Whether we realize it or not, we ask the question 'Is the gospel worth me?' many times a day. When the Holy Spirit presses on our hearts to do something but we refuse. When we know the right thing to say, do, or think, but fail to follow through. That moment between calling and response - this is when we ask 'Is the gospel worth me?'
Is it worth my obedience? Is it worth my time? Is it worth my identity?
Many know the term 'the gospel' without understanding what all it entails. This is scary, because being a Christian is solely dependent on if you believe the Gospel or not. To be a Christian, you have to believe the Gospel. There is no other way to be saved.
So what is the Gospel?
1. God created the heavens and the earth. Everything we see was made by God. Even though the man-made structures of the world originated in the minds of men, they were put there by God. God is the maker of all things, including you. Everything about you was intentionally planned by God. You were not just a momentary or accidental clump of cells, you are a masterpiece made by God Himself. (Gen. 1:1,31; Ps. 139:14)
2. Even though you were created a masterpiece, you sinned against God. Sin is disobedience against God's design and commands. Sin is not just something you've done, but also what you continue to do. Sin is essentially "in your blood" thanks to Adam and Eve. Even if you wished to quit sinning on your own volition, you couldn't. You are utterly helpless due to sin, and rightly so, you deserve hell. Eternity in hell is the only just penalty for sinning against a holy God. (Gen. 3:6-7; 5:3; Rom. 3:23; 6:23)
3. Rather than leave us condemned to hell as we deserved, God, in His mercy and grace, sent His Son Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, to live a sinless life, die a horrific death in our place, to rise from the dead on the third day, and to establish the new kingdom of God and the new covenant with man. This was God's plan from eternity. To state this as clearly as possible: Jesus Christ is God Himself in the flesh who died on the cross in our place for our sins. We deserved what Jesus went through, but He took our place. He rose victoriously from the grave over death and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. (Gen. 3:15; Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 28:18; John 3:16; Acts 2:17-36; Rev. 22:12-13)
4. Jesus' message for salvation was to repent of your sin and place your faith in Him. This is not two separate things, but rather two sides of the same coin. To repent of your sin is to change your heart, mind, and actions concerning your sin. Rather than just feel bad that you have sinned, it is resolving to combat sin for the rest of your life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you will gradually sin less and less while becoming more and more like Christ. Repentance is a lifelong pursuit to honor Christ in every aspect of life. Placing your faith in Christ is recognizing and knowing that you are unable to save yourself and need Jesus Christ to take your place. Rather than a prayer you recite, it is a truth you hold to and act out every day: without Jesus paying my price I am going to hell. Jesus is the only means of salvation. There is no other god or way to be saved from hell. We can have full confidence that Christ is our Lord and Savior if we have repented of our sin and place our faith in Him for salvation. (Mk. 1:15; John 6:37; Rom 6:6, 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 1:7-10)
5. Some day in the future, Jesus Christ will return and bring the new kingdom of God into full completion. The world as we see and know it will end, for sin and death will be no more. All who have not believed the gospel will go to hell for eternity. Jesus Christ will judge every person who has ever lived and those whom He has saved from their sins will dwell with God forever. Every wrong will be made right, and those who have believed the gospel will never suffer or sin again for all eternity. (Matt 24:30-31; 1 Thess. 4:15-18; Rev. 20:11-15, 21:1-8)
If this message is true, the life of a Christian should be markedly different from that of the unbelieving world. Everything a Christian does should be rooted in the truth of the gospel. Every action, every plan, and every hope for the future is seen in light of the eternal destiny God has made available through Jesus Christ.
In Jesus' final address to His disciples before ascending to heaven, He instructed His disciples to "make disciples of all nations." (Matt. 28:19) For every person who names themselves a Christian, this is the reason you breathe. It is the very reason God does not bring you to heaven the very second you get saved: He wants you to show others the same gospel you were saved by, indeed the only hope they have of being saved. Whether it be your family member, your neighbor, or someone else you bump into randomly, they all need to hear the gospel. Every person you meet is either an actual believer in Christ or a potential believer in Christ. By the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to help them. You are God's instrument and plan to bring more people into the family of faith.
He could have wrote the gospel in the sky in every language that has ever existed for all to see and know, but, rather, He chose you to go and make His disciples. He chose you to teach them and to baptize them. God knew what was best and designed it so.
How did the original audience of Jesus' commission respond? They spent the rest of their lives telling everyone they could about the gospel. They left their homes and dispersed across the known world to tell everyone they could be saved from their sins by Jesus Christ. Church history tells us most of them died horrific deaths themselves trying to further the gospel to as many people as possible. No sacrifice was considered too much in their eyes. Even when they were thrown into prisons, saw friends die, or were sentenced to death themselves, they never gave up on sharing the gospel. They loved Jesus more than any other thing, even their own life.
Why the extreme dedication? Because they knew that Jesus was the only means of salvation. Even those who had never heard the gospel before were destined for hell. The same is true today: people are still guilty of sin and deserve hell when they have not heard the gospel. To be clear as possible: people who never hear the gospel go to hell. If people get automatic acceptance into heaven for never hearing the gospel, the best evangelism practice would be to burn every Bible ever printed and never speak of Jesus again! Close every church and Christian radio station! God forbid someone hear the gospel and reject it, for if they had never heard the gospel they would have been saved! Hopefully you see that Jesus' commission flies very starkly against this type of logic.
There are two possible responses to this truth: we can scold God for not doing something for those who never had the chance to hear the gospel, or we can see that God has done something: He has commissioned us to go to the ends of the earth. You are God's messenger to the world. No matter what age or profession, married or single, your first job as a living, breathing Christian is to make disciples. The mission to further the gospel dictates how you spend your time, money, and energy every single day. You live to make disciples and teach them what the Lord has taught you.
With this truth and life-calling in place, I wish to introduce Global Year. This ministry is especially designed to challenge 18-25 year olds to reach the unreached areas of the world with the gospel for a 9-11 month period. This age range presents an ability to make disciples that many others do not. Students of this age range have graduated from high school and have not become rooted in families of their own or careers just yet. While some are in college, spending a year abroad for the gospel is not as much as a sacrifice as it would be for people out of college and in careers. There is no easier time to go and no lighter sacrifice possible for such a great impact that can be made for the gospel than for students in this age group. Our challenge is for 18-25 year olds to see this exclusivity of influence and take hold of what the Lord can accomplish through them.
With this, we return to our original question that arises between calling and response. Whether it be because of the money, the lack of support from friends and family, or the fear of living outside of the United States, the expression of doubt or lack of desire resides in this foundational question: is the gospel worth me? Is it worth my life? My time? My effort? My future? Am I so convinced of the seriousness of the message Jesus Christ came to deliver that I would do something radical for it? Am I that serious about what Christ has done?
Our hope and prayer is that students of this age will see the truth and how they can make an impact, indeed in a way that many cannot. Our response to the question of "is the gospel worth me?" is a question of our own: if not you, then who? Who else is just as or more prepared than you to go? Who else has the education in the Christian faith, a community of believers with financial means to send you, and the free time to help those who have never heard the gospel? We are convinced that a careful analysis of these facts will show that God has prepared you for such a task as this, and even further, He has chosen you, a young adult from America, to be His messenger to the unreached areas of the world.
Before life brings on more responsibilities and commitments, will you consider giving a year of your life to make a difference in some lives in a country that does not have as easy access to the gospel or any access at all? You are the most equipped to reach the nations with the gospel. Will you feel the weight of the gospel and take it to the ends of the earth?
To see more of what we do around the world, and how you can be involved, visit globalyear.org.