Our ABF has started a series through the book of Colossians that we are calling It's All About Jesus! Our purpose in this series is to realize what life would be like with Jesus in the center of all we do and say. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to turn to Colossians 1:3-8 and see Paul's response to a group of people who embraced the real message of the real Jesus. We looked at a Jesus-Centered Gospel (you can read or listen HERE).
I said yesterday that "A Jesus-Centered Gospel Message is CENTRAL To Living A Jesus-Centered Life!" I mean that. I know for myself, I am constantly going back to hte gospel message and the cross. I know that my natural tendency is to drift away from the gospel and to think at some points that I bring something to the table to offer Jesus. It is these times specifically that I need to be reminded of the cross and the gospel message. I tried to emphasize six points about the gospel yesterday.
1. IT IS RECEIVED BY FAITH (vs. 4a). It is the clear teaching of the Scriptures that the gospel is not something that is worked towards, but that it is received by faith alone in Jesus alone. This faith is not only necessary for the entrance, but also for the entirety of the Christian life. I will only obey Jesus and put Him at the center of my life when I live by faith, trusting Him in all things.
2. IT PRODUCES LOVE (vs. 4b). I have given my life to the service of people through the church. But God knows the truth of how selfish I can be. The gospel message constantly confronts my heart attitudes and tells me to love others like Jesus loved others.
3. IT IS ROOTED IN HOPE (vs. 5). My faith and love are rooted in the fact that I believe my salvation has already bee accomplished and is waiting for me in the future. The gospel says I don't want my "Best Life NOW" but it is reserved in heaven for me in the future.
4. IT ADVANCES EVERYWERE (vs. 6). The gospel will never be bound by geography or political systems. It goes all places and all places it goes, it produces fruit in the changing of people. The gospel is like a good medicine that continues to spread and produces life.
5. IT SPREADS BY PEOPLE (vs. 7-8). Here is the culmination of a Jesus-Centered Gospel Message. I have known this, but it was a helpful reminder. God wants to use ME! As the gospel spreads everywhere, God's plan is that it does so through the lips of individuals like me and you. I love the story of Epaphras. He was so radically changed by the gospel message (most likely when he was saved under the ministry of Paul in Ephesus) that he took the gospel back to his hometown and planted a church. I wonder what I would have done. But the very fact that I am hesitant about whether I would have planted a church in my hometown like Epaphras shows me that the gospel is not as real in my life as it should be.
What I learned was to be faithful in the presentation of this precious truth, that Jesus died on the cross for sins and rose again, and trust God with the fruit. But for sure, I want to be used in this process. So I preach Jesus to friends, to family, to strangers hoping and praying for God to do a work.
6. IT INSPIRES THANKFULNESS (vs. 3). Paul was thankful to God for what God had done in them through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want my life to inspire others to thankfulness because Jesus is at the center of everything I do.
What do you think? Is the gospel important to you? It is what we all need, whether old or young, immature or mature, we need the gospel! I would love to hear what you thought. Feel free to post your comments below. I pray you have a Jesus-Centered, Gospel-Centered Day!