September 04, 2008

The People of the Gospel

Philippians 1:3-8

God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:8


There’s an old joke that says, “Church would be great if you could just do without the people.” That perspective is significantly different from the one taught by the apostle Paul. For him, church is great because of the people. In fact, the church is the people (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). They are the reason Paul gives thanks to God, and his affection for them mirrors the love of Christ himself.

The gospel is about people. The Bible was written so that children, women, and men “may believe that Jesus is the Christ” and “have life in his name” (John 20:31). The Bible reveals a world-embracing hope that “a great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language” will stand around heaven’s throne and lift praise to Jesus one day (Revelation 7:9). Clearly the gospel is about people.

On the one hand, this gospel is inclusive. The invitation to put faith in Jesus to receive forgiveness and hope is offered to everyone. On the other hand, this gospel is exclusive. The Bible states clearly that we are able to enjoy salvation and eternal hope only if we receive Jesus as our Savior from sin. None of our human achievements will do us any good on the day of judgment.

The gospel is about people. Therefore, the gospel is about you. Will you believe that Jesus is the Christ and, by believing, have life in his name?

Lord, how great you are that every language, people, and nation are invited into the joyful embrace of your grace. Accept our repentance, and guide us in the paths of Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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