The Big 3:
Over the next several weeks, Pastor Alex will be unveiling three goal for the next decade at Carmel! These goals will impact the Nearest, our Neighbors, and the Nations with the gospel. In light of that, Pastor Alex felt compelled to start this series with making sure we all had an accurate understanding of the gospel.
Romans 1:1 says, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God." Paul is identifying himself as a bondservant, which is a big deal for Paul. In his previous Jewish life he was a Rabbi among Rabbis. He is an apostle - one sent out and set apart. In verses 2-4 we see that the gospel is uniquely Jesus as the God-man sent to dwell among us in the flesh. Being fully God and fully perfect man, only He was able to go to the cross.
In the time of Paul, there was a "good news" gospel of cult Emperor worship. The emperor would send heralds out among the people to tell the good news of the victory that was won, or the child that had been born to the royal family, etc... The true gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is more than good news! Paul is unashamedly (and dangerously) saying that it NOT about the emperor, but about Jesus.
Tim Keller says, "The gospel - is the message that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope."
The Gospel is the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that through faith in Him we can be forgiven and reconciled to God.
In this day and age, the right definition of the gospel is more important than ever. We see a warning in Galatians 1:6-7 that reminds us to not be deceived by other worldviews and that everything else is a counterfeit.
In Romans 1:16, Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel..." This could be due to the fact that enlightenment of Roman culture would have seen the gospel as a very simple message. Thankfully, even today, it is a simple, profound message of Truth and hope. We have lived in a time and region of cultural Christianity. That season is gone, which is a GOOD THING! Remember, Christians have been called names since the beginning. Welcome to the club!
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 shows us that we need the Spirit that we receive at salvation. Without the power of the Spirit, all plans are worthless. With the Spirit, amazing things happen, and we don't get the credit. What an adventure! We must have the power of God for salvation. Romans 1:17 shows us that through the Spirit, the adventure never ceases. We don't trust Christ and just stay put. We allow Him to lead us as we keep growing in the power of God.
To Discuss Today:
1. It is always good to tell the story of your salvation to someone else. Do that this week.
2. Are you "stuck" in your adventure of following Jesus? Why? Is there fear? Is there complacency? Give those things to God and allow Him to use you as He wishes.
3. Where do you see cultural Christianity fading? How does that impact your life? Why is that a "good thing"?