By Martin Cicero
My church family and I have been talking about things these last few weeks that lead up to a very important question, “What is the gospel?” Before I answer that, we need to understand that many people answer the question with much excess baggage.
In Section 3 of Steps to Sharing Your Faith, we read,
Sometimes a theme in the Scriptures so captivates us that we are tempted to make it part of the essential message. It might be God’s love for the poor and oppressed, or His promise of prosperity to Israel, or His command to be stewards of the earth. Pretty soon we’re proclaiming the gospel of social justice, or the gospel of prosperity, or the gospel of environmentalism, instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 1
We give unbelievers many reasons to reject the gospel. There are many good causes in the world and many good things for us to fight for, but we shouldn’t make the gospel about anything other than Jesus.
SHARING THE GOSPEL
Please stay with me. I am about to say something you might find a little hard to accept, but give me a chance to explain myself. I believe in the right to life and stand against abortions. However, when I am sharing the gospel with an unbeliever, issues like abortion are not included.
Someone who has not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior is not mentally prepared to make this decision, and because of this they are likely to reject the gospel. If on the other hand, they meet Jesus and grow to know Him and love Him, they will grow to love and hate the things that He loves and hates.
WHAT SHOULD OUR MESSAGE BE?
Remember, we don’t want unbelievers to reject the gospel for other causes. Jim Peterson writes in Living Proof, “Our gospel message should be Jesus, and nothing else. We are not sent to defend or promote economic or political systems, religious structures, our own organization, or any other personal emphasis…We are called to proclaim Jesus, no strings attached.” 2
Let us not use Jesus to support our favorite cause. The gospel message is the message of Jesus Christ. To answer the question “Who is Jesus?” requires us to take them to the word of God. The unbeliever needs to know that Jesus is the one who died for sinners, was buried, and then rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father and that He is coming back.
We are to share Jesus, plain and simple. It is not about our cultural norms or our favorite causes, but about Jesus. He left His place in heaven to come and show us the glory of the Father and then to redeem us from a fate worse than death.