As I opened my bible to read Luke Chapter 3, I kept thinking about how the Gospel is just so simple. And yet, I manage to complicate it in each waking moment, caught up in the stresses and worries of life. I loved reading this chapter; its contents so direct and straightforward. I’m resolved to keep this post similar.
If nothing at all, I pray you walk away with the following revelations:
- Words first, action second
- The Gospel is not exclusive
- You are beloved
Words first, action second.
“The word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Luke 3:2-3 ESV.
When you hear a word from God, are inspired or have a dream, be ready to go, be ready to do, be ready to act. The saying, “actions speak louder than words” is no accident. Imagine the global church if we DID more and SPOKE less. Let’s follow the example of John, who went as soon as he heard.
The Gospel is not exclusive.
“The crowd kept asking him, “What then are we supposed to do?” John told them, “Give food to the hungry, clothe the poor, and bless the needy.” Even the despised tax collectors came to John to be baptized, and they asked him, “What are we to do to prove our hearts have changed?” “Be honest,” he replied. “Don’t demand more taxes than what you are required to collect.” “And us?” asked some soldiers. “What about us?” Luke 3: 10-14 TPT
The crowd. The tax collectors. The soldiers. They were all together at the same place, all after the same thing, “what do we do now that our hearts are different?” So often in our human weakness we disqualify those around us because of their life choices, because of their actions, because they don’t look like us. John didn’t send anyone away.
“John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 3:16 ESV
How did Christianity become globally known for exclusivity and expectations? Come as you are. The Gospel is not exclusive. People might be exclusive, but the Gospel is not. John didn’t say, “I baptize some of you in water”, and that “Jesus will baptize a few of you in the Holy Spirit.” But YOU will be baptized in water. And YOU will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, YOU are welcome here.
You are beloved.
“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, the [visible] heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are My Son, My Beloved, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!” Luke 3:21-22 AMP
The Lord audibly declared that Jesus belonged to Him, that Jesus was his Beloved. The way that God speaks of Jesus, is the same way He speaks about you. You are His daughter. For some of you, your idea of being a daughter may be broken and shattered. But God is a Heavenly Father who delights in you belonging to Him, who longs to have time with you, who desires for you to know you are loved beyond comprehension.
“You have heard my sweet resolutions to love and serve you, for I am your beloved. And you have given me an inheritance of rich treasures, which you give to all your loves. You treat me like a queen, giving me a full and abundant life, years and years of reigning.” Psalm 61:5-6 TPT
When we recognize that we are His beloved, we stop seeking love from places in this world that lead to hurt. Instead, we understand that we were born into a new life of royalty as a daughter of the Mighty King. In our new identity, we walk into to the rich inheritance of the Kingdom. The knowledge of our worth, of being someone’s beloved, then compels us to love those around us more recklessly, knowing that we are not loving to receive love in return, but rather loving because we are already loved.
In a conversation with an acquaintance this week, he referred to a friend he admired and found “compelling”. Struck with the uniqueness of the compliment, I decided to look up the definition more closely: “inspiring conviction.” May we all be reminded of the simplicity of the Gospel, and allow that to compel us and inspire conviction among our hearts and others.