Posts Tagged ‘Gospel


Effective And Productive

In verses 5-7, Peter lists several virtues that Christians should be adding to their faith. Virtues such as goodness, self-control, godliness and love. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean sitting back and taking it easy once you become a child of God. There’s work to be done. Peter says this very thing. He wrote:

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

The good news is that God does not leave us up to our own devices to add these virtues. He fills us with His Spirit to help us in our faith. As we grow in faith, we are more effective and productive in serving the Master. We are more effective in loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are more productive in sharing the good news of Jesus. We have a job to do and to be effective and productive, we need to surrender to God’s Spirit and allow Him to change us.

The Outcome

One of the hardest things about which to preach and teach is the topic of hell. We don’t like thinking about it and we don’t like talking about it. But God’s Word talks about it and warns us that hell is real. Peter wrote:

For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” – 1 Peter 4:17-18 (NIV)

Jesus said that the road to eternal life is narrow and the gate to enter Heaven is small. The road that leads to destruction is broad and the gate is wide. In other words, few find eternal life and many are on their way to destruction. So what are followers of Christ to do? We have to sound the warning! Just because hell is real, and it is, doesn’t mean that anyone has to go there! We can warn those who are doomed that they need to fully obey the Gospel of God. We don’t do it arrogantly or with condemnation in our hearts. We’re no better for we were once on the road to destruction. We must quickly warn them out of love and compassion because Christ will return and then it will be too late.

Love From The Heart

There is no better way to define the message of Christianity than in a single word: love. The very last command Jesus gave His followers was to love one another. He summed up three years of teaching with this one command. The apostle John and the apostle Peter both reiterated this command in their letters. Peter wrote:

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV)

When we obey the truth of Jesus’ message, we have true, unconditional love for each other. Peter wants us to take it a step further. We are to love each other deeply and from the heart. We bear each other’s burdens. We serve one another in love. We sincerely forgive one another and we don’t hold grudges. We pray with and for one another. Love is not optional for the followers of Jesus. It is a result of a life transformed by the love of Christ.

No Favorites In Church

Jesus said it and James did too, God doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. This is what James said:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. – James 2:1 (NIV)

James gives the example of two people coming into a gathering of believers. One is obviously wealthy and the other is obviously from the poor side of the tracks. The wealthy believer is shown preferential treatment and the poorer person is not shown the same attention. This should not be the case.
If a church plays favorites, they are directly in violation of God’s commands. God’s grace is the same for all regardless of age, gender, economic status or past. We cannot show favoritism to the wealthy just because they’re on a higher rung of society or to garner some kind of favor from them. We may be tempted to kowtow to the wealthy to fund our ministries or to reach their wealthy friends. The key is to devote ourselves to the truth of the Gospel first and foremost and not play favorites. Otherwise, we’ll be tempted to water down the Word of God so as not to offend those who may be living high on the hog.

Living Consistently

After asking the Colossians to pray that Paul might be able to communicate the Gospel clearly with those who don’t know Christ, he turns his attention to living a life consistent with the Gospel. He says:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – Colossians 4:5 (NIV)

We need to make sure that we don’t harm our message by living inconsistently. If you post hateful things on Facebook followed by messages about how God loves you, that’s not very wise. If you say that you believe in Jesus, but act like He never existed nor taught us how to live, that’s inconsistent. If you tell people to “go to hell” while you’re so confident that you’re going to Heaven, that’s not making the most of every opportunity. We need to live authentically consistent lives that are in keeping with the Savior. Otherwise, we do harm to our witness. People won’t believe in the One who has saved us if we don’t act like we’ve been saved. That is the tragedy of hypocrisy. Let’s live consistently so that we’ll be able to tell people about the love and grace we’ve found in Jesus.

Investing Your Time Wisely

Good Tuesday morning to you!  While we are to be careful how we judge our brothers and sisters, there are some judgments that we have to make when it comes to those who will not receive the good news of Jesus. He said in Matthew 7:6 (NIV):

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Some people will not only treat the good news with contempt, but they will actually be hostile and violent toward those who attempt to share it. Jesus said that we must make a careful judgment and we need to know when enough is enough. We must continuously pray for those who need to hear the good news, but at some point we must move on when it comes to sharing that good news. Not every seed that is sown will bear fruit. So keep praying for those who have yet to accept the good news, but be wise about the time you invest in sharing it. Some will respond, but tragically many will reject it.

Do Not Condemn

John 3:16-18 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Perhaps the most famous words of Scripture are found in John 3:16. Words that are slightly less well known are found in verses 17-18. Jesus was talking with Nicodemus and He tells him that those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will have the gift of eternal life. That’s why Jesus came. He came to seek and to save the lost. He did not come to condemn anyone to Hell. He came to give eternal life. Yet, there is a statement of condemnation in verse 18. Those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned.
I find it interesting that some in Christ’s church are quick to condemn people to Hell. They’re taking it upon themselves to do something that not even Jesus would do. If Jesus wouldn’t condemn people, then why do some Christians believe that it is their job? Jesus came to save the world. That’s the good news of the Gospel! Yet some of His representatives only focus on the bad news of condemnation. Yes, we must warn people about verse 18, but I do not believe that our job is to tell people that they’re going to Hell. Our job is to tell people how to get to Heaven – you must be born again.
So when you are tempted to condemn someone to Hell, please remember that not even the Son of God took that job upon Himself. He laid down His life to keep people out of Hell and to get them into Heaven. Let’s tell people the good news of Jesus and His love and grace and do everything we can to keep them out of Hell.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for rescuing me from an eternity separated from You in Hell. Thank You for sending Jesus, not to condemn the world in judgment, but to save the world through His death and resurrection. Help me to be an ambassador for You today so that someone may hear the good news and begin a journey of faith that leads them to their heavenly home. Amen.

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