Looking back, one of the most glaring (and I would add scandalous) omissions is that my church never taught me how to live. I knew how to do a ton of religious things, but when it came to living out my faith as a disciple of Jesus, I really had no clue.
One of the great encouragements we have to live as disciple-making disciples is the powerful promises of God. Have you ever considered how the Great Commission is sandwiched with the power and promise of Jesus?
A high view of the law will expose the sinfulness and seriousness of sin. The law was never meant to make us righteous in the sight of God (legalism) but to cause us to look for an alien righteousness found in Christ’s life.
What is the nature of your expectations every time you hear the Word of God preached? A gospel-centered church will have a congregation full of gospel-centered expectations every time the Word of God is proclaimed.
Are we talking about the gospel to the neglect of the Spirit’s working in our lives? Are we substituting the gospel for the Spirit when explaining how we operate as Christians in the world? I think those are valid questions, and I want to briefly attempt to answer the question in this post.
Christians who truly get the gospel discover its power again and again on a daily basis. The “living and active” nature of the Word is doing its effectual work as the Spirit convicts, renews, and reforms our lives in ways that demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus.
It is not enough that the preacher’s sermon is Christ-centered. The congregation should be trained to be, too. That entails not only expectations but also application, which is what I want to address in this post.
If we are going to follow Jesus into the world to make disciples through gospel advance, we need to be empowered by the Spirit to reject “subcultural” norms and re-enter for the purpose of showing and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Two key areas of struggle, it seems, for evangelicalism today can be found in celebrity culture and the prosperity gospel. In light of that, I found this excerpt from Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man to be insightful and convicting.
Even in “reached” areas of our cities, there are many unreached and unengaged people. Let’s be honest: What percentage of our city is unengaged with the gospel? What percentage of people have any proximity to the kingdom of Christ?
In my study of what it means to be a “living sacrifice,” I came across this journal entry from Jonathan Edwards on his self-dedication to God at the age of 20(!). I find this to be a powerful summary of what it means to be a living sacrifice to God.
Because idolatry is the sin beneath the sin, the motivational fruit for the behavioral fruit of our choices, it stands to reason that a counter-cultural community will come to terms with the idolatry-centered nature of secular society.