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The Gospel Life – Central, Functional, and Sufficient

September 19, 2007

“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing!” – C.J. Mahaney 

The Gospel is the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ for all of life. This is not the “good news” that you’ve saved 15% or more on your car insurance by switching to GEICO or a new promotional dollar menu being introduced at your favorite one-stop coffee shop. This is the never-ending saving knowledge that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor 15:3)! News to a poor, wicked, blind, dead beggar, that the King has granted him life and has made him a priest to reign as equal with His only Son, who died in our place to wipe our slate clean, forget and forgive our faults, give us truth and bring us to the King forever!

This good news is not merely a beneficial formula, a basic doctrine, or a one time salvific flu shot but the life-giving truth that God has rescued us from eternal death to life with Him. He has brought us from death to life, from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, from judgment and wrath to grace and love, from punishment to pleasure, from deceit to truth forever! The Gospel is the best good news there will ever be. Nothing is more worthy of our excitement or “gossip” than this news. The Gospel is a promise: God Himself. God gives us Himself by sending His Son to bear our wrath, our suffering, our shame, our sin, our judgment, our death, so that we can gain His forgiveness, His peace, His pleasure, His name, His Holiness, His grace, His life, His righteousness and all of who He is forever. It is this Gospel that we should seek to know inside and out. All the innerworkings and outerlinkings. It should saturate every channel of our thought and every corner of our lives from sunrise to sunset, and everywhere in between.

It is this Gospel that bores many Christians or is left in the dust being viewed as simpleton theology or too impractical, replaced by “deeper truths” or redefined by “practical application”. The simpleton says, “Yes yes yes, the Gospel. I know I know; but get practical man. Give me something I can use. Make it user-friendly.” For this typical Christian, practicality, simplicity, or easy-to-understand thought is what he “needs”. Yet there is nothing more practical and applicable to this life than the Gospel! Nothing! For the aspiring theologian with his nose in the bible, his commentary at his feet, and his greek concordance at arm’s reach, is looking for meaty, weighty, deep, challenging intellectualism. He says, “Move on from this elementary school of thought. The Gospel is for the baby Christian, milk, soft bread. I need meat. Let’s dig deep and move past this”. The Gospel is not to be mulled over, chatted at, boiled down, or dumbed down, in a sense, merely to make it palpatable. Nor is it to be left behind, replaced, covered-up or forgotten. The Gospel is always the “power of God to salvation to all who believe, the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). Don’t you see? The Gospel is exactly what the practical man and the intellectual man need. They just don’t know that it alone is what truly satisfies. The simpleton needs to see it as practical for every aspect of his life; the intellectual needs to see it as the central truth to be studied. It is both deep and weighty while also fully practical and applicable. Both must see it as what it IS and what it should BE: central, functional, and sufficient.

1) Central – Everything revolves around the Gospel

Question: How can my life center around the Gospel?

Key Words: center, core, axis, focus, beginning and end…

Related Scripture: Mark 13:10; Luke 4:18; Acts 20:24; Romans 1:1; 1Cor 1:17, 15:3; 2 Cor 4:4; Gal 1:8…

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be at the center of everything, because it is the center of everything. All truth revolves around the Gospel, all truth stems from the Gospel, and all truth points back to the Gospel. The cross of Jesus Christ is to be central in all theology, thought, emotions, philosophy, relations, conversation, understanding, all of life. The believer should, in a sense, look at life through a Gospel lens. His senses should be Gospel fueled: everything he sees, hears, tastes, touches, and smells is guided and motivated by the Gospel. His thoughts, reason, intellect, arguments, ideas, philosophy, and mind should be centered on the Gospel. His emotions, feelings, affections, desires, goals, passions, and heart should be centered on the Gospel. It is to be the core of his being, what defines him, what gives him life, breath, and joy. It is his focus and b-line directly to where he is headed at all times. It is his destination, his previous place, and his present rest. He is to be cross-eyed at all times. The Gospel is his only stability and solidity in life; he should cling to it in desperation. God is the Gospel. So the Gospel must be at the center of everything because it is the center for everything.

2) Functional – Everything flows from the Gospel

Question: How can the Gospel function in my life?

