The gospel is the truth that God paid the price to reconcile us to him, and because of that, we can be personally loved by him.Knowing each of us closely is all he desires! Knowing Him doesn’t make life on this earth any easier or less painful, but it does make it count for something. And choosing not to share that, is denying someone else the chance to know that.
The great narrative. The story of a world, full of meaningless lives. A God, that desperately longs for intimate relationships with each and every one of those people. The meaning of life is, To be Found. Found by a relationship with God. This life is about the spread of this story. This world is about it. Suffering and healing are thrown into the mix but they aren’t the focus. The focus is on God desperately trying to woo each and every one of us through millions of unique ways, and the moment we have been caught by his love, we are sent out to share it so he can use us to reach the rest. This story is about the gospel racing against time to rescue as many as possible before the clock runs out. This life is our one shot at finding love in God.Everyone deserves that shot. That is why I share the gospel. That is my part in this story.
3. The Gospel does not stop Going
Even when we refuse to voluntarily share it, God puts us in situations that will spread the gospel with or without us. God designed it to be inherently mobilising. Think about it.Built into the great commission is the piece of ‘going’. And all throughout the history, when God revealed the gospel to a people, they had to go share it. Whether they went voluntarily, (Like Abraham, or Paul, or, or Celts, or the Christian crusades) or because of circumstances beyond their control (Jonah to Jericho, Naomi, Joseph, captives to Babylon, Arian Christians, Jews in World War ii).
The gospel is self-spreading. But we are called to share it anyway. There is such a momentum behind it. We are missionaries because we are sent by the gospel. It compels us!
We must never get complacent. We must never stop owning up to the responsibility we have to share the gospel. It is not enough to minister to those who already have it. That is important but it is not the true nature of the gospel. The gospel is always seeking to be found by those who have yet to discover it
This I learned first hand, in my time of sickness. Not only a hope for heaven, or a hope for healing and sactification, but a hope and a reason to keep going in this life. People lose hope when they have duties or responsibilities they cannot complete. But the sharing of the gospel is never complete.So we are never without hope, because hope is built into our responsibility–into the Gospel. When I was sick, the one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that there are others yet that God has for me to share the gospel with. Therefore, there was no giving up. Because I still had a responsibility. A taste of “to live is Christ, to die is gain”, I think. Missional living until our part in the narrative ends!
Why is it important that the gospel cross cultural barriers? Because without those divides, we wouldn’t see the unifying factor. The gospel transcends culture. The ramifications of that are hard to explain to Americans, because we are generally so ignorant of the nature of culture. We know what we know, and anything outside of that is just different from us. We often don’t take the time to learn to respect other cultures.When you understand the weight that cultural divides have, you understand how meaningful it is that the gospel transcends them.
This is why I think God designed his Gospel to be spread cross culturally. To show the incredible reality that God’s family exists in spite of all cultural differences, and that the gospel is really a message for all of humanity, not just a chosen people.This is why missionaries will never lose their value. God will never stop sending them as long as there are people who have not heard. Being someone who has crossed a cultural divide to bring a message, is oftentimes enough proof to the listener, that the message truly matters. After all, why would anyone leave their own culture, to share a crazy story, if they didn’t believe it was true, and that it was worth sharing?Also, if you think about it, in our own culture, we are a part. We stick to societal norms, we try not to bring attention to ourselves. If I asked you to go into your favorite coffee shop, and approach a stranger and offer to pray with them, there would be certain concerns that would immediately come to mind. “You can’t just do that, people will get upset!” “What if they ask me to leave?” “You can’t just walk up and introduce yourself to a stranger! Let alone try to pray with them!”.But consider that I asked you to do this in a culture or country different to the one you know? You are already the odd one out, no one expects you to fit in anyway, so why not be bold and be a little uncomfortable? The value of a missionary lies in his inability to fit in. When a missionary begins to feel at home on the field, they have begun to lose their edge.
The spread of the gospel can only succeed if two elements are involved. Transcending truth, and enculturation. For a culture to accept the blessing of the gospel they must first recognize that it is a truth and salvation available to every people (that is why it’s handy to have the message come from someone who has crossed cultural boundaries) and then they must be shown that discipleship and worship can be shaped in ways that fit into their culture. Meeting both these elements shows a culture that they are invited to join something bigger than them, and that not only are they acceptable in their culture but that their culture is valuable and has something to offer the bigger picture.The Gospel has certain constants that do not change. God bent the ways of this world, and sacrificed his son because he loves us and wants a relationship with us. Not just a chosen people, but all the peoples of the world. That is a universal truth, that everyone deserves the chance to hear. The transcendent nature of that message is powerful, because on its own, it unifies and connects all the peoples and cultures of the world.That being said, the gospel is also a message that embraces cultural differences. Every people and nation, to accept the gospel, have to make it their own. Enculturating it into their nationality allows them to call it theirs, to make it a message that came to them, that they chose to receive. Without this piece, the gospel would just remain a message from outsiders. Being able to worship God in ways that make sense to one’s own culture and language is so critical.
What culture or demographic or people group has god uniquely shaped molded and equipped you to reach? Find out and then take the gospel there.
Whether it is one block over, or a continent over, go! There is no pretending that God didn’t create you to share the gospel. You cannot follow Christ and not be missional.That is the inherent clause within the gospel. It cannot and will not stop moving. That’s how god designed it. He designed it so that just having the good news is all you need to keep it going.
So share it! Reach those that only you can reach. Because if you don’t, who will?