Speaking The TRUTH in Love IN Ministry

In Ephesians 4: 11-16, we are instructed about the means by which the Church grows up into maturity. God gives certain people to the Church to equip all believers for ministry (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers). Then as each part is doing their job, they build up the body of Christ to maturity and the stature of the fullness of Christ. Paul goes on to describe what must take place for this growth to occur:

1. Speaking the Truth in Love - The truth is found in the person and work of Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the way, the Truth and the Life". So, speaking the truth in love is another way of saying - "Speak the Gospel to one another."

2. In Ministry (and on mission) - The way in which the body is built up is through each part ministering to the others (verse 16). It is in ministry and on mission that we become aware of where each of us is in need of being built up in the Gospel. The areas of deficiency in our belief in the Gospel show up when we are called to love others and make disciples.

Therefore, in order to grow up in Christ and help others grow up in Christ, we need to be Gospel Fluent and call people to live lives that both demand the power of the Gospel and reveal where we are not living in the truth of the Gospel.

Some Questions

How have you grown in Gospel Fluency?

What has been most effective in shaping you to be able to "bring the Gospel to bear" on issues in your life and others?

How have you shaped your group to be Gospel Fluent?

What have you found to be most effective in equipping your Missional Community to speak the truth to one another and prepare them to share with those who don't yet believe?

Creating A Culture

In order to effectively equip your Missional Community in Gospel Fluency, you will need to create a culture where it is normal to speak the Gospel to each other regularly. Every sin and issue that stands in the way of faithfulness to Jesus' commands is ultimately a Gospel issue, since sin is the outcome of unbelief (John 16: 9). One of your key jobs will be to equip your people to KNOW the Gospel, APPLY it to all of life, and SPEAK it to each other.

Start With You

Shaping a Gospel Fluent culture starts with you being regularly shaped by the truth of the Gospel. This means you have to KNOW it and APPLY it to everyday stuff, while asking others to SPEAK into your life.

Do you know the Gospel? Could you articulate it? Can you address everyday issues with the Gospel?

If you know it and can articulate it, the next question is: Are you experiencing ongoing repentance and growing faith in the Gospel?

This will look like you "taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ". It means you are regularly checking your motives, beliefs, attitudes and actions to see if they reflect faith in Jesus or faith in someone or something else. This includes inviting others to have the freedom to speak openly into your life as well.

Then, when it is apparent that your faith is in something other than Jesus and what He accomplished for you through His life, death and resurrection, you need to be reminded how the Gospel shows Jesus to be the sufficient One for you in that issue, repent of your unbelief and put your faith for that thing in Jesus and His sufficiency.

The more you are actively applying the Gospel to all of life, the more normal it will become to both speak of it and to equip others in it.

Lead Your Group Into Gospel-Centered Life

You will need to lead in Gospel engagement in a variety of ways in order to make Gospel conversations normative for your life together and your mission to make disciples of others. There are several ways you can make Gospel conversations more normative, but here are a few suggestions to start with:

1. Rehearse the Gospel Regularly

Ask your group to regularly restate the elements of the Gospel out loud to see how well they're getting it. You may have to lay it out for them a couple of times until they begin to remember it.

Here are three questions I ask to help people remember....

Who Is Jesus?

  • He is the perfect man who lived a perfect life fully submitted to God the Father in all things.
  • He is the God-man who is God in the flesh so that we could know what God is like and God would be near us
  • He is the Messiah sent by God to save us from our sin, death and destruction.

What did Jesus do?

  • On the Cross, He exchanged His perfect obedience (His righteousness) for our sin so that those who have faith in Jesus get Jesus' righteousness credited to their account and their sin credited to His account
  • When He died on the cross not only were my sins removed, but they were paid for (atoned for)
  • He rose from the dead to show His power over sin and death (the wages of sin is death so Jesus' resurrection shows the debt is paid in full)
  • He ascended to the right hand of God the Father from where He sent His Spirit to bring faith and new life to us, empowering us to live lives of obedience

What Must We Do?

  • Repent - Have a change of mind about who God is around here
  • Believe - By faith put our trust in who Jesus is and what He has done, believing it was accomplished for us
  • Be Baptised - Publicly express our faith that our lives are now united and identified with God in Christ.

What Happens To Us?

  • We are forgiven and cleansed of our sins
  • We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
  • We are included in the forever family of God
  • We are commission to make disciples of Jesus

How might you restate this to embody the language of your missional context?

2. Apply The Gospel To Personal Stories

Give each person in your Missional Community the opportunity to share their personal story. Before they do so, encourage them to tell it in light of what they believe about Jesus and how the Gospel has affected all of life. Also, encourage the group to listen with "Gospel Ears" paying close attention to areas where the Gospel has redeemed and rightly informed their story as well as where the Gospel needs to be spoken into their story.

For example, if their story recounts a life without a father present or maybe a life with an abusive father, listen for where they came to see that they have a perfect Heavenly Father who was always present. If that doesn't come up, the group should ask them how they perceive the Father in Heaven and how knowing the truth about Him sending the Son to save us shapes how they see this part of their story.

What are some other key areas to be listening for when hearing each other's stories?

How would you apply the Gospel to those areas?

3. Go Through The Story-Formed Way

The Story-formed Way was designed to both lead people through the basics of the Gospel and provide a foundational structure for the key doctrines of Christianity. 
Posted in