As the Summer approaches, this is naturally a loaded time of the year for everyone. Trips are being planned, students are finishing school, businesses are preparing for the next season, etc.
It’s easy to forget the important aspects of life when we have so much going on, and when we forget those important foundations it shakes the support beams of our lives.
This could look like a huge number of things (like busyness), but what’s important is that we never let go of that core foundation we build our life upon. For Christians that is obviously God, in particular the Gospel.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (italics added)
When Paul mentioned “our gospel,” he wasn’t referring to a separate batch of good news he, Timothy, and Sylvanus contrived at some point. He was referring to the Good News that personally reached into their hearts and brought them to their Heavenly Father.
As Paul stated, God calls to us with the Gospel. It breaks the heart of stone and melts all with its selflessness.
When Israel was wandering around the desert and getting captured by different empires, they didn’t get it. Even when God was working in their midst, they didn’t change (Deuteronomy 29:2-4). They were lost in their sin.
And we aren’t much different! Think about what your life was like before you met God. What were you doing? How were you thinking? Nothing, it seems, really reached you or changed you (Acts 28:26-27). You (and I, too) had a heart of stone.
That is, until Jesus. Everything stopped with Him. Everything changed, including your life. And not just your life, but all of human history. Humanity was gone in sin, but with Jesus there is now reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). No matter your background, skin color, personal sins, whatever.
No one is impervious to the glorious power of the Gospel, which is ultimately the power of love. I’m not talking about the love Jimi Hendrix mentioned in his day. I’m talking about God, because God is love. Can people still resist the Gospel? Absolutely, but no one can be left unaffected by it. After hearing it, some people react angrily. Some people react in fear. Some people simply break and run to God. Either way, you can’t just hear the Gospel and not deeply think about it.
This message, this Jesus, is what being a believer is all about. No wonder, then, that when you see churches dying off, being cliquish, or preaching odd doctrines, you’ll never find the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center. Do you ever see these same churches affecting their communities? No.
A church is just a community of believers. Individuals. When a church is not focused on Jesus, that means the individuals aren’t. They’ve forgotten the Gospel.
When you see ‘Christians’ living for themselves, there’s no Jesus there. They’ve forgotten the Gospel.
When you and I go on each day acting like our schedules are more important than what’s happened in Japan or anything else in the world, we don’t have Jesus at the center. We’ve forgotten the Gospel. It’s a tragedy.
Back in December I went to a Christmas conference with Campus Crusade. One of the speakers, Felipe Assis, preached on how important it is that disciples of Christ hear the Gospel everyday. There shouldn’t be a day when you don’t re-tell the story of what Jesus did on Earth, to yourself. It makes perfect sense: the Gospel reminds us how much we need God everyday, how much God loves us, how big God’s grace is, and how much the rest of the world needs Him.
Speaking of the world, the sad thing is there are plenty of people who have either never heard the Gospel or have heard a distorted version from an abusive guy, a neglectful family, or a twisted pastor, to name a few. When we leave behind the Gospel, we leave behind these people, too. We forget about Jesus, and we forget about those who need Him. To put it into perspective, we’re then like the Israelites. God has saved us from Egypt by His grace, and there are nations all around the world that need to hear about Him. But we’re too busy walking in circles around some desert to really care.
Jesus did not come so we could continue in this way. We cannot forget that as students of Jesus it is our obligation to make sure people hear the Gospel and experience it through our relationships with them.
We must remember that we were once lost and depraved in utter sinfulness. And when we had no way out, no idea as to the purpose of life or what true love was, we were given the Gospel. God sent us Jesus, and our lives changed. Mine definitely did. I love hearing this story everyday. It delights my heart, and each time I hear it I want to pass it on.
So as you finish reading this blog post and continue on with your life, I hope you reflect on how important the Gospel is to you. As you wake up for school or work or hanging out with friends this week, I hope you think about how much of what Jesus did for you really shakes you to the bone (or doesn’t). I hope it’s your core no matter what season of life you are in.
Lastly, if you don’t tell yourself the Gospel daily, I pray that you start now.