The Focus of our Mission
Read Romans 1:8-17
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes.”
In today’s world of individualism, people reject the notion that there is only one way for salvation and the necessity to accept Christ and Christ alone. Many today are rejecting traditional Christianity in favor of universalism. While still verbally affirming belief in Christ, they leave the basic tenet that one’s eternal destiny is determined by either the acceptance or rejection of the necessity of embracing Christ by faith.
Throughout the teaching of Christ, he called people to repentance and acceptance of His substitutionary death on the cross. Salvation is obtained simply by believing in Christ. However, to reject Christ results in eternal judgment (See John 3:18). The reason people reject Christ is not because of ignorance of the truth, but it goes far deeper. It stems from their love for sin and their refusal to submit to Christ (John 3:19-20). Apart from the transformational work of Christ, our natural desire is to embrace sin. So strong is sin’s appeal, that Paull writes that we naturally pursue sin rather than Christ. In our natural state, we do not seek God (Romans 3:10-12). The reason is that Satan has effectively blinded the hearts and minds of people to prevent them from understanding the truth (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
How do we penetrate the minds and hearts when people have such a distorted view? How can we be effective in our witness when the world has become so hostile towards the message of the cross? Paul provides the answer. For Paul, the power of God is not found in the one communicating the message but in the message itself. The Bible is not a static message merely portraying facts of history, even the history of Christianity. The Bible and the gospel are dynamic and effective. The power of the gospel is enough to penetrate the darkest corners of the heart and break down the strongest walls of resistance. The writer of Hebrews states, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The fact that the gospel is powerful to penetrate the heart and transform the individual is the basis for Paul's affirmation of the gospel. It is the gospel of Christ that brings salvation to all people and enables us to obtain a right standing before God. Our mission in pointing people to Christ is grounded in announcing the message of Christ. It is the focal point of our testimony. The gospel is the focus of our faith, the foundation of our message, and the power of our mission. Proclaiming the gospel is what brings change to people. No matter how much people may reject and ridicule our message, it remains the center of our testimony. Consequently, as we talk to others, we do not need to develop some grand message, we simply convey the story of Christ and the significance of his death and resurrection.