Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves…instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow up in every way into Him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:13-15
JD Greear talked about growing in our knowledge of the gospel to become more intimate with the Spirit in his book, Jesus Continued. His intent is to call us to grow deeper in our knowledge of the gospel to experience the fullness of the Spirit. Almost four years ago I watched a series of videos on Vimeo by Jeff Vanderstelt that takes JD Greear’s thoughts about growing in the knowledge of the gospel to another level. Vanderstelt’s videos were on “Gospel Fluency.” Finally in 2017 he put out a book with that title. The videos are much better than the book. I’ll put a link at the bottom of my post to his videos.
I’ve been thinking about Vanderstelt’s thoughts on ‘Gospel Fluency’ since I read the chapter about growing in the knowledge of the gospel to become more intimate and full in the Spirit. I will summarize some of Vanderstelt’s thoughts because he puts things in ways I have not heard them before I watched his videos, or since:
- Gospel fluency is speaking the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life, so that we are changed in our marriages, relationships, spending and living because Jesus is in our life.
- ‘Speaking the truth in love’ is more than just saying hard words to each other, like addressing character flaws or sin issues. It is speaking the knowledge of the faith that builds people into maturity in Christ.
- Ephesians 4: 21 tells us what the truth is that we’re supposed to be speaking: “the truth is in Jesus.” Speak Jesus to one another. Another way to say it is, ‘Speak the gospel, or the good news, to one another.’ You don’t just share the gospel to nonbelievers and then stop once they become Christians. We should keep speaking the good news of Jesus to each other all the time to grow each other up to maturity.
- Don’t ever drift away from Jesus to something else! Jesus is what grows us up. Don’t get to like our Bibles or our Bible studies better than Jesus. Don’t lead people to church rather than leading them to Jesus. Don’t just ask for prayer requests, ask for Jesus to work. **Our prayer lives are about getting Jesus to live His life through us to empower us to live a new life. The goal of our prayer time is that the Spirit would reveal the truths of God through Jesus and that we would cling to Jesus as we pray.
**Make Jesus the solution, the everything!! We lead people to Jesus and then we take them to something else. We get to Jesus and then move on to something else. Don’t do that.
So we must keep proclaiming Christ, the good news, the gospel. We must be resolved to let nothing else be our good news. We must become so versed in the gospel that we realize that it does answer everything in our existence. This involves getting a bigger view of the gospel and letting it sink into more areas of our life.
How do you grow in gospel fluency?
- Part of it has to do with making Jesus the center of everything in your life and the rest will fall into place.
- Being a part of a fellowship of believers where you are around others that live that out certainly helps. It’s like getting better at bowling–it’s best worked out at a bowling alley and in a league. Same thing with a church.
- For me, studying the Bible has been a big part of growing in learning more about this life of following Jesus. But, as Vanderstelt so aptly put it: I can’t love studying the Bible, or my Bible, more than I love Jesus. My quiet time has to lead me to Jesus each and every day.
- Sharing the good news with myself and those around me, applying it to the stuff of life, is the guts of growing up into maturity in Christ. I need to ask myself “so what?” at the end of my quiet time, and let the Holy Spirit apply His convicting and probing work in my heart. And then I need to do it. As the Spirit leads, I also must share with those around me the good news of grace and freedom that applies to the everyday things of life.
Here is the link to Jeff Vanderstelt’s video’s: Take the time to watch them. They are well worth your time!