Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The 5th Gospel

There's an old quote by British evangelist Rodney Smith that goes like this - "There are five Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian - but most people never read the first four." The truth of the matter is - you may be the only Bible some people read.

If the world never reads the first four gospels, then what will they read? They’ll read us. They'll read you and me. They’ll read our lives as Christians. You and I are the 5th Gospel, and unless we've gone undercover, we’re being studied, watched, and examined.

This is not about some secret or hidden gospel out in the desert somewhere that is just waiting to be discovered. This is the real thing, what Luther called the "viva vox", the living voice of the gospel, the genuine and authentic witness and testimony of the Christian about what they believe about Jesus.

Unfortunately, many Christians have gone AWOL - incognito for Jesus. But God’s not looking for more secret service agents. He's got enough of those. He wants ambassadors instead. The 5th Gospel is an invitation that asks each one of us, “Will the real Christians please stand up?”

In his Epistle to the Romans Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). And Jesus in His Great Commission said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

Every Christian’s life is sending a message. The question is - what kind of message are we sending? As followers of Jesus, our lives are on display for all to see. The apostle Paul, speaking to the Corinthians said, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:2-3).

Our lives tell a story. But what do they communicate? That’s the question. We are meant to be the 5th Gospel - a good news message in a bad news world for people who desperately need to hear it.

(ht - bobby conway)


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