John Stumbo Video Blog No. 65

December 12, 2018

11:57

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John shares an interview this month that he conducted earlier this year with six Alliance pastors he met in the Middle East. In this segment, he has asked them to talk about the Fourfold Gospel. “I wanted to give us a bit of a Christmas gift,” John says, “to hear Middle Eastern leaders speak of Christ our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. Give yourself the gift right now of just a few minutes of reflection on the Christ that we love—through Middle Eastern eyes.”

Transcript

John Stumbo: Hello Alliance family, Merry Christmas! As you may remember, earlier this year I had the privilege of being in the Middle East. And we chronicled some of that trip on an earlier video blog, but today I want to bring us back to that moment where I had the privilege of interviewing six national church leaders from the region. And I asked them to speak to us about the Fourfold Gospel.

I wanted to give us a bit of a Christmas gift, as it were, to hear Middle Eastern leaders speak of Christ our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. So, would you give yourself the gift right now of just a few minutes of reflection on the Christ that we love—through Middle Eastern eyes?

Savior

Pastor J: If I want to share about salvation, about how Jesus saves you as a follower of the majority religion, God is love. In the holy book of the Middle East’s majority religion, there are 99 names of God. But there is no love. Allah Marhaba—“God  is love.” So He shows you His love. How? By Jesus Christ.

Pastor S: His name shall be called Christ, because He saves His people from their sin. So there’s only one Savior. And they respect you if you don’t argue. I’d rather lose an argument and not lose a person. But I always tell them that “Jesus saved me. He is a Savior—because everyone is a sinner.”

Pastor E: The Jesus we bring is the only One who can give salvation. So, this is the thing that really opens their minds—that there is real salvation through this Person. He did not come to give another message from the Lord. He came to do something nobody else has the credentials to do but Jesus. So He’s not one more prophet to bring new laws or new rituals, but He is the One, and the only One, able to do something—nobody else can do it. So this is the uniqueness of Christianity—the Savior, Jesus.

Pastor M: When we talk about Savior, most of the people understand Jesus to be the savior of the present calamity—the present tension that we’re in. So most of the time people are immediately thinking, Jesus is going to save us from the wars, from the troubles that we’re in, from the catastrophes of life, and stuff like that.

So, it’s really interesting when it’s being presented to non-Christians, or non-Christian background people, to make sure that they understand that what He is saving us from. So before we even get into that, we have to explain what sin is, and what the implications of that, and the results of sin in terms of eternity. And this is another concept that within our context is not very developed.

Pastor Y: When you talk about the Savior, sometimes people think of saving them from their troubles, the earthly trouble, or their difficulties. So, at least that could be a door where you can start with that and take them deeper to tell them we have more burdens than just the material burdens and direct them to Jesus.

Sanctifier

Pastor J: When you are suffering all the time to be holy . . .

John Stumbo: Trying so hard.

Pastor J: Trying so hard. Five times of praying daily. Fasting during the ninth month of the majority religion’s calendar year; going on pilgrimage to your holy city, and you feel empty. Just to try to be close to Jesus Christ; He will fill your heart. And your behaviors, without any suffering, it will be changed. You will not need five times daily to pray or fasting for a month to be holy. Just be close to Jesus Christ—He will change your life. You will not suffer because he has already suffered on the cross to give you this new life.

Pastor S: I have no holiness of myself. He is my holiness. I have absolutely nothing good in me. And I truly believe, because this is my experience in life, if it wasn’t for the holiness of Christ, for the sanctification of Christ, I deserve hell fire.

Pastor M: The holiness of God is a concept that also is dying out. We don’t hear it explained a lot as well. The holiness of God is the major important concept that we need to drill into the people so that when we come to the Sanctifier part, they’ll understand why it’s so important. Why God did not accept us as we are, to keep us as we are, but He wants to work on us—to change us to become like Him, like His Son.

Pastor B: We live in a world now with no standard even. So, they kicked out all the standards; they don’t want to live with any ethical standard. So now they want to live freely from anything, and actually they are slaves to sin.

Pastor E: We very strongly feel the same message I think of [Alliance founder] A. B. Simpson—that the sanctifying work of Christ comes through Christ living in us.

Healer

This is very challenging because we’ve seen some healings, but not as many as we would like to see. Maybe we need to be more courageous, more brave in our faith and in our expectations that the Lord would heal.

Pastor M: This is probably one of the toughest ones for me personally. I’ve lost a brother to disease in two weeks’ time. And personally, when it comes to my own convictions and the way I struggle with this, it’s very hard to talk about Christ our Healer. And when I hear Christ healing people, and I hear stories about healing, it’s a personal thing for me. For the longest time I struggled with it, and I didn’t teach much about it myself because of that experience. In any case, this is a biblical concept, and I believe in it. And after having gone through the journey of struggling with this concept for a while, we still teach it, and I believe in it wholeheartedly myself. And I pray for the people that are sick, and God is intervening in people’s lives.

Pastor B: This is something they can touch, after they experience the healing of Jesus, they can also believe in Him as a Savior. And that’s happened a lot with people around me. And one of the ladies that was married for 10 years with no children, and she is from a majority-religion background. And when I was talking with her, God gave me a message that, “I will give her a son.” But I kept silent. I was talking with her about Jesus as a Savior.

Then one day she mentioned to me that she couldn’t have a son for 10 years. And immediately I told her, “I will pray for you.” She said, “Yes please.” But I told her, “I will pray to Jesus, not to the God you know.” She said, “I want Jesus also.” Before the end of the year, she was carrying a baby. And she believed that this healing is from God.

Pastor Y: For the non-Christians, when you talk about the Healer and then when you pray for somebody and he’s healed, then they come and say, “Oh, now tell me about Christ. God is doing a great thing—and healing—and we want to continue and trust Him more.”

Coming King

John Stumbo: And we speak of Christ as our Coming King. How is that especially meaningful to you?

Pastor S: Oh, dear. I am waiting for Him. Because all what we see, I know that our end date nobody would know. But He gave us signs. He said, “When you see these signs happening, know that His coming is soon.”

Pastor M: The majority religion here does not distinguish between a spiritual kingdom of God and a literal kingdom of God. So, one has to be very careful when we talk about the Kingdom of God in our context. People whose God’s Kingdom is not in their hearts, always inevitably, almost always inevitably, will understand in political terms. And they would think that we’re doing all what we’re doing because we want to establish a theocracy here on earth. So one has to be very careful with this term in our context.

But we still believe He’s coming. And He’s going to be a King. Now, of course in our context, the whole political implications of a dispensational understanding, or all these kinds of things that happen around Jerusalem, and the land, and where He’s going to come to, and where He’s going to establish the Kingdom—they’re all real. And they all have to be handled very carefully as we handle the Scriptures, and at the same time as we communicate God’s Kingdom.

But this is our hope: He’s going to come. And one day everything that we see going on, all the trouble that we’re seeing in our land, it’s just going to be gone. Because He’s the Prince of Peace.

Pastor E: Oh, come again! This is a great hope that we really . . . a source of encouragement for us through all what we are going through. We understand very practically that life on earth is a life of pain and a life of suffering. This is a fact of life we cannot deny. In some way or the other, this is the fact of life. But the great hope of the coming of Christ really makes, suddenly makes, this life just very transitional.

Pastor Y: Christ is coming. Be ready, as a Bride to the Bridegroom, get ready—His coming is very soon.

John Stumbo: And Christ our Coming King, how do you communicate that?

Pastor B: This is the hope, because we live in a world with no hope. They don’t know where they are going; they don’t know the eternity where it will be. Even they don’t maybe believe in an eternity. But as the Church living in a very difficult world, we always look up, and we are looking in a hope that He is coming. He is coming. And that faith is giving us a strength to continue on our way to meet Him one day.

John Stumbo: And return He will. And so with great anticipation, we look forward to this Christmas when the story began of the Christ who first came to dwell among us. Don’t miss the beauty. Don’t miss the significance. Don’t miss the central character of the Christmas story.

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