The Discipleship Problem


Is today's Gospel too small and too human-centered? Does it reduce Jesus to a God who exists for us instead of us existing for Him and for His purposes?

Evangelicals, we have a discipleship problem.

And we’re the cause of the problem.

The Gospel we preach and teach is too small and human-centered, and it’s dislodged from the Biblical story:

Too Small and Human-Centered

It’s too small and human-centered because Jesus is reduced to a God who exists for us, instead of us existing for Him and for His purposes.

Jesus is often portrayed as a life coach whose job is to help us “make our dreams come true” and who shows up to help us through the difficulties of life, instead of being portrayed as the King of Glory who created us for Himself and for His purposes.

Dislodged from the Story

The too small and human-centered Gospel we preach is often dislodged from the Biblical story about God’s glory.  We teach and preach as if the Gospel started in John 3:16 and God’s only goal is for us to have a “get out of hell free” pass.

We forget or choose to ignore that humans from the very beginning were created and placed on earth to image forth God’s love and glory on earth, turning earth into a “mini-heaven” (Genesis 1:28).

God calls Abraham, and from Abraham, Israel, as a nation is birthed and chosen by God to be His missionary community (Deuteronomy 7:6, Exodus 19:5-6).  Israel’s very existence was to be a conduit of God’s grace to the world. The people of Israel were His marketing plan.

But Israel failed. So God the Father elected Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, the Savior of the world, to fulfill what Adam and Eve and Israel could not, bringing God’s Kingdom to earth (Luke 9:35).

Through Jesus’ sinless life that He lived in humanity’s place, His substitutionary death on the cross for the world’s sins, His death-defeating resurrection, and His ascension, a new people of God called the Church was chosen in Him to display His glory and join Him on His mission on earth (1 Peter 2:5-9).

Jesus justifies, reconciles, regenerates, redeems, forgives, and indwells His Church by the Spirit’s power, so that the gifts, abilities, and personalities of the members of His Church become the conduits that God uses to bring a little taste of heaven to earth.

Their lives are leveraged in the cause of Christ.

They are a people of the story about God’s glory.

Jesus transforms His Church so it can be a transforming agent on earth.

Because Jesus rose from the dead, His Church will spend eternity with Him in the New Heavens and Earth.

The Gospel is a story about God’s glory and when we get lost in this Gospel story, we truly find ourselves and live life from Jesus’ life.

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