Posts Tagged ‘Gospel


What Matters Most

The apostle Paul suffered for his faith and his defense of it. He was imprisoned, beaten, flogged and nearly stoned to death. Yet he persevered in spreading the good news about Jesus and His love for the world. He didn’t complain about his trials, but instead he rejoiced in them. He even encouraged others to rejoice about his trials. He wrote:

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. – Philippians 2:17-18 (NIV)

Could you do it? Could you rejoice in suffering for Jesus? If you could keep your eyes on what matters most, then you could. For Paul, sharing God’s good news about Jesus was what mattered most. Telling people about Jesus mattered most. Even if it cost him his life, he would rather die telling people about Jesus than live as he kept silent. The good news matters most because without it, people are lost.

To Die Is Gain

The apostle Paul knew that death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a follower of Jesus. He wrote:

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.​ – Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV)

This world is not all that there is. The reward awaiting us in Heaven is greater than anything here on earth. But there is work to do here on earth that gives purpose to our lives. We must live to tell of the love of Jesus so others will know the hope that we have in Christ. Heaven will be wonderful and we’ll get there someday. Until then, let us spread the good news of Jesus to everyone we know.

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.

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