I was a nerd. As you might be able to tell I had a hard time making friends, had a gap between my teeth, bad style, and an awful barber. I was shy and didn’t feel like I belonged much of anywhere. If you look into those eyes you will see someone who felt a little lost. I didn’t know my place in the world and I didn’t feel like I had anyone who was really walking with me. I wanted a friend. I wanted connection. I wanted someone to take an interest in me. I needed someone to say that I mattered and that I belonged. I needed someone to show a lost boy the way.
It was during this time that I had a youth pastor connect with me. He talked to me and asked if we could go play Frisbee. We went out to a park that day and threw the Frisbee around and we talked and laughed. That day turned out to be a very significant day in my life. That day was not just an offer to play a game in a park it was an invitation to a relationship that would radically change my life.
God wants to radically change our life through the gospel. But some people do not experience the radical life-change from the gospel because they see the gospel as a ticket to an event rather than an invitation into a life-changing relationship.
One of the reasons we fail to grow spiritually is a failure to understand the essence of the gospel. The gospel is not a ticket to a future event. Once we receive it we do not put it aside until eternity. The gospel is an invitation to a life-changing relationship with God right now. We need the gospel everyday to grow spiritually.
THE GOSPEL IS AN INVITATION TO FOLLOW A NEW LEADER.
We need the gospel because we need a new leader. Every relationship has a different dynamic that is created by the people who are involved. The dynamic of your relationship with your spouse is different than it is with your kids or with your best friend or your neighbor. When you accept the good news of the gospel you are recognizing that Jesus is the new unquestioned king leader in your life. Submission to His authority is the dynamic of your relationship. It is not a democracy.
What does it mean to make Jesus our leader?
It means we repent of going our own way. To go our own way and disregard Jesus is to live in rebellion to Him. We cannot say we have received the gospel and not repented of our rebellion against Jesus.
It means we no longer live to please ourselves. Instead we actively pursue the will and pleasure of God. This means that we put aside our desires to please the heart of God. Every decision is made in light of God’s truth.
It means that we recognize we are living in a new kingdom. A king rules over a kingdom. Jesus came to preach that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. The kingdom wasn’t in some far off future. It is now. When you receive the gospel you are ushered into the kingdom of God. It is the place where God reigns. If Christ is not reigning in your life right now then you have not received the gospel. If you have stalled out in your spiritual growth one of the reasons is that you are not living under the rule of the kingdom of God.
THE GOSPEL IS AN INVITATION TO A NEW PURPOSE.
We need the gospel because we need a new purpose. Too many people struggle to find their purpose in life. The job of a Christian is not to find your purpose but to embrace God’s purpose for your life. If you received a gospel that still allows you to serve your own purposes then you have not received the gospel that Jesus preached. The invitation of Jesus was to come and follow Him. Peter and John left their fishing business to follow Jesus. Receiving the gospel does not necessarily mean that you have to leave your livelihood behind but it does mean that you serve His purposes to reveal His glory. It means that you will obey the call to become “fishers of men.” It means that you take up your cross and follow. It means that you take seriously the call to make disciples of all nations. What is your purpose in life? Does it involve serving the kingdom of God? Does it have as its primary aim and objective the glory of God? We fail to grow spiritually when we fail to embrace God’s purpose for our life.
THE GOSPEL IS AN INVITATION TO A NEW POWER.
We need the gospel because we need a new power. You can’t do this on your own. If we are trying our best by our own strength and will power to obey Jesus we have not understood the power of the gospel. The cross did not just set us free from the penalty of sin but set us free from the power of sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:7). When we receive the gospel we are made new creatures in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
When we battle sin, the power of it is broken in the gospel of Christ. When we battle sin and seek to serve and obey Christ it is not in our own strength but in the power of Christ. “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29). If you are trying to live the Christian life in your own strength and not the strength of Christ then you have misunderstood the gospel. If you are not making progress in your faith, look to who you rely on for strength.
THE GOSPEL IS AN INVITATION TO A NEW GRACE.
We need the gospel because we need a new grace. One of the things that can hinder our spiritual growth is being paralyzed by guilt and shame. We know we sin and we find it hard to forgive ourselves. If we can’t forgive ourselves and show ourselves grace we figure that God can’t forgive us either. The gospel says that we are forgiven. The gospel says that our guilt and shame are covered in the blood of Jesus. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. There is no past that cannot be restored. There is no failure that cannot be redeemed. Instead of walking in shame, walk in the freedom of forgiveness. He does not abandon you because you fail. He already knows all your failures and loves you anyway. Don’t get sidetracked by shame. Receive the grace of the gospel. Embrace the gospel today.
I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please comment below and share.