Thursday, March 04, 2010

Don't Assume The Gospel

With all the discussion about "missional engagement" inside the church today, I always fear that we begin to assume that we all mean the same thing when we talk about the gospel. From my experience in ministry and attending different churches, I think this is a bad assumption. When one generation assumes the gospel, the next generation forgets the gospel. I have been growing in the last few years in my own confidence level in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to really changes lives. Rather than focus most of my preaching on practical tips on how to live like Christ (though not bad) or on simply teaching information found in the Bible (not bad either), I have come to the passionate conviction that my role is to lift up Jesus, to exalt Him and the message of the gospel so that people are drawn to Him not as their example, but as their Savior. I believe that people act out of their core convictions and beliefs (rather than what they confess to believe) and that the only way to see lifelong transformation is to get our true beliefs in line with the gospel.

I always believed in the gospel, but now I'm beginning to see all of Scripture and all that Scripture teaches on morality through the lens of the gospel. When morality is taught from our pulpits apart from the grace of the gospel, we simply create Pharisees who are self-righteous and proud of their own moral achievement. If this conviction is true (that the gospel shapes everything we do and teach), then we need to spend time reflecting on the nature of the gospel and the implications of the gospel. Instead, it feels like many times we assume the truths of the gospel and hope that everyone who has been in church for any length of time will simply "get the gospel." I don't agree with this - we can't assume, but rather must be explicit in our teaching about the gospel. It sounds like Matt Chandler from the Village has been thinking some of the same things. I am so thankful for his ministry and his leadership. Check out his recent video:

Matt Chandler - 20/20 2010 Session 1 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

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