Home > Discipleship, Theology > How the Gospel Applies to All of Life

How the Gospel Applies to All of Life

Every couple of weeks I spend time with Living Hope‘s small group leaders for coaching and discipleship.  During this time we encourage one another in the Lord, answer each other’s questions and discuss ways to more effectively make disciples.

This past week, one of our leaders mentioned that he was having a tough time helping a particular member of his Community Group understand how the gospel should affect the various life choices she was making.  He knew that she needed to believe in Jesus, submit to his leadership and pattern her life after Christ’s example, but he didn’t know how it applied to her circumstances specifically.  

Our small group leader felt ill-equipped when it came to helping his group member practically apply the gospel in a particular area of her life.  I get the sense that he is not alone.  Many of us have grown up hearing about the importance of believing in the gospel for salvation (escaping hell), but very few of us know how it applies to our sanctification (growing in godliness).

The following process has proven to be helpful in many of my discipleship conversations and counseling sessions. I get the five points from a sermon by Mark Driscoll called “The Truth & The Lie in Counseling”. I have adapted them some,  but the original ideas are his.  You can watch the sermon here.

Gospel In Life

Image via alivewesleyan.com

1. Identify the enslaving idol/topic of interest.  It’s not uncommon for a person to try to get meaning and significance from their job, love and acceptance from a boyfriend or pleasure and entertainment from sex and pornography.   Likewise, many people are interested in topics like serving, hospitality, generosity or witnessing.

The first step to helping them apply the gospel is to identify what the main issue or topic is.  What one phrase do they keep repeating?  What topic do they keep gravitating toward?  What is this person trying to get from ________ ?

 2. Uncover the demonic lie/confront unbiblical misconceptions.  Underneath every act of disobedience or moment of unbelief hides a demonic lie or a misconception.  People try to get their hope from objects, people and activities instead of from God because they wrongly believe that thing will be for them what only God can be for them.  For other people, they simply have a misunderstanding of what they should be doing or how it should be done.  In either case, their is an obstacle that keeps them from finding their life in God.

If you want to help people apply the gospel you have to ask a few good questions.  What lie is causing this person to find _________  (happiness, pleasure, entertainment, etc.) in ___________ (food, TV, sports, etc) instead of God?  How is this person trying to ___________ (serve, give, witness, disciple, live) in a way that is inconsistent with the gospel?

3. Present the gospel.  When it comes to presenting the gospel I don’t mean to explain how they need Jesus to forgive their sins so they can go to heaven when they die.  I mean to communicate how the thing they’re searching for has it’s ultimate fulfillment in Jesus; to help them understand how Jesus did for them whatever it is they’re trying to do for others.  

Explain that _______ (meaning, value, purpose, etc) can only be found in God through Jesus and communicate how we see this in his life, death and resurrection.  Explain that we can ________ (serve, give, love, witness, etc.) only because Jesus did that same thing for us.

(Ex. Acceptance is found in God because Jesus was rejected on the cross so that we could be accepted by God.  We can serve others because Jesus served us through his death on the cross. We can give generously because Jesus generously sacrificed himself to provide for the forgiveness of our sins.)

4. Call the person to repentance. The gospel does no one any good if there isn’t a proper response.  In order for people to apply the gospel to their lives we must call them to respond to the gospel with a change in belief, worldview or lifestyle.  This can be done with a simple set of questions like the ones below:

How would your life look different if you trusted Jesus for _______ (love, acceptance, approval, etc.) instead of trying to find it in _________ (boyfriend, job, education, etc.)?  How does Jesus’ _______  (service, generosity, forgiveness, acceptance ) for us help you ______  (serve, give, forgive, accept, etc) for others?

(Ex. How would your life look different if you found significance in Jesus instead of in your career? How does Jesus generously providing for the forgiveness of our sins through his death on the cross motivate you to give generously toward the needs of others?)

5. Invite the person to worship/_____ freely. Once a person has identified how the gospel applies to their life, we must help them turn that application into action by encouraging them to rightfully live for God as their glad response to what Jesus has done for them.  We must encourage them to do for others that which Jesus has done for them.

We can say things like: I encourage you to live for God as your glad response to having received ______ (acceptance, approval, significance, etc.) from him through Jesus.  I encourage you to ______ (serve, give, love)  others because Jesus has  _______  (served, given to, loved, etc.) you through his life, death and resurrection.

At the end of the day, we not only want people believing the gospel, we want them living the gospel.  In order to do that we must help them apply the gospel to every situation in their life. Only then will they be able to enjoy the fullness of what Jesus has done for them as they do those same things for others.

What are some ways this would help you in your disciple-making efforts? You can leave a comment here.

  1. March 6, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Thank you Trevor for stopping by. May you be blessed and continue teaching others. Great blog, will be reading more.

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