A while back Steve and I went to the Middle East ministering with others, to faithful workers of the Gospel. We fell in love with our fellow brothers and sisters over there. We know that because of this trip our lives have been forever changed in a positive way. On this trip we learned all the more how important it is to LIVE the gospel message.
Dr David Ferguson (Greatcommandment.net) was one of the teachers. Much of what he taught can be a lesson for us all. This is true whether we’re on the mission field or not (although our marriages can be viewed as a mission field in itself).
In this Marriage Message we’ll summarize below that which is particularly relevant to marriages.
Living the Gospel Message
David talked about common hindrances to presenting the gospel. He said, “We may be living out the only gospel message some people will ever witness.” That’s one reason why we need to communicate the gospel not only with our words, but with our actions. It’s important that our words and actions don’t overshadow what the Lord is saying to those He brings our way.
It tells us in the Bible in 1 John 3:16, “We know love by this —that He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the Brethren.” Relating to this scripture, Dr Ferguson pointed out that:
“We need to both SHARE the gospel and LIVE the gospel. The Bible is both a TRUTHFUL GOSPEL, pointing out, ‘He laid down His life for us.‘ It’s also a RELATIONAL GOSPEL, which tells us, ‘we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.‘”
Words Overshadow Gospel Message
Too often our words to others are overshadowed by the contradictions they see in how we live our lives. They sometimes look at us and think, “Why should I listen to a word he or she says to me about the love Christ has for me? When I look at him or her, all I see is how they treat each other. They treat others just the opposite of what they preach. Why should pay attention to what they’re saying? It seems pretty hypocritical to me!”
As Dr Ferguson says, “The relational testimony of my life will either CONFIRM the truthfulness of the gospel or it will DISTRACT from the truthfulness of the Gospel.” People need to see that I’m willing to lay down my own agenda for the sake of the gospel. I am to deny my willful ways of doing things and give of myself on behalf of the “brethren.” I am to do this whether I’m working outside of my home, or living inside my home with my spouse and family.
It’s not that we are to let our spouse victimize us or that we enable their sinful ways to continue. But we’re to live out the ways of Christ in such a way that the words of the Bible ring true. “They will know us because of the love we show towards one another.” Our approach is more Christlike.
Not a Performance
And it’s not that we have to “act” as performers so people will be more willing to listen to the gospel. We are to live our lives in such a genuine way that it shows that what we say, we TRULY believe. There’s truth in our actions, as well as what we say.
It’s hypocritical to live our lives one way in front of open doors and another way behind closed doors. Eventually that, which is done in darkness, is revealed in the Light of Christ. And at that point it can have a serious impact on the testimony of the Lord.
Being a follower of Christ is about living Christ’s ways whether we have a human “audience” or not. But we need to be aware of the fact that there is always a spiritual one. It’s tragic to think how we “entertain” the enemy of our faith. We cause rejoicing whenever we hurt each other with our words and/or our actions. What’s even worse is to know that because God always sees us, how His heart must grieve whenever HE sees us hurt each other!
Living the Gospel Message
We pray that whether your spouse treats you as he or she should, or not, you’ll ask God to help you to stay true to what you know the Lord would want of you. The question is always, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” It will help you to live out the Gospel Message.
One pastor wrote:
“There are two reasons people don’t become Christians:
(1) They’ve never met a Christian…
(2) they have.”
We hope you’ll consider this message. And if you realize that you have not been LIVING the Gospel Message that you will repent of this inconsistency and will do what it takes to line your life up with the message of Christ.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and my ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
Please know that our love and prayers are with you as together we strive to make our marriages the best they can be. We pray that our lives reveal and reflect the love of Christ to the glory of God!
Cindy and Steve Wright
Additionally, here is an article on this issue you could also find inspiring:
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