The gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ is not
The western church has cheapened the meaning of Jesus' message by using that phrase and others like it on bumper stickers, on kids' toys and cheap party favors, on T-shirts and keychains everywhere.
I have yet to find a place in the gospel accounts where Jesus is walking around telling people "Smile, I love you!", and that alone is sufficient to save them. God does love everyone - that is what compelled Him to come. But it's the Atonement by His death that saves, when we believe, not just His saying "I love you!".
If you think that sharing the gospel with others is being bold enough to tell them that Jesus loves them, my friend, you are not sharing the gospel with them.
People who don't know that they are sinful and who think that they are worth loving don't really care that Jesus loves them. After all, a lot of people love them. They're pretty awesome. That was my attitude before I knew that Jesus was my savior. I don't know if you knew me back in high school and college, but I was arrogant. And I was awesome.
My accomplishments and good deeds were many. I had a lot of influence and I had a lot of acquaintances. So what if Jesus loved me? I totally deserved it because I was an amazing human being! When well-meaning Christians told me that Jesus loved me, I rolled my eyes at them because, hey, why wouldn't Jesus love me?!
It wasn't until my sophomore year in college when I was confronted with the message that I needed to
that God got my attention. Someone finally was bold enough to tell me that I was sinful and that I needed to admit it and trust that Jesus had died on my behalf if I had any hope of getting into heaven.
What makes the statement "Jesus Loves You" so amazing is not that He loves you because you're astounding. It's because in spite of the fact that you are a depraved wretch, He still bore the entirety of my sin and your sin to Calvary and was executed for it, that God's justice might be totally satisfied instead of poured out on us. But unless we each choose with our lifestyle and heart, soul, and mind to daily appreciate that sacrifice and confess that Jesus Christ has every right to all of us, even to our very breath - we will each be expected to personally make payment for each and every one of our individual sins. Eternally. Because that's what it costs. [The wages of sin is death. Romans 3:23]
Jesus Christ came to share that the kingdom of God was at hand and that every body has been given an opportunity to repent of their sinful ways. The good news is that Jesus Christ accomplished for us what we could never hope to accomplish ourselves - to fully satisfy the wrath of a just God by paying with his sinless life.
It's not a message you want to hear. It's a lot easier and comfortable to hear "Smile, Jesus Loves You!". But I'm not interested in your life being easy or comfortable. I'm increasingly interested in your repentance and eternal salvation through Jesus.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord... [Acts 3:19]
For His glory!