It is Saturday night at 6:55 PM. 15 hours from now I will take the stage at Wildwood Community Church to preach a message that centers around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful message . . . not the presentation, but the message itself. You know the story:
- The story of a lost sinner found.
- The story of a prodigal Father offering the world to the wayward child at the expense of Jesus, our true older brother.
- The story of how there is nothing I could have ever done to earn His forgiveness, yet He freely gives grace upon grace.
- The story of how He graciously offers to work through us in this life to accomplish His plans, despite our shortcomings.
- The story of how He defeated sin and death and invites us to spend eternity with Him.
- The story of how He loves us.
- The story of how He will never leave us.
You know the story right?
As I sit here tonight though, I wonder how much I actually believe this story I have so often told. I ask that question because:
- Though I am found, I so often feel lost.
- Though I have returned to find the Father waiting, I still sometimes run back away.
- Though I am accepted by His work not mine, I am still so concerned about what everyone thinks of me.
- Though I know He has chosen to work through His people, I am scared to death He won’t work through me in the morning.
- Though He has invited us to spend eternity with Him, I am so caught up in the day to day.
- Though He loves us, sometimes I feel unloved.
- Though He has promised to never leave us, sometimes I wonder where He is.
Do you ever have these feelings? Do you ever wonder how much you actually believe the Gospel? After all, if I really believed it, would I still feel so wishy washy? After 25 years of walking with God, you’d think I would have new problems, but sometimes I feel like I just keep replaying the old ones, like reruns on late night television. Do you ever feel like this?
Well, if you can relate to any of this . . . you, like me, need to hear the message of the Gospel again and again. The Gospel is at the center of all we are, because at the center of the Gospel is Jesus Himself, our all in all. We do not graduate past the Gospel, it is a course we are always enrolled in.
The fact that we still struggle is evidence for the relevance of the Gospel, not encouragement for us to “move on” to other things. You and I need Jesus Christ. We need His life. We need His death. We need His resurrection. And guess what? He has wrapped all that up and gives it to us again and again and again. 1 Corinthians 15:57 tells us, “But thanks be to God who gives us (again and again in an ongoing way) the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The great news of the Gospel is that we don’t just need it to enter into a relationship with God, we continue to live in its glorious economy. So, to those who are far from Christ AND those who have been following Him for years, the Gospel is equally relevant. All of us need to be reminded of the great truths we so often forget about who Jesus really is. All of us need to continually believe the truth of the Gospel message, because in this life sometimes our feelings can mislead us. We must live by faith and not by sight or even feel.
So, tomorrow morning I am going to step into the pulpit still dependent upon the Gospel. In my struggles, I understand the depth of the Gospel all the more. If I were perfect in behavior, unwavering in belief, mentally beyond parallel, then I would not need a Savior. But in my weakness, I turn to Him who gives me strength.
Are you going to a worship service in the morning? I hope so. If you are in the OKC area, I hope you come to Wildwood. I would love the chance to worship with you this week. Not to celebrate our goodness, but His. Not to celebrate our faithfulness, but His. Not to celebrate our wisdom, but His. We all need the Gospel. Because at the center of the Gospel is Jesus Himself.