'This truth is something that is culturally distant to most people. It's difficult for them to understand: how they can be redeemed from sin, how Jesus could turn God's wrath, and how the blood could cleanse them, how they are justified because he bore their guilt. So it's a difficult thing for our people to understand that. But it was difficult for the first century Jew. Paul says in 1 Cor 1.23 that the gospel is foolishness: 'We preach Christ crucified, which is foolishness to the Greeks, and a stumbling block to the Jew.' But, what did he do? Did he not preach this message? In 1 Cor 2.2 he says, 'I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.' He laboured to get this message across. And so in the epistles he used different pictures and all sorts of things to remind us of the fullness of our salvation.
'I fear that today many of us have surrendered to the culture and focussed on what is easy to understand, rather than labouring to describe what the work of Christ really did. We must be using our greatest creative energies to get through the Biblical concept of the work of Christ to the people that we minister to. That's the challenge that we have. Not to present God just as one who meets needs, but the One who has a plan for the whole universe.'
- Ajith Fernando, on Ephesians 1, from Cape Town 2010 [more expositions and talks here]
For more, watch the exposition below, in which Ajith Fernando advises that while many people come to Christ to fulfil a felt need, to keep going they must be taught the difficult truths, to recognise that Christ is Truth, and that they have been welcomed into something a lot bigger than a solution their initial felt need.
Bible Exposition:Ajith Fernando (Ephesians 1) from Lausanne Movement on Vimeo.
Over the next while, I hope to highlight some quotes and teaching from The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, from those of various cultures and countries. This is partly because I didn't get to attend the sessions, so am catching up now; partly because I tend to hear only the negative crit so want to acknowledge the work of the Spirit during the Congress; and mostly because I do believe that for the health and growth of the Church, it is vital to listen to perspectives that Christ has given his people in different parts of the world.