Posted by: Taylor | September 28, 2011

A Dangerous Message: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Part 1 of 4

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not quite as dangerous here in America as it use to be.  There are still those who oppose the message, but not necessarily with violence.  The message of the Cross calls for radical transformation in our lives.  Jesus calls us saying, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Denying ourselves is a most foreign idea in the American mind.  I often quote Oswald Chambers when thinking about denying self, “The only right a Christian has is to give up his rights.”  Why should we do this?  Because as Christians, we believe that our lives are forfeited for the glory of God and His will.  This is most evident in the rest of what Jesus said, “take up” your ” cross daily and follow me.” 

The cross was an instrument of death, torture, destruction.  Follow Jesus where?  To heaven?  To peace and forgiveness?  Yes, but also to death for that is where Jesus was headed.  Never forget this point.  Jesus was not headed to the palace.  He was headed to the cross.  So, He bids us to join Him in new life, but to live with Him in new life, we must first join Him in death.

But what kind of death?  This is where the dangerousness of the message of the gospel enters.  God expects us to die completely.  Denying ourselves is the beginnings of our death.  It is through self-denial that we die to pride, personal relations, interests, and so much more.  Self-denial means holding nothing back from God, not even that one thing which comes to your mind even now.

Why do I share these things?  Because I have been reminded of them, and I believe we all need to be reminded.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is dangerous.  Jesus’ call to us is no light invitation.  If we follow Him, He requires total commitment, and He does ask you to go where few are truly willing to go…your own firing squad, your own death.

I want to share four stories with you over the next few days.  Two stories speak of enormous sacrifices made for the advancement of the gospel, and two stories relate the enormous need of the advancement of the gospel.  God calls us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses for a two-fold purpose.

1.  Teaches us to totally rely upon God.

By denying ourselves and realizing we are marching to our own deaths, we are forced to rely completely upon God for every need we have.  This idea goes totally against everything our culture tells us.  Culture says, “Rely on no one.  Take care of yourself.”  American culture even goes further.  “Don’t just care for yourself, but indulge yourself.”

God wants us relying on Him for all our needs.  If we are self-reliant, then we don’t need God or anyone else.  This flies in the face of a creation ordinance, “It is not good for man to be alone.”  God created us to be in community and to need each other.  If we have no need for others, then we have no need for community or God.

By giving up our rights, by self-denying, we place ourselves in God’s care again.  Relying upon God in this way allows us to see and experience God’s power, provision, and glory. 

2.  Helps us to further the gospel to a lost world by giving more and going ourselves.

The lostness of the world is daunting.  An average of 186,000 people die per second in the world without every having even heard the gospel once.  We hold the key to their salvation.  By denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily, we can trust God for our needs and give up vacations, new cars, and a whole lot of other things so that others might hear the gospel at least once.  These things in our lives are roadblocks to life and salvation for others all around the world.

How?  How should we live?  First, I want to share four stories with you.  Two of them will clearly demonstrate how others are living out the gospel, and the other two will demonstrate the urgency of the need for the truth of the gospel message.  After you have had a chance to read these stories, I will recommend two books to you.  One will help you further grasp the worldwide need for the gospel, and the other will help you practically discern how you can live a life which makes an impact for the gospel around the world and around the corner from your home.

Until tomorrow, peace and God’s blessings to you…Taylor

2 Cor. 6:2 “Now is the Time!”

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Responses

  1. Very thought provoking. Concepts of denying yourself really have become counter-culture here in the states. Looking forward to the 4 storiies….


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