The Gospel Must be Explicit

Adapted from a sermon by Matt Chandler at the San Jose Boot Camp in June 2011.

The Moralism Pitfall

Preacher: The Gospel must be explicit in your teaching – it cannot be assumed. If you assume it, you will build out what Christian Smith called, “Christian Moralistic Theurapeutic Deism.”

If you don’t make the Gospel explicit, if you don’t keep coming back to the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ for us, if you don’t keep coming back to the wrath absorbing cross for us, If you don’t keep coming back to the resurrection – listen, you need all three of those – if you don’t keep coming back to those things and you assume that’s some sort of kindergarten-level, entry-understanding Christianity; you are going to build out Moralistic Deism – do this, don’t do this – instead of preaching, “find your righteousness in Christ alone and approach the throne of grace with confidence.” But you’ve got to come back to it – over and over and over again.

The Gospel Alone

The good news: this is actually Biblical. That’s what makes this such “good news.” But here’s one of the things I worry about – we’re running out of adjectives to put in front of “Gospel.” It’s this Gospel and that Gospel. We’re acting like we’ve got this resurgence in the Gospel. It’s like we have some innovative idea. But let me tell you this:

If you are faithful to preach and proclaim Jesus Christ as the imputation of righteousness, the wrath-absorbing sacrifice for our sin and the resurrected Son of God; lives will be changed, depth will be established, and morality will be corrected. You have to keep bringing it back to Jesus.

Preach Like Paul

I love the Apostle Paul – not more than Jesus, don’t worry. But I do appreciate the way that he was relentless with the Gospel. And he’s constantly preaching the Gospel – catch this – with people who know the Gospel. What did he say in Romans 1? “I was eager to come to you, brothers, that I might preach the Gospel to those of you who are in Rome.”

Paul’s got this really beautiful rhythm where he preaches the Gospel and starts to unpack the implications of it. Take Ephesians 1 & 2: Paul gives a cosmic view of the Gospel – a cosmic view of what God is doing – and then he rolls to implications in chapters 4, 5 & 6. He does the same thing in Colossians. In fact, with the exception of maybe II Corinthians where he’s answering questions, you can go through any of Paul’s letters and see this rhythm. It’s like the implications won’t work unless you understand the message itself. Because people can just do Gospel-implications all day long and not be saved.

You’ve got to get the Gospel. You’ve got to preach the Gospel.

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