers or disciples.
This means that Jesus is your life. He doesn’t seek to be a part of your life. He asks to be your life. We sing a song called “My Life Is in You, Lord” that is a reflection of this relationship that we have with Christ. You heard the phrase, “Get a life.” There is only one life to get: Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
2. Central Place of Scripture.
Because of this good news and focus on turning from sin to follow Christ, the word-centered life places at its center, the word. Right? Make sense? The word-centered life. Scripture becomes of primary importance in learning how to follow Christ. This means that Scripture is