Exponential: Tim Keller – Plenary Session 5, “The Gospel”

The DNA of a reproducing church has to be The Gospel.

  • The Gospel is the power of God.
  • It’s the power of God in written form.
  • We’ve found ourselves in the Christian & Evangelical world that many are unsure of what the Gospel really is.
  • In the synoptic gospels, we see the gospel being tied to the Kingdom of God.  You don’t see this in the Book of John or the writings of Paul.  They talk more about justification & atonement.
    • The Bible teaches that there is one gospel and yet it has several forms.
    • We see this in the teachings of Paul, where Paul says there is one gospel but he says in Galations 2:7 that Paul has the gospel of the uncircumcised and Peter has the gospel of the circumcised.


  • The Tri-Pod of the Gospel
    1. In Jesus Christ, God emptied himself and became a servant as a human.
    2. In Jesus Christ, God substituted himself for us for the atonement of mankind so that they might experience eternal life.
    3. At the end of time, God will come back and restore the new heavens and the new earth.
  • Simply preaching ‘ The Kingdom of God is at hand’ and God wants to restore our world will not change lives.

1. The Upside Down Kingdom

  • Since God emptied himself, there should be a reversal of the values in the church.
    • The church should not be about popularity or prosperity, but about serving the poor and reconciling racial tention.

2. God Substitutes Himself

  • The difference between a Christian and a Pharisee is a Pharisee repents only for their sins, but a Christian repents also for their righteousness.

3. Christianity is a fighting religion.

  • Christians know God hates poverty, hates disease.  And if that’s true, we should fight to change that, to bring about justice and mercy to the world.

Mainline Churches see their community and strive to improve the culture around them, but there’s no life-change.

The Evangelical Church strives to make converts and grow their tribe, but doesn’t improve the culture around them.

  • “Cell multiplication without a purpose is a cancer.”

When preaching…

  • Do we need to emphasize all three points everytime we preach?  No.
  • Rarely do we see all three emphasized in scripture at once.
  • Preach expositionally and don’t stick in one type of text.  Preach through the synoptics, the Book of John and Paul’s writings and you’ll hit the different aspects of the gospel.
    • This will allow you to give a balanced diet of the gospel.
    • You have to have a ‘Go for the Juguler’ way in all three aspects of the gospel.


  • We don’t relate to God as a person on the first floor of a building relates to a person on the second floor.
  • We relate to God as Hamlet does to Shakespeare.  Hamlet’s only way to know Shakespeare is if Shakespeare writes himself into the play.
  • God has more than written himself into the story of this world.  We are His incarnation.


  • If we could grasp the power of the substition of Christ’s death for us, we can face anything.


  • Bringing justice and peace into a world of injustice.  This is the core of what Easter is.  Restoring the death sentence of this earth.

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