December 21, 2010 by Dwight Bernier
This past week in our core development of Initiative 22, we discussed ‘Gospel Fluency”. Our desire as a missional community and eventually missional communities is to learn to be fluent in the gospel.
I understand the concept of being fluent (or not so much) in a language that we once did not know as I am living in a world where French is the predominant language. Withing language acquisition there are different levels. One of the first levels is just knowing that it is French that is being spoken. The second is starting to understand hear words. The third is using some of those words. The fourth is understanding phrases and eventually sentences and whole thoughts. Then comes speaking the language. Last is thinking in the language and speaking from those thoughts without needing to do any translation.
And thinking in the gospel is the place we want to be. We want to learn to speak the gospel fluently – which means 1) we know the gospel, 2) we apply the gospel to our life, and 3) we speak the gospel to others. Ultimately we all want to grow and change by the gospel, but “gospel change comes through pain, struggle, suffering, and staring your ugly sin right in the face” (Fight Club, Jonathan Dodson). And if we are going to grow in the gospel as Colossians 1.5, 6 tells us we should be, then we have a continual need to grow in gospel fluency.
So, if we are going to be fluent in the gospel, both applying it to our lives & speaking it to others, we must know the gospel first. I’m going to use some questions that Jeff Vanderstelt identifies to use in learning to speak the gospel with one another.
1 – Who is Jesus?
- Perfect man who lived a perfect life fully submitted to God the Father in all things.
- He is the God-man who is God in the flesh so that we could know what God is like and God would be near us (Emmanuel)
- He is the Messiah sent by God to save us from our sin, death & destruction
2 – What did Jesus do?
- On the cross, He exchanged His perfect obedience for our sin so that those who have faith in Jesus get His righteousness (Great Exchange)
- When He died on the cross, not only were my sins removed (expiated), but they were paid for (atonement).
- He rose from the dead to show His power over sin & death
- He ascended to the right hand of God the Father from where He sent His Spirit to bring faith & new life to us, empowering us to live lives of obedience.
3 – What must we do?
- Repent – Have a change in mind/heart about who God is & who we are.
- Believe – By faith, we put our trust in who Jesus is & what He’s done, believing it was accomplished for us.
- Baptism – Publicly express our faith that our lives are now united & identified with God in Christ
4 – What happens to us?
- We are forgiven & cleansed of our sins.
- We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- We are included in the forever Family of God.
- We are commissioned to make disciples of Jesus.
Know the gospel. Next, we’ll move to applying it. Then, we move to speaking it to others. This will come in further entries here. But it follows the flow of when Jesus speaks about removing the log from our own eye before trying to dislodge the speck in our brother’s.
May we learn the gospel well.