The Gospel that puts you in jail.

What caused the apostles to be thrown into prison?

What caused the disciples to be beaten and killed?

Why were villages turned upside down by some people “witnessing?”

Perhaps its because the devil doesn’t like the gospel. Neither do the established powers of this age. Neither do men who love their sin.

Here’s why – the gospel is not an invitation to adopt a new moral code or news about a warm grandfather figure who wants his kids over for cookies. The gospel is not another name for the Bible itself nor is it information about how to have your best life now. At least not the Biblical gospel:

Paul tells us that he “did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles (side note – that would be all types of people), that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason, some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death.” Acts 26:20-21

This was the very reason for Paul’s commission by Jesus himself! Paul is telling us the purpose that drove his life. Maybe you can discount some of the people’s response to the fact that Paul was saying that they had missed the Messiah…perhaps…but to a crowd of Gentiles he said the following:

“…having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed (i.e. – the Kingdom of God), having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

You know you’re doing something out of the norm when your critics describe your preaching and teaching as follows:

“These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Acts 17:6b, 7

Paul and the others spoke as they did because they understood the destiny of man as well as what they themselves had been saved from. This gratitude for God and concern for other caused him to challenge men to repent in light of the coming Kingdom. Repentance in light of the Kingdom because of the cross is a great way to sum up the preaching of Jesus, Paul and the other disciples. Yet today we hit the streets (if we even do that) and tell people “God Bless You” and hand them a flyer. We must return to the Biblical gospel – and that might mean the need to hear it ourselves for the first time.

We might need to re-educate ourselves to the Biblical method and message opposed to our long standing traditions, tracts, or comfort zones. If Jesus wants me to include the call for repentance in my preaching, am I willing to start telling people that? If Jesus wants me to speak about the coming Kingdom judgement, am I willing to start telling people that? If Jesus wants me to have compassion like he did, am I willing to go into the ripe fields?

Say it how you like. While handing them flowers; from the top of a box of Irish Spring; over hot chocolate or while riding a bus – but brothers and sisters, please, let’s at least say it.

The Kingdom of God is coming. God is offering forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice for those who will repent and believe the gospel. For those who do, the Kingdom will be a time of unparralleled peace and joy, forever – the way God has always wanted it. Everything wrong with the world made right. For those who don’t however, they remain part of what is wrong with this world. This same Kingdom coming will serve as their final day – when they are shown that God, not man, is the one who rules. Judgement and punishment will be swift and final.

I’m not looking to be thrown in jail, trust me. But, I am looking to follow my Biblical brothers and would like to preach my Lord’s message – for the sake of being a true disciple as well as for other’s lives!

And if that leads to jailtime, well, I’d appreciate either some company or some visitors.

  • – So, why is something else being preached?
  • – Is something else really the message we should be preaching?
  • – Why is repentance important?
  • – Does the true gospel even matter anymore?
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