Our vision at Redemption Church is to lead people to Jesus who lead people to Jesus, which is another way of saying that we want to make disciples who make disciples.
We have seen people saved, baptized, and joined into our community, and it is always awesome! However, it’s exceptional not normal. If we press in on it much to try to measure our “success” we may find that in reality not very many of us are leading others to Jesus who lead people to Jesus. The vision seems to imply that we should eventually be seeing Jesus transform lives all the time.
Honestly, my instinct is to believe that I am a failure. I feel ashamed. I begin to question if we would be more successful if I was a more passionate preacher or had planned a better event, class, or system. Maybe the church would be better off without me. I need to be reminded of the gospel – the good news of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
See, it is easy for me to forget what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18; “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” When I forget that it is Jesus who is building His church, I am quick to believe the lies that the future of the church rests on my shoulders, that if I fail the church will fail, and that God will be disappointed with me.
However, Jesus says that He is building the church, that He is in control, and that not even the gates of hell can cause it to crumble. If that is true, then what can I do to to wreck what Jesus is building? Furthermore, in the person and work of Jesus I see God’s true affections toward me. 1 John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” When I believe that to be true with my heart, soul, and mind, confessing my unbelief, the Spirit draws my attention back to Jesus and gives me the ability to stand confident as a cherished child of God with eyes to see Him at work among us
Jesus is really good news for me.
Now, we’ve said repeatedly over the last year or so that a disciple is one who is “increasingly submitting all of life to the empowering presence and Lordship of Jesus Christ.” Here’s the question, how can we submit any area of life to Jesus if we can’t see how Jesus brings good news into all areas of life? If we don’t know how or why Jesus is good news for us in the everyday, then we probably won’t be able to lead others to see Jesus as the answer for their everyday either.
We totally ripped-off that definition of discipleship from Jeff Vanderstelt whose newest book, Gospel Fluency, is also super important and timely for us. Jeff makes the case that while many Christians believe that the gospel of Jesus is true and central, many Christians aren’t equipped to articulate the good news of Jesus Christ into the “everyday stuff of life.” While we preach and hear the gospel clearly on Sunday mornings in our service, we haven’t all necessarily learned how to apply it when the world presses in on us with lies about our identity, ability, value, and so on. Gospel Fluency does a great job of teaching the basics of the gospel as it lays the foundation for Christians to be able to learn and speak the language of the gospel to themselves and to others.
As a church we will be working to equip one another to become a gospel fluent people because, the truth is, if we are going to submit to Jesus in all of life then we have to be led to the gospel in all of life. If we want to lead people to Jesus who lead people to Jesus then we must be a people who are capable of proclaiming the gospel to ourselves and each other when the enemy stands against us.
I know that Jesus is at work in the hearts of the people of Redemption Church. I can see how the Spirit is surfacing some heart issues among us as we have been looking to Jesus through Matthew’s gospel. There is a tension in many as our personal kingdoms are being exposed in light of the kingdom of God. As we continue to pray that we would be led to increasingly submit to Jesus we’ll need to be able to articulate how Jesus is better than our own understanding in the everyday stuff of life.
This is in a way a book review, and in another way, it’s a challenge to keep seeking first the kingdom and the righteousness of Jesus. I highly recommend Jeff’s book. He does a fantastic job of teaching the language of the gospel, and I believe that to be something that we desperately need. The Book Tavern – next door to Redemption church – on our recommendation has some copies of both of Jeff Vanderstelt’s books; Gospel Fluency and Saturate. So stop by and grab a copy.