Calvary began a six-week series on Core Values last Sunday in which Pastor Wayne explained that values determine the flavor of a thing--including us! Red Delicious and Macintosh, for example, are both apples, but a Red Delicious is crisp and sweet. A Macintosh is mushy and tart. Both are apples; each offers a different experience.
Values determine how other people experience us, like the taste of an apple. Values also determine how we see other people--and that makes a difference in how treat them.
1. When we value the gospel, we understand that people need the gospel more than they need anything else.
Seeing other peoples’ needs is something that Calvary does well. Pastor Wayne explained that as a church, we feed the poor, provide needed resources for our community, serve as advocates for those who don’t have a voice—and we will continue to do these things.
But these things are not the gospel. They are venues to communicate the love of the gospel (more on this below). The gospel is Jesus seeking and saving the lost by dying in their place for their sins—for our sins--on the cross.
Jesus died for every person, and that is why every person needs the gospel more than they need anything else.
2. When we value the gospel, we break down barriers that hold it back.
We don’t always know what we need most. The distractions of life and suffering can make understanding fuzzy. Suffering and distraction usually drive people toward relief and satisfaction--It's hard to ponder the deeper eternal truths of life when you're not sure you can pay your mortgage or worse. Helping people is the kind and right thing to do (Proverbs 3:28). In fact, it's that kindness and relief that often opens doors to "the deeper" things.
When the gospel is our core value, we understand the importance of breaking down barriers—even if it means getting messy. As a church we fill food boxes for refugees. We volunteer at Hope Rescue Mission. We make room in our row of seats on Sunday for people in work release programs. Obstacles to truth diminish when we help the hurting as a church for the sake of gospel. But the biggest impact must come to each of us as individuals.
3. When we value the gospel, we choose to be uncomfortable for the sake of love.
If gospel is your driving core value—it will change the way you live on the six days between Sunday to Sunday. The best way to put it into gear is to ask yourself questions like these:
- If gospel is my core value, and every driver on the road needs the gospel more than they need anything else, how will I respond to the one who cuts me off in traffic?
- If gospel is my core value and every waiter needs the gospel more than they need anything else, how will I interact with the one who messes up my order… again?
- If gospel is my core value and every person who lives an alternative lifestyle needs the gospel more than they need anything else, how much of my friendship and listening ear will I offer them?
Living the gospel as a value is not easy. In fact, the gospel itself is the one thing all believers need more than they need anything else in order to walk like Jesus.