Master the Basic Themes of the Gospel

discipleship steve norris May 02, 2022
Master The Basic Themes of the Gospel | Dr. Steve Norris

Words matter. 

Content is important. 

Mindset changes everything.  

Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Changing how you think is part of the process of renewing your mind. You see the world through the lens of the baggage you carry from the past. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you rearrange your thoughts and feelings. 

As change happens within you, your heart's content begins to take shape. You start to transform by renewing your mind with God’s Word. Winston Churchill demonstrated the power of words during the Battle of Britain. His radio address to the nation was the thread that kept the country together. 

Churchill said,  

“You ask, what is our policy? It is to wage war.

You ask, what is our aim? It is victory.”

He framed what people thought during the most desperate times in England. Without his words, the nation would have crumbled. The same is true when it comes to discipleship. As a disciple, you may have a good role model. The steps may be correct. The journey, though, is made complete with the right content.

If a person raised a young disciple in a home with conditional love, the disciple-maker would need to lay a strong foundation of the unconditional love of Christ. If this is not the case, the journey's early years may be an arduous task. The value of having a relationship must be ingrained in the mind of someone who is task-oriented. When it comes to disciple-making, you're not manufacturing a mass-produced commodity. 

Look at Jesus. He could have said, “Let’s study Deuteronomy, chapter by chapter.” But Jesus gauged the spiritual needs of the disciples, understood what spiritual maturity looked like, then customized His lesson plans. Does that negate teaching books of the Bible as part of the disciple-making process? No. The issue is choosing well when to teach an appropriate book or topic that accomplishes the goal of moving the disciple toward maturity and reproduction. 

Jesus taught the Gospel from the Old Testament. We now have the Gospel complete in the New Testament. I will focus on six major Gospel themes, which I refer to as the primary colors of the Gospel in the art of disciple-making. These six themes are not exhaustive, but they are the framework of the complete Gospel from the book of Romans. 

The color of New Relationship - Religion is about earning one’s way to God. The Gospel is about God reaching out because we couldn’t make it ourselves. (Romans 1–4)

The color of New Obedience - Christ-followers love to obey but not out of obligation trying to impress God or others. It’s a response to all God has done for us. (Romans 5)

The color of New Spiritual Battle - Christ-followers are part of a new spiritual kingdom. (Romans 6–7)

The color of New Assurance - Our spiritual success is not dependent on our strength. We have the Spirit dwelling within us. (Romans 8)

The color of New Mission - It’s about building God’s kingdom, not our kingdom. (Romans 9–11)

The color of New Community – We have a new family; we belong. (Romans 12–16)

If a young disciple masters these basic themes, they will be on the right track to growing towards maturity. Does your discipleship journey impart a solid foundation of the Gospel?  If so, the journey of growing as a disciple will be sure-footed. Growing as a disciple is a life-long journey, not a program to complete. 

 What separates a good artist from a great artist? It is the use of colors. The choice and use of colors are critical in creating a masterpiece. The art of disciple-making is no different. God's Word is represented by the colors. It is more than just teaching the truth. Jesus was a master at adding the right color (biblical truth) at the right time along the journey. For example, AB Bruce, in The Training of the Twelve, observed that Christ firmly established the disciples in their understanding of His Son-Ship before he began to talk plainly about the cross. Timely truth is everything on the journey.

As you share the Word of God with other people, learn and develop a biblical foundation for discipleship. Remember to make a difference every day you step out and embark on your adventure. Enroll in our Discipleship Certificate Course on Grace On Demand to learn more about being a disciple-maker. Begin learning how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the greatest disciple-maker. 

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