The Gospel

2 Timothy 2:8-10

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

This passage challenged my normal thought processes today.  When Paul says according to my gospel, I felt a little appalled since I have come to understand that “the gospel” belongs to Christ and we are simply messengers.  If we flip to the beginning books of the New Testament we see titles such as “The Gospel according to Luke,” with this unique understanding that it is just their viewpoint of Christ’s influence on earth.

The original Greek term for Gospel is euaggelion, pronounced as {yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on}.  It is the word from which we derive the word “evangelism” and “evangelist”, which is meant to represent one who carries the gospel.  Gospel is a word that was used in ancient times to mean a message of good news to be spread throughout the land.  An evangelist was one who was the messenger, who went out to tell others of this good news.  I have felt too often that these words were used in Christian circles but I didn’t truly grasp what they meant.  Now that we know what we are talking about in terms of vocabulary, let’s look into what Paul is saying here.

If we have accepted God’s forgiveness and entered into a relationship with Him through the saving blood of Christ, then we indeed have a gospel.  We have good news to share.  As God continues to transform us from the inside out and change our hearts and subsequently our minds and actions, we have something to share with others.  Some people call this a testimony of God’s work in their lives.  I tend to avoid that term because it reminds me of late night commercials with “testimonials” about how this product or that machine changed their lives.  It’s hard for us to believe someone simply by what they say, isn’t it?  This is why there are always “before and after” pictures to show the change.  It is interesting how the testimony of Christ in our lives works the opposite way.  First the change happens and people see the before and after pictures and then we have an opportunity to tell them our testimony, our story, our gospel.  We get to tell them the good news that what we have is also available for them.  The Gospel of Christ isn’t a hand-me-down story that we study and tell others about, but rather something we experience in our personal lives.

Yes, it is our gospel.  It is our good news of God’s work in our lives.  My story is different than yours.  Yours is unique from anyone else’s.  The elements are the same, but our stories are unique and personal for a reason: our God is a personal God and He created us uniquely.  This is why Paul had no problem being imprisoned because of his story, because he knows it is the truth.  It would be one thing if it was made up and someone just convinced him of it and told him he would benefit if he told others.  That’s not how the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  Rather, we ask God to enter our lives and as we begin and continue a relationship with Him, He becomes more and more real to us.  He opens our eyes to His truth, His life, and His way.  Furthermore, God reveals to us His purpose for our lives.  He shows us exactly why we are born and continue to live on this earth.  Not as a whole, but individually and specifically for each and every one of us.  Paul remains steadfast in his mission on earth not because it’s a good idea, but because it is his purpose.  He has peace in his mission because he is in the center of God’s will.  To us it looks like suffering, to him it is exactly what he was purposed to do.

If we aren’t there yet, this can be intimidating.  We cannot imagine being imprisoned.  We cannot fathom selling everything and moving to a foreign land.  We cannot accept that what seems like sacrifice and torture will not only be pleasing to God, but pleasing to us as well.  It doesn’t make sense because it is not a worldly concept, rather it is the operation of the Kingdom of God.  As these people stand out in your life, ask them to share their story, their testimony, their gospel of God’s presence in their life.  You will see that the change in their life is not a result of their own power, but the power of God inside them.  The only way you will truly understand, however, is if you experience it yourself.

I invite you to ask God to reveal your purpose in life today.  Ask Him to show you why you are here.  Start your own story of God in your life today.  You might be thinking that you are already on that path…but what is the next step?  Every story has a progression, are you progressing through it or did you take a break?  Don’t let idleness get in the way of the most amazing things God has planned for your life.

I say these things not out of doctrine or teaching or a passed down story.  I tell you this stuff is real because I experience it myself.  It’s more than a good idea, it’s a truth that is unwavering and eternal.



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