At Kaleo Church we teach that the Gospel isn't just a means of salvation, but it is the very way we grow as Christians. When Paul writes his letters to the Galatians or Corinthians, he addresses each problem in the Christian community with the gospel. (eg., Peter, who eats stops eating with the Gentiles isn't told to 'stop' which would be legalism, but is told that his actions aren't walking in line with the gospel. His motivation for change is a reminder of who Christ is and what he has done for us and how that sets us free by grace.)
From this a term used is, 'I need to preach the gospel to myself'. It refers to the need to go through the same process Paul does when he addresses sin. But how do we preach the gospel to ourselves, what exactly is the process? I decided to create a diagram to illustrate it (click on thumbnail for larger Preaching the Gospel diagram)
UPDATE: David Fairchild preached an excellent sermon based on this, you can see the sermon at Sermon Cloud: How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself. It includes (1) a Word document handout that outlines the process, a (2) PowerPoint slide (click on image to the right), (3) the sermon notes and (4) the mp3 for you to download.
How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself
The two critical events are repentance and faith. Errors people commonly fall in are (1) only dealing with the surface sin instead of the root sin and (2) preaching moralism to ourself instead of the gospel.
PART I DOWN THE SLOPE OF REPENTANCE – Objective: To see and confess that I am a bigger sinner than I thought.
1. See and Own Your Sin: Examine yourself in the mirror of God's Word, your negative emotions and attitudes, and the responses of others to you. Guard yourself against sin's deceitfulness: the tendency to water down God's standard, compare yourself to others, shift the blame or commit ourselves to trying harder.
2. See the Sin Beneath the Sin: Don't move too quickly to confess and receive forgiveness for the surface sin (cheap grace, "I'm just a sinner" attitude. If you are anxious, yes go to Phil. 4, but what is causing your anxiousness?) Push the 'Why?' question until you find what you are looking to other than Jesus (your functional messiah) for meaning and value in life.
3. Expose the Idols of your Heart: Idols always disappoint
They are weak: They can't deliver when you succeed; they can only raise the bar. They can't forgive you when you fail; they can only lower the boom.
They are harmful: They hurt you spiritually, emotionally and physically. They hurt others by undermining your ability to love.
They are Grievous: Most importantly, by going after these idols/other lovers you are saying to God: "Jesus is not enough. I also need _________ in order to be happy.
Sin: I get frustrated when I don't win at sports.
Sin beneath the sin: I need the approval of others to feel better about myself.
IDOL: ACCEPTANCE of others/Self Worship
Weak: The approval is always based on your performance. If you fail, you get angry/rejected. When you succeed you need more/to continue to perform and receive value.
These idols will lead you into slavery James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
CONCLUSION: I am a much bigger sinner than I thought. I am a worthy recipient of God's judgment. Trying harder won't cut it. I am helpless and hopeless in myself. BUT there is One…
PART II UP THE SLOPE OF FAITH – Objective: To thank God that Jesus is a much bigger Savior than I thought.
1. Repentance is a gift: Pray for the gift of repentance. Do not 'try' to stop sinning, but ask God to change your heart. If the Holy Spirit does not address your heart, your repentance is only 'horizontal' and true gospel change will not happen. You may change for a season by your own 'will-power' but eventually you will become resentful or fall back into worshiping your false idols, which are your true 'functional messiahs'.
2. See Jesus as the only true Savior
Jesus lived for me. Think about and give thanks for specific ways Jesus has lived obediently where I have failed.
Jesus died for me. Think about Jesus' death on the cross for my specific sins and idolatry. Thank God that my sin has been punished once and for all.
God sees me in Jesus. Think about how God sees me in Jesus, clothed with His perfect righteousness. Thank Him specifically for how He provides for me in Christ that all my idols promised but could not deliver.
Jesus lives in me. Thank God that He does not leave me to live the Christian life on my own, but the Spirit of Christ now dwells in me. Ask Him to live His righteous life through me, specifically in the areas where I have confessed sin.
3. Gospel-motivated living: Embrace and know that the gospel is how you change (2 Cor. 3:18b), it is the gospel that empowers you to serve (2 Cor 3:5) and it is through the gospel that you meet God (2 Cor 3:18a; 4:6)
CREDITS: The pastors of Harbor, Tim Keller @ Redeemer and David Fairchild at Kaleo.