For the next few months, we’re focusing on the values of our network. This month, we’re looking at what it means to be gospel-driven.
The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). It’s the door that allows us to enter the family of God. It’s how we went from sinners to sisters and brothers. The gospel is the only message that saves, and that’s why we need to communicate it with nonbelievers. But I believe both nonbelievers and believers need the gospel.
I’ve been reading Philippians 2, and 3 things came to mind about what Jesus demonstrated in the gospel to believers.
Philippians 2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Jesus surrendered all of the benefits, privileges, rights, and freedoms He had enjoyed with the Godhead for all of eternity. He emptied Himself as the following verse would say. This concept of surrender is a touchy subject for American and Western Christians. We love the liberty we’ve fought for. But Jesus demonstrates that if we preach the gospel to ourselves, we lay down our entitlements at the feet of our Father.
Philippians 2:7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
We lay these entitlements down to step into the role of a servant. A servant is one who has forsaken a self-directed and self-sufficient life. To be like Jesus is to live out this mission as an ambassador for the gospel.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
To be a servant and committed ambassador of the gospel means sacrifice. It also means obedience. We’re going to have to make sacrifices in order for the gospel to go out. We’re going to have to be obedient to the Father as well, just as Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, was obedient, even onto death.
To and for Believers
The danger of looking at the gospel as just the doorway to heaven and a message we only proclaim to nonbelievers is that it convinces us we don’t need the gospel on a daily basis. But the truth is, the gospel keeps believers humble, helps us set our priorities in relinquishing our rights, and gives us purpose and direction as we deny ourselves and pick up our cross to follow Christ.
We have to surrender our rights, be servants and ambassadors for God, and be obedient even if it means making sacrifices. We can only do that by preaching the gospel to ourselves.
Director of Venture Church Network Midwest