I was stepping outside to walk our two dogs when I noticed the compact car parked alongside the curb, with four professionally dressed young people stepping out. The four gals broke into two pairs and started walking to houses, while the fellow remained in the car as the driver. I wondered if they would approach me as our ten legs passed by them, and they did not. I was reminded of the time I had chased two rather startled (and probably frightened) Jehovah Witnesses down our street in Phoenix, waving a Bible and proclaiming “You came to my door, andyou’re going to hear the Gospel!” as they hurriedly jumped in their car and pulled away (I was, by the way, ‘hero for a day’ with my two teenage daughters).
So, being a few years older and a few states away, what would I now say to these energetic young people if we intersected on my way back to the house?
Two questions almost immediately came to my mind: Who do you say that Jesus is? And, What gospel are you preaching?
These are good questions. Not because they were my choices, but because they cut to the heart of two core issues: Do you (or don’t you) believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead? The second question, based on the first answer – so what, exactly, is your message regarding the Person and Nature of God?
The compact car was gone by the time I walked back down the hill. Tucked neatly into the crevice of our front door, however, was a computer-generated card with the words, “You are Invited” on the front.
And just what was I being invited to? According to the note, a “brief talk” on “why Jesus’ death is so important.”
With a mid-April attendance date, I looked for the celebration information on the subsequent event, that veil-tearing, history-changing event that “disarmed the rulers and authorities” and “made a public display of them” – Jesus’ Resurrection. (Col. 2:15) Not a word. It was apparent that their particular “message regarding the Person and Nature of God” revolved around sins and death, not resurrection, victory, or new life. Not much to celebrate, there, when Resurrection Sunday rolls around!
That is not the case, of course, with those of us who walk “according to His purpose,” “according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him,” and “according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Rom. 8:28, Eph. 1:9, Eph. 1:11, NAS)
This is more than an academic discussion. 2 Timothy 2:15 states, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (NASB) The Amplified Bible writes the Scripture this way: “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing (rightly handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of Truth.”
There are plenty of “words” in this world that are not “the Word of Truth.” Each of our lives represents a form of “gospel” that others will read….and which can draw them to God, or possibly repel them. Paul wrote, “You are our letter…known and read by all men, being manifested that you are a letter of Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:2-3, NAS)
I encourage you…let our letter that reads “you are invited” be an invitation to receive Living Water and the “bread of God which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.”(John 6:33, NASB)