Key Words: active, applicable, practical, moving, participating, performing, effective…

Related Scripture: 1Cor 9:14; Gal 2:5, 14, 4:13; Eph 6:15; Phil 1:27; Col 1:23; 1 Thess 1:5; 1 Peter 4:6…

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be absolutely functional in every aspect of the believer’s life, because it is totally functional. A Gospel that is stuck in the head or heart is not a Gospel that functions; it is passive rather than active. The Gospel is to be mobile; moving and full of motion for the Christian. The cross is strong and immovable, yes, however it is eternally motivating and divinely active. The Gospel must leap off the pages of the Bible and hymnal into the heads and hearts of the believer through the actions and fruit of his faith. It is more than just red print on white paper, but the very words of LIFE. It cannot stop at talk, but most move to action. It cannot find rest merely in profession, but in possession and participation. It is in full operation and activation through ‘Gospel Truths’, truths that stem from the Gospel: peace from God, forgiveness toward others, love toward others, grace to others, purity of our bodies, perception of circumstances, the test of sound thought and actions, state of our heart, transforming of our mind, etc. These are truths that stem from the Gospel, they gain their truth by the Gospel. Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross and out of the grave, we benefit in every branch of our lives. The Gospel is not stuck or cornered or boxed in, but rather is wide-open in the sense that it is constantly mobilizing and applying its power and wisdom. The Gospel then is purposefully practical and fully functional. It is not merely a list of facts agreed to in the past, a descent of beliefs to adhere to in the present, or even a thing to attain to in the future, but the current source of life! It functions at work, at school, at home, in shopping, mowing the grass, decision-making, advice-giving, eating, drinking, playing, conversing, even in sleeping. The Gospel should function to all of life NOW, because it is functional for all of life! God is the Gospel, Christ embodies the Gospel, the Holy Spirit brings us the Gospel and then dwells in us, so we should live the Gospel and then spread the Gospel!

It’s not enough to just believe the Gospel, we must be-living the Gospel. Believers and Be-livers!

3) Sufficient  – Everything rests in and points to the Gospel

Question: How can the Gospel satisfy my whole life?

Key Words: satisfy, fulfill, enough, qualified, adequate…

Related Scripture: Rom 1:16, 15:29, 16:25; 1Cor 9:12,16,17,18; 2Cor 9:13, 11:7; Eph 1:13, 3:6; Philippians 1:7…

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be solely sufficient to all of life, because it alone is sufficient for all of life. This is not a health, wealth, prosperity meaning of the Gospel but a soul-satisfying meaning of the Gospel. It was enough to save, is more than enough to sustain, and will be eternally enough to fulfill. The Gospel is not only all we need but all we have! Nothing else is more adequate or capable to meet the needs and wants of men. It alone will meet the needs and fulfill the desires of the believer. It does not struggle to be pleasurable or fight to sustain, but is by nature a treasure. Because of its nature, the believer gets all of his life from this treasure therefore exulting in it and exalting it as his treasure. It suffices as more than enough. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will not be disappointed, but will thirst and hunger no more if they drink of the living water and eat of the bread of Jesus Christ. The Cross is everthing! So if it satisfies, I run to it, embrace it, cling to it, never leave it! Everything I have and am therefore points to it as my supreme treasure.

Summary & Response –  

When the Gospel is truly seen, it will be central. When it is central, it will function. When it functions, it will satisfy. And when it satisfies, it will save to the uttermost. All boasting and glory then goes where it belongs: the cross of Christ! Nothing else can be central. Nothing else can truly function. Nothing else can truly satisfy. Embrace the cross, believer! You can’t make it central, it IS! You can’t make it function, it DOES! You can’t make it satisfy, it WILL! So cast down your idols, lay aside your broken cisterns, and glory in God and His Gospel! It is life, it will give you life, it will be your life!

Nothing else has effected me more than these three truths of the Gospel. Never has the Gospel ever touched and captivated and transformed me like it has when seeing and savoring these truths. So fight for joy in God. Chase hard after God and find satisfaction in Him because He alone is what satisfies! You think you will be satisfied by anything here on earth and then be satisfied with Him in heaven? No! It’s now or nothing. For “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” (John Piper).

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From → Gospel

4 Comments
  1. Welcome to the blogosphere, Jonathan. Got here from Peter Cockrell’s blog. I look forward to reading your future posts. Best wishes.

  2. Hey thanks Thad. I greatly appreciate you stopping by and Peter passing on my convictions on the Gospel and its necessary centrality. I will check out your blog to. May God bless us all as we seek to enjoy and know Him more fully.

    Jonathan

  3. Idetrorce permalink

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  4. Idetrorce, Okay is that it? You got to give me more than that so I can actually respond. What specifically don’t you agree with? The fact that the Gospel must be central to the Christian; that it must be functioning and active in the Christian’s life; or that it must be sufficient for the Christian. All of these occur in the natural and biblical state of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What do you not agree with?

    jonathan

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