What we have is a living gospel. The gospel, though changeless, has remained alive since the beginning. Perhaps in its age many see it as old and slow, perhaps even decrepit. But to those few who will hear with faith, and believe with obedience, this aged and living gospel is full of wisdom and very active because it lives within the followers of Christ.
That is why the gospel is neither antiquated nor modern. It takes the youth and contemporary person and integrates its timeless, ageless, steadfast and eternal character to create something that is, indeed, quite far beyond ourselves.
Today we are the carriers of this great gospel, so let us look at how we must carry it.
A GREAT COMMISSION
I think this term has been used and misused so much that it has lost all meaning in most of our eyes; I was even surprised when I looked at it’s meaning.
A “commission” is the authority to perform a task and carry out certain duties (Oxford English Dictionary, 2009).
The living gospel has a great commission in this sense; for we “are a letter of Christ… not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Such great confidence we have through Christ toward God.”
2 Corinthians 3:3-4
The task of declaring the coming of Christ, the message of repentance, and the invitation of salvation has been given to us under the authority of Christ, “sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30), just as the message we declare is written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit; timeless, changeless, yet still able to cut the flesh to the bone, dividing bone and marrow.
Even when hearts grow cold, the gospel will still melt some so that not all will perish in the day of Wrath, but so that some will be saved:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”
The event often cited as “The Great Commission” is Jesus’ extension of authority to the disciples to offer His salvation to all mankind. If Jesus had not given them this authority they would not have been able to take these “royal tidings of good news” into all the world as they did.
This event, recorded for us in multiple accounts of the gospel, tells us our first commission:
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned’.”
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
Our task is quite simple; we’re to preach the message of good news and make disciples in teaching them to obey every command Christ gave to the apostles.
We trust and hope (this should be understood as different from the commission) in Jesus’ gospel-promise that all who believe and are baptized will be saved.
EVEN MORE LOVE
As if emptying Himself of all power and suffering a crucified death wasn’t enough to demonstrate His love for us, Jesus has now commissioned and commanded His fellow brothers to reach out across the entire globe to preach the message of His good news! As if to say, “there are no bounds upon my love; there are no lengths too far or depths too deep that I have not crossed for your sake!”
If we do not take up this message, then we do not love. Because Christ suffered for the gospel, so we must also suffer for the gospel! We’ve been commissioned to with God-like love this grand gospel to every person we meet.
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellence of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”
1 Peter 2:9-10
As God’s very own possession, let us also declare the excellence of the One who rescued us from the darkness and hopelessness that we were once in. We have been established as a royal priesthood for the praise and ministry of God!
I would urge each one to consider that statement more carefully; what does it mean to proclaim the excellence of God?
To exhaust every form of praise and worship known to man, whether in singing, in prayer, or even in service, is at least a start.
“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
The Alpha and the Omega caused Himself to be bruised and to bleed for our sake; therefore, we too, if we are going to follow Him, must also follow in His suffering for the sake of the gospel.
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”
1 Corinthians 9:22-23
Therefore we wage spiritual warfare with the weapons of our love that are in Christ so that we may win the weak and overcome the strong to save the few who will believe and turn from their wickedness!
Therefore, let us not turn away and “so quickly desert the one who called us by the grace of Christ and turn to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all.” (Galatians 1:6ff)
THE CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGE FOR A CHANGELESS GOSPEL
The expectation of the return of Christ is the beginning of our faith; for if He does not return, there can be no salvation. If there is eminence for the Day of Wrath, there is no judgment and no need for Christ. And if this day were not approaching soon, there would be no urgency.
There are many mediums and needs for dispersing this message; some may declare His gospel online and create a platform for encouraging believers and equipping them for the task at hand, while others will go into prisons, hospitals, orphanages, and disaster areas to bring relief and example the love of Christ to the hurting so that some may see Christ and turn to follow Him. Still others take up missions and go to strange lands for these tasks and purposes.
What is known is that all will suffer for His sake. Many will lose friends and family and be cast aside as strangers by those who brought them into the world because they would not accept the name of Christ. Often suffering insult and injury, being taken advantage of without seeking justification, so that by any means necessary, Christ may be made known.
Even being cast aside by some who declare themselves to be of Christ because they made themselves a faux-christ to worship in seeking blessing, but being themselves unwilling to suffer for Him.
They preach a modern day circumcision, one of justification without cost; taking even the form of Gospel (that is, salvation apart from our merit) and denying the Truth that Christ preached (that is, obedience in Love).
Take it further:
- Psalm 130:1-3
- Nahum 1:6
- Malachi 3:2
- Luke 1:1-4
- John 20:30-31
- Acts 8:4
- Romans 12:3-8
- 1 Corinthians 3:5-15; 9:22-23
- 2 Corinthians 11:1-6
- Galatians 1:6-10
- Ephesians 4:4-16
- Colossians 4:5-6;
- Hebrews 2:14-15; 5:12; 13:22
- 1 Peter 2:9; 3:15; 4:10-11