The Gospel is good news. It is the power of God unto salvation. It is the story of God with us. As Christians, we believe all these wonderful things, and more, about the Good News of Jesus Christ. But the vast majority of people will say “Thanks but no thanks,” and some will get defensive first and then angry. For better or worse, hearing the good news offends people.
Jesus has a long conversation with some Jews that “had believed him” in John 8:31-59. In verse 39, the Jews respond to Jesus that Abraham is their father. In 41, they say that God is their only father. Jesus’ final statement, “Before Abraham was I am,” is the Gospel. Jesus is using language that only God would use (i.e. the burning bush), and seems to make a play on words with God’s name. It was not only blasphemy to use God’s name this way, he is saying that in fact he is God; God with us. That’s good news. But on this occasion, it’s not good news for Jesus. They were picking up stones with which to kill him as he escaped from their midst.
The Gospel is offensive. It’s message is controversial. Sharing it will get you into trouble. Jesus warned his disciples that they would be despised and hated, but to remember the world first hated him. For all his effort in reaching the world, Paul was an ambassador in chains.
The Gospel is exclusive. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way, and that’s not what this generation of New Age wants to hear. Every ancient religion is exclusive (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism) so we now have a system of thinking that is not. Whichever path you choose will lead you to the same place; Try that sometime when lost in the woods.
The Gospel is not seeker sensitive. The Gospel is about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s about the cross, the grave, and Christ’s body and blood. When Jesus told his own followers they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, even they said his teaching was too hard. If we remove everything from our churches that could possibly offend someone, we find there is nothing left; including Jesus.
This 3 point sermon is a follow-up to my post on Seeker Sensitive.