Friday, March 3, 2017

All Things

I am intrigued with a Scripture verse penned by the man Paul in the Book of 1 Corinthians. "I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it." (1 Corinthians 9:23) You cannot deny that "all things" means "all things". This man doesn't do "most things" for the sake of the gospel. No, not even "a few things" for the sake of the gospel. But according to Paul, he does ALL THINGS for the sake of the gospel.

The gospel, of course, is the good news of the Kingdom of God. Here is why Paul was committed to the proclaiming of the gospel, and nothing else. According to his very own writing, the gospel is:
  • The power of God. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it (the gospel) is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16)
  • Light that reveals the glory of Christ. Paul also writes, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:3-3)
  • Designed to be heard. The gospel must be heard in order to have the faith required to believe and receive it. Again, Paul writes, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14-15)
To the man Paul, there is no shame in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He understands that the gospel contains the power of God. The word "power" here is the Greek work "dunamis". This is the same word (translated power) used to describe the outpouring/receiving of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "...but you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The gospel of Jesus Christ contains the very power needed to create vacancies in hell! Somehow Paul got this. This is one of the reasons he did everything, ALL things for the sake of the gospel.

The gospel not only contains the power of God, it carries supernatural, divine light. Paul said that if our gospel is veiled, it is because the god of this world (the devil) has blinded folks minds, resulting in unbelief. Blind minds are unbelieving minds. When a person truly sees the glory of Christ, most likely they will trust in Him. But only the gospel contains the light that reveals the glory of Christ to the unbelieving. Paul understood that the gospel shines the light that reveals the glory of Jesus, that enables one to trust in Him.

It is obvious that Paul did ALL THINGS for the sake of the gospel because he understood that it must be heard. An unsaved person can experience God's power only through hearing of the gospel. And blinded minds can "see the light" only through hearing the truth of the gospel. So The "power" and the "light" are available only when the gospel is heard by people. And of course, the gospel cannot be heard unless someone proclaims it. By the way, to proclaim is to preach. To preach is to proclaim. And you don't need a pulpit to preach/proclaim. You just need to be willing to live for the sake of the gospel! You live to look for opportunities to tell someone about King Jesus and the Kingdom all the time.

Paul understood this. God help me to understand this too. Everyone needs Jesus. There is no lifestyle in existence too sinful or too far removed from Jesus to hear the gospel. Everyone must hear, see the light, and experience the power of God in order to know Him. The Scripture teaches, "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people." (Matthew 4:23) The power flowed, not because Jesus was God, but because He proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom! Let me prove this to you. The same thing was applied to the disciples, while Jesus was still here. "Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give." (Matthew 10:1, 7-8) Just like it happened for Jesus, the power flowed, and the light shone! In the book of Luke it says they rejoiced because even the demons were subject to them in Jesus' name. Add to that, for you and me, we have the power and presence of Holy Spirit today!

And finally, the greatest hindrance to proclaiming the gospel is all the stuff the world has to offer. We're distracted by Hollywood, TV, and a whole lot of social media, among many other things. This makes it even harder to do ALL THINGS for the sake of the gospel. But it doesn't change the fact however, that we must. No amount of being like the world to relate to the world will ever compare to the simple preaching and sharing of the gospel of the kingdom. When all is said and done, it won't be about the lights, the smoke, the show. It won't be about the latest flicks or TV shows. When all is done, it will be about King Jesus and how many folk you and I brought to Him. Will you join with me in making a commitment to live - starting right now - for the sake of the gospel? Ask Jesus, then trust Him to show you one step and a time, one day at a time how to live for the sake of the gospel. He will do it.

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