Every week, on Monday, we will have a blog for you with resources for diving deeper into the sermon.
This was the last week of our Not a Religion series. Over the past few weeks we have seen how the gospel saves us, trains us, forms us into a new community, and this week, we saw that the gospel makes us zealous to accomplish the mission. Christians often get bored over the Christian life because they either don’t realize that they have a part to play in the mission or they think that participating in the mission is just another box they have to check off their to-do list. The gospel gives us a zeal to participate in God’s mission.
In verse 14, when Paul talks about Christ redeeming and purifying a people, he gets that language from Ezekiel 36:26-28. Ezekiel was written a long time before Christ came and that shows us that God has always been working to create a people for himself. This language of Ezekiel is New Covenant language. In the Old Testament, the people of God could just not be faithful to the Old Covenant with its law, so God has said that all those who come into the New Covenant (by faith), will be led by the Holy Spirit to be faithful since we couldn’t do it on our own. That’s good news! The Spirt inside us reveals the love of God for us in the gospel and causes us to love him. That’s where the eagerness to work for God’s mission comes from, not from someone telling you there is a law you need to keep to get God’s love—that’s religion. Religion may produce works but not zeal. Gospel is doing the things of God because we find deep joy in doing them. Zeal is the difference between being a Christian by culture and being a Christian by conviction.
Verse 15 talks about declaring “these things.” As Christians we stand on all the truths of the gospel, and we declare them to the world. Yes, the gospel calls on us to value Christian community, but we must balance it with a life of testimony to non-believers. Community and mission is a tension to manage not a problem to solve. Our time spent with one should not eliminate time spent with the other. You can’t choose between two things when both are necessary. But this week, the focus is on declaring the gospel.
The application point is this: declare the gospel not a religion. Religion is “do this or that to be saved.” Gospel is “Jesus has done everything necessary for your salvation by dying on the cross for your sin and raising from the dead so you can walk in newness of life.” Trust that.
But who is the one who shares the gospel? Every Christian should declare the gospel. The mission is for all. We do it in two ways: we go and tell about Jesus and what he has done, and we ask people to come and see what Jesus is doing in our church. Both are needed.
Where do we declare? Declare the gospel in the Triad and the world. It’s why Mercy Hill launches local campuses, plants domestic churches, and sends international missionaries. Everyone in the world needs to hear this good news, and you are commissioned and empowered and transformed by Jesus to do it.
Sermon Series Resource
Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life – Jeff Vanderstelt
From Amazon: “Even if they want to, many Christians find it hard to talk to others about Jesus. Is it possible this difficulty is because we’re trying to speak a language we haven’t actually spent time practicing? To become fluent in a new language, you must immerse yourself in it until you actually start to think about life through it. Becoming fluent in the gospel happens the same way―after believing it, we have to intentionally rehearse it (to ourselves and to others) and immerse ourselves in its truths. Only then will we start to see how everything in our lives, from the mundane to the magnificent, is transformed by the hope of the gospel.”
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)