Posted by: everynation | September 19, 2008

Good News

by Greg Mitchell

I had not heard of Tim Keller until a few weeks ago, but the church he pastors in New York is touted as one of America’s most influential churches. Bert Thomson recently gave me one of his messages, and I finally had a chance to listen to it. Since then, I have been meditating on Dr. Keller’s perspective on the gospel and how we do ministry.

He stressed that the gospel is good “news” and not just good “advice”, for “news” retells what has already happened. This means that the Christian message focuses on announcing what Jesus has already done for us, instead of what we must do for ourselves. This understanding shapes so many things:

1. How we speak.

Dr. Keller suggested that the story-telling style of preaching that is so popular today stirs people’s emotions, and the informative style of the past educated our minds; however, a declarative style of preaching elicits a heart response. If our goal is to give people advice, we will focus on motivating them emotionally or convincing them intellectually. But if our goal is for people to believe and embrace what is already true, we will preach toward heart change.

2. How we read the Bible

When we read the Bible, we must not simply read the stories as good advice. They speak of Jesus, and how He is the better sacrifice, the better David, the better Jonah… He is the fulfillment of His Word. When we see in the pages of the Bible the splendor and beauty of our Lord and Savior, our lives are transformed by the reality of that truth.

3. How we follow Christ.

Prophets or teachers might give well-meaning advice, but they do nothing to save our souls. Jesus is more than a very good Teacher. He is our Lord and Savior. So when we first declare Him to be the God of unequalled authority and pure love, we follow Him as we ought.

Dr. Keller has helped turn my speech, reading and following of Christ to be a response to God’s truth, and for that I am so grateful.

Greg Mitchell is the senior pastor of Every Nation Vancouver and is the author of Pastor Greg’s Blog.


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