The True Gospel

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Galatians 1:6-10

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Last night I asked the students what the word gospel meant. We got many answers, some of them close, some of them way off. I told them that gospel means good news, and it is not a strictly Biblical word. It can be applied to any “good news”. In fact we live in a world and society that routinely substitutes “good news” for the truth of God. Let’s take a quick look at 5 false gospels that teens are often confronted with on a daily basis.

  • DRUGS & ALCOHOL – Good news, you can escape all your hurts and pains!

The truth is that drugs and alcohol are merely band-aids for our hurts and pains. They don’t make them go away, and any temporary escape from them is only compounded by our reawakening to reality when the effects wear off. Quite often the choices we make while under the influence of this false gospel can make our hurts and pains even worse, and add even more problems. This is a false gospel.

  • PORNOGRAPHY & SEX – Good news, you can have pleasure without sacrifice and commitment. All that matters is you!

Pornography is a filter that will warp your sense of relationship, love, passion and sex. Trying to find joy in an act that was meant by God to be between a husband and wife, will only leave you emptier and wanting more. Pornography also devalues our humanity and has been proven to lead to abuse and relational troubles. It is also one of the leading drivers behind the sex trafficking trade. There is no good news that comes from pornography.

  • MONEY – Good news, money can provide security, and can provide status.

Money is not all bad. It pays for my house, puts groceries in the fridge, and helps us support missionaries across the globe. But saying that money will bring security and status is putting trust in something that is fragile and temporary. We are not beings tied to this earth and this life, we are meant to live forever. Money, possessions, and status are all things that fade with time. The only lasting thing we can put our trust in is the love of God.

  • POPULARITY – Good news, being popular means lots of friends, fewer problems and less confrontations.

Being popular is something that many students deal with on a daily basis, in fact it will continue to be something that we all deal with in our adult lives. But it doesn’t ease our problems. Having friends is wonderful, in fact it is necessary in order to navigate this life. But striving to be everything to everyone only diminishes our selves. Be who God made you to be, don’t worry about everyone, make friends, and keep them close.

  • GOOD DEEDS & SOCIAL JUSTICE – Good news, being a good person and fighting wrongs is enough.

Doing good deeds and fighting against the injustices of society in this world bring a smile to God’s face. Part of our calling as Christ followers is to help the hurting and the poor, and to protect the powerless. But to think that this alone is enough to make up for our sinful nature and bring us in sync with God the Father is false. We need to do good, and help those who can’t help themselves, but what we really need is the TRUE gospel.

  • THE TRUE GOSPEL – Good news, Jesus came, died and rose from the dead to give you life, a life filled with the joy of God and built upon the security that He will never fail or abandon you. All you have to do is confess, believe and live.

The true gospel is that all we need is God’s grace. We can’t work hard enough, can’t own enough, can’t have enough friends, or find our joy and hope in sex. What we need is what we don’t deserve, the grace of God.

How We Love Him

Ahhh… love. Love is a very powerful force, it affects our lives like the moon on the tides. When people fall in love it changes them. They are no longer the same, they start forgetting about themselves and focus more on their new found love. Guys start doing strange things, like going shopping, watch romantic comedies, and learning how to groom themselves. Ladies start paying a little more attention to their hair, their make-up, and may spend a little time trying to figure out the rules of football. Should it be no less when we find God’s love? If we say we love God should we not start paying attention to the things that matter to Him?

Matthew 25:31-40 New Living Translation

  “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

  “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

  “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Who matters to God? The Sunday School answer to this is simple of course… everyone matters to God. But when we read this passage we get something else. When Jesus spoke these words, it wasn’t just a parable, it wasn’t a just another conversation between Him and His disciples. This was a very literal list. See Jesus didn’t just come as the Son of God, not only as our Savior. Jesus came as a champion of social justice, a warrior for the underdog. And His words in Matthew 25:35-40 serve as a guide to Christians today. See people matter so much to God that Jesus said when we help them, it is as if we were helping Him.

We know that God loves all people, but His heart is broken when people are hurting, when they are lost, and when they are broken. At church we sing songs of how much God loves us, how much He has done for us, and we sing about how much we love Him. But how do we show God that love? What does that look like? Just like any other relationship love requires action on the part of both people. Are we really doing our part, or are we just trying to fill in our feelings with songs and poems. Matthew 25 serves almost as a gift list for our God, it tells us how we can show Him we care, not just with words, but with love motivated action. What we do by no means gives us salvation, but the faith that our salvation has brought us should drive us to do these things for Him, because He loved us first.

God did His part. Jesus showed us His love. The sacrifice He gave for us on the cross was an action of love that is unparalleled. Jesus, with no guarantee of acceptance, of gratitude or of our belief, gave His life up willingly, so that we might have the chance to come back to relationship with God. We are not expected to do the same, but we are expected to reach a hand out and to help our fellow man, to be reflectors of the love, grace and mercy that was shown to us through the cross.

Over the next week look for daily entries on Matthew 25:31-40. We are going through this passage in a 2 part series and I want to be a little more in-depth than one entire will allow. Shine your light! God Bless!