A number of my colleagues recommended I read What is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ?*, delivered by David Suryk at the 2016 Midwest Faculty Conference (Cedar Campus, 6/19/2016). When I had opportunity to connect with David at this summer’s Midwest Faculty Conference, I asked him not only for a copy of What is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ?, but also the permission to share the sermon with the Emerging Scholars Network via a series on the blog (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). “Thank-you!” to David for the series and Hannah for editing. As this post wraps up the series, take time to read the whole series. To God be the glory! ~ Tom Grosh IV, Associate Director, Emerging Scholars Network
CONCLUSION—OUR BEST IS NEEDED
There we have it—the Good News of Jesus Christ that is the power of salvation for all who believe, to the Jew first and to the Gentiles—not some “gospel of sin management,” but the royal and indeed cosmic announcement that Jesus Christ is Lord with the summons to believe and to begin reordering our lives accordingly. And, as Paul said in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (If you really want a plan of salvation, then there it is!) And saving belief always leads to the obedience of faith, to the good works or good deeds that Paul mentioned many times in his letter to Titus.
Christians at the University—and not least Christian faculty members and graduate students—need a much more robust understanding of Jesus and the Gospel. A PhD biophysics student in a Graduate Christian Fellowship recently told me that he had just finished reading N.T. Wright’s 741-page book titled, Jesus and the Victory of God (Fortress, 1997). I said, “And what did you think?” He paused and said, “Jesus is so much more impressive that I ever thought.” I said, “That’s the right answer.”
It just won’t do to have some simplistic gospel of sin management masquerading as the biblical Gospel if we seriously seek to help non-believing men and women at the University and in the Academy become followers of the Lord Jesus for a lifetime of discipleship.
I end by sharing what I think is a very useful definition of Evangelism. Evangelism is that set of activities that aims to help non-followers of the Lord Jesus Christ become his followers for the first time and for lifelong discipleship. Therefore, one very important reason why we do evangelism among faculty members is so that they can begin to integrate their faith, learning and practice, for that is one key part of what it means to follow Christ in their academic disciplines. Christ calls his Church to make disciples of all nations—including those at the University and in the Academy. And that is what we are committed to in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries. Amen.
Texts for your prayerful consideration as you engage this series: Matthew 10:1-15; Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 15:7-13; and Philippians 2:5-11.
*Material in [ ] were omitted during preaching. Note: The picture was taken during a time of reflection about next steps in ministry at the 2017 Midwest Faculty Ministry Conference / Cedar Campus.
About the author:
David Suryk has served InterVarsity with Graduate and Faculty Ministries (GFM) since 1991 at the University of Illinois at Urbana where he also did his graduate work in philosophy. He says he’s a recovering analytic philosopher. He seeks to help GFM be faithful to our calling to the University among graduate students and faculty and especially in the area of the Gospel, Jesus and evangelism. He enjoys woodworking and home remodeling as well as using graduate students to help with these projects.
Interesting thoughts on the subject of evangelism, especially when you consider how people think of the term and its implications. My own thoughts (with help from Tony Campolo) are at https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/a-definition-of-evangelism/
David Suryk says
One comment in terms of correction. The Romans reading for that morning was Romans 15:7-13.
Tom Grosh IV says
Thank-you David! I have made the correction on all of the posts.
Charles McKinney says
Great education on the gospel.
Mike Allen says
David, thank you for sharing on the gospel. Jesus is King. The good news-gospel according to Jesus is the return of the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. Adam lost the Kingdom & dominion in the fall. Since the fall mankind has rejected God as the true King and we have tried to inject our own form of government as a possible replacement. All have failed miserably- even democracy. Jesus came born of a virgin – with sin free blood because of the God designed body of a woman where the blood of a baby & Mom do not mix. So Jesus – spirit & 100% “legal” man in a body came to bring the Kingdom back. It’s all about God’s Government. God’s Government we are told in Isaiah 9 will be on Jesus’ shoulders.
You are correct in saying we must be made Holy to RE-ENTER the Kingdom. Religion tells us we must first die and go to heaven to enter. That is not correct. Again in Isaiah 9 God tells us very clearly we can enter now… “from that time on and evermore” from the time of Jesus birth.
I am confused as to why religion doesn’t embrace Jesus’ main message. Repent(Change you thinking – the Kingdom of Heaven is near/ here).
Even in your well thought out and referenced writing it seems almost as an afterthought. In the story of Jesus meeting with Nicodemus – a religious scholar in his day, Jesus is speaking very directly about one topic… entry into the Kingdom of God.. now! It’s all about getting into God’s Government now! His Kingdom culture being manifested here on earth through His sons / citizens. Adam was in perfect presence with God & the Kingdom of Heaven was being manifested in his dominion over the earth. Their disobedience/sin changed all that. When Jesus came he spoke about (RE) going back.
Never looking forward. Always going back. Back to the original purpose of God. Jesus says He is the door. Religion stops at the door. They worship the door but never go in. It’s a huge miss ! Jesus didn’t preach himself to the multitudes. He preached the Kingdom. “The Kingdom is like” time and time again. Paul is a very important figure in the beginning of His church. But let’s not put Paul’s words before Jesus’ main message. With all due respect. Kingdom Ambassador! Mike Allen