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Whose Story Anyway?

January 14, 2015
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unbrokenImagine buying tickets to go see Unbroken, the great survival story of World War II veteran Louie Zamperini. Except when the film begins, you quickly realize that it’s been replaced with somebody’s home videos.

The uproar that would ensue is not hard to imagine. Nobody wants to watch that for two hours, let alone pay money to see it. There’s only one person interested in those videos—the person who stars in them.

But so often the way we apply the gospel to our lives is exactly like this.

The gospel is comprehensively relevant. It applies to everything in life—our hearts, our home, our work, our school, our churches, and the world around us. This is what we’re exploring in our new series at Westgate Church, The Gospel for All of Life.

But there’s a subtle danger in trying to apply the gospel to all of life—the danger of making it more about us than about God. In our effort to make the good news relevant, we begin with our lives, our stories, our dreams, or our problems, and then try to fit God into that. We take the breathtaking story of God and what he’s doing to establish his kingdom and deal with our sin through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, and recast it with ourselves as the main character, giving God a supporting role in the story of me.

But just as the story of Louie Zamperini is best told with Louie as the main character, so the story of Scripture is best applied when God is kept at the center. Scripture makes this point again and again, but perhaps few passages make it more clearly and comprehensively than Ephesians 1 (listen to or read the sermon here). In it we see that the gospel is from God, by God, and for God. It is thoroughly God-centered. He’s the main character. It impacts us in every way. But it is most relevant for our lives not when we are central, but when God remains central.

So if you want to see what difference the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection makes in your life, don’t start by looking at your life. Start by looking at Jesus. See him as the centerpiece of God’s eternal plan of salvation—all things are united and summed up in him (Eph. 1:10). See what he’s done on the cross, what his forgiveness really means. Dream about the inheritance he has secured for you, the hope of heaven, the promise of the resurrection and new creation when Christ will return and make all things new. And see yourself as part of that story, as one chosen before the beginning of time to be holy and blameless, God’s very own child.

When we grasp the scope and beauty of the God-centered gospel, we see how it’s so much more meaningful and fulfilling than any story we could come up with. His plan is supreme, and