Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Gospel Not Worth Dying For

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you Good News that will bring great joy to ALL the people. - Luke 2:10

...Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God. - Mark 1:14

Then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus - Acts 8:35

So they set out going from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing people everywhere. - Luke 9:6

But Jesus said, "I must proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." - Luke 4:43

To me, it seems that if anything is clear in the Bible it is that the "gospel" Jesus came to proclaim was believed to be GOOD news.

Not mediocre news. Not good news for some but really bad news for (most)others. Rather it would appear that Jesus, as well as his followers, believed that the gospel they were proclaiming was actually good news, and was good news for everyone and everything, everywhere.

In fact, Jesus and his followers believed it was so good that they would willingly die for it... And that's just what they did. All of them. Because the gospel that Jesus talked about wasn't a "here is how to be successful" gospel or even a "here is how to stay alive" gospel.

We live in a consumeristic, success/security driven culture. Even within our Christian culture, success and security are usually at the heart of the "sales pitch" used to convince others to follow Jesus.

"Give your life to God and He will take care of you."

"Say this prayer and God will give you what you want."

"Believe these certain things about Jesus and then you will gain heaven after you die, where there are streets of pure gold and personal mansions awaiting you."

What happened to "deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me"? Crosses back then weren't merely gold plated charms people hung around their necks to complement their new designer dresses. Crosses were used to torture and kill people, and Jesus said you might as well bring your own if you are going to follow me.

Doesn't seem like the best "sales pitch" to me. Try leading with something like that on your next door to door evangelism night. And yet, Jesus still had followers willing to trust him. Whatever Jesus was doing and saying must have been really, really good. Today's version of the gospel is usually either fear motivated (what will happen if you don't) or success motivated (what you will one day get if you do).

And in turn, it seems now we are much more willing to kill for the gospel (whether it be physically or verbally) these days than to die for it.

It would seem that today's "gospel" isn't as good as it use to be. Today's gospel isn't worth dying for.

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