Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I'm Reading - Gospel

Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by J. D. Greear is a book that I would highly recommend. It's commonly believed that the gospel is just for the beginning of the Christian life, but Greear explains that the gospel is to be the motivating force for all we do as Chrisitians (This book was a great help to me in preparing sermons for my series The Gospel-Centered Life.)

The key to the book is Greear's four-part "Gospel Prayer." (1) “In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.” (2) “Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.” (3) “As You have been to me, so I will be to others.” (4) "As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
The gospel is not just supposed to be our ticket into heaven; it is to be an entirely new basis for how we relate to God, ourselves, and others. It is to be the source from which everything else flows (p. 9).  
Obedience that does not flow from love ends up being drudgery— both to us, and to God. The gospel turns that drudgery into delight. It changes us from being slaves who have to obey God to sons and daughters who want to obey God. Again, God is not just after obedience; He’s after a whole new kind of obedience— an obedience that is filled with desire (p. 23).  
Preach the gospel to yourself. You must tell yourself that because of Jesus you have the absolute approval of the only One whose opinion really matters (p. 54).  
Gospel change is the Spirit of God using the story of God to make the beauty of God come alive in our hearts (p. 65).  
Believing the gospel is not only the way we become Christians, it is the power that enables us to do, every moment of every day, the very things Jesus commands us to do (p.103).  
That’s what being “gospel-centered” is really all about— not moving past the gospel, but continually going deeper into it. It’s about realizing that the gospel is the final answer to every issue and problem in life and about seeing the whole world through the lens of the cross (p. 191).  
“Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words”? How do you explain the gospel without using words? That’s like saying, “Tell me your phone number. If necessary, use digits.” Your phone number is digits. The gospel is the words announcing what Christ has done. People can’t look at our lives and know the story of Christ. They may see glimpses of the kindness of Christ, but expecting them to get the gospel just by watching us would be like trying to gather information from a newscast with the sound turned off (p. 223).