When Paul said: “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly,” he was not commending personal Bible study. This text is often misinterpreted as a command for private Bible reading. We read ourselves into the text as if it said: “dwell in the Word of Christ,” which is important, but not what Paul is saying. Rather, he says “let the Word of Christ dwell in you.” And “you” is plural.
We could translate it: “Let the Gospel dwell in the church.” In Colossians 1:5 the “word of truth” is “the gospel”, which dwells in the community, takes center stage. And the community comes together over and over again to gather around the Gospel, the Word of Christ. This should change your life, your community. It should change the way you prepare mentally to attend a small group or missional community gathering. Instead of going begrudgingly, dutifully, or to get something, we should drive to CG looking for an opportunity to give and receive the gospel to one another.
We all have a responsibility to teach one another the gospel. To share Christ in community. So next time you are on your way to CG gathering, change your expectation and expect to give and receive the gospel, to be taught by one another about Jesus, who is the head of our body, and the center of your community. This means you read, meditate, and pray as an individual so that you can be a blessing to the community. Huddle around Jesus not your needs, your demands. Lets come together, Sundays, CGs, throughout the week ready to give and receive Christ to one another. Repent from a mindset of convenience and have faith in Christ for a mindset of grace. Let’s come together to forgive, love and to teach one another about Jesus.
I finished Unbelievable Gospel: Sharing a Gospel Worth Believing last night. It drops next week as an eBook in the new eBook store at www.gospelcentereddiscipleship.com. I wrote this booklet to help people rethink evangelism. Here’s a taste:
Most of us share an unbelievable gospel. We cough up memorized information about Jesus that has little apparent meaning for life. If we’re honest, we don’t exactly know how Jesus is good news for others; we just believe he is. The problem with this is that non-Christians don’t share the “advantage” of mindless belief. “Just believe in Jesus,” we say, but what we tell them is so unbelievable! In their bad news, they can’t conceive how a dying Jewish messiah could be good news to them. Alternatively, their best news seems to trump our good news. This is where our calling to “do the work of an evangelist” comes in (2 Tim 4:5).
The workplace crusaders and angry street preachers who campaign to convert co-workers to their doctrine or recruit bystanders to their politics are also unbelievable. Even the well-intentioned evangelical who looks to get Jesus off his chest and into conversation is unbelievable. Too many Christians look to clear their evangelistic conscience by simply mentioning the name of Jesus or saying that he died on the cross for sins. Saying Jesus’ name in conversation earns us a check. Mentioning what Jesus did (on the cross) earns us a check +. This performance-based approach to evangelism is incredible because it fails to embody the truth we preach. Dismissing people’s struggles, fears, hopes, and reasons for unbelief, we plow onward with our name-dropping. This is unbelievable.
Sharing the Gospel
This is a book on evangelism, though I struggle to use that word because of all its baggage. More importantly, it is about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is both bigger and smaller than we think. Sometimes we can’t imagine the scope of the gospel, as news so good that it changes everything—society, culture, and creation. People really need to hear this. This vision of reality is better than anyone can imagine. The good news of the gospel is better than the best news people can conceive. Others times, we can’t imagine the subtlety of the gospel, that it brings us exactly what we need in Christ: acceptance, approval, forgiveness, newness, healing, worth, purpose, joy, hope, peace, and freedom, all in Jesus. The gospel is bigger and smaller than we think, as big as the cosmos and as small as you and me. It is the good and true news that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us! I have limited the scope of this book to the smaller expression of the gospel. It is mainly practical, focusing on how we can better communicate the gospel better to others. True to the original meaning of evangelism, this book is about how we herald the good news of Jesus Christ.
I am finishing up a new eBook on the topic of sharing the gospel.
The goal of the book is to help people understand how they should and should not share their faith with others. All too often, Christians share their faith in ways that are off putting to people, making them feel inferior, un-spiritual, or like a pet project. Other Christians don’t share their faith for some of the very same reasons–they don’t want to be preachy, intolerant, or proselytizing. All of this needs to be addressed, some affirming and some challenging. Plus, we need a new way to talk about the gospel with others. Simply downloading “Jesus died on the cross for your sins” or dropping the name of Jesus isn’t enough.
People need to hear (and see) a believable gospel, one that is worth believing in their own lives, one that makes sense of their real challenges, hopes, fears, and concerns. My hope is that this book will do all of that in fifty pages: address why we shouldn’t and how we should share the gospel of Jesus with others.
With this brief explanation in mind, would you help me with the title? Here are some options: