The story from Mark’s gospel goes like this, “And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.” – Mark 8:27-30
This story, although a story in which many of us have probably heard and read, is a story that has implications of clarity for those who desire to have the gospel shown in their communities through their words and deeds.
Clarity, perhaps unlike many topics in today’s culture and within the Church, is a topic that is vitally important for both pastors, church leaders, and everyday disciples.
Here are a couple of ways gospel clarity is crucial when it comes to gospel saturation.
A Clear Gospel Reveals Clear Motivation
Imagine with me for a while, that the gospel was a message that was received upon good works and not just good works, but good works with unlimited quantity. Imagine if the gospel was justified by works alone and not faith alone. How would that affect motivation?
Would the sharers of that gospel be free or would they feel the burden over-work?
This sort of gospel may create work, but would it create a clear motivation that would express freedom such as the one that Jesus promises to those who follow him and are born again through Him (John 8:36)?
In order to make Jesus famous and to have the gospel seen and heard, the motivations behind God’s people must be freeing and life-giving. Anything else will be less honoring and glorifying for Christ as well as His life awakening news.
A Clear Gospel Reveals a Clear Christ
In the passage above, Jesus just after healing a man from blindness, wants to make sure his closest friends; his disciples know who He is. Jesus first wants to know who the general public thinks He is; however, that isn’t what matters to him in the long-run. Instead, he truly wants to know what his followers believe. Peter responds to Jesus’ question by clearly stating that He is “the Christ.”
But what if Peter thought that Jesus was simply just one of the prophets of old? How would that shape the rest of his life and what would that mean for his relationship with Jesus?
What if we don’t take Jesus at his word? If we were to believe Jesus was simply a good person with good values, would the gospel actually be good news or would it simply be a declaration of good things?
In Western Canada, where I pastor and have lived for my whole life, the gospel, like every place in this world needs to be clear and concise in order for each person to have an encounter with Jesus, whom we desire to make famous through our words and deeds. Jesus knew this and continues to know this as His Spirit equips us to glorify Him in everything that we do.
As God’s people, our task is clear: to tell of this great gospel in and through everything that we do (Mark 6:15), so that people may not just die with Jesus, but live in the power of Jesus. So, may we as those people who have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved, be a clear gospel dependent people who share a clear Christ, who died for us and lives in us (Galatians 2:20) in everything that we do.
How have you found clarity to be important as you move out into your community on mission?
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