The Church was born about 50 days after Jesus was crucified and resurrected from the dead. Witness the times in which the new Church came to be: The ruling empire was an Imperial Roman one. Gross idolatry was rampant in regions like Corinth, and Jerusalem had rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Read the Gospels and it’s clear what kind of opposition the first followers of Jesus had to face.

Fast forward to the present time. The world hasn’t changed much. Israel continues to reject Jesus, and our western culture lives in a pluralistic, secular, post-Christian paganism. We are in the “perilous times” of which the Apostle Paul warned.

Nevertheless, Jesus gave clear instructions to the disciples before his ascension:

 and (He)said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”  (Luke 24:46-47 ESV)

Now this wasn’t some scheme that just got dreamed up. This wasn’t a movement that some guru started in his basement. Jesus stated that these things about Him were written before in the Scriptures.  After showing his physical body and reassuring the sceptical disciples that it was not a ghost they were seeing in front of them, he ‘opened their minds'( Luke 24:45) to understand the Scriptures.

With open minds, they had ability to understand and put together what Jesus had been saying while he was with them, and the mandate of the Gospel could be given. They were witnesses of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The message of these things could now be credibly proclaimed among the nations.

They were told to proclaim “repentance and faith” in Jesus because He died and was risen again for sinners. That was the core and foundational truth of the Gospel. Here’s how many years later, the Apostle Paul would prove in his writing that this message had not changed one iota:

 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”  (1 Corinthians 15:1-11 ESV)

Has the modern Church forgotten the mandate? Has the Church lost it’s clear direction in over 2000 years? Many churches in the evangelical movement have lost sight of it. How?

Many “gospels” have become commonplace. There are social gospels and works gospels, prosperity gospels, political gospels, and myriad false teachings about Jesus and his work. These says Paul are not really “good news” at all. That Christ has come and died for sinners, rising from death to give eternal life is the Good News. That’s the message we are to herald.

Now what do we do when we’ve lost our moorings in this essential matter?

Back to the Gospel! Repentance and faith must begin with us. We need to remember not only that Jesus’ resurrection was not only a mere fact of history, but a real death and real supernatural conquering of death. Jesus actually walked in the dirt in Jerusalem, and bled on the wooden cross. His body was prepared for a burial, and his body came out of the tomb. Why? Because God’s Word was fulfilled!

Next, when we have repented of our sins and trusted in this living Christ, we need to find ourselves among other saints. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity. The Church is a BODY, with MANY members and Christ as the HEAD. If we are to proclaim our head, we must be in the body.

I suggest that unless we are first proclaiming our Lord in the remembrance of his body and blood in the church gathering, we should not even be speaking of Him. Once again, Paul prefaces his corrections in his letter to Corinth by stating “when you come together” 1 Cor. 11:20.

What are we doing in this togetherness? Among other things, we are “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes” when we eat the bread and drink of the Cup of the Lord in communion.

There are the same elements again. There is a proclamation and it concerns the death of Jesus.

Unlike the first Christians, we do not have to wait for power from above. We already have it in our possession. Or better yet: The power of the Spirit has US!

So with that in mind, let us turn from frivolous issues and fixate our eyes of faith on Jesus, and PROCLAIM HIM.