I had a great time at Crossroads’ Grand Opening Sunday this past Sunday. I ran in Lansing’s half marathon (read my blog on it) prior to preaching, which made for quite an adventure (got to church with 8 minutes to spare before the service started!), but really the whole morning was an exciting rush. We packed the house at Crossroads and had two people commit their lives to Christ (What does that even mean?… read on…)
In doing a Grand Opening and in doing a lot of promotion for it, it puts me in a unique situation as to deciding what to preach on. I know there will be a lot of new people there, and many of these people will not have a relationship with Christ, so this opportunity is a great one. This really got me thinking, “What is the Gospel?” What is the Gospel really? I grew up being taught that the Gospel is a prayer you pray to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, then essentially you receive a ticket to heaven (see picture at right…you can get your own card at getoutofhellfree.com ). It was never said exactly this way, but this is what was implied and essentially it’s how I shared the Gospel with my non-Christian friends. Time and time again, my friends would pray this prayer, but I would see zero fruit in their lives. In fact, I’d ask them about it and they were confused as to what I was even talking about. I began to wonder, “Why isn’t the Gospel working!?”… but as I read more of the Bible for myself, and in my adult life continued to share Jesus with those who don’t have a relationship with him, I realized that while John 3:16 is a great verse, it all by itself is not the Gospel. In fact, there is a conversation Jesus has with his disciples in Luke 9:18-25 that discusses this very issue. A very very rough paraphrase of it is this…
Jesus: Disciples, who do people say I am?
Disciples: They say you’re a prophet or a great teacher/spiritual person.
Jesus: What about you? What do you believe?
Disciples: We believe John 3:16!
Jesus: Great, that’s key. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, it’s only the first step, you must not stop there… there’s so much more, let me explain…
And that is what my sermon from Sunday is on: