Understanding the Gospel
The Gospel of Jesus is rich and complex, yet simple. It has multiple aspects. We will be considering the Gospel in a way that strives to honor its broader message, while acknowledging its simplicity and transforming power for our daily lives. We focus on three aspects or parts of the Gospel: Story, Identity, Kingdom.
The Gospel in a Large Brush Stroke
We recognize the grand narrative of God’s story expressed in terms of Creation (God creates), Fall (humankind falls into sin), Redemption (God redeems fallen humankind), and Restoration (God’s purpose includes restoring humankind and creation).
Focuses on Jesus’ story, His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. You should strive toward a point when you are able to open your Bible to specific passages and from them understand and explain Jesus’ story. You should strive also to explain how His story intersects with yours and its basic implications: forgiveness of sin, day-to-day practical living, and hope of eternal life.
Focuses on God’s identity as a ‘triune’ God and also the new position and standing He offers us once we believe in Jesus and embrace His story. You should strive to understand the scope of this identity, rest in and relish it, and explain it to others.
Focuses on the reign of God advancing in this world and how our lives are now re-positioned to align with His will, rather than ours. You should strive to seek first God’s kingdom, submit to his will, and be prepared to describe what this life looks like as you study Scripture.
Embracing the Gospel
Our Story in Jesus’ Story
Jesus’ story is paramount to our understanding of the Gospel. Developing the ability to see how our life story is born – and develops – under the shadow of Jesus’ story is also important.
We remember Jesus’ story – His life, death, resurrection, ascension, return – as we see how our story fits in it. Consider your story on several levels: you as a child of your parents, a sibling, a disciple of Jesus, a member of your church, a resident of your city. Strive to explain how Jesus’ story intersects with yours: forgiveness of sin, daily living, hope of eternal life, etc.
We remember who God is – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as we consider the new identity He offers us when we trust Him. Consider your new identity on several levels: your particular brokenness, how Jesus is restoring you, the lies that hook you, and the false identities that snare you. Explore the unique identity given to you that combats the false identity and lies particular to your story.
Your Part of the Kingdom
We remember God’s Kingdom and reign – advancing today in the world and in our lives – as we consider how we might best live out our new identity. Consider how you are wired, what you are doing when you experience the pleasure of God in you, how you best serve God as you.