Sometimes we think the message of the Gospel offers good people a way to become better, get over their hangups and bad habits, and be happier. It’s for pleasant Christian people who show up in church on Sunday and then go out for lunch with a bumper sticker that says, “Honk if you love Jesus.” It’s about seeing to it that your children know the basic story of the Bible and say the sinner’s prayer.
All that is well and good. But it misses the point. The Gospel is lots of things, but it’s certainly NOT a Bandaid for our bruised egos, or a feel-good pill for when we’re having a bad day.
The Gospel as Jesus demonstrated it was a radical challenge to “normal” people. Jesus came both to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable! Tweet that.
Jesus didn’t just come for nice people that society would consider respectable. The problems I have may seem big to me, and I’m grateful that God lets me talk to Him about them. But if the Gospel is worth anything at all, it speaks just as much to those whose problems really ARE big, and who aren’t respectable at all.
Remember that “Gospel” means “Good News.” What would be Good News to …
- The single mother supporting her daughter by dancing at night in a strip club?
- The 19 year-old meth addict kicked out of a foster home and now living on the streets?
- The corporate executive racking up multi-million-dollar bonuses by producing borderline-quality products?
- The defense lawyer employed by a defendant who broke the law in a violent crime?
- The scientist researching DNA and the genetic basis for disease?
- The policeman patrolling a gang-infested ghetto?
- The 13 year-old boy who’s been a latch-key kid and is now being recruited by drug dealers?
- The lesbian in a long-term relationship raising a child with her partner?
- The man who spends every evening watching pornography as his wife goes out drinking?
- The Native American who sees Christians harming the land he lives on?
- The soldier given orders to kill?
- The Arab man with six wives and fifteen children hearing the gospel for the first time?
- The transsexual teenager whose life has been threatened at school?
- The evangelical worship leader who has been sleeping with a series of women for years?
- The congressman facing re-election and a no-win ethically controversial vote?
I don’t mean to equate any of the individuals above with any other. I’m only pointing out that if the Gospel is anything at all, it must have something to say to EVERYONE!
When John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing, people came from everywhere to hear him. “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely– be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:10-14)
Yes, the Gospel has something to say to everyone. Here’s the bottom line:
- You need help! By God’s standard you come up short. There’s no one too “low” or too “high” to escape the indictment. You NEED a transformation. (Romans 6:23)
- You don’t have to stay the way you are. Circumstances, history, genetics, your own past – none of it need define your future. God offers you a fresh start. (2 Cor. 5:17)
- You have a purpose. God has something for you to do, and you can’t do it on your own. But together, you and God can make a difference – for here and for eternity. (Romans 8:28)
What would the Gospel say to some of the individuals above? Only the Holy Spirit has the entire answer.
But perhaps it would say to the corporate executive, “It’s time to create quality products, treat your employees right, and use your money to fund programs to help the poor.”
It might say to the teenager recruited by drug dealers, “I, God, will be your Father. You’re worth more than this. Don’t go there. And now it’s time to help your younger brother.”
It might say to the worship leader embroiled in infidelity, “It’s time for a major heart-and-life cleanup. Come clean NOW! Forget your position: get away, and get right with God.”
I don’t know what the Gospel is saying to you right now. But whatever it is, I encourage you to listen.
Your Turn: What is the message of the Gospel to you? Leave a comment below.
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- If the gospel is worth anything, it has something to say to EVERYONE. Tweet this.
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