I consider Keith Green to have been a prophet. And I know others who think so too, though he never claimed the title for himself. It is not that he foretold future events—that is, after all, a rather marginal aspect of the prophetic gift. Keith Green was like the prophets in the main aspect of that gift and office: he had a burning message to give to God’s people which called them back to faithfulness. As you read the material in the quote box below, keep in mind that Green made his real commitment to faith in Christ at about the age of 23 and died at age 28. He wrote this message some time during those five years.
This material is a collection of excerpts from an essay titled “Follow the Right Gospel,” and it’s stuff I need to hear and heed.
… Paul was imprisoned for his beliefs. He suffered torture and beatings. And from this vantage point he urged both Timothy and the Galatians to be wary of a gospel that’s more comfortable….
I want to warn you about this: There are a lot of “other gospels.” Most of them appeal to our flesh. They avoid challenge and sacrifice. But they are not the true gospel that leads us to salvation. one mark of the true gospel is that it demands sacrifice from us. Sacrifice of having control of our lives, moment by moment. It challenges everything we do….
Instead of kicking and screaming, our flesh quietly tries to distract us with side issues—anything to keep us from giving everything to God. Suddenly, small matters of theology become major issues as we focus on anything but what the Holy Spirit wants to deal with…. Each one of us must take responsibility before God to keep our eyes on the gospel. We can’t allow anything or anyone to distract or mislead us….
The heart of the gospel is that we must die with Christ in order to live with Him. But what exactly does it mean to die with Christ? To begin, it means that we are dead to our rights. And that means signing over to God our desires, our dreams, our hurts. All that we are or will be….
The problem for most of us is that we want a spiritual crown, yet we want to avoid the cross that must come first….
Like Paul, I want to be found growing in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ when God calls me home or when Jesus comes back, whichever comes first. I want to be a true disciple—one who has set his affections on the wonderful things that are above. That means letting go of all that this world offers by way of security and honor and pleasure.
And that’s how we’ll know if we are following the true gospel. The true gospel challenges us at every turn. It unsettles us. It requires things of us that hurt. Our flesh will squirm. The devil will attack us in our weakest areas. Other Christians will offer us less radical ways to follow Christ. But in the end, we’ll be transformed from the inside out. We’ll be clean. We’ll be shining lights.