I was greatly challenged at our Gospel DNA National Ministry Conference with Richard Coekin.
Richard emphasised many things, but mostly the need for church planting and church rejuvenation.
Richard compared the lack of church planting to the tragedy surrounding the Titanic’s sinking.
The luxury steamship RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic after sideswiping an iceberg during its maiden voyage. Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster.
Several factors made the tragedy so much worse than it could have been.
The Apostle John wrote that there is a sin that leads to death (1 John 5:16). Jesus referred to it as an unforgivable sin (Mark 3:28-29).
Christians have for years debated what that sin is. Some have thought it is murder or adultery; others have said suicide.
Here is the passage in 1 John 5:
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. (1 John 5:16)
The cross was not a sad mistake, as some may think, but crucial to the mission of Jesus.
At the cross, Jesus made a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. He made propitiation to God for all the sins of all of God’s people throughout all the ages.
Jesus’ death is central to Christianity.
The symbol for Christianity, is not an empty tomb or a dove, but a cross.
The importance of the cross may seem self-evident, but a characteristic of prosperity preachers, with their false theology and ”victorious” version of Christianity, is that they downplay the importance of the cross. They speak about victory, anointing and breakthrough; but they seldom speak about the sin-bearing death of Jesus.
We had the great pleasure of having Dr Jim Plueddemann (a professor in the Mission and Evangelism Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) preach at our church. Jim and his wife, Carol, have served as missionaries just about their entire lives. Jim served as SIM’s International Director from 1993 to 2003.
He told of how he, as a 12-year-old boy, was struggling with an overwhelming sense of meaningless. He considered all the millions of people who had died before him and all the many millions who would die after him. He too, no doubt, would die.
Would his life count for anything? How could he make a difference that would outlast his earthly life?
Later that day he was begrudgingly washing the dishes and his eye caught a short poem that his mother had glued in front of the basin on the wall. It read: