An Attractive Gospel
If you are a follower of Christ, what first made the gospel attractive to you? I’ve heard it said that desperation and revelation are two primary forces that draw a person to God. In my case, it was desperation. My life as a twenty one year old was not fulfilling. I had no peace. I suppose that primed me to hear some new revelation. Yes, I heard readings from the gospel in the church I was raised in, but never really saw it on display. It was more liturgical than personal, and it was never talked about at home. The attractive gospel, sparking an interest and allure to my heart, was put on display by a co-worker on my job. And on the front end, there were no words involved.
Live the Life
Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. St Francis of Assisi is given credit for this statement, though it can’t be proven. There IS proof that he often went to extravagant parties among people of affluence, and preached the gospel. In the end, it’s a both/and scenario is it not? We should all be ready to speak a witness to the gospel while also demonstrating by our lifestyle that we are living out the belief system we espouse. Perhaps the greatest stage from which to display an attractive gospel, is in close day to day relationships such as marriage, family, and workplace.
Live and Teach the Gospel
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled… Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Titus 2:2-10
It’s a sweet recollection for me, thinking back to my fellow slave (employee) who didn’t join in with the rabble of foul mouthed complainers on the job, those who cut corners because the company could afford it, and were only out for their own gain. First without words, and then with, he radiated the gospel light exactly as Titus prescribed.
Maligned or Adorned?
I propose that the Titus passage being considered here, though specifically addressed to people groups, is age and gender inclusive. The admonition to younger married women, Titus 2:4-5 , would also be relevant for younger and older, married men and women. The command is to love your spouse, be self controlled, pure, not idle, kind and humble. Thus each spouse represents the gospel in their marriage. Failure to do so, risks the word of God being maligned. The polar opposite outcomes range from tainting the word of God, all the way to making it attractive to others.
Without a doubt, the last thing in the world we want to do is to “malign the word of God.” The word translated “malign” is the Greek word blasfhmew, pronounced blas-fay-meh’-o. Ring a bell yet? Blasphemy! Wow, that’s strong language. It’s the word used by the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, accusing him of reviling and reproaching their Jewish traditions, Mt. 9:3 tainting the Jewish gospel if you will. Considering the import of this word, and the potential that exists for me to blaspheme the word of God in the context of my marriage, I am motivated even more to move in the opposite, positive direction.
Is Your Tree of Life Adorned?
The word translated “attractive” is the Greek kosmew, pronounced kos-meh’-o. It means to ornament, to adorn. Just imagine that you are decorating for Christmas and decide to have a tree with zero ornaments; no lights, no tinsel. That word picture speaks volumes to me. Capture the thought and now apply it to your marriage, or if you’re single, to your community of friends. How are we adorning the gospel? Is it an attractive gospel, or an undecorated tree? Thankfully, the Supreme Artist (Decorator) sees our Christ fueled potential and has a zealous belief in the success of our ongoing transformation.
It is a sobering truth, that we fallen, broken, “in process”, humans, have been invited into God’s strategy of restoration, assigned to be His visible representatives, the only epistles that some people will ever read. The goal is not to sugar coat the word of God to match the palette of whatever person we are with. An attractive gospel is an accurate one, not a dialed down version. Thankfully, there is not an exact “how to” definition, because if there was, it could easily become mundane, and low on the adventure scale.
The pastoral epistles of Timothy and Titus were written by Paul to his sons of first century faith. They are rich with templates for living, not just for pastors but for every believer. Attempts to malign the true gospel are not new, but they have been newly adapted over the centuries to be as stealth as possible. We are tasked as sons and daughters, to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and of our father in the faith, Paul. We are set apart for the gospel of God. Rom. 1:1
We are set apart with a mission to reveal God’s wonderful gospel. Rom. 1:1 (TPT)
Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash