I’ve been listening to a lot of different podcasts and sermons lately in my free time. The messages have been pretty good, and they’ve been biblical, but I’ve noticed something pretty important has been missing. Namely, the gospel. It’s only, what, the MOST IMPORTANT part of the Christian faith. So, you’ll understand if I am a little concerned, right? As I’ve been listening, I’ve heard scriptures and biblical principles preached, which are good things to hear and learn about. However, without the main character (Jesus Christ, in case you were wondering), it just doesn’t pack quite the same punch. God is mentioned, the Holy Spirit is mentioned, and maybe Jesus is mentioned sometimes, but what about the power of the blood of Jesus Christ? What about the significance of God’s sacrifice? What about the fact that the God of the universe humbled Himself and came as baby Jesus to save a lost and dying world that we are a part of? This is a powerful message! This is good news! So why is it that in listening to sermons from several different ministries and churches, I haven’t heard more about it? (I found a couple of sermons that included the gospel, but I really had to search for them…)
I remember having this exact same discussion with some fellow student leaders my senior year in undergrad, and with my classmates in quite a few of my classes. (I was a pastoral care major, and took a lot of theology electives!) That was three years ago. So what’s the deal?
I took a class my junior year called Small Groups and Discipleship. My professor spent a good portion of class time throughout the semester sharing with our class just how much God loves us, how much He longs for us, and how much He paid for our freedom. He loved us so much that He suffered a great and terrible death for our sakes, and He rose again for our salvation, triumphant over death and evil. We were captivated. We were moved in ways beyond pathos. We were changed and healed in ways that we probably didn’t even realize or understand at the time. This class changed my life, and still has a lasting impact on me. It wasn’t the class material (which was very good, by the way, but that’s another blog post), it wasn’t the biblical principles that were taught, it wasn’t even the personality of the professor. It was the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and our professor’s willingness to share the gospel with us through his words AND actions. That is what had such a beautiful and lasting impact on me. That’s what the gospel does. It changes people. It transforms people. It’s powerful. So why don’t we use it more often?
***I chose these icons of Jesus to insert into this post because I like them. I really like icons. I don’t worship them, as some do, but I do find them to be very meaningful and they inspire me to worship the God they represent. More on that one later. (Looks like I’ve got plenty of blog material to work with in the near future!)***