Off the Cutting Room Floor

Okay, this was cut at the 9:15 service. But I said I'd post it, so here's what I cut with a little of the context leading up to it.

Do you see what Paul is saying to Peter and the others who are trying to return to the law? He’s saying, “When you become a Christian and seek to grow in your relationship with Christ, you don’t move beyond the gospel to rules of any kind. You go deeper and deeper into the gospel by bringing your life, your thoughts, your perspective, your motivation, your actions in line with the truth of the gospel. You look at what God as willing to do for you and you say to yourself, ‘Self, you know you can trust a God like that. You know you can surrender to a God like that. You know a God like that loves you, so he knows and wants what’s best for you. So, self, do what he says.’”

We preach the gospel to ourselves. In a sense, we continue to evangelize our hearts. Here's an interesting idea from Caesar Kalinowski:

The word evangel means Gospel. And to evangelize means to preach the gospel. In the same way that we come to put our faith in Jesus by hearing and experiencing the gospel, we also continue to grow and mature in the light of that same gospel. This is a lifelong process. We are always in need of evangelism. In fact, discipleship can be simply understood as the ongoing "evangelizing" of our hearts.

On Wednesday one of our members told me or daughter had asked Jesus into her life on Easter. Then she kiddingly said, “I guess my work is done” She knows the reality is it's only starting. A Christian parent or mentor is never done evangelizing in this sense.

Elyse Fitzpatrick, in her book, Give Them Grace, offers some more thoughts for parents. This is great stuff!

The primary reason the majority of kids from Christian homes stray from the faith is that they never really heard it or had it to begin with…. Scratch the surface of the faith of the young people around you and you'll find a disturbing deficiency of understanding of even the most basic tenets of Christianity.

This is illustrated by a conversation I recently had with a young woman in her early twenties who had been raised in a Christian home and had attended church for most of her life. After assuring me that she was, indeed, saved, I asked her, "What does it mean to be a Christian?"

She replied, "It means that you ask Jesus into your heart."

"Yes, all right, but what does that mean?"

"It means that you ask Jesus to forgive you."

"Okay, but what do you ask him to forgive you for?"

"Bad things? I guess you ask him to forgive you for bad things, the sins you do."

"Like what?"

A deer in the headlights stared back at me. I thought I'd try a different tack.

"Why would Jesus forgive you?"

She fidgeted. "Um, because you ask him?"

[I asked], "What do you think God wants you to know?"

She beamed. "He wants me to know that I should love myself and that there's nothing I can't do if I think I can."

"And what does God want from you?" I asked.

"He wants me to do good stuff …. You know, be nice to others and don't hang around with bad people."

[Apparently], we've transformed the holy, terrifying, magnificent, and loving God of the Bible into Santa and his elves. And instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. This isn't the gospel; we're not handing down Christianity. (Give Them Grace, Crossway, 2011, pp. 18-19; cited in

We’re never done evangelizing the hearts of our kids. And God is not done evangelizing your heart. You sabotage what God is doing in others and in you when you make it about anything other than the gospel.