I had one of my "sermon drifts" this morning. I do enjoy and get something out of our pastor's sermons, but today, my mind fell on something else.
As a youth in the 70's and early 80's, and involved in a large church, there seemed to always be this admonition to "share the Gospel". You must realize that those years were the time when it was every Christian's duty to go out and witness about our faith, and ask the question "have you received Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" I was immersed in this culture. The music echoed the times, and encouraged a life of sharing the Gospel. I even had a few friends comment to me that unless I was witnessing, praying daily and reading the Bible daily, I was not a "good" Christian.
I did try to "share" the Gospel, but found myself totally incapable of being a good witness, and felt therefore that my faith was "less" than the others who could witness like crazy and "convert" souls to Christ. Eventually, I moved away from this place both literally and spiritually, and eventually came into a state of churchlessnes, where I didn't care about attending a church or being a part of something that demanded I perform, or I was not up to a preconceived set of standards.
It really has been only these last few years that I have realized that as much as we are called to "go forth and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19), that what we are REALLY called to do is BE the Gospel.
The Gospel Defined
What IS the Gospel, then. Some may say simply that it's the writings of several individuals documenting the words and deeds of Jesus. Some may say it's the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies about a Messiah for the People of God. Some even see it (erroneously so I believe) as subservient to the Pauline Epistles, which get more into the nitty-gritty of living as a Christian.
To me, the Gospel is all of those, but more. It is a revelation of a man who said that HE was God, and who lived a life of transiency, ministering to the poor, the destitute, the prostitutes and many others that our society today would shun, just as they were in 1st century Palestine. Jesus only gives the Great Commission once, but he frequently instructs his followers to care for the poor. Even after he had ascended to heaven, his followers sold all their possessions and divided the income to disperse to the poor. The Gospel is not an account of the things Jesus SAID, but of the things He said and DID.
The Gospel is a call to action.
Every Sunday we close our services with our pastor saying "Go in Peace. Remember the Poor", and we respond "Thanks Be to God!" The Gospel is not just about saving ourselves, even to the extent that Jesus himself stated "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25) As Christians, we are called to BE the Gospel - to be the hands of God in this world. To minister to those who need it. Not to go out and try to "win them to the team", but to BE the team members that reach out and touch lives.
Soli Deo Gloria