Basic Christianity: Gospel

Published September 11, 2017 by

Today we begin a new series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.

 

This past Sunday (September 10, 2017), our service theme was “God is our Life.” Pastor Bobby preached about the Gospel from the text 1 John 1:1-4. The basic message of his sermon was that Christianity is about a real life person (Jesus).

In a world where people are often spiritual seekers but have no assurance about who God is, the Gospel offers us certainty and assurance that we can know and love God. This reality that Pastor Bobby described had three main points:

  1. The Gospel is True Truth: Buddhism can be a true set of ideas and principles without Buddha, and Confucianism can be true without Confucius, but Christianity is completely based on good news about what Jesus did. It isn’t a set of principles about how we should live (although it has implications for how we live). Instead, it is based on the truth about Jesus, a real historical person who lived for us. It is mainly not about what we should do, but about what God has done for us in Jesus. 1 John 1:1 reminds of the evidence that early followers of Jesus had of who God is: they heard, saw, looked at, and touched the one who was from the beginning.
  2. The Gospel is Total Truth: 1 John 1:1 also tells us what kind of truth Jesus is. He is the Word or “logos.” For ancient Greeks and Romans, the logos was the logic of the universe, and a good life was one lived by that logic. The Gospel is the message that the logic of the universe has come looking for us, pursuing us. If that is true, Jesus must be the purpose and center of our entire lives.
  3. The Gospel is Truth in Person: Jesus is not a system or a moral crusade. Systems of ideas or morality are not necessarily bad, but we should be leading people to the person Jesus, not focusing on peripheral things about Christianity. The church should be a “centered set” community, focused on Jesus at the core, not a “bounded set” community defined by boundaries and rules. That can be described as the difference between a ranch with fences to keep in cattle and a ranch with a well at the center to draw cattle to the source of life so they will not stray far.

Pastor Bobby ended by encouraging us to think this message into our lives and go tell other people.

Questions for reflection and prayer

How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through this Scripture passage and this sermon?

How would you summarize how the Gospel is true in your own words?

1 John says that Jesus is the logic or meaning of life. In what ways can your life only be explained based on who Jesus is? Is there something else that explains more about who you are than Jesus does?

Do you find that our church and the people in it are centered around Jesus and his real, historical life and work? How so? What would a group of people act like together if they were completely focused on Jesus as their source of life and meaning?

Jesus was known for crossing boundaries and interacting with people who were seen as far from God. Can you think of ways that systems of ideas or moral codes or religious traditions become barriers that keep people away from Jesus? If Jesus is the logic of the universe and the key to living the good life, how can you share who Jesus is in a way that reflects how he invited people to eat with him?

Do you love Jesus as a person who has become human to find and rescue you, or do you mostly see him as a set of ideas or a source of rules? Why do you love him?

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