The Gospel isn’t just a set of books in the Bible. It is the good news that Jesus Christ died and rose again so we could have eternal life with Him! The Gospel is not just good news for us, but it is the good news of God’s love for all people. Learn about why it is important for us to share the Gospel message in this episode of Napkin Theology.
- Why do you need to go to church? I'm a good person. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. So why do I have to be a Christian?
- So if I love Jesus and I love God, why does it matter to claim to be Christian?
- Why do I have to tell people I'm a Christian? Why do I have to make that a part of my life? Basically, why can't I just be me?
- And how would you in the professional world (politics, business, school, etc.), how would you deal with the Gospel, this demonstration of what's bridging the gap?
Pastor Mike's Answer:
The short answer is because other people need to know. They need the same salvation you found. And if we don't claim Christianity because we don't want offend other people or we don't want to turn somebody else off, then we fail to give them access to, or direction to, the salvation they need.
In fact, let me do it this way. If I do it this way, people are here on this left side of a cliff, but on the other side of the canyon over here is God. Now, I don't think people realize that they're separated from God like that. What has separated people from God is sin, right? Sin separates us from God. That's what happened in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had everything: perfect place, no sin, no sorrow, no sickness, no death.
But they chose against God. And when they did, that sin, that's what sin is called. A lot of people want to think that sin is like something heinous, like murder or robbing or whatever. But the truth is, sin is violating a known law of God, a willful transgression of a known law of God.
Now, if we reject God, we're just living over here on the right side of the cliff, thinking everything's good until things get bad and then we don't know what to do with it because we don't have any context to work with. When God's over here saying, "Hey, I want you to come join me". But how do we do that? Because there's this whole chasm, there's this whole canyon of sin.
When you claim to be a Christian, what you're doing is you're teaching people that there is actually a bridge. There's actually a bridge between these two that they didn't know was there. And the bridge is Jesus, because Jesus covered sin when He died on a cross. So as a believer, I have to claim Jesus in order for people to know He's the Way.
But if I say, "no, I believe in Jesus", but I never do anything about it, or I never receive Him, or I never let Him change my life, then what have I done? I'm still over here on the left side of the canyon. And I'm saying, "yeah, I believe" but I'm not making the journey to God. I'm not using the bridge Jesus gave me.
I think that what some people are trying to do when they say, "I don't want to have to claim Jesus, I just want to be me. I don't want to have to claim Jesus." What they're trying to say is, I still want to live in this left side, but I want to act like I'm claiming this right side.
When somebody finally realizes I need God, but I don't know how to get to Him, this is the answer to that. Jesus is how you get to God when you finally realize you need Him. Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the life", this is in the Gospel of John, "and no one comes to the Father except by me". So Jesus gives us the way to find truth in life and find our way to God the Father. So that's why we claim Christianity.
Just to be quite frank about it. I don't think you lead in a relationship with Jesus. I think you lead with living a life that Jesus called you to. Let's talk a minute about grace, because grace does something different. There is grace that God gives us that tells us we need to head toward God, right? So there's grace that draws us in this direction towards God. But then we're not good at it.
When we first ask Jesus to forgive us, we're not good at it. All the stuff we're not supposed to do, we're still doing, right? But grace tells us we at least need to take the journey, right? So we're taking the journey. We're headed this direction toward God. But grace helps us.
Eventually, we get better at it, and grace leads us even further along. The decision to come up here, to the edge of the cliff, when you accept Jesus as your savior, that decision is an event. There's a moment when I choose to step up on my cross and say "I'm going to believe in this". Growing in grace until I actually become like God? That's a process. And if we're living out this process, then people see Jesus in us long before we tell them about Jesus in us.
If we tell them about Jesus in us while we're still standing over here, that rings as hypocrisy. It rings as just not real, because it's not. You haven't taken the journey. But if we're on the journey and they can see that process taking place, and then we speak to them about Jesus, then I think that they're open to hear because they see something in our lives that's not common in everybody else's life.
Also, it's not really linear, because what we tend to do is jump back and forth. Hopefully it progresses forward, but it's not linear. There's a book by Chuck Swindoll that I bought years ago. It's called Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back. The point he's making is you're not always just progressing forward. There are times where you are dropping back. But what you want to get is you want to get three steps forward to every two steps back so that you're making some progress. It's not straight linear.