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A Gospel Primer

December 28, 2012 by Larry Lazarus 0 comments

Posted in: Christian Living

As I have spoken about the church's mission of making disciples of Jesus, I have communicated that a disciple is someone who is learning to apply the gospel to absolutely every area of life. I took this definition from a very helpful 18-week discipleship tool called Gospel DNA.

But as I've gone through that material with a few sets of guys, I am learning that this "gospel" language is sometimes too vague to be helpful.  We know the gospel has to do with Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, so that I can be forgiven and receive eternal life.  But how is that supposed to help someone in the clutches of a battle with pornography?  Or bitterness, or self-pity, or any other struggle we have as we strive to grow in obedience to all of Jesus' commands (Matthew 28:19)?

I don't want this precious word "gospel" to become a junk drawer term that ends up helping no one in the fight of faith because we're not exactly sure what it means, and how it applies to my daily life.  So I have recently been using this "gospel primer" to help people (first and foremost, myself) think out the implications of the gospel.  I've been reading and praying through this each morning as part of my devotions, and have found it helpful in reorienting my heart on the good news of what God has done, is doing, and will do (three tenses of salvation: past, present and future) because of Jesus.

Hopefully it helps put some contours on what it means to "bring the gospel to bear" on your everyday struggles with sin and unbelief:

I believe I have been saved from the penalty of sin…

  • I believe I was an enemy of God because of my sin and rebellion against him, deserving his wrath (Romans 1:18, 21, 28-29; 3:23; Eph. 2:1-3)
  • I believe Jesus is the Son of God who is fully God and fully man and that he lived his life fully submitted to God the Father (Jn 1:1-4, 14; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-19)
  • I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins (1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; John 1:29; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 5:1, 3; 1 Peter 2:24)
  • I believe Jesus was buried and rose again on the third day and then he appeared to many people (1 Cor. 15:4-7)
  • I believe Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father and sent his Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness & judgment and to guide us into all truth (John 14:15-17, 25-29; 15:26-27; 16:7-15)
  • I believe that I am justified before God by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26)
  • I believe the Holy Spirit has made me alive in Christ and I am now no longer condemned, but a new creation loved by God as Father, submitted to Jesus as Lord and sent and empowered by the Spirit for his mission of making disciples (Romans 8:1-17; Eph. 2:4-10; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:19-22)

I believe I am being saved from the power of sin…

  • I believe that the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from dead now lives in me and I have access to resurrection power to overcome sin and Satan today (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Romans 8:11)
  • I believe it is God’s will that I be sanctified – set apart to do his will (John 17:15-19; 1 Thess. 4:3)
  • I desire to obey God and continue to grow in becoming more like Jesus and accomplishing his mission (Eph. 2:10, 4:11-16; Col. 1:28)
  • I believe I have all I need to make this a reality—his Spirit, his word & his church, and I intend to steward all of this for his glory (2 Peter 1:3-11)

I believe I will be saved from the presence of sin…

  • I believe Jesus will one day return and will make an end to sin, suffering, evil and brokenness (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 21:4)
  • I believe there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1-3)
  • I believe he will judge the living and the dead and all those who put their trust in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection on their behalf will enjoy being in God’s presence forever in the new heaven and new earth (Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15)
  • I believe all those who trust in something or someone other than Jesus for their life and justification before God will be separated from God forever (2 Thess. 1:5-10; Rev. 20:15, 21:8)
  • I believe it is our job as the Church to therefore proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls and to display the foretaste of the future so that people will hunger for it and put their faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-15; 1 Peter 2:11-12, 3:15)

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