WHAT I LEARNED—AGAIN
I spent last week in Florida at The More and Better Conference. The “More and Better” in this title refers to making more disciples of Jesus, and better disciples of Jesus, in obedience to the Great Commission. Through the conference I was reminded of what is really important in our life as a church and in my role as a pastor. In a word, that thing is the Gospel.
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” When the Bible was written, the word “gospel” described the proclamation of something momentous, like: “Our troops have won the battle,” or “A new emperor has taken the throne.” It was not advice or speculation but the declaration of an accomplished fact. In reference to Jesus, the Gospel is the declaration that He died and rose again so that everyone who believes in Him can have new life.
The Gospel is not just a message for beginners. Some Christian’s think that the Gospel merely tells us how to come to faith—that it is like learning the “ABC’s” of faith and that once you have learned this simple message you graduate to deeper things. But this is not true. As a Christ-follower you can never go beyond the Gospel. You can only go deeper into it.
The only sermons that can feed us are Gospel sermons. Every text in the Bible is an expression of the Gospel if it is properly understood. A preacher who tells people to live the Christian life, but then fails to point his hearers away from themselves to Christ, His death, and resurrection power, is merely preaching legalism. He is proclaiming the anti-Gospel. He is only telling Christians what every religion in the world tells its adherents to do.
As is it often pointed out, religion says, “do,” but the Gospel says, “done.” Religion tires us out and hardens our hearts. The Gospel refreshes us. Jesus invites all who are weak and weary because of religion to come and take upon themselves His easy yoke.
The Gospel is “the Power of God for Salvation to everyone who believes. We need to gain fresh confidence in this message’s power to save others and to save us.
My renewed commitment is to proclaim the Gospel every week—to lead us through each week’s Bible passage to the life-giving streams of God’s grace. My prayer is that the lost will be found, and that the found will found again, and again, and again.—Pastor Tom
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