Cultivating a Gospel Culture
I really appreciate Ray Ortlund's recently published book entitled, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ. In this book, Ortlund writes that a healthy, gospel-centered church is one that possesses both gospel DOCTRINE and gospel CULTURE. Having doctrine without culture leads to hypocrisy. Having culture without doctrine leads to fragility. But having doctrine and culture leads to POWER.
I agree with this. And I also believe that Gospel Culture is more difficult to cultivate than we might imagine. In fact, it requires utter dependence upon the supernatural and gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Why? Well, most of us know the gospel and can even explain the gospel. But it is much more difficult to consistently live in light of the truth of the gospel. It actually takes a lifetime of growth in grace. It is hard to believe that the gospel is what really will transform your emotional life, your relationships, your marriage, your inner thoughts, and your vocational calling. A Gospel Culture is difficult to cultivate because it requires you and me to be humble enough to admit that we can't change these parts of our lives on our own, and courageously faithful enough to believe that God in Jesus Christ can change these parts of our lives.
But it is a beautiful thing to see develop. A Gospel Culture is one in which people are being changed by the truth of the good news in such a dramatic and remarkable way that they begin to see other people differently. They begin to love others. They begin to put others above themselves. They begin to exercise patience. They stop putting up facades and faking it. They drop the religious pretenses we are all so accustomed to. They make real progress in fighting and gaining victory over sin. They desire to read the Bible and pray.
I want more Gospel Culture in my life. I want more Gospel Culture to radiate throughout Christ Church. We are celebrating our first birthday on Sunday, April 19. We are going to think more about cultivating a Gospel Culture then. I hope you can be there. Let's pray that the gospel would change everything in our lives individually and as a young community of faith together.
See you Sunday.