As I listened to my friend and longtime partner at our church share about the struggles and brokenness he was experiencing in multiple areas of his life; in his marriage, with his kids, at work, and in his thought life, I realized that what my friend needed was the Gospel. There was no doubt in my mind that this man had a saving faith in Christ and was committed to being a disciple of Jesus; so then, how could he be in need of the Gospel?
I grew up in the church, if the doors were open, we were there. For most of the almost 40 years I have been in the church, the Gospel was always spoken of as a message that needed to be preached to the unsaved. However, as I have grown and continue to grow in intentionality as a disciple-maker I have come to see that disciples, myself included, need the Gospel as much (sometimes maybe more) today as they day they came to saving faith in Christ. Too often, we forget that the “Good News” is more than just the message about Christ’s death & resurrection and the hope of eternal life, it includes the message of new life in Christ; new life that is lived in love driven obedience to the Savior and King, Jesus.
In The Discipleship Gospel, Bill Hull and Ben Sobels remind readers that the “Good News” that Jesus preached was that God’s kingdom has come, Jesus is the King, and that the King would die and be raised again. The proper response to this “Good News” is to repent, believe, and follow. Following is the expected natural result of saving faith. Sadly, we often overlook or forget the kingdom message of the Gospel. We forget that God’s kingdom is not a geography; rather it is the sovereign rule and reign of Christ. The kingdom is “among” us (Luke 17:21) and His kingdom is meant to expand not only as more men, women, and children become disciples; it is also meant to be growing in our lives as we learn to follow and submit to the Kingship of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The result is our sanctification as God’s sovereign rule and reign expands within us. This has certainly shed new light on Jesus’ prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
In his book Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt states, “All sin is a result of unbelief in God – particularly unbelief in Jesus and His work…too often we go after the behavior and not the belief.” It was tempting to begin addressing all the unhealthy and sinful behavior my friend was experiencing then help him develop a plan to “do better.” However, the behavior was only a symptom of the problem. The root of the problem was that he had temporarily lost sight of the Gospel, the Good News of King Jesus and His kingdom. When we take our eyes off Jesus as King, it should not surprise us when we no longer experience His kingdom in our lives.
Over the following weeks, my friend and I spent time in the Word being reminded of the Gospel, which includes the Good News of Christ’s Kingship and His kingdom. As he was reminded of and grew in his understanding of Christ’s Kingship, he once again began to experience the power of God’s kingdom permeating throughout his life. This experience reinforced in me the necessity of disciples continually proclaiming the Gospel not just to the lost, but to ourselves, and other disciples because it is the Good News that Jesus is the King who died for us so that we could be a part of and experience His kingdom in this life and the next.
Charlie Turner – Lead Pastor
River Rock Bible Church