The Gospel is for Christians too! Many Christians are content to keep the Gospel on the front-lines of overseas missionary activity, but leave Jesus behind in their desire to move on to what they would consider the weightier matters of discipleship in the local church. Evangelism is a catalyst for discipleship and the Gospel is the pattern becoming like Jesus; the goal of discipleship. I know I just used the E-word and a lot of people are cringing. Let me explain.
The Gospel is the good news that terms of peace have been extended through Jesus to a people at war with their Creator (2 Cor 5:19). I do not share in his Reformed view, but I love how Michael Horton, in The Gospel-Driven Life (p. 77.), elaborates on the Gospel. “Nothing that I am or that I feel, choose, or do qualifies as Good News. On my best days, my experience of transformation is weak, but the Gospel is an announcement of a certain state of affairs that exists because of something in God; not something in me.”
The good news is that we, ourselves, are not the Good News, but rather participants in God’s patience, mercy, and love. When I fail to show the transformation that the world and even I expect, God is still on the throne and the Good News can go forward. This releases the pressure and I can exalt God even in my failures. When I rehearse the Gospel, even preach the Gospel to myself, I am reminded of the power to truly live. We have been offered such precious news that it cannot be held back. Even in prayer, I can remind myself that I am praying in Jesus name and not my own.
I can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb 4:16) not because of my successes but because of Jesus work. We do not have to hide in our failure and weakness but in, and only in, the name of Jesus we can receive the help we need. In Jesus name I can pray like this: Father, I come before you, not in my own power, not in my own righteousness, not in my own capability. I come before you in the authority of Jesus, your Son, who gave me access in this faith in which I stand because of His blood. I come on the merits of Jesus, not on my own merits.
This is true freedom. It is clear that a world at war with its Creator needs to hear this. When I as an individual embrace this Gospel as a way of life it will begin to spread outward in concentric circles of influence. The world does not need more “perfect” Christian families to isolate and mock, but it could use some families like mine that fail, respond in repentance, and declare the wonder of God to a broken world. When I require perfection of my family members, I will allow embarrassment to poison them when they inevitably fail. I want the Gospel to permeate our lives to show a watching world how secure and free we are in Christ. That’s what I mean by Evangelism, and the world is ready to hear it. It starts with me, it starts with you, because after all, the Gospel is for Christians too!