Yesterday, I asked the question: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to be a church that rebuilds our vision to rebuild this city for Jesus? Is it worth it to reproduce authentic Christianity in Cottage Grove? Is it worth it to do whatever it takes to make sure every single person in this town not only knows the name of Jesus but follows Him?
When I introduced my definition of the gospel, I made sure to put specific words in that I felt were essential and I have been using these words each and every week in my sermons. What are they? We follow Jesus “no matter the cost, without question, and without excuse.”
So why is it important these words are there? Because Jesus has done everything for us. He has saved us from our most hopeless situation of being dead in our sins through His own death, burial, and resurrection. Because of what He has done, the only way we can respond is to do. And I want to ask:
- Is there something we can do for Him that we can say costs more than what He did for us, and so we have a right to say no?
- Is there a reason we should question His command to go, baptize, and teach and not follow the commands He gave us?
- Is there really a valid excuse for why we don’t respond with repentance, belief, baptism, and to follow Him?
A true gospel, a gospel we should preach, teach, and share is one that is others-focused. Our purpose of coming together is to be reminded of this gospel message, reminded of what Jesus did for us, and to go and share that message with everyone who will listen.
And if we do this, if we are willing to lay everything aside for the sake of getting this message out, just like Nehemiah was willing to lay everything aside to get the wall built, there will be opposition. We will be challenged. We will be attacked. And it may start with some name calling we can easily ignore or brush off. But it may increase to personal attacks, coming after the people who mean the most to you, or even the threat of physical violence. And with each increasing threat, we need to keep answering that question: “Is it still worth it?”
My hope and prayer is that we continue to grow into the church that can say, “We have found the one to lose everything for. That even if I lose everything but my brothers and sisters in Christ at this church, the ones who love me and care for me no matter what, I’ll be okay. Because what we are striving for is more important, more valuable, and more necessary to chase after than anything this world has to offer.”
For those who have taken the steps to follow Jesus – you believe the gospel, repent of your sins, and have been baptized – you have the Holy Spirit coursing through your veins. Realize and understand the power you have within you:
- It’s the same power that created the world.
- It’s the same mighty hand and outstretched arm that defeated Pharaoh.
- It’s the same power that split the sea in two, and calmed the mighty wind and waves at the sound of His voice.
- It’s the same power that healed the sick, restored the crippled, gave sight to the blind, allowed the deaf to hear, and the mute to sing out in praise.
- It’s the same power that allowed Jesus to resist every sin and every temptation so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for us.
- It’s also the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
All that is within us. Do you understand what this means? Do you believe this is truth? Do you believe that the Spirit that has done all this is the same Spirit that enables us to win this world for Him?
If so, let’s follow Jesus together. Let’s get to work and rebuild the mission. Let’s say it’s worth every penny, throw the questions aside, and leave the excuses behind. And if problems come our way, let’s also remember that like the wall Nehemiah rebuilt, this is also God’s will for us as a church, and He will get it done and be there every step of the way, as long as we are willing to do the work.