From what I’ve observed these years I’ve spent in public ministry and even in my own experience during my high school years… I’ve found that the church has a difficult time just resting in the Gospel alone. There is something within us that just drives us toward feeling that we’ve got to add something to the Gospel equation. So we start on our formulaic journey to make the Gospel = Jesus + something. For some it is Jesus + church attendance, good works, moral behavior, family heritage, traditions, keeping the law, religion… and the list goes on and on. We want “Jesus plus” when the Gospel is never a formula. It can never be Jesus plus anything for the Gospel is simply Jesus!
I had the opportunity to preach in our “On Mission” series here at Wildwood a few weeks ago on this idea of Gospel Re-Orientation from Acts chapter 15. The epicenter of the early church had moved from Jerusalem to Antioch and a group of teachers called the Judiazers had moved in. The message they were preaching was a ‘Jesus plus’ message. They didn’t reject Jesus as the Gospel, they just felt that they needed to add to the Gospel (always a bad idea)! So they were teaching Jesus + circumcision. Basically, they were calling for the Gentiles to respond to the Gospel by becoming Jews first.
To intro the sermon, we produced this video:
Isn’t it amazing that some 2,000 years after Jesus commissioned the disciples to take the Gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, it has made it. I sit here today in Tallahassee, Florida with a changed heart and life because of the obedience of many to the Great Commission. May we be likewise challenged to share the Gospel in word and deed both across the street and around the world.
And if you’re interested, you can listen to the sermon in it’s entirety here.