V. Gospel: Salvation is a Message for Believers

Not only this—a personal confidence as a disciple benefiting from the salvation that comes through the Christ—but therein lies our mission as disciples of Christ: to take that saving message to others. Of all the things that I observe in modern-day Christendom that disturb me the most, the tendency of Christians, so-called disciples, to bask in the glory of their own salvation is most offensive of all. I have worked with teenagers for many years in various spiritual capacities. One of the most frustrating things that I have observed in working with their parents as we have tried to outline a program of spiritual growth for their children is this—and it is practically universal across denominational lines—Parents are more concerned that their children not get pregnant or get in trouble with the law than they are about spiritual disciplines. They desire youth ministers to provide social programs, alternative activities, to offset school dances, proms, and parties, etc.

And these things are most important to the functional neglect of setting before youth, their children, the supreme value of knowing the Scriptures that would guide them in the right paths. It’s preferable to bring in someone famous or important socially who will “wow” the kids, than to emphasize the word of God—because it comes from God—as a superior motivator for Christian living. Indeed, they are so concerned that their teens stay away from sinful influences that they, by default, damn their kids into the attitude of neglect that says, it is more important to stay away from sinners than to be their friends (as was Jesus, Luke 7:34) influencing them as God’s representatives.

The commission, the Prime Directive, if you will as recorded by Mark is that Jesus orders his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach  the gospel– the good news–to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). The good news that we have to give a world, that is very much so caught up in sin, is that that there is forgiveness and encouragement and hope of a better life to be lived as disciples of Jesus living for our one God and Father. We have as a basic and essential message the proclamation of this salvation through the forgiveness of sins. There is initial forgiveness that brings us into the community of believers (Acts 2:38). And there is the forgiveness that keeps us there.

VI. God’s Universal Kingdom