GAFCON Jerusalem Day 2

The theme at GAFCON Jerusalem 2018 of “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations” is being faithfully communicated through the first two days of the conference. Whether through the MC’s, the speakers, or the worship leaders, the message that as Biblically faithful Anglicans, we must continue to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations is coming through loud and clear.
In his day one plenary address where he called on “all ministers of the Gospel to wake up from the end-time slumber, and faithfully, zealously proclaim the Gospel of God to all the nations,” the chairman of GAFCON, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan & Primate of all Nigeria, gave several assignments (we might call them applications). The first three were to: 1. Know the Gospel, 2. Defend the Gospel, and 3. Preach the undiluted Gospel loud! Right on!
This morning, The Rev. Richard Coekin, the Executive Director of Co-Mission church-planting network in England, taught out of Luke 23:26-49 on “Jesus: Crucified and Dead.” In this message on the crucifixion he again challenged us to proclaim Christ faithfully to the Nations. I was particularly struck by two applications he made that are very relevant to our putting this into practice in our context in North America.
He made the point that “Our Compassionate Savior Warned of Wrath to Come.” In Luke 26:28-29 to the women weeping for him it says, “Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’” In the midst of Jesus’ suffering he was compassionate enough to warn them of a greater wrath to come. The speaker challenged us that if we truly love lost people, the compassionate thing for us to do is to preach the wrath the come. Do we really believe what the Bible tells us? Do we really believe that people who die without believing in Jesus and his death on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins, go the Hell? If we believe that, the most loving, compassionate thing we can do is to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.
I wonder as Anglicans if we sometimes, in fear of being too “Baptist” or something, shy away from this essential part of proclaiming the Gospel faithfully? And look, neither the speaker nor I are suggesting that we proclaim this in an unloving way. I have rarely focused on this in my own preaching or in one-on-one evangelism; however, the reality of the wrath to come is always on the forefront of my mind as a motivating factor. There’s an urgency to proclaiming the Gospel when we are compassionate enough, as Jesus was and is, to want no one to go to Hell.
The second point Richard made that I want to highlight for our mission in North America is this: “Our Merciful Savior Can Save Anyone Who Repents.” In agreement with Archbishop Okoh, who yesterday made clear that a “Gospel without repentance is no Gospel at all,” he challenged us to preach repentance. There were two thieves crucified with Christ. One repented, one didn’t. One received mercy and went to Heaven, one didn’t. In Luke 23:39-43 it says, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”
I wonder if we as Anglicans sometimes want to be nice and proper, or we fear we might drive someone away, so we back off from preaching repentance. However, again, it’s the loving thing to do. Someone who hears the Gospel isn’t saved. Someone who hears the Gospel and gives thoughtful consideration to it isn’t saved. It’s only when someone hears the Gospel, believes and repents (turns) to follow Jesus (even imperfectly) as their Lord that are they saved. By leaving off a call to repentance in our preaching it is not proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations.
I can’t help but be encouraged here in Jerusalem, in the very place that Jesus gave the Great Commission as found in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere - in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” that there is such a strong and clear call for us as Biblically faithful Anglicans to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.
My questions in response for us are these: Who specifically are the “nations” to whom God is calling you to proclaim Christ faithfully? Who are the specific people around your local church that don’t know Christ as Savior and Lord that you are charged with reaching? That’s your “nations”! Who are the specific people you already know personally that God has put on your heart to proclaim Christ to faithfully? In the power of the Holy Spirit and with the full support of Biblically faithful Anglicans around the world, may you go and tell them about Christ faithfully!

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