A Youth Ministry Post By Eli Cork
The most important issue in the Church has always been the Gospel. It has also been the most dangerous heresy when it has been tampered with, edited, or altered. The following blog is the first of a series of blogs concerning the nature, importance, and misconceptions of the Good News. Evidently, the church’s precious pearl is also the treasure most dear to Christian ministers.
Part 1: Why it matters
What would be the scariest thing to happen at Halloween? A werewolf knocking on your door? Zombies invading your Fall Festival? A sugar-induced coma? No. Not even close. The scariest, deadliest, most dreadful thing would be to hear a false gospel. What’s worse? To be the one who preaches it.
You don’t think so? Paul says heresy has a terrifying consequence:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8-9)
The Gospel according to… who?
Apparently, many ministers are proclaiming a false Gospel. Though they may not realize their fallacy, well-meaning people have strayed away from truth. Lies have crept into the Church, creating countless false converts, drop-outs, and unbelievers (2 Peter 2:1-3). The true Gospel is found in the Bible. We must wipe the dust from its cover, and studying once again its sacred pages. In turning back to our source, we can return to a true Christianity. Is the Gospel you preach based squarely upon Scripture?
Why should it matter that our Gospel is accurate?
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). All people stand condemned before a holy God (Ro. 3:10, 23). So unbearable will be the Day of His wrath that the wicked will seek refuge beneath the hills, crying, “hide us!” But they will find no safety there. (Rev. 6:16) Their only shelter is faith in the Cross of Christ. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) To receive eternal life, one must hear the words of eternal life. Any alternative message will damn the people to a false hope. As we preach the Gospel of Christ, the one and only remedy is offered to lost man.
The Primacy of the Gospel
The Gospel, bearing so much power and purpose, is the supreme aspect of all meaningfulness in life, namely, in youth ministry. Greater than any game, gimmick, or special event, the Gospel has the power to transform generations. In fact, our calling is not the entertainment business. Our calling is to make disciples, by the demonstration and preaching of God’s power (1 Cor. 2:4-5)
Remember when the early church began bickering about the food distribution (in Acts 6:1)? Considering priorities and the urgent commission earlier received, the Twelve concluded, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program” (Acts 6:2-4). We can assume the modern equivalents: We should spend time teaching, not playing silly games, not telling dumb jokes, not planning Easter egg hunts. We ought to take this seriously! Not that it is evil to play games or go to a concert, just as it is not evil to run a food program. But where is the majority of time spent? If the apostles spent most of their time baking bread, you would have never heard the Gospel of your salvation. Where are we investing our time, energy and money? Is it in prayer? Is it in the study of the Word of God? What about in counseling, teaching and gathering into small groups for godly discussion? Or is too much time spent of finding to coolest game? How much money goes to pop and chips for the hungry goats, while the sheep are starving? To the Corinthians Paul said, “What I received I passed on to you as of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3). That first importance of the first century is the very same priority that we have: the Gospel of Christ. We must keep the Good News accurate, biblical, and always of first importance.
Questions for reflection:
- What is the Gospel to you? From what source do you draw it from?
- How much value the true gospel?
- In your ministry, how much time do you spend on planning games versus prayer and teaching?
- How many kids would leave your youth group if you stopped playing games and having snacks? What does this tell you about them?
- In the above scenario, how many would stay?
- Why do you think the apostles (and God) call the Gospel a priority?