The Power of the Gospel in Our Homes
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. 1:15,16).
The Power to Believe
Common to all believers is the experience of the battle of faith. We often say that we fight against a threefold enemy—the devil, the world, and our own flesh. A child of God feels that faith is small and weak. We want to believe, and we want to reach heaven. We also want to be obedient to God and His Word and Spirit. How does a weak believer receive the strength to battle against such a powerful enemy?
Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:15,16). The power to remain believing, to be free from sin, and to reach heaven is found in the gospel. Therefore, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel and was ready to preach it.
What is meant by the gospel? It is taught that the gospel is the glad tidings of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus spoke to His disciples about the message that they should preach, He said, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations” (Luke 24:46,47). Believers have the duty to preach the message of the gospel, the forgiveness of sins. This message of forgiveness is preached in the name of Jesus.
Also, Paul writes of Jesus, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Thus, forgiveness of sins is also preached in the blood of Jesus. Today in God’s Kingdom, we hear the proclamation of the gospel, which assures us that we can believe our sins forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus. This is the core and central message of the gospel.
The Keys of the Kingdom
Who can proclaim this message of forgiveness? Jesus gave this power to His disciples, the believers. Apostle John writes that, when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said to them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:22,23). The power to forgive sins belongs to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in each believer, and thus every child of God can proclaim the message of the gospel, the forgiveness of sins in the name and blood of Jesus.
The Importance of Forgiveness
We are all weak believers and find ourselves falling into sin. We sin in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. We need to hear the message of forgiveness to be freed from our sins. Often we doubt and wonder, “Am I still a child of God?” We need to hear the reassuring message that we can still believe our sins forgiven and that God still cares for us. Sometimes we offend others by our words or actions. We need to forgive each other our offenses so that we can be free from sin and have love and unity with each other. Sin is like a burden. If our sins are not forgiven, more sin makes the burden greater. Eventually, the burden is too heavy for us to carry, and we fall from faith. This is the goal of the enemy. Through the gospel, our sins are forgiven, and the burden of sin is taken away. We are able to remain traveling on the way to heaven.
Forgiveness in Our Homes
When we think about how we can help each other at home, what is the greatest thing that we can do? Isn’t it this, that we preach the gospel? This is the best way to help each other to reach heaven; the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the only “power” that God’s Word mentions for our use. We all find ourselves in need of the gospel.
Husbands and wives can sometimes be impatient or angry with each other. Parents can sometimes be impatient in dealing with their children. Children can sometimes be disobedient to their mother or father. Brothers and sisters and friends can sometimes hurt each other’s feelings. And all of us fall into sin. It is a great blessing in a believing home when we have the power of the gospel. We can forgive each other all sins in the name and blood of Jesus.
Always Appropriate Time for the Gospel
When should we preach the gospel to each other? Moses encouraged the Old Testament believers in this way, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deut. 6:6–9). It is always appropriate to proclaim the message of God’s Word. This encouragement given in the letter to the Hebrews applies in our homes: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). We can freely preach the gospel and freely ask to hear the gospel.
A believing father once told me about an experience in his own home. A disagreement had happened between his young son and daughter, and the boy had said or done something that had been hurtful to his sister. The girl began crying and ran to her room. The father spoke to his son and told him, “You have hurt your sister and now you should go to her to ask for forgiveness.” The boy thought for a moment and answered, “No, Dad, I want you to forgive me.” The father said, “It is your sister that you have offended. You need to ask her to forgive you.” Again, the boy said, “No, Dad, I want you to forgive me.” In telling about this, the father said, “Then, fortunately, I remembered the words of the Bible: ‘the gospel is the power.’ I preached the gospel to my son and assured him that all of his sins were forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus. Do you know what my son did then? He ran to his sister’s room to ask forgiveness.”
The power in the battle of faith flows from the gospel and the forgiveness that comes from the gospel—that is, from God. God has hidden a mighty power into this forgiveness. In the same manner, He has hidden a blessing into the work of His kingdom, or attending services. God’s works and ways are hidden from us. They are so high that He can afford to appear low or approach us in a simple way. As one brother has said, “Forgiveness is a mystery to me. The older I have grown, the deeper it seems to be. There is so much hidden in the sermon of the forgiveness of sins. And God doesn’t change it—ever!”
Is there anything that we can do for each other that is more important than this? How good it feels when sins are forgiven, and we can travel together on the way to heaven. Let us never tire of preaching the gospel to each other, and especially in our homes and families.
1. Read John 20:19–23 and Matthew 16:13–19. Discuss the keys of the kingdom.
2. Read John 13:1–17. What was Jesus teaching the disciples by washing their feet?
3. Why is it so important that we have and believe our sins forgiven?
4. Why is it so important that we be willing to forgive others? (See Matthew 18:21–35)
January 2012 Voice of Zion