Truly there is only one gospel, but each of those whom God has drawn to Himself has experienced that timeless “good news” in unique and personal ways. Is He tugging at you? Do you sense a longing ache, an emptiness that reveals a missing purpose, even more so a person without whom you are lost and worthless? Do you cry for God to set you free from the slavery of your tyrannical sins and are you beginning to loathe sin’s poisonous pleasures and their diminishing returns?
Often when people break up they say “It’s not you, it’s me." Somehow we are supposed to feel better but no one really believes it, right? We always take it personally, and how can you not when it’s you they rejected? No one has loved you more truly, personally, or intensely than God has loved you. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30). So if you are not “with” Christ you have rejected Him.
Idols are cold, dead and made by man’s hand (Isaiah 44). All other religions distance their god far from us, unreachable and unmoved. Christianity is the very answer to our plight; Immanuel (meaning "God with us") moved with passion and came to earth, took on human skin, walked in my feet, paid for my sins and rose from the dead...for me personally. He has reached out to you and me with His nail pierced hands.
It’s personal since He made me uniquely and in His image. He made me to know, love, serve and glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. He is my Creator and He owns me by right. He made me for Himself and to reject my Creator and His purpose for me is deeply personal to Him. When I live “my” life for “my” agenda and “my” pleasures I am not only living in disregard of Him but contrary to Him. He is the king of the universe, anything short of complete devotion and obedience is high treason.
"Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3)
"For the LORD has spoken: 'Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me'." (Isaiah 1:2)
"Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged." (Isaiah 1:4)
"You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
It’s personal because every one of my sins is an offense to God’s justice and an insult to His character. It’s my sin that nailed Him to the cross.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
"Against You (God), You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." (Psalm 51:4)
It’s personal when you realize the extreme measure of His sacrifice when He sent His one and only Son to take your place on the cross and provide you salvation. To surrender to God anything less than the full measure of your love and life is to trample on His blood and is an outrageous rejection of grace.
"How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:29)
It’s personal knowing that He wants a relationship with me. It’s not about what or how much I know (intellectual/informational) but who I know (intimacy). Even more so its about who knows me. It’s not so much religion (rules and laws) which as a sinner I cannot keep, but relational since He loves me.
"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" (Matthew 7:22-23)
"For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me." (II Timothy 1:12)
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me" (John 10:14)
"But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are his'" (II Timothy 2:19)
It’s personal for there is no one else who can save me. Not Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, The Virgin Mary or the saints and certainly not myself or anyone else. Only Jesus claimed to be God, died for my sins, and rose from the dead to burst through the gates of hell and open the gates of heaven so that where He is, I may be also.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
It’s personal now that I’m His, He will never leave me or forsake me. He is loyal to me, although I’m often unworthy and unfaithful; He gave his own Son to die in order to give me His undying love (Romans 8).
It’s a personal relationship since I was once a rebel and enemy, but now He calls me His servant, son/brother and friend.
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” (Romans 9:26)
Knowing about God or Jesus is not enough. You must call upon the Lord, turning from all other gods, dead works, and sin. And trust in His Son Jesus Christ alone to save you from your sins.
Why don’t you call upon Him right now? He is personally present with you in a very real yet invisible way at this very moment (do you sense Him? Is He drawing you?) and will make you new and His.
I would love to hear your thoughts and response to the Gospel. Please contact me at our contact us page to touch base with me. I look forward to hearing from you!
- J. Michael Jarrell, Lead Pastor