The Glory of the Gospel
By Terry Cheek Th.D.
Hello, again, I want to begin this month by saying I hope all mothers had a blessed and enjoyable Mother’s Day, and likewise, I want to wish all fathers a happy Father’s Day. However, before we get into this month’s article, let me encourage our fathers to man up and be the family leader God has called them to be.
I realize I have promised an exposition of Romans. I am working to deliver that to you. Unfortunately, due to health problems, I have not been able to complete the second essay in time for June. I hope you enjoy this article, and may it bless your heart reading it as much as it blessed my heart writing it.
For June, let’s look at some scripture in 2 Corinthians. To begin with, let’s read.
2Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”
Are you familiar with the term “knockoff?” You know it is an imitation of an authentic product. For example, many designer clothes, handbags, and watches are copied using cheaper materials and processes; they may look authentic, but they are not. Arguably everything in our life can be imitated using cheap and unsatisfying knockoffs. Have you ever considered the infallible gospel one of those authentic pieces of work that gets cheapened by knockoffs? There are many knockoff versions of Christianity. They pop up like weeds in the human landscape. Today many are drawn into and engage in the bogus proclamation of a cheap gospel that weakly imitates the real thing. The true gospel is easily recognized when we accept the Bible as God’s inerrant, inspired word. True Christians must proclaim the true gospel and allow their lives to reflect its truth as messengers of a life transformed by its truth. Then and only then can the real gospel have an authentic proclamation.
The Bible books of first and second Corinthians are two letters written by the apostle Paul to address several things within the church at Corinth. One purpose of these letters was to address criticism of Paul’s ministry. Although some, possibly many, in Corinth considered Paul bold and powerful in his letters, they also viewed Paul as a base and weak in person (2 Corinthians 10:1, 10). They preferred a powerful, eloquent, and possibly charismatic teacher (compare 11:6).
Paul’s response was more than simple defense. He explained the fundamental nature of the gospel and what it means to follow Jesus. The gospel’s true power is not in the skill or personality of the messenger but in the message itself. Yes, the messenger must have a personal relationship with the Lord and a deep personal commitment to proclaiming the gospel.
A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and commitment to that relationship will give the messenger a transformed character that reflects the true gospel and its power to lead others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The identity of a genuinely born-again Christian demonstrates the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ and the promise of the only all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present God to redeem souls from the death of sin.
From our passage above, we find several ways to identify the glory of the gospel. First, Paul shows us through his words and life the glory of the gospel. Honest service is our passages’ first evidence of the glory of the gospel. Our conviction to serve God has its basis in the mercy of God as a redeemer. God has not given us the punishment we deserve but forgiveness if we ask. Therefore, we serve from an obsession which is desire transformed by gratitude.
Second, Paul shows us the world’s rejection is evidence of the glory of the gospel. True, many people today do not believe Jesus is Lord and Savior. Paul notes in 2 Corinthians 4:3 that the message becomes hidden from those who choose not to hear it. Neither the gospel nor the messenger is at fault, but the one hearing and refusing to heed it (compare 1 Corinthian 1:18). Watching people reject Christ is heartbreaking, but we see God glorified through his effort to offer grace and mercy through this rejection. Therefore, we witness the glory of the gospel.
Third, Paul shows us that through the light of God, there is evidence of the glory of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 tells us the focus of the message is not the messenger. It is Christ. When the messenger is less, Christ can be more (compare John 3:30). As far as Paul or anyone who shares the gospel is concerned, we are only God’s servants to benefit the people to whom the message is delivered. In a world darkened by sin, Jesus is light.
Time and space have brought us to another conclusion. The pastor, preacher, and teacher are only three of God’s many gifts and callings. Every Christian has a testimony and witness, and with this should come a desire to share the gospel with others. The authentic life of a Christian is a humble life of honest, consistent service. Remember this, Christian. An abundant life isn’t about material possessions. It is about your possession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Is there a better, more meaningful life that one can live? Until we meet again, in print or in person, share Jesus every chance you get, and may God bless you is my prayer!
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry
You can contact Terry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by visiting www.theinspiringword.org
Read more from Terry Cheek here.