That title is awfully grandiose, but don’t worry. The Gospel, in this case, is a book by Ray Ortlund Jr, and a wonderful little book at that. The full title is The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ, and it is 120 pages of wisdom, theology, and instruction for church members and church leaders alike. I have the privilege of sitting under Ray’s leadership at Immanuel Nashville, the church he pastors, and I can confirm that what he writes in the pages he exemplifies and teaches to the church. And we are better for it. Here are a selection of the best quotes.
The church must ever be at war with Satan, since Satan is always at war with it – with us who believe. – J.I. Packer, foreword
This good news is more than good vibes. This message has specific content. It can and must be defined, and from the Bible alone.
Let’s not assume our churches are faithful to the gospel. Let’s examine whether they are.
Any church of any denomination today that falls short of the gospel of Christ in either doctrine or culture will inevitably collapse under the extreme pressures of our times.
Truth without grace is harsh and ugly. Grace without truth is sentimental and cowardly. The living Christ is full of grace and truth.
Not one of us has ever had a single thought about God that was fully fair to the magnitude of who he really is.
This is the massive love of God – the Son leaving nothing of the Father’s glory unexpressed, leaving nothing of our need unfilled, opening the mighty heart of God to the unworthy.
Perishing and eternal life are the only alternatives standing before us.
God’s final category for you is not your goodness versus your badness, but your union with Christ versus your distance from Christ.
Hell is for people who could have enjoyed the love of God but held back.
Scripture is clear. Christians have to choose between isolation, which is easy, and belonging, which is costly – and much more satisfying.
Fixing broken things is the way of God.
Justification clears us legally of guilt before our Judge, but adoption includes is emotionally in the heart of our Father.
The household of God must offer a clear and lovely alternative to the madness of this world.
We either proudly believe we are too good to be judged, or we proudly believe we are too bad to be saved. So the gospel is a continual surprise, and we need to hear it again and again.
Exalting ourselves always diminishes [Christ’s] visibility.
Fear of human disapproval feeds political posturing. It makes us want to be perceived in a certain way and identified with certain people. It destroys honesty, spontaneity, and joy. It builds walls that Jesus dies to tear down. It corrupts good doctrine.
The one thing the gospel never does is nothing. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ refuses to be held at arm’s length with critical detachment. No one judges the gospel. It judges all, and it saves some.
Too often we regard God’s power as an added ingredient that turbocharges our own efforts.
The gospel never advances without someone paying a price.
New courage always begins with the leaders. Whatever the leaders are, the entire church will eventually become.
A heart aloof from God grows aloof from others.