Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 3, 2013

Can Muddy Water Obscure the Gospel Message? by David Bower

 What is the Gospel Message?

Probably the best known summary of the gospel message is found in the words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus as recorded in John 3:16,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That seems to be simple and straightforward enough to be understood by anyone. The message of salvation is simple and unadorned and tells of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind. I have always been impressed by the comments made by the Apostle Paul when he spoke on the subject of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 where he wrote:

“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

That simple message is the vital first step of the great commission that was given to the church by our Lord God, Jesus Christ. The second step which I shall only mention in passing is given in Matthew 28:20, “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

How then is the church obscuring this message with muddy water? Let’s explore the ways.

Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower

An article was posted on 10-22-2013 on the “Christianity Today” website concerning the conversion of Kirsten Powers who is described there as “Kirsten Powers is a contributor to USA Today and a columnist for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. She is a Democratic commentator at Fox News.”

In her article she says:

“Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.”

Then farther down in the article she wrote:

“To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn’t feel I was missing much.”

To me that is a scary, sad comment on Christian focus; in the minds of the unbelieving world is Christianity mostly about being against this or that sin? What a tragic distortion of the “Great Commission;” how could we have gone so far astray?

Is That the Worst of It?

Unfortunately there is more to the problem than a misguided focus on personal sin; there is the problem of vast dissension in the Christian camp. Soldiers of the cross are going around taking shots at each other rather than focusing on the true enemy in our age’s old spiritual warfare. Anyone who seems different or has a slightly different message too often becomes the enemy which should be attacked and disabled. The misguided attacks on personal sin coupled with the internecine warfare in the Christian community is more than enough to muddy the water and confuse the unbelieving world as to the real substance of the Christian message.

Let me ask you; if every personal sin of every kind was stopped and the entire world lived an ideal life would that reconcile the world to God? The answer to that question must be a resounding no; it would most certainly not reconcile mankind to God!

There is another more fundamental problem that must be resolved and the answer to that problem was given by Jesus to Nicodemus in the very same conversation where Jesus told him in verses 5-8, “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The only way to be reconciled to God is to be born again into God’s family by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior!

Why must we be born again? The answer to that question goes to the heart of the problem of man’s alienation from God; we must be born again to escape the inevitable consequences of our first birth which is the second death, the second death is the Lake of Fire. At our first birth we were born spiritually dead as members of a spiritually dead race who died in Adam, at our second birth we are born spiritually alive into the eternal family of the living God and are no longer subject to the second death! The second birth can only come when Jesus Christ is accepted as Savior and God.

The good news, the Gospel, is the declaration that there is a way to be reconciled to God and that is by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior; that is the message of salvation and there is no other! The extent to which that message is lost in the tumult of misguided protests against personal sin and internecine Christian warfare is the extent to which we, as a church, individually and collectively, are failing in our proclamation of the Gospel message and our carrying out the Great Commission itself.

Do yourself, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the unbelieving world a big favor and center your focus on the gospel!

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”


  1. What a shame that Christians so often miss the boat in trying to represent the precious message of the Good News! I pray that God will help us to focus on what really matters: the salvation of souls. Thank you for once again sharing a concise and important message!


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