Sunday Reflections (Sept., 16th): Conference Season, 21, The G.O.S.P.E.L.
Well, our conference season concluded yesterday with our Sisters Summit ’12. There were over 800 women who attended the conference on Saturday. It was great to see women sitting to study and standing to teach the Bible. Our Sr. Pastor’s wife, Cheryl Wesley, was the closing session speaker. She did a phenomenal job teaching and challenging the women to fight against sin and the ways of the world, and to resist the enemy through the wielding of “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word” (Eph. 6:17b).
Needless to say, I am one exhausted brother. But the last few weekends have been well worth the time and energy expended.
That number represents the people who we baptized today! Seeing all types of people come to personal faith in Jesus and obey him in being baptized, publicly identifying with him and his redemptive work for our sins, is an awesome sight to behold. We celebrated after each one was baptized. This time is also instrumental in reminding us of the Lord Jesus’ mission for his church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV).
It was an honor to be able to play a role in carrying out a part of his mission this morning.
Today, I had the opportunity to preach to our Jr. High and High School students (some College students were present as well). I came from Romans 1:16 and entitled the message, “Unashamed”. The basic objective of the sermon was to educate them on what the gospel is and encourage them to not be ashamed to proclaim or share it with others. Here is a rough sketch of the body of my sermon:
What is the gospel? It is the Good News of Jesus. What’s the good news?
It is summarized in 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
Jesus died for our sins
Jesus was buried
Jesus was raised [from the dead] on the 3rd day
Sins? Are we really that bad? Well, let’s look at how the rest of Romans chapter 1 describes the human race.
We suppress God’s truth by our unrighteousness (vs. 18b)
We ignore God and exchange His glory for that of idols/false gods (vs. 21-23, 25)
We embrace sexual perversion (vs. 24, 26-27)
We commit all kinds of unrighteousness or sins (vs. 29-31)
Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. Why was Paul not ashamed? Because everyone else was coming out of the closet? No. Because his parents, relatives, or spiritual mentors were not ashamed? No. Paul was not ashamed because he knew the nature of the gospel. He knew the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (vs. 16). So let’s break this down.
“It [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation”
Only the gospel (i.e., Jesus’ redemptive work) is capable of saving us (“is” is present tense – the gospel is not just some old story that your grandparents and mine believed and that just worked back in the 60’s. The gospel is relevant for every generation because it is the only thing that saves us).
Saves us from what? From our sin and the wrath/eternal judgment of God (Rom. 5:9, Eph. 2:3, 5:6 – God’s wrath is future, but also present).
“to everyone who believes,”
The gospel saves only those who apply it to their lives by faith. Notice that we are not saved through our works (i.e., coming to church, reading our bibles, being good/moral, not committing the “big sins,” like having sex before marriage, drugs, murder, stealing, being baptized, etc.), but only through faith in Jesus.
We can’t earn salvation through our works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“to the Jew first and also to the Greek (non-Jew).”
The gospel saves everyone who believes, no matter a person’s race, background, gender, social status.
It is for blacks, whites, hispanics, indians, chinese, etc.
It is for hindus, muslims, mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satan Worshippers, atheists, agnostics, church-going non-Christians, unreligious.
It is for all the cliques in your school: the rockers, the skaters, the outcasts, the jocks/athletes, the mean girls, the gangstas/thugs, the bookworms or nerds, the bullies, the weed heads, the lesbians/homosexuals, the promiscuous.
It is for those who live in:
Americas: USA, The Bahamas, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Caribbean Island of St. Lucia
Africa: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan
Asia and Oceania: Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Korea, Taiwan
Europe: Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom
I concluded the sermon by encouraging them to go into the world and proclaim the gospel in prayerful boldness, and I did this by playing a song by Lecrae off of his recent album Gravity entitled, “Tell the World” feat. Mali Music. Take a listen.
Finally, as a part of explaining what the gospel is, I showed a video of a spoken word piece by Propaganda. In it, he turns the word gospel into a helpful acronym – G.O.S.P.E.L. Watch.
Have a great week!