In Part 1, we looked at the need to share the gospel as we engage in one-another relationships. In Part 2 we will take a look at the need to “apply the gospel” to life’s struggles.
Apply the Gospel
Any kind of mentoring, discipling, friendship, and all One-Another ministry should continue to be rooted in the Gospel. One of the best tools for One-Another relationships is this phrase: APPLY THE GOSPEL.
What do you think is meant by “apply the Gospel”?
As you engage in one-another relationships, you see how much people struggle with sin and suffering. You are likely to bump into some of these struggles if you have any kind of ministry, family life, or social life. Once you are fairly certain that someone has grasped the Gospel for salvation, you have an opportunity to help her to APPLY the Gospel to her life. You want to always be sure that you are not giving her the idea that she needs to change her behavior or mindset in order to earn approval, acceptance, or even worse, salvation. Always emphasize her eternal security; struggling people often wrestle with this Truth. Remind her of her identity in Christ and how He views her. It is not because she earned it, but because of the Gospel — His finished work on her behalf.
Let’s look at a few phrases you might catch on to as you speak with people that could indicate that they either do not have a clear understanding of the Gospel or that they are not applying it to their lives:
*“I don’t understand why God would do this to me.”
*“I can’t see any purpose in this.”
*“I just don’t know who I am anymore.”
*“I am so anxious and worried all the time and it consumes me.”
*“I feel so guilty.”
*“I do not deserve another chance.”
*“I don’t feel forgiven.”
*“He hurt me too badly; I can’t forgive him.”
Let’s look at those again, and see how the Gospel might apply. Realize that although we don’t have the full story in each of these scenarios, this is meant to show you what we mean by “apply the Gospel.”
*“I don’t understand why God would do this to me.” — The gospel tells us He suffered everything we do as He bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).
*“I can’t see any purpose in this.” — The cross is why He can promise to work all things together, because it was the ultimate working together for good on our behalf (John 19:28-30).
*“I just don’t know who I am anymore.” — At the cross, we find our identity, upon conversion, we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
*“I am so anxious and worried all the time.” — God made provision for you at the cross in every area, proving Himself completely trustworthy as your Heavenly Father (Philippians 4:6).
*“I still feel so guilty.” — You are forgiven at the cross, whether you feel like it or not (1 John 1:9).
*“I do not deserve another chance.” — Grace, because of the cross, flows freely (Romans 3:24).
*“I don’t feel forgiven.” — God’s Word says that you are forgiven when you place your faith in Him (Ephesians 1:7).
*“He hurt me too badly, I can’t forgive him.” — We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, either, but we are forgiven (Romans 4:7).
These are just a sampling. There are many more Truths from scripture that help us to apply the gospel as the gospel binds us forever to the loving Father. The Gospel provides daily security as we wrestle with sin. Jesus promises to complete the work of redemption in our lives. We can have intimate communication with God because of the gospel. We are also compelled to live mercifully with others. As we apply the gospel, we are reminded of the rich, eternal, incomprehensible, overwhelming love of Jesus.
When we are struggling, we tend to forget the gospel. Elyse Fitzpatrick, in her excellent book “Because He Loves Me” explains a dynamic that we see in 2 Peter 1:9 – “whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” Elyse explains:
“Peter writes that one reason we don’t grow in ordinary, grateful obedience as we should is that we’ve got amnesia; we’ve forgotten that we were cleansed from our sins. In other words, he is saying that ongoing failure in sanctification (the slow process of change into Christlikeness) is the direct result of failing to remember God’s love for us in the gospel. If we lack the comfort and assurance that his love and cleansing are meant to supply, our failures will handcuff us to yesterday’s sins, and we won’t have faith or courage to fight against them, or the love for God that’s meant to empower this war. Please don’t miss the import of Peter’s statement. If we fail to remember our justification, redemption, and reconciliation, we’ll struggle in our sanctification.”
When your counselee, mentee, friend, or loved one is struggling in her sanctification, revisit the gospel and discuss how it applies. In every type of struggle, God’s Word will give the answers as you dig deep and look for gospel applications.
As you engage in a One-Another relationship, after you have helped someone to apply the Gospel and she grasps these Truths, you can continue to disciple her as you apply Scriptural principles, commands, and promises to her struggles as well. This is ongoing “one-another ministry”! Simply put, this is DISCIPLESHIP.
Look again at the woman at the well (John 4:28-42). After the woman received the Truth, she immediately went and told others. As a result, many believed. She exemplified One-Another ministry immediately upon belief. She did not wait to learn a formula or a program to start a ministry. She simply went out and shared her story, which included the gospel for salvation and the gospel for sanctification. Let’s do the same, as we minister Life On Life according to the One-Anothers of Scripture.