What is the gospel?
This message is not about how to be a better Christian. It’s not about how to love more, how to do missions better, or how to live a holier life. Plenty of others are talking about that stuff. So if you came here for more of the same, you may find yourself disappointed…
Ten years ago, God challenged my fundamental understanding of what a Christian is. In so many words, I realized I wasn’t one. My understanding of the gospel was all wrong. What I had lost track of—what the church has lost track of today—is the internal evidence of rebirth. This is key because the main differentiator between Jesus and all other religious figures is not what he does to us or for us, but what he does in us.
Jesus came to establish a relationship with humanity. It’s not intellectual. It’s not emotional. It’s spiritual. A spirit-to-spirit connection between God and man. But we don’t understand that. We don’t feel that. We’re certainly not convinced of it. What we are convinced of is that faith equals outward engagement. The true role of the church, however, is to encourage inner transformation, not external attempts to display our own godliness.
The reality of the church today is that we’ve sold ourselves a segmented gospel. One side says if you believe, you get a free ticket to heaven. One side says you have to be filled with the Spirit. Another side says do this activity, do this mission, this fast, this Bible study. What we end up with is a situation where we have an over-spiritualized body living inside the church with no clue how to be Jesus outside the church.
Segmentation works for marketing. It works on pizza or in a buffet. You can pick and choose what you want. But the integrated Gospel is one package with multiple components. If you separate the components, they have no eternal value. Love by itself is humanistic. Holiness by itself. Evangelism. Speaking in tongues. Apart from the father, they are meaningless.
Only through first experiencing internal transformation will we display the genuine, outward character of Christ. But it’s all or nothing…