In an attempt to help the congregation understand how we believers can be guilty of not living in the reality of the Whole Gospel, I used two illustrations – both dealing with medicine.
First, thanks to Mike Glenn, I asked the congregation how many of them were guilty of being prescribed an antibiotic from the doctor and stopping before the bottle was empty? We all have. We get sick. We go to the doctor. We get an antibiotic. The directions say take the 14 day supply until all the pills are gone. We feel better after day 6 and stop taking the medicine. Meanwhile, the bacteria still roams around in our body. We feel better, but we are still sick. The symptoms are gone for the moment, but we still have a problem.
That is how we often treat the Gospel. We go to Jesus, get our sins forgiven, and feel better about ourselves and our situation. But we are still sick. We forget, or neglect, the other part of the Gospel: the Holy Spirit invading us, to lead us, and empower us to live the life we were meant to live. In this instance, we usually end up blaming God for our problem. We think, “If this is all there is to it, then I am not sure I want this Christianity thing.”
Second, I used the illustration of wisdom teeth extraction. What if you were in the chair, about to have a drill go deep into your gums, and you overheard a nurse say with a snarky tone, “I only gave him half the dosage required to numb things during the procedure”? If you were only given half the amount required and you knew you would not be fully asleep and would be able to feel most of the procedure, what would you do before the doctor came in? Either demand the full dose, or get out of there before anything was done to your mouth!
That’s the other side to how we often treat the Gospel. We are glad to have our sins forgiven, but we really don’t think we are good enough to have the Holy Spirit live inside us. We don’t think we can be like the “Super Christians” out there who seem to have all their stuff together. We don’t see any impact or effect in our lives, no real change, because we think we only got a partial dose. In this instance, we blame ourselves. We think, “I know my sins and my messiness. It’s nice to be forgiven, but there is no way God can really live in me.”
On the one hand, we blame God thinking it is His fault by leading us to something that doesn’t “work.” On the other hand, we blame ourselves thinking it is because of our mess or our past or our sinful tendencies that we will never have the Holy Spirit really dwell in us.
Both are wrong and neglect the root issue: we need AND GET Jesus who is committed to do it in us and for us and with us.
We must believe the WHOLE GOSPEL. We are forgiven of our sins AND we receive the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38).