1 Corinthians 15:3-4 New International Version (NIV)
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
Forward Thinkers, today, is National Back To Church Sunday across America and thousands of churches have aggressively joined the campaign to get people back in church. We are a part of this Kingdom mission this weekend but our reality is greater than one Sunday.
This sermon series, The Gospel Must Be Declared, is more than just a catchy title, the vision of GHIC is to take Jesus, the Good News, and the Gospel to the nations.
Let’s look at the opening text and the background of the author. Paul became one of the most powerful and influential people in the bible but when we first met Paul he was known as Saul. Saul was a leader of the movement to kill and destroy Christians and the church. On one of his trips he had a personal encounter with God that changed his life forever.
Saul became Paul and committed his new life to declaring the gospel to the world even at the risk of losing his life.
Forward Thinkers, Paul declares the most important thing he could do as a Christian is to share, to declare, and to spread the gospel message that changed and saved his life.
Forward Thinkers, Christ died for our sins. Christ didn’t die for some of our sins or the sins we are comfortable with, but Jesus made the sacrifice for all our sins.
Forward Thinkers, if we believe Jesus died and arose on the 3rd day then we must also believe we have an assignment to declare the gospel (the good news of Jesus) to everyone we come into contact with.
Unfortunately, many in church have become religious racists, turning their opinions into the gospel and spreading more hate and damage than Godliness.
Forward Thinkers, the gospel is a great equalizer because it has the power to impact any and everybody. No one is too far lost for the gospel to find them and guide them into the grace of God.
Romans 10:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
John 13:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
The gospel of Jesus is not always the gospel interpretation of manmade denominations and biased religious groups. The gospel of Jesus declares whosoever hears the gospel message and accepts it shall be saved.
Jesus also tells us when we reject someone from the grace and mercy of the gospel we are also rejecting Him. Remember God so loved the world (the whole world) He gave His Son so the world could receive the gospel message and be set free.
Forward Thinkers, the church was afraid of Saul and even after Saul became Paul the church didn’t want to deal with him because their focus was on who he was in the past and not on the power of the gospel. The gospel can change anybody and the gospel is for everybody.
John 3:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
1 John 4:7-12 New International Version (NIV)
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Forward Thinkers, God didn’t condemn the hell out of us, beat the hell out of us, or judge the hell out of us, but God loved the hell out of us. Our assignment is to declare, to share, and to spread the gospel message wrapped in the love of Christ.
Church attendance in America is at all-time lows and this generation is falling away from the church in record setting numbers because we stopped declaring the gospel (good news) and started sharing our religious opinions, biased viewpoints, and unbiblical truths.
Pew research says only 42% of Millennial Believers attend church and 37% of Millennials who don’t attend say it’s because of the way the church treats marginalized communities.
Jesus said I have come to set the captives free and unfortunately the church is busy spiritually locking people up and out.
Forward Thinkers, instead of acting like we have it all together and pretending like God assigned us to correct the life choices of others we need to operate in love and care enough to get to understand their choices and walk with them in love while sharing the gospel.
Forward Thinkers, this week a young lady was talking to me here at the church and she said Pastor, I’m trying my best to do better I don’t even do all the stuff I was doing before I started coming to church but I still struggle with some stuff. I immediately stopped her and said daughter no one is perfect and the gospel says all have sinned and fallen short but the gospel also says God’s grace is available to keep us walking in a better direction.
Grace, according to the gospel, is powerful enough to pick us up if and when we fall again.
The gospel must be declared because people need to know that there is a grace that runs deeper than all their failures and it can remake them from the inside out.
Forward Thinkers, I’ll close with another conversation I had with a homeless Brother this week who told me he was ready to give up on life. I said to him I know you’re tired and worn out. I know this isn’t what you hoped for your life and I want you to know that God loves you. God wants to make you new. He wants to cancel the old life and give you a new life in Jesus. Jesus died to give you new life, to forgive you and shower you with his grace. God wants you to come back home to enjoy his love, acceptance and peace.
Forward Thinkers, instead of trusting in the escape of the things in this world, God wants you to trust in Christ to become a new creation, to be remade from the inside out.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church and is also the Co-Founder of the No More Blood Shed Movement in Houston, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him by downloading the Green House International Church App through your App Store.