We Never Outgrow The Gospel

As a pastor of a church plant, I am often asked how we gear our church services; are we aiming at the unbeliever or the believer? In other words, what people are asking me is whether I focus on saving the unbeliever or strengthening the believer. My answer is always the same: “Yes!”

Because every worship service is geared toward sinners, the preaching of the gospel is intended to reach both the unbelieving sinner and the believing sinner. Both groups are in constant need of God’s grace: the grace of rescue, the grace of revival, the grace of reconciliation and the grace of restoration! Because God is in personal pursuit of rebels on the run, the gospel applies to both believers and unbelievers alike. Because we are all still sinners in need of a Savior, no one ever outgrows their need of the gospel.

The real question that needs to be asked is not what group we are targeting for our messages; rather we must ask ourselves this: Is the gospel message — that Christ died to pay the penalty for all our sins and rose from the grave, thereby cancelling sin’s penalty and undoing its power — being preached clearly, concisely and with conviction?

 

The nature of sin

The gospel is for sinners, after all, and you and I are still sinners after we have been saved. Even after we have been raised from death to life, and after we welcome Jesus into our hearts by grace through faith, we are still sinners, both by nature and by habit. As I often tell our congregation, it is true that sin no longer reigns after we place our trust in Christ, but sin still remains, and it is constantly trying to drag us away from our Savior. The inertia of sin is always away from our Savior and toward the self and a life of self-rule, self-focus and self-centeredness. Christian believers of all ages and stages of growth are in constant need of being redirected away from sin and toward our Savior. We are prone to wander even after the gospel has started working in our lives! We are sheep who are easily lured away to search for greener pastures than the one God has graciously provided for us.

There are countless voices trying to get our attention on a daily basis. And every one of those voices seeks to shape our lives by ruling our hearts. That is why we must be intentional about preaching the gospel truths to ourselves every single day. There is no voice with greater potential for influencing your life than your own. You are constantly talking to yourself, and you believe what you tell yourself. So why not be intentional about reminding yourself of the truths of the gospel, allowing God to transform your life.

 

Spiritual disciplines

Just as the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, fasting, watching, service and giving are “means of grace,” preaching the gospel to ourselves is another means that God has graciously given us to strengthen our faith, grow us up into Christ and help us live the life God has called us to live. We benefit from this grace in both of the following two perspectives: proactive and reactive.

 

Proactive

We are proactive when we intentionally fix our focus on the truths of the gospel daily. It is our daily meditation, making the gospel one of the most powerful “offensive” weapons against the world, the flesh and the devil. We don’t simply drift into the discipline of preaching the gospel to ourselves. We decide in advance to simply make it part of our daily routine.

 

Reactive

We are reactive by recalling the truths of the gospel, thereby developing a gospel perspective and evaluating what is currently happening to us by looking through the gospel lens. This gospel perspective helps us overcome our temptations and sin patterns (doubt, fear, disappointment, envy, resentment, unforgiveness, frustration, anger, etc.).

So, how are you doing at preaching the gospel to yourself? Do you do it daily? Do you remind yourself that God so deeply and eternally loved you that He sent His only begotten Son to die in your place? Remember, what rules your heart shapes your life. The more you preach the gospel to yourself the more it will rule your heart and shape your life and that shape will look like a cross — vertically toward God and horizontally toward others — all others!

This is the gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that. . . . Amen.

 

Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.

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