Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Gospel: Technicolor

(The following is very, very, very strongly influenced and adapted from a talk given by Tullian Tchividjian at the 1st Baptist Church of Jacksonville Pastor's Conference on January 29th 2011, so much so, that you should not attribute a single thought here to me, though, he stole a lot of it from Tim Keller . . . who stole it from Martin Luther and the Bible. Unless noted all quotations are Tchividjian.)

All Christians believe the Gospel.

Most of us think about it frequently.

But when we think about it, how are we looking at it.

Is it the Door by which we get in? The igniting spark that brings us into the Kingdom? A response to an incredible offer from the King and Ruler of the Universe?


But it is also, much, much more. So much more, that when we think of it simply as the igniting spark or the message we need to share with non-believers we do a great disservice to others and ourselves.

Seeing the Gospel as an entryway alone is to see the Gospel in black and white rather than technicolor.

Seeing the Gospel as a one-time choice is to see the Gospel theologically rather than functionally.

"The Gospel doesn't simply ignite the Christian life, it is the fuel that keeps it going. Its the whole thing."

This Gospel states that the determining factor in my relationship with God is:

His Work . . .
. . . not mine.

His Performance . . .

. . . not mine.

His Obedience . . .

. . . not mine.

His Faithfulness . . .

. . . not mine.

And we need to hear this not just one time, not just at the doorway, but every day. Every moment.

Because all of our hearts bend towards performance mode. All of us are tempted to believe that good behavior, good productivity, good works, good thoughts, and our being good will keep us in God's favor, or (if we have our minds theologically trained enough to not fear God's abandonment) we will be tempted to believe that doing these things will give us a little extra value, make God a little more proud of us, or will get us what we've always dreamed of.

But these are utter, hell-spoken lies.

They have zero reality.

The Gospel tells us the God's acceptance of us is based on His Work, not ours.

The Gospel does not say, "If I obey, I will be accepted" but "I am accepted, therefore I obey." (Keller)

The fact of the matter is that God's love for you and approval of you does not get bigger when you obey.

Nor does it get smaller when you disobey. Not at all.


Right now, ask yourself this question: When God thinks of you right now, what is the look on his face?

Stop. Think about it. Don't go on until you have an answer.

What do you picture? What does He say? Is he confused? Upset? Disappointed? Too busy to care? Does he say, "If only you would . . ." or "Why do you . . . ?"

If you imagined God as anything but overjoyed with you, you're Gospel is not technicolor. Because the truth is: in Christ, God is deeply satisfied with you.

When God looks at you, he sees His Son. He sees His Son's life of perfect obedience, in your stead.

"Christians live under the banner of 'It is finished.'"

The Gospel is a real, ongoing, functional, sufficient, efficient, technicolor Truth.

Let's step out from under the black and white and into the full color (we can even skip that 70s phase where the colors were all a little faded). The Gospel is Techinicolor. We live under a banner.

It is finished.

How do you generally think of the Gospel?

Where do you find yourself trusting in a performance mindset?

What would it look like to better believe the Gospel today?