I recently listened to a sermon by Matt Chandler from an Acts 29 conference about preaching the Gospel. Listen to download the message for free HERE.
Matt Chandler is a passionate preacher with a tight grasp on the Gospel of God in Jesus Christ. This sermon was to other pastors teaching them primarly how to teach the Gospel from the Old Testament.
He pointed out that a common testimony of people at his church is that they were brought up in the church and never heard the Gospel until they came to his church and then believed and were adopted into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He questioned whether or not this allegation were true in some regard. After all, it is possible to hear the Gospel and not hear it.
He had them bring notebooks and pamphlets, if they still had them, from youth retreats and vacation Bible schools of their past to examine their claims. In an alarming number of cases, the retreats' topic was often focused on "true love waits," "the danger of drugs and alcohol," and the like. Some of these people had been in church their whole life and were never taught the Gospel of God, but had been pressed hard to live out the implications of the Gospel. They had been taught the Christian and not the Christ.
We cannot live out that which we does not give us life.
Chandler is quickly becoming one of my more favorite pastors. I have a penchant for anyone who uses the word (correctly mind you) "imputed" in a sermon without blushing.
There are certainly imperatives for Christians who follow Jesus, but they are preceded by indicatives of what has already been done for them. Christians are not defined by what we now do, but by what has already been DONE for us. As a result of this, we now are inspired to work, to honor this great God and Savior, to change, to grow, to stretch, and to live in Christ and count death as gain. We are free to live and worship Jesus now in bondage to Him alone.