I became a follower of Jesus because I came to a realization in college that there was One True God, and I was not it. Even though I thought of myself as being in charge of my life, I discovered that the Creator had authority and a sovereign claim on me. I came face to face with the Living God as revealed in holy Scripture through several varsity baseball teammates. The first was named James and the second was Smitty, i.e., Doug Smith. They were the first to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with me.
The word “Gospel” comes from a Greek word (evangelion), meaning, “good news.” The gospel is the incredibly good news that God in Christ Jesus has fulfilled His promises to Israel (Matthew 11:2-5) and provided a way of salvation for all. Jesus taught that the prophecies of Isaiah were a foreshadowing of himself (Luke 4:16-21).
Mark 1:14-15 says, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The advent (arrival) of Jesus is the actual gospel event, even though Jesus said the gospel came with him. The Hebrews (and later the first Christians) believed that God’s promise of salvation (Genesis 3:15), reiterated to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:8) was trustworthy, and further supported in Scripture (Acts 4:12, Romans 1:2, Hebrews 1:1-4).
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
The writers of the New Testament declare that to believe in Jesus means salvation (John 20:31, Romans 1:16-17). To reject Jesus means being damned (Mark 16:15-16, John 3:18). The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16), according to Paul. He further says it comes in power (1 Thessalonians 1:5), and he is obligated to preach it and pass it on to others (Romans 1:14-15, 1 Corinthians 9:16). He considers it a sacred trust (1 Timothy 1:11), believes the gospel is truth for eternal life (Ephesians 1:13), asks for prayer to disburse it accordingly (Ephesians 6:19), and says that its reality is hidden from unbelieving people (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). It is by faith that people come to know the saving power of God (Romans 10:5-10, Hebrews 4:2, 11:6). Paul adds in Romans 10:14-15 the call to Christian responsibility to continue to preach the gospel of Jesus.
I look back and am humbled at the way God got my attention. Through His sovereign dealings, and ultimately sending James and Smitty into my life, I was confronted with the claims and person of Jesus. I am grateful for their persistent and loving attempts to ask me about my spiritual background and listen to what I thought about God.
In spite of my resistance and lack of coherent answers to my own questions and doubts, they patiently listened to my objections and suggested ideas and responses to my concerns. Even when I was not looking for God and my eventual spiritual home, James and Smitty (and many others) prayed for me and trusted the Lord to show Himself to me in ways that I could understand. My life changed practically and eternally when I met the Author of good news.
Walk wisely. Ask God for divine openings in order to have the privilege of sharing the gospel this week. You and I are called by Jesus to communicate the gospel to others.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz