By Joe O'Neal:
This is part two of our Distinctive Values blog series. If you missed part one, be sure to go back and read through it.
Our second value is:
We are committed to embracing the gospel, applying the gospel and proclaiming the gospel.
EMBRACE THE GOSPEL
For a long time, when I thought of the gospel, I mostly thought of the good news that Jesus came and died on the cross for my sins and now offers forgiveness and reconciliation with God through his blood. And this very true, amen. And sadly, it's also where many believers in Christ stop.
But the gospel, the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, is so much bigger and all-inclusive than I had ever imagined. And as I continue to walk with God, it grows bigger and bigger.
When we talk about embracing and applying the gospel at Summit, we mean responding for the first time to the good news of Jesus by placing our faith in Him and turning from our sin. Yes. But we also mean living into that reality and all it entails, every day of our lives.
You see, the gospel is good news for you today. Right now.
APPLY THE GOSPEL
Regardless of your circumstances, good or bad, the gospel has something truthful to say to you. It tells you how deep the Father’s love for you is. It tells you how in control of all things He is. How gracious and good and kind and merciful He is. How nothing can separate you from Him if you are in Christ. The gospel is good news for all situations. It teaches us to trust, to forgive, to obey, to rejoice, to believe in God afresh and anew. And we need to preach it to ourselves daily.
This is what we mean when we say ‘applying’ the gospel. Its taking what we know to be true about God, believing His promises, understanding our new identity as sons and daughters who were crucified with Christ and allowing Christ to live His perfect life through us. The gospel truly changes everything. How we feel, how we think…
…and how we speak and act.
PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL
I’m glad God doesn’t leave us where we are. He is continually growing our understanding of who He is, how He works and what His call on our lives is.
When I used to think about proclaiming the gospel, if I’m honest, it made me uncomfortable and nervous to think about. I’m supposed to walk up to a complete stranger and tell them about how Jesus died on a cross for them because they’re a horrible sinner? Maybe hand them a tract? Now, maybe God calls you to do that and that’s great, but proclaiming the gospel is so much more than just that.
As we begin to understand how to apply the gospel in our own lives and how to preach it to ourselves, we grow in our understanding of how to proclaim it to others as well because we’re now seeing it as good news for all of life. And when we encounter those in need of good news in our every day lives, we have the ability to speak the truth of the gospel into those situations.
I recently had several conversations with a man who had grown up occasionally attending church services. He was a friend of a friend and several of us were just sitting around the dinner table, everyone engaged in various conversations. He told me that he believed that trying his best and being as nice as possible to others would earn him the favor he needed with God. He said he ‘believed in Jesus and God and everything’.
Here was an open door to have a simple conversation about God’s deep love for us and how he sent Christ who has accomplished on our behalf what we could never do for ourselves. How he fulfills the perfect standard of God for us (good isn’t good enough!), pays the punishment for our sin and offers it all to us for free, by grace, through faith. Amen!
I remember he looked at me and said he’d never heard that before! Never heard the truth of the gospel explained. I think he was beginning to understand how freeing that would be. And this gospel encounter happened in the course of an everyday event, just sitting around food and drink, talking. The gospel proclaimed. I pray for more opportunities with this man and for the gospel to take root in his heart.
At Summit, we want you to understand first what Christ offers in eternal life through his finished work on the cross. But we also want you to grow in your ability to apply the gospel to all the circumstances of your life, and as you do so and experience joy and freedom, that the natural outflow would be the Spirit of God empowering you to share that with others in your every day life; in the places you live, work and play. So that every man, woman and child would have repeated opportunities to respond to the gospel in the same way you did and are doing.
For more information on embracing, applying and proclaiming the gospel, check out: