Time to get out my spiritual Kitchen Aid, plug it in, throw in a few ideas and stir things up.
After all, it’s the nature of the gospel of Christ.
The basic, undiluted message of Jesus is controversial. There’s no better way to describe it.
Controversial – relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument; likely to produce controversy.
Yep, that describes the gospel perfectly.
How else would you describe it? I mean, would YOU use words like these?
Peace, Serenity, Calm, Love, Life, Grace, Abundance, Beauty, Family of God, or Heavenly?
Would YOU use those words, or would THESE words paint a truer picture of the gospel message?
Death, Hatred, Ugliness, Depravity, Loneliness, Brokenness, Violence, or Hell?
Remember Jesus’ words, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NLT)
Do those words sound anything less than controversial?
Jesus didn’t come to bring mankind the best thing since sliced bread.
He didn’t come to give us another option for our retirement plan, you know, kind of like a spiritual IRA.
God the Father didn’t demand such a violent death from His only Son just so you and I could sing “Joy to the World” or “Silent Night”.
The reason for the gospel was our utter deprivation, completely at odds with the Holy God, Creator of the heavens and earth. We were DEAD in our sins.
Jesus didn’t come to earth because we were so welcoming. Sure, as long as our belly was full of fish and bread we loved the Lord! But when it looked as though our lives were to be threatened by the people in charge, “Crucify Him” is what came screaming from our lips!
We didn’t need a president or even a governor. We couldn’t have made it if we were simply sent a nanny; someone to feed us, help us not feel lonely, and remind us to brush our teeth.
No! We needed a Savior! Someone Who would come into our mean, nasty, ugly world and make it possible, supernaturally possible, to be changed into a brand new person!
Not cleaned up, dusted off, or remodeled.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
That’s why it took a controversial message to shake us, awaken us to the possibilities of something FAR GREATER than anything imaginable up to that point.
Paul said, “For I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…” Romans 1:16.
“I’m not ashamed… to say I belong to Jesus. The old guy died, NEEDED to die and never be resurrected because he was vile, wicked, EVIL without God.”
“I’m not ashamed… to live according to the Word of God, even though IT IS NOT THE POPULAR THING TO DO!”
“I’m not ashamed… to embrace controversial messages that go against the grain of a world system that feels it has an axe to grind with God.”
“I’m not ashamed… though persecution is part of taking a stand for the One Who died and rose again so I could have life.”
“I’m not ashamed…to say Merry Christmas, even if Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. It’s an opportunity to point people to the controversial message; the gospel.”
The gospel is the power of God, resulting in salvation and all the other nice things we like to think about.
But FIRST, the gospel must be embraced. In other words, we must believe and receive the controversial message.
There’s no other way to do it. For Jesus said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”
Controversial? Yes! Worth the price?