By Jason Koon
This is the second article in a series on central truths of the gospel that are slowly becoming endangered in today’s Church culture.
Well-known evangelist, Paul Washer tells the story of a time he was uninvited from speaking at a Church after asking the Pastor what he should speak on. He was told that it was up to him, and when he asked a second time, he was told, “just preach on God.” Washer wasn’t satisfied with this answer and replied by saying, “you don’t want me to do that, because if I preach the God Scripture describes, most American Christians will get up, walk out, and say that’s not the God I believe in.”
Washer tends to overstate things to make a point, but the basic idea is true. The average American Church-goer’s view of God is probably not a biblical as they think it is. Add to this the fact that our contemporary gospel preaching seems increasingly devoid of truth about Who God is, and I think we may have a problem. Think about where we usually start, “God has a wonderful plan for your life,” or if we’re really old school, we might even start off with, “did you know that all of us are sinners?” But how often do we hear gospel presentations start off with the person and work of Jesus? How often do we start off with the cross or the empty tomb? Once in a while we might hear that, but the Bible goes back even further. The message of Scripture, at its core, is a message of who God is. This means that this question, “who is God?” Is the most critical question that any Gospel presentation must
God is Holy – Imagine starting with, “did you know our universe is ruled by an all-powerful, Holy God, whom you fought against your entire life and who will one day return and judge the earth, destroying everyone and everything who persists in rebellion against Him?” I don’t know how well that would fly in our world today, and maybe I’m overstating my case a little bit, but God is Holy. He is not like us, and He is not a warm-fuzzy, grandfatherly, teddy bear in the sky. The Bible says He is a warrior, a consuming fire, a conquering King, and a perfect judge. God is not someone to play games with.
God is a Judge – God has a perfect standard of right and wrong, and He doesn’t grade on a sliding scale. There is God-like righteousness, and then there is unrighteousness worthy of his wrath. There’s no in-between. And unlike us, God is perfectly right and qualified to judge because this is His world and we are His creatures. Which means He has the right to tell us how to live.
God is Merciful – And yes, just when we get to the point where most of us are saying, “I don’t think I want to read this anymore – honestly, I’m about to the point where I don’t want to write this anymore – God is merciful, and He is kind. All this makes the kindness of God, as revealed through the sacrifice of Jesus so much more powerful. This is where the idea that God has a plan for my life should be shockingly good news. God has a plan for my life…me, the sinner, rebellious, hateful, deserving of death, and yet Jesus is willing to give up His life for me. This is good news. This is the God we serve; kind and just to those of us who deserve nothing from Him.