His Message, Not Ours
Progressive Christianity almost entirely ignores the core message Jesus Christ brought when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago.
What was His message?
It wasn’t love. It wasn’t social justice. It wasn’t acceptance of worldly views.
His core message was the Kingdom of God.
He pinpointed this message in the heart of the Sermon on the Mount by saying what should be the highest priority for His followers: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus Christ’s words are clear—the Kingdom of God is to be the No. 1 focus and emphasis in the lives of His followers. In fact, it was the core of His gospel message. His gospel message was all about the Kingdom of God and what was required.
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 9:35)
At one point in His ministry, Jesus was about to leave an area where He had been preaching for some time. The people of that area tried to persuade Him not to leave. Jesus’s response: “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:42-43)
Let that sink in. …“I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
Jesus said that one of His primary purposes for coming to earth was to preach about the Kingdom of God! That was His gospel. That was His message. That was His purpose. That is what drove and motivated Him.
When we understand the core of Jesus’s message about the Kingdom of God, we can then understand why He made the statement in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” He tells us to seek first the Kingdom because the Kingdom of God was His primary message.
Christians must make the Kingdom of God as high a priority in their lives as it was in Christ’s life. Jesus came to set us an example of how to live, by obeying the Law as God set it. He urged us to repent of our sins. He then died for those sins and was resurrected so we can have an opportunity to be in the Kingdom of God for all eternity. That is grace!
After Jesus’s resurrection He gave us a final directive, known as The Great Commission. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Christ founded a Church to carry the message He preached while on earth. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:3-8). The early Church faithfully followed Christ’s directive and preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But as time passed, false beliefs began to creep into Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote that he perceived Christians in his time were “turning away” from the true gospel to “a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Paul gave multiple warnings about his fear that people were abandoning true doctrines and being led astray into false teachings by false prophets (2 Timothy 2:14-18; 3:13-14; 4:1-3, 14-15).
As time has rolled on, the gospel message was changed from the Kingdom of God and repentance of sin to a message primarily about the person Jesus Christ. In other words, the Christian Church kept the name of Jesus Christ but not His message.
Jesus was very clear that claiming His name but ignoring His teachings is false worship (Luke 6:46). He wants His people to worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
The true gospel message of Jesus Christ is not a minor issue. Jesus connected a belief in the true gospel to repentance (Mark 1:15), and Paul warned that preaching a different gospel brings a curse (Galatians 1:8-9). Believing the true gospel is vital to your salvation!
The true gospel is the message of good news about the coming Kingdom of God. It is a message of hope. And hope is exactly what this world needs. There is so much anger in our world. So much desperation. And the Church holds the solution. But the Church has failed because we have replaced Jesus’s message with our own. Isn’t it time we start living as followers of Jesus Christ? Isn’t it time we share the true gospel? Isn’t it time we introduce Jesus Christ and his powerful message to the world?