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The Gospel Must be Explicit


Adapted from a sermon by Matt Chandler at the San Jose Boot Camp in June 2011.


The Moralism Pitfall

Preacher: The Gospel must be explicit in your teaching — it cannot be assumed. If you assume it, you will build out what Christian Smith called, "Christian Moralistic Theurapeutic Deism."

If you don't make the Gospel explicit, if you don't keep coming back to the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ for us, if you don't keep coming back to the wrath absorbing cross for us, If you don't keep coming back to the resurrection — listen, you need all three of those — if you don't keep coming back to those things and you assume that's some sort of kindergarten-level, entry-understanding Christianity; you are going to build out Moralistic Deism — do this, don't do this — instead of preaching, "find your righteousness in Christ alone and approach the throne of grace with confidence." But you've got to come back to it — over and over and over again.

The Gospel Alone

The good news: this is actually Biblical. That's what makes this such "good news." But here's one of the things I worry about — we're running out of adjectives to put in front of "Gospel." It's this Gospel and that Gospel. We're acting like we've got this resurgence in the Gospel. It's like we have some innovative idea. But let me tell you this:

If you are faithful to preach and proclaim Jesus Christ as the imputation of righteousness, the wrath-absorbing sacrifice for our sin and the resurrected Son of God; lives will be changed, depth will be established, and morality will be corrected. You have to keep bringing it back to Jesus.

Preach Like Paul

I love the Apostle Paul — not more than Jesus, don't worry. But I do appreciate the way that he was relentless with the Gospel. And he's constantly preaching the Gospel — catch this — with people who know the Gospel. What did he say in Romans 1? "I was eager to come to you, brothers, that I might preach the Gospel to those of you who are in Rome."

Paul's got this really beautiful rhythm where he preaches the Gospel and starts to unpack the implications of it. Take Ephesians 1 & 2: Paul gives a cosmic view of the Gospel — a cosmic view of what God is doing — and then he rolls to implications in chapters 4, 5 & 6. He does the same thing in Colossians. In fact, with the exception of maybe II Corinthians where he's answering questions, you can go through any of Paul's letters and see this rhythm. It's like the implications won't work unless you understand the message itself. Because people can just do Gospel-implications all day long and not be saved.

You've got to get the Gospel. You've got to preach the Gospel.


Links  Matt will be preaching at the Dallas Boot Camp in March 2012.



Matt serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas Fort Worth area. He has served in that role since December 2002 and describes his tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 11,000 with campuses in Flower Mound, Dallas and Denton.

Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over 10 years where he spoke to thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.

Recently, Matt was named president of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization. Over the last 10 years, Acts 29 has emerged from a small band of brothers to over 400 churches in the United States and networks of churches in multiple countries.

Matt speaks at conferences throughout the world and has written a book, The Explicit Gospel, published in April 2012, his second book Creature of the Word, will be released in October 2012.