Disclaimer: I write “we” knowing full well this is more about how “I” have managed to ruin the gospel at times over my years of being a Christian. I write “we” in the case that those reading can identify.
As Christians, we are given the task to share this good news and it can be a rough go if we depend too much on ourselves. I’ve been guilty of the following:
Our American culture is saturated with sales. As a culture, it seems we want the best cars, castles and cloth we can afford (or put on credit) and there’s a whole army of marketers to encourage us. We are used to the sale. We know the dance. You tell me what I want and I may trade something of value to get it. When I sell the gospel, I’m marketing to the person across from me that I have something they need and they should give something of value in return.
The truth is they, just like us, have nothing of value to give. The heart of the gospel is that Jesus gave of His sinless value to purchase our lives from death caused by sin.
There is no exchange. There is only redemption, a purchasing of something of lesser value. God gets the short end of the deal . . . us. We benefit beyond belief in what we gain. Him.
We are a culture of complainers. It’s rare to see somebody walking in gratitude and doling out grace and mercy. We have a penchant toward sin and sin wants to remind us how much we should esteem ourselves over others. When we don’t get that recognition or reward we think we deserve, it’s a breeding ground for whining.
I ruin the gospel when I whine about what I don’t have. I’ve already been given the greatest gift I can receive. How can anything even begin to compare? Let’s not contradict the good news in our own lives as to upset the good news impacting the lives of others.
There is certainly a lot to be afraid of these days. The bogeyman seems to come from every direction and in many forms. Maybe disease scares you? Maybe it’s an increase in violence? Maybe it’s public speaking? Only you know (and anyone else you complain to). Scary things exist and do their best to put a divide between our trust in God and our felt need to self-preserve.
I ruin the gospel when I let my fear outweigh my desire to know God more and make Him known. It’s easier to talk about all that is bad in the world. Who is going to disagree? But it’s better to talk about the One who has looked death in the eye and said, “Not today, pal.” Jesus conquered death and by faith in Him we can conquer fear in each moment.
When it comes to the gospel, I need to get out of the way when it comes to the task of leading people to love and live for Jesus Christ.
The gospel is summarized well in many Bible verses. Try not to devalue it with selling, whining or fear.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 8:9: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
1 Timothy 1:15: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
1 John 4:10: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Revelation 5:9: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . .”