It drives me crazy when Young Life leaders say things like, “the Gospel is simple” or “we have a simple Gospel”. When we say statements like that we devalue the Gospel. When I read Scripture, nowhere do I see the Gospel being simple. Nowhere did Jesus say come and follow me, it will be easy. We need to tell the Gospel as the Gospel, nothing more and nothing less.
The Gospel will divide families. Jesus is clear that families will be divided over Him. Those that believe and those that don’t believe. Kids in your ministry might hear about Jesus, become a follower of Jesus and their parents or friends might disown them. That is not simple.
Matthew 10:34 – “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
The Gospel will make you give up things. Think of the story of the rich young ruler. Jesus asks him to give up everything sell it to the poor to come and follow Him. The rich young ruler’s stuff is more important to him some things than Jesus. Jesus might not ask us to give up everything to follow Him, but He will ask us to give up somethings. You can’t say giving up things to follow Jesus is easy or simple, can you?
Mark 10:17-31 – 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
The Cost of Following Jesus. There is a cost to follow Jesus. A man comes to Jesus. Jesus tells the man to “follow Him”. The man says he needs to go and bury his father. Jesus tells the man to leave his dead father, for the dead can bury the dead. Jesus wants us to be living things, not dead things. For the sake of the Gospel, people around you might not understand why you are doing what you are doing. But are you doing these things for the approval of man or for Jesus?
Luke 9:57-62 – 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him,“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said,“Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Do you think the Gospel is simple? Why or why not? Leave a comment.