Can a gospel message be relevant to older Christians? Is it unfortunate that we, as Christians walking with the Lord, must sit through a basic presentation about Jesus? This question blazed into my mind recently as I heard a sermon preached to International Students at my church.
Perhaps not so oddly, I found myself enjoying a sermon on the basics—who Jesus is, what he did for us, and what he taught. Why? Why would we, as Christians, enjoy a message on the fundamentals? Don’t we already know the answers? Of course we do, but a foundational message is good—even for mature Christians—for two reasons:
1) Reminders! As Christians, we have ventured from death to life, from sin to holiness, from lost to found. Our very nature has been altered by the work and person of Jesus Christ. That said, we struggle with our sin nature; at times we cling to our deathliness. Our sin and tempter tell us we are estranged from God, we are deep-down-worthless and that life should be enjoyed in a hedonistic tailspin. Amidst this daily battle, we need to be reminded of who Jesus is, what he did for us and what he taught; after all, everything is built on him and we need reminding of that. Consider:
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. (1 Corinthians 15:1)
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. (2 Peter 1:12)
2) Deeper levels of conformity to the gospel. God’s good message, at its root, is an invitation—to escape from the bonds of performance religion, to grasp on to kingdom values—to live out the life of following Jesus. While we can already be on the path, God uses the same message to take us to a deeper level of obedience to what I think He would call a ‘gospel lifestyle.’ Are we really living like Jesus paid it all or do we still believe we have to earn God’s favor? Do we become haughty with our knowledge or do we love the outsiders because that’s who Jesus came for too? Is it really about Him and what He did or is it about me and what I do? Is the church built on Him or do I treat it like an everyday institution? Whatever our answers to these questions are, when we believe the gospel again and let God’s good news wash over us, a bit deeper than last time, we are one step closer to Christ-likeness.
And that is gospel.