The Gospel or the Comespel?
Jun 10, 2014 1797
I remember the first time I visited an amusement park. It was Luna Park in Sydney and I would have been 7 or 8 years old. I remember going on the most amazing ride. We went into this chamber in which the walls were circular in shape. As we stood with our backs against the walls, the chamber started going round and round, faster and faster. And then the floor dropped away beneath our feet, but we did not fall. Although I could still move my arms and legs somewhat, I remained stuck to the wall, with nothing beneath my feet! It was an incredible feeling.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in a giant centrifuge. In a centrifuge, the force radiates irresistibly from the centre, and goes out in all directions.
The gospel is a centrifuge. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15, NIV). The proclamation of the gospel can never ever be separated from the good news of the gospel. The gospel is never a message that exists in and of itself; it is a message that is good news only when it is shared. Romans 10:14 says, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Through the message of the gospel, the love of God radiates out to all creation.
The force of the gospel centrifuge radiates out irresistibly from the cross of Christ. It is only when the gospel (the “good news”) has gone out, so that Christ is lifted up before the world, that the souls of men and women can be drawn in to Jesus (John 12:32). We must “go” before people can “come.” That’s why the word “go” is in the word “gospel” and the word “come” isn’t. The “going” must always comes first.
Unfortunately, too many Christians believe in the “Comespel” and not the “Gospel.” They want people to “come” without they themselves having first “gone.” And so in their churches and groups they expect that people will simply come them. They don’t sit idle; not at all – they often run all kinds programmes and hope that people will come to these. There’s nothing wrong with that. But where is the “going?” Where is the irresistible centrifugal force of the gospel that compels every believer to “go”?
The gospel is not about establishing religious fortresses, with high walls to keep the great unwashed out. The gospel is not about rules and expectations – both written and unwritten, that serve as the secret passwords that people must correctly give before being accepted inside. The gospel is not about lobbing the odd rock over the walls of “fortress church,” hoping to hit a heathen on the head so that they will take notice that the “church” is here.
No, no – a million times no!
The gospel is the good news – an event of cosmic proportions that empowers the great commission to GO! The gospel is the good news that Christ has done all that was required for the salvation of people everywhere, and that all are accepted by God if they believe in the name of the Son of God. And the gospel has its own irresistible centrifugal force that radiates from the cross of Christ, which compels every believer, both as part of a church and as an individual, to GO!
To treat the gospel as some kind of intellectual theological exercise, or as merely some kind of personal mantra that is irrelevant to how we live, or to ignore it’s irresistible calling on our lives to Go!, is to not have understood the gospel at all.
So let’s do a quick reality check: Do you believe in the Gospel, or the Comespel?