I commission you all today as ambassadors of the Gospel of Welcome. What that means is that you are representatives of a message of good news about God. This is important because most people have an impression of God as bringing bad news to us all in the form of judgment. This is unfortunate because God has been improperly represented for quite some time. But that is precisely why you are so important. You are changing that.
The biblical word for “gospel” simply means good news. And why is it good news? It is good news because it is the opposite of what people think is bad about God. God is not all about judgment. He is all about love, forgiveness, acceptance and empowerment. Yes, He is the judge, but He’s already taken out His judgment on Himself in the form of His Son, Jesus, whom He punished on the cross precisely so He wouldn’t have to punish us. So, in fact, we are doing Him a big disservice when we think of Him as that angry old man in the sky who is ready to stick it to the next guy who sins. We are completely discounting Christ’s death on the cross. We are basically saying He died in vain.
Our message is that God is not mad anymore. He’s waiting like an anxious father, out on the front porch, staring down the driveway to the road below, looking for any sign of his children coming home. He’s waiting to welcome us — to rush down the driveway and smother us with an embrace even before we can get a word out. Then He cleans us up, dresses us in His royal robe, and — the furthest thing from anyone’s mind — throws us a party. Does that sound anything like the God most people have been envisioning? No it doesn’t.
So that’s why you are so important. You are here to spread the good news about God to people who have it wrong, and the easiest way to do that is to tell your own story — how He met you and welcomed you home and threw you a party.