Matthew 13:51-58 & Gospel Inoculation

Familiarity breeds contempt, but not really, at least when it comes to Jesus. Here we have two groups who were very well acquainted with Jesus; the residents of his hometown, and his disciples. For one group familiarity led to contempt, for the other, worship. But if you find Jesus familiar, common, and hold Him in contempt, it isn’t because you know so much of Him, but so little. You have a false familiarity.

I think many in evangelical churches suffer from this because they have heard preaching that is heavy on the imperative, and light on the indicative. The Bible contains both law and gospel, commands and declarations. And it is critical that we always remember that the law is given because of a prior gospel declaration. We are to act, and can act only because God has acted. This is as true in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. Just prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments we read, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” They act because God has acted. As we read through the epistles of Paul w see he always begins with the indicatives of the Gospel before he makes application. He tells us what God has done before he tells us what we should do. The imperatives should never be dissected from the indicatives. Such preaching is not gospel preaching.

Could it be that many are bored with Jesus and arrogantly think Him common because they have never heard the gospel? Oh, they know Jesus loves them, and that they must believe in Him to be forgiven their sins, but every Sunday they are told about seven tips to…, or three ways to…, or the five keys of…, instead of learning of propitiation, redemption, substitution, or other glories of the good news of Jesus Christ.

We have been gospel inoculated; receiving a deadened form of Christianity we are immune to the real thing.

If this is your condition, don’t assume you know Jesus. Examine the gospels for yourself. Look at the way the apostles look at Jesus and all the Old Testament. As you examine the treasure trove of Scripture ask God to open your eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And if He graciously grants your petition, you will not be bored or offended, you will worship.

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