What Does Your Gospel Look Like?

This morning, I filled my travel mug with coffee and settled into my chair to begin my day with God.  I just finished 2 Corinthians and was looking for where to read next.  I figured since the Youth and Family pastor will begin the next study in Romans, I’d start in Galatians to get a little condensed theology, in case I actually do end up teaching once or twice to the youth group this year.

Have you ever had God show you something over and over again and yet you wonder what you are supposed to do?

Galatians starts out with Paul warning the church about other distortions of the Gospel that they might hear.  So he begins to defend the Gospel that he shared with them by telling them how he received it.  It wasn’t something that he heard from someone else.  He got the message that he gave to the Galatian church through revelation.  This revelation transformed his life, he no longer persecuted the church, killing some Christians and dragging others to prison.  Now he travelled and preached the message that Jesus was the Savior and that salvation came through faith in the Son of God.  It wasn’t a message that he met up with other people and crafted.  In fact, it wasn’t until seventeen years later that he went to Jerusalem and met with the other apostles.

I can only imagine the scenario.  Paul walks into the room and James the brother of Jesus greets him and introduces him to the other apostles.  After some small talk, Paul asks to talk with Peter, John and James privately where he explains to them how the Gospel was revealed to him and how he has been traveling around teaching this to the Gentiles.  These three pillars of the apostles agree with the message, but have one important thing to say.

What could be their one concern?  Some important theological point, no doubt!  Perhaps they wanted to be sure that Paul taught that Jesus was the sinless Son of God?  Maybe they wanted Him to address the substitutionary atonement of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross?  Perhaps they wanted him to go into more detail about how this was the predestined plan of God even before the creation of the universe?  No, the only thing they said was…

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”1

I’ve read this passage dozens of times and this sentence never stood out to me before.  But it seems God has been working on my heart to see the poverty in third world countries as well as the homeless right next door.  I’ve been wondering what to do for about a year now, ever since having my own eyes opened to the orphan crisis in Ethiopia, reading the book ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan, studying and preaching out of James 1 and 2, and now reading this, among other things.   What am I to do with this knowledge?  How does the Gospel that I live measure up?

So today I downloaded the volunteer application for the Faith Baptist Community Center downtown.  It’s been on my mind for a while, now I’m actually taking the first step to find out how I can get involved.

What do you think the Gospel should look like?

1. Galatians 2:10

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Follow my theology journey at God’s More Than Words

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3 Replies to “What Does Your Gospel Look Like?”

  1. Thanks for the reflection.

    One of the things I make it my personal practice to do (in addition to my family’s support for various anti-poverty resources convened by our church at the local and international level) is to make microloans.

    Kiva.org is one prominent microlending community where ordinary people like you and me can make small ($25) loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. I typically make one each month out of my personal allowance, prayerfully considering the hotspots in the news and then searching for a business owner there to support. I can sort loans by repayment term to ensure a speedy repayment so I can re-lend. After I’ve made enough loans, the work becomes self-sustaining, since I have enough being repaid each month to turn it right back around to the next borrower.

    I get no interest for this (Kiva is a not-for-profit model for the lenders, though there ARE for-profit alternatives out there if you wish more than just a social return on your loan). But I do get a very collaborative sense of partnership with real lives in real places that is very different, and a nice complement to, the feeling I get from charity alone. This isn’t charitable giving, in that sense. It is a loan that I choose not to have paid back, but keep handing out over and over again.

    If you wish to check it out, here’s an invitation link through my donor profile:

    http://kiva.org/invitedby/chrisbuckley

    Peace and all good-
    Chris

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    1. This sounds like a great site, I’ll be sure to check it out! I’ve heard personal stories of people whose lives have changed because of a small loan that helped them feed their families. Thanks for the tip! And by the way, since this is your first comment, thanks for reading and sharing!

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