Fueling Faith

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — The Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16).
 
It has already been just over a month since Thanksgiving. Christmas has now come and gone. And here we are starting a new year. During the holidays many of us went places or we had family members who came to visit. No matter where our journeys took us, none of us would have made it down any roads without fuel for our vehicles.
 
Gasoline is the power source that makes our car engines run. We don’t think anything of it when we put gas in our vehicles because we know fuel is what gives our vehicles the power they need to run. Just like there is a fuel source that makes the engines in our vehicles run, there is also a fuel source that catalyzes the faith of people. The Gospel is the fuel of faith. Faith operates through the proclamation of the Gospel.
 
In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul openly boasts about the Gospel. He says he is not ashamed. When someone asks me who my favorite NFL team is, I have to circle around the answer and cushion it when I tell them I grew up a Detroit Lions fan. Embarrassing! However, when our team wins, we are quick to proclaim our confidence openly. The Apostle Paul was bold in his love and passion for the Gospel. He expressed his faith openly like a person who is proud of his winning team in a culture that was at times hostile to the Christian faith! Why is that?
 
The reason Paul was so confident in the Gospel is because it is the very power of God for salvation. In the Greek, the word “power” is translated as dynamis power—the source of where we get the word “dynamite!” Dynamis describes the manifestation of power or authority. The Gospel represents a personal God who uniquely possesses both power and authority and manifests that power to save sinners who trust in him. It turns out that Paul had every reason to boast. He was on God’s team. He shared in the unfailing power of the Gospel.
 
Placing Gospel proclamation at the center of every ministry is key for conversion and fruitfulness in ministry. Unbelief is always a failure in faith. It is never a Gospel problem. That is to say that the Gospel never lacks the ability to save even the worst of sinners. The truth of the Gospel stands even when the faith of man does not. Therefore, we should, like Paul, make it the center of our boasting as believers.
 
The strange thing is that sometimes we tiptoe when we share the Gospel. Sometimes we believe we have to sheepishly mask the Gospel and slowly unveil it through hospitality, church programs or after building deep relationships. However, we need to remember that hospitality, church programs, and relationships are void of power unless the Gospel is intentionally and boldly proclaimed from their core.
 
If we believe the Gospel is really good news, then we need not be bashful to share it. We should have greater confidence in the Gospel than we do in our sports team when they are having a winning season. If the Gospel is not proclaimed, there is no fuel for salvation. We might have a gathering of people, but without the Gospel our gatherings are no more than a social club masquerading as religion.
 
In 2020, let’s be challenged with making sure we truly understand what is so great about the Gospel. Let’s make sure we are convinced of two truths. First, that before faith in Christ our sin truly damns us before God. Left alone in our sin, our most urgent problem is our standing before God. Every person must account for his sin. The problem of sin is a deeply disturbing reality that keeps us trapped in the brokenness of this world.
 
Number two, let’s make sure we are convinced that God loves us. He truly loves us and we know he loves us because he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might have restored relationship with God and wholeness with each other. That is what is so amazing about the Gospel. At the core of the Gospel is God’s desire to show grace and mercy to sinners, and that is really really good news for everyone!
 
We can certainly be proud of the Gospel. We can have great confidence in putting the Gospel message at the core of our ministry and at the core of our relationships with each other and at the center of every meeting in our church. When our boards and committees meet this year, one constant question that we must consider regularly is, “How will this policy or program help us to clearly display the Gospel?” (i.e. How will this help us to better make disciples? How is the Gospel being proclaimed through this policy or program?)?
 
When we meet with family and friends, the Gospel should unashamedly be at the forefront of our relationships. That means when people come to us, ultimately they should leave any conversation being somehow encouraged by the message of the Gospel. When the Gospel is kept at the center of our life, we will fuel the faith of others.
 
Everyone who believes in Christ has come to that point in their life because of one reason: the Gospel at work through people who cared enough to share that power. Not because of church programs. Not because of the coffee bar on Sundays. Not because of someone who was so nice to them but never shared the Gospel. At some point, everyone who came to faith did so because of the Gospel. It is the Gospel that moves the heart from unbelief to belief. Sharing the Gospel fuels the faith of others.
 
In 2020, let’s check ourselves to make sure the Gospel is what fuels our life. Let’s check to make sure the Gospel is what fuels every ministry meeting of our church. Keeping the Gospel at our core is the very way that God fuels us and will help bless our ministry so that we will fuel the faith of others. God bless you and your ministry in 2020. May this be our best year yet.
 
In Christ,
Pastor Jeremiah