At Cornerstone, we have just finished a five-week series on the Gospel. One of the books that helped me and encouraged me was Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by J.D. Greear, pastor of Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area. This book is a powerful book that I highly recommend.
Unfortunately, many people think the gospel message is based on our performance and action. Even if they don’t verbalize it, many people believe that their acceptance before God is based on how well they obey God’s commands. We need to return to the beauty and power of the Gospel, and remember that we can have a relationship with God because Christ reached down to us. We don’t need more rules and more guilt, we need to understand why Christ died for us, and then our response will be from love and gratitude. This book does a great job of taking doctrine and theology and explaining it in simple terms that everyone can understand. The Gospel is the one thing that we simply can’t mess up.
Here are some of the quotes that I highlighted:
- The gospel is the announcement that God has reconciled us to Himself by sending His Son Jesus to die as a substitute for our sins, and that all who repent and believe have eternal life in Him. I want you to see the gospel not only as the means by which you get into heaven, but as the driving force behind every single moment of your life.
- Being able to articulate the gospel with accuracy is one thing; having its truth captivate your soul is quite another.
- Being converted to Jesus is learning to so adore God that we would gladly renounce everything we have to follow.
- The gospel, and the gospel alone, has the power to produce love for God in the heart.
- Religion, then, can tell you what to do—namely, to “love God with all your heart, soul and mind” and “to love your neighbor as yourself”; but the gospel alone gives you the power to do it.
- The gospel produces an obedience that is powered by desire.
- Growth in Christ is never going beyond the gospel, but going deeper into the gospel.
- Satan starts with what you did, and tears down who you are. The Holy Spirit starts with what Christ has declared over you, and helps you rebuild what you did.
- You must dwell on God’s great truth daily. It is the only way to drive out fear, unbelief, and temptation.
- The law produces Pharisees; the gospel produces Christians.
- Believing the gospel is not only the way we become Christians, it is the power that enables us to do, every moment of every day, the very things Jesus commands us to do.
One of the central messages of the book is a simple Gospel Prayer that helps remind us of the true power of the Gospel.
“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done, or could do, that would make You love me less. Your presence and approval are all I need today for everlasting joy. As You have been to me, so I will be to others. As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power the by the resurrection.”
from the publisher:
Could the gospel be lost in evangelical churches? In this book, J.D. Greear shows how moralism and legalism have often eclipsed the gospel, even in conservative churches. Gospel cuts through the superficiality of religion and reacquaints you with the revolutionary truth of God’s gracious acceptance of us in Christ. The gospel is the power of God, and the only true source of joy, freedom, radical generosity, and audacious faith. The gospel produces in us what religion never could: a heart that desires God.
The book’s core is a “gospel prayer” by which you can saturate yourself in the gospel daily. Dwelling on the gospel will release in you new depths of passion for God and take you to new heights of obedience to Him. Gospel gives you an applicable, exciting vision of how God will use you to bring His healing to the world.