Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Even Christians Need to Hear the Gospel

Ever walked out of a church service feeling condemned?

I know, that's like asking have you ever had an upset stomach: the answer is most probably yes. So many sermons are full of exhortations to do more for God: Read your Bible, serve the poor, tithe, volunteer, love your wife, witness to your neighbors, etc. It would be easy for anyone to just throw their hands up and cry: "It's hopeless, I'll never measure up!"
Pastor Kevin DeYoung wrote a good piece this week on the antidote to that problem - preaching the gospel to Christians. See On Mission, Changing the World, and Not Being Able to Do It All

....we need to make sure our exhortations to do more rise to the level of God’s glory and sink deep into the gospel. If the exhortations don’t culminate in the glory of God then the youth people and the evangelism people and the poverty people are not really after the same thing. They are just competing interest groups in your church or in your mind. And if the exhortations don’t go deep into the gospel (and they often don’t), then we are just beating up others and ourselves with utopian dreams and masochistic oughts.The gospel of Christ crucified for sinners is of first importance after all. So don’t forget: God loves you. God forgives you. God redeems you. God keeps you. God was here before you and will be here long after you. The truth, the world, the church, the lost, the poor, the children are not dependent upon you....

... But there are also a whole bunch of Christians who need to be set free from their performance-minded, law-keeping, world-changing, participate-with-God-in-recreating-the-cosmos shackles. I promise you, some of the best people in your churches are getting tired. They don’t need another rah-rah pep talk. They don’t need to hear more statistics and more stories Sunday after Sunday about how bad everything is in the world. They need to hear about Christ’s death and resurrection. They need to hear how we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. They need to hear the old, old story once more. Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.

Read the whole thing - It made my day!