“Living in the Light of the Gospel” has been introduced as the 2009–2010 theme here at school. I am so thrilled; because the truth of the matter is that the gospel gets pushed aside for the conventional happenings in every day life. Chances are I think more about how the weather will affect my day than how the Gospel should affect my life. It’s has been fabulous to here messages from the chapel platform about grace, sin and redemption. So much impact can come from a 25-minute sermon because it is so immersed in practical theology.
So often God’s big picture gets pushed aside because I do just what the end of Matthew 6 tells me not to do; yes, I worry about the day to day things much too often. But God has so much more for me to see and to think about–His gospel and the impact it is having on the entire world–and the impact it should be having on me . . . Mr. Daulton, in his message this morning, addressed how the gospel is what causes growth in the Christian’s life; I was so thankful for this reminder because it was just what I needed–and just what I had been thinking about all this past week.
So what is the big picture? Over the summer, while traveling in the van, I listened to several messages on Christ, the Gospel, and missions. But one particular message that really sticks with me even now was by Eric Simmons preaching from Colossians about this “Big picture.” Simmons says, “We must think globally, and we must act locally.”
“Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,”–Colossians 1:5b-6
Simmons emphasized that the church is growing–everywhere, globally, as a result of the Gospel; and we if we are saved we are a part of that church and we, as Christians, should be encouraged by the fact that the church is growing. This growth is the “Big Picture” and the “Global Perspective” of the gospel as he calls it. The Mission then–is to further the gospel in our communities–locally.
I have to ask myself so often as to why the power of this wondrous Gospel does not motivate me to action when it is so clearly at work in the world. Yes, of course, there are those days when my adventuresome self just wants to hop onto the next plane and fly somewhere dark and foreign and start spreading the light of the Gospel. But then I have to think, why can’t the gospel be powerful where I am right now? Why don’t I care to see grace move me? What about those around me locally? What about my community? What about my classmates? Sure, they might be saved–but is the gospel still transforming them? Are they growing? I remember another message I listened to this summer–A powerful message on the life of Christ by Kevin DeYoung. A quote of his from this message really made me evaluate my constant every day life and view of Christ and the Gospel.
“Do not get inoculated with Christ. You get just enough Christianity in your veins to keep you from getting the real thing. Most young people today have a shrunken, domesticated Christ who is safe, easy and manageable instead of the real Christ. The closer you get to him the more you love him and the more you fear him. God is calling you to stop playing games and making excuses and to open your eyes to see Jesus as the Christ. He is more glorious and loving and gracious and powerful and more wonderfully terrifying than any of us can ever imagine.”
Of course the gospel can transform those around me. And then I think, “what about me”? The quote above describes me so much more than I would like to admit. God is not done with me, nor is He done using His gospel to transform me by His amazing grace. I realize so much more that I desperately need the power of the Gospel in my own life. That power to grow and to know God so much more intimately–so that I can enjoy so much more the sharing of the gospel with others because I am sharing the One whom I know and love best.
“11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Colossians 1: 11-20
I hope as you have read this that you have found the same encouragement here that I have found. I must head back to the dorms now. Pray that as I do I will keep the Gospel as primary in all aspects of my life.