Christian, Let Us Return To The Gospel
When I hear of good news, I get excited, happy, anticipating that the news will be something that is positive. It doesn’t mean that bad news can’t be redeemed into something good, but news that I was hoping for and received has a special kind of joy.
We Christians all know what I am talking about. We pray for a miracle, such as someone with an incurable illness gets healed. We need a job and God comes through with something even better than hoped. Relationships that have been fractured for years suddenly get restored. These and other answers to prayers comprise good news.
So what do I mean by “the Gospel?” The word gospel literal means “good news.” So our Christian faith should be celebrated and shared with non believers because it is the ultimate good news.
The most obvious reference is to a personal relationship with the God of the Universe and through Christ, all the wrong we have ever committed can be instantly forgiven when we commit ourselves to him. As a result of this forgiveness, lives can be transformed.
People that have a lived a life full of anger and bitterness can have peace. People who have been selfish now become caring and generous. Millions of stories abound of what Christ can do to make a life better, healthier, happier and whole.
Recently my wife and I went with our church to deliver coats to an apartment complex that had many poor people. In one of those small one bedroom apartments we met a middle age woman and her elderly father. Engaging him in conversation, he mentioned of his love for Jesus and how blessed of a man he was, exhibiting unabashed joy. We wanted to also pray for them, but this beautiful saint of God wanted to pray for us. I have not seen such happiness in so much poverty, and believe me it was genuine.
This is the gospel at work. In addition, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 the fruits of changed lives. Here he talks about the end times and references himself as a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats. He puts the sheep on his right hand, the place of honor, and the goats on his left. He then declares to the sheep that they are blessed of his Father and they are to inherit the kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world. Jesus then goes into detail as to why they are the righteous. He says they fed him, clothed him, gave him a drink when he was thirsty, invited him into their home, cared for him while sick, and visited him in prison.
The righteous are puzzled and ask when they ever did this for him. Jesus says that by doing it to the least of his brothers and sisters, they were doing it to him.
Yet I have seen Christians in recent years become saturated with concerns about politics and other social issues that have generated anger, judgment, and complete uncaring for others. In other words, totally unlike what Jesus wants us to be.
If we believers want to change the world it is not going to come through the political process or protests over certain pandemic provisions, but through doing the things Jesus wants.
We need to stop vilifying people who disagree with us, and simply love them. We need more commitments to feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, spending time with the lonely, and reaching out to the single parent, and kids without parents. This is the gospel in action. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Ultimately the passage in Matthew is a benchmark. Doing what he says is the strongest indicator that we get it. Otherwise we are proclaiming a different gospel. And this different gospel is definitely not good news.
I am weary. I am weary of the constant conspiratorial craziness that has enveloped our evangelical faith. I am weary of the judgments believers are pronouncing on other believers. I am weary that for many Christians, who they vote for has become the standard of orthodoxy. I am weary of believers rejecting common sense concern for others physical well being. I. AM. WEARY.
I have hope though. I belong to a church where all they care about is loving Jesus, praying for everyone, giving to missions around the world that are a making a difference, and spending time and money to help the poor in our community. Doing the Matthew 25 exhortation to be the hands and feet to a hurting world! This, my friends, is the gospel. These actions are what will bring non believers to Christ. This is what will cause even the worse skeptics to say how those Christians love and care for people.
I implore believers everywhere to read, and read again Matthew 25:31-46 and ask “am I doing this?” It is not a hard question and the criteria are clear. Let us return to the gospel and let us become true ambassadors of the Christian faith.