My personal study lately has found me in the book of Galatians and I have found myself basking in the beauty of the Gospel. This study has also brought up something else for me: the “other” gospel. Paul refers to it multiple times throughout Galatians and it has stirred in me a passion for presenting the TRUE GOSPEL correctly.
Let me back up.
Without beginning to beat a dead horse, I have to acknowledge that my mind has been consistently looking for any and all references of His Table…due to my 2018 theme. My biggest question to the Lord has been, “How do I live my life as an actual INVITATION to Your Table?” I want to see what this looks like in action.
Here’s the thing. The Gospel is inextricably tied to living my life as an invitation to Jesus. If we know what the Gospel really is, we can suddenly live our lives in a way that will point people to Jesus and His Table.
The Church is full of Christians who think the Gospel gets us saved and that’s where it stops. End of story. Once we’re in, we don’t need the Gospel anymore, right?
The Gospel never ceases to be our lifeline. Our Anchor. The tether of our hearts. We never stop needing it…instead we move further into it. We always need the Gospel. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.
Sadly, we have believed “another gospel” as Paul warns in Galatians.
I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah. (Galatians 1:6-7, HCSB)
We have added to the Gospel. We have adulterated it by our humanistic minds and selfish desires. Popularity, fame and Facebook likes have driven us to become something other than what God originally intended. On the other end of the spectrum, we have a whole groups of Christians who care for only ourselves and the people in our church walls. We might give a few dollars here and there, but getting out into the mess of everything? You can count us out.
The result? Our world is repulsed by our gospel. It’s been tampered with. It’s anything but authentic and real. Let’s face it…who wants to hug a porcupine? We are all pins and needles. This humanistic gospel seems more like anything but our Anchor. We are known more for what we stand against than what we stand for in Jesus’ Name. The gospel we are living is not an invitation…it’s a fake version of religion added to a worldly life. That kind of gospel isn’t good news to me, folks.
I’ve been guilty of living like this, so I’m preaching this to myself in the mirror, y’all.
We read it in the paper and hear it on the radio and see it on television: Christians are mocked and ridiculed. I’ll be the first to admit that media is most certainly against the moral and upright…but the truth is we are fake. We have traded an amazing Gospel of freedom, redemption and grace for a cheap version of religion that our world hates. There’s enough religion in the world. It’s time for some Jesus-followers.
I recently sat with a friend who had just come back from overseas. She visited a country that is closed to Christianity. You might be killed if they know you followed Jesus. Funny thing is, Jesus followers are THRIVING there. My friend commented about a local church there that has an extraordinary outreach to the hurting communities and people of the area. In my friend’s words: “Faith, this church is killing it.”
She also mentioned that the government has taken notice of this particular church because of their incredible ministry to the area…and get this…they are PROTECTING this church group. In a closed country. Why? The government can’t deny that this church is benefiting and loving and reaching out in a way that they can’t. If they crushed this church, the area would sink.
That’s Jesus in action…using hands and feet that look remarkably human. The result is that the hurting world stands and witnesses the glory of Jesus in action.
I sat there with tears in my eyes. What would it be like if all churches were like that? What if we were all “killing it” when it came to loving people and reaching out and totally crushing the head of the serpent? What if people knew that we loved Jesus so much that it motivated us to ACTIVELY get involved?
What if we were known for our LOVE, because of Jesus? Not love apart from Jesus as a philanthropic endeavor, but JESUS is the center of our existence so we are motivated to live differently? I’m thinking the result would be some a changed world for the Jesus we serve. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
The fake, humanistic gospel makes Pharisees. Prideful people who don’t want to mingle with the “untouchables”. It moves us to the position of control…that we need to try harder, do more stuff, be nicer, go on more mission trips, or be a better person to earn good standing with Christ.
The True Gospel makes disciples of the cross…willing to risk for the sake of Jesus. Instead of a check-list, we see Him as our amazing Savior. We are so wrapped up in His love and incredible gift that we want to please His heart. We are willing to get in the mess with the broken world and showcase His amazing grace….because it has changed us, personally and deeply.
The fake gospel repels people from the truth, because it’s been added to, taken from and manipulated.
The True Gospel invites all people to come to His Table and be healed. Pure and simple.
The fake gospel tells people to clean up and then come to God.
The True Gospel calls people to come to Him right now and HE will clean them up.
The fake gospel has been a poor substitute for the Truth. The True Gospel is FREE. We can’t earn it. We certainly can’t move past it. The Gospel is something we move into and set up our tents. We stake our lives on it’s promise and invite others, regardless of their differences, to join us.
The True Gospel is meant to be shared, friends. Not hoarded, stashed, or protected. It’s certainly not just for the people within your church walls and it’s not gonna fly away. There’s plenty to go around.
What if we stopped acting scared about being contaminated by the brokenness of the world and started fearing more for the souls in need of Jesus? What if we cared more about where our neighbors will spend eternity than if their bad habits might rub off on us?
I’m not saying be stupid and hang out in perverse places…I am saying trust that God is holding you. He’s not sending you to the wolves on your own! He is with you! Go and live your life full and free to love a hurting world. Don’t clam up and pretend you’re too good to have a conversation with people who aren’t like you. Talk to people as you go about the life God has called you to live.
SEE PEOPLE. Don’t just look at them. SEE THEM. They have messy lives and broken hearts and busted up relationships just like you do. Live your life with eyes wide open to the people around you.
Then…simply invite them to His Table. Give them the real Gospel.
The Truth about Jesus is beautiful. Let’s live like it is.