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Mar
05

Creating a Gospel Culture

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Over the past five weeks I’ve shared a sermon series designed to answer the question, “What is the Gospel?” During these weeks I’ve expressed some thoughts on how we need a Jesus shaped gospel that speaks to our needs beyond getting our sins forgiven so we can go to heaven when we die and having help in solving our problems.

This past Sunday I concluded the series with a talk on our need to create a gospelling culture based on Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

Each of us begin life in “the kingdom of me” where our will is done. God’s invitation to us is that we leave the “kingdom of me” and enter the Kingdom of God, where his will is done on earth as it is in heaven. But how do we make that transition? Paul wrote that God was in Christ in the world, reconciling people to himself. In other words, Christ is the means that makes it possible for us to leave our kingdom for the Kingdom of God. Now the interesting thing about what Paul said is that Christ has delegated to his believers the ongoing responsibility of helping people with their transitions. (Notice the word “us” in the text.) So how does that work?

First, we have to love as Jesus loved. Jesus loved people unconditionally, accepting them for who they were, where they were. We cannot love people we judge, criticize, or condemn. We cannot, as I like to say, love people conjunctively. Conjunctive love says, “I love you, but…”

Next, we have to learn to listen. It’s hard to connect with people when we do all of the talking. When we listen, we learn about people’s brokenness and struggles and gain insight as to how we can serve them and their needs.

Then, we have to be willing to invest in their lives by serving them at their point of need, not what we think they need. (Which, by the way, is what good missionaries do!)

Finally, we need to invite them to take a step toward Jesus. People seldom transition from their kingdom to God’s kingdom after one hearing. So we invite them to take a step. That step could be by way of asking how you can pray for them, or offering to serve them in some tangible way. It could be as simple as inviting them to church. But the thing about taking a step, if you think about it, is that when you take one step the next one becomes necessary.

Rather than developing programs we need cultures. Gospelling cultures are cultures filled with people that have hearts that love, ears that listen, eyes that discover needs, hands that serve needs, and mouths that invite people to take one step at a time. And I believe it happens in that particular order.

Categories : Gospel

Comments

  1. Jennifer Pegler says:

    Excellent thoughts Tim. Keep up the good work.

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