Posted by: Jeff Warren | August 13, 2011

What’s the Gospel?

At the core of our Message, our ministries, our lives, our hope, and life is the Gospel.  The longer I preach the more convinced I am that I (we) have but one message: the Gospel of Grace found only in Christ. Surely all of Scripture is inspired by God and all of the Bible is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness- but it is the Gospel that is central. I’ve heard Christians through the years express a desire to go “deeper” in the Word. Sometimes this is a true desire to get beyond the surface preaching that seems to come from many of our pulpits. But most of the time this is a desire for more knowledge (and not a desire nor evidence of obedience to what is already known- i.e. kindness, compassion, care for the poor, the marginalized, a lack of grace and purity, etc..).

I ask, “What’s deeper than the Gospel?” How can we ever tire of studying, scrutinizing, exploring, and- indeed- applying the Gospel to every aspect of life. The Gospel is the well that never runs dry. Jesus is eternal and the exploration of His majesty is never-ending. Let’s preach, teach, and apply the Gospel. It is (HE is) the Only hope of salvation for those who believe.

Here Tim Keller (who is always Gospel-centered) answers the question: “What is the Gospel?”

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Responses

  1. Amen. Tim Keller has helped me see how we first need to understand and grasp the depth of the good news that Jesus died for our sins so we can have peace with God. But the Gospel is “news” about what God did for us through Christ’s atonement. As Keller’s friend, Michael Horton, makes clear in “Christless Christianity”, the Gospel is not what we do for God – a list of “to do’s” is not good news. And we cannot “live out” the Gospel – only Jesus could live the Gospel and die for us. We can “live in response to the Gospel” and we can only find joy in that when we truly grasp that we really are forgiven because of what Christ did for us.

    My sense is that people want to “go deeper” in the Word because most pastors assume that all Christians have deeply internalized the Gospel, but most people hardly ever hear any preaching of the Gospel on Sundays. But Keller always brings his sermons back to what Christ did for us. He correctly figures that if his congregation eventually gets the full range of the Gospel, then they will be naturally motivated to share the Gospel message in word & deed. I think most pastors rush too soon to the “application” and try to get people to serve others before they ever know the factual basis for their sins being forgiven. I’ve led many small groups & Sunday School classes where people are surprised to hear & learn basic doctrine, such as that Jesus is actually God….How could they know they have forgiveness if they don’t know what happened at the cross? As Keller says, It’s not just that God loves us enough to have his Son die for us – anybody could die to show love, but their death would not save us. There are reasons we can know that Jesus’ sacrifice really satisfied God’s wrath. Too many Christians have this big burden of trying to be good instead of resting in Christ’s work. Too many of us don’t really know the Gospel even though we’ve been going to church for years. Keller also addresses guilt and confession, a big part of the Gospel, too. He says if we’ve confessed our sins to God & asked forgiveness, but we still don’t feel forgiven, that must mean we have a god that means more to us than God, and that other god, such as self-esteem or family expectations, won’t forgive us for letting that god down. I need to hear the Gospel over and over and over.


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