Part 3 of Why Preach the Gospel?
There is a misunderstanding among some Christians of exactly what the Gospel is. I’ve read lengthy rants explaining that the Gospel is a presentation given to non-Christians: Our natural state is lostness, Jesus died to save sinners, hear the Gospel and repent. To them there is no such thing as living out the Gospel in front of others, sharing the Gospel without using words, etc. Because the Gospel is the words “Jesus died to save you from your sins” and nothing else beyond that. I call that a misunderstanding because repenting of sins and asking forgiveness is merely the beginning.
If you are sharing the Gospel with unbelievers you want to make it as simple as possible. Remove any barriers to understanding and make sure those listening understand they don’t need to do anything to receive the free gift of salvation. Religion is what we do, the Gospel is about what Jesus has already done. But responding to the Gospel message is not a one and done thing. In the first place as soon as someone responds to the Gospel by coming to Christ that person has a responsibility to share that good news with others. Every Christian is called to the mission of evangelism as I wrote in the previous post. Christians need to live with the Gospel always in front of our eyes. When God led the Hebrews out of Egypt he took a group of slaves and made them free; he took people without a nation and made them a nation. Peter describes in his first epistle (1 Peter 2:1-9) how we as Christians were not a people but have been made a people, the people of God’s Kingdom and a priesthood of believers. We need to be reminded that this is nothing we have done but what God has done. It’s what God has done for us and desires to do for others. Neither the nation of Israel nor those of us building the Kingdom can ever say “Look what we did” only “Look what God has done.”
Lost people need to hear the Gospel. Christians need to constantly be reminded of it. The Gospel keeps us humble. It reminds us to love our neighbor, to think of others as more important than ourselves, and to do good works that others may see them and give glory to the Father. When we as believers get wrapped up in building projects, self-help programs, worshiptainment etc. it directs the church’s focus inward. Our focus must be outward, toward a lost and dying world that needs Christ, to those that needs to hear good news… that need the Gospel in our possession and left to our care.
Responding to the Gospel is not a one and done thing. We need to continue to be transformed by it as we get better at reaching the world with it. The message of Jesus Christ is not just good news to the un-saved. It should continue to be good news to us throughout our journey on this earth. We need to remind ourselves that it is good news and encourage one another to share that message with the world around us. We share wedding invitations, baby shower and graduation announcements all the time. We don’t keep good news to ourselves. The good news that comes from God is even greater and it’s a story that never gets old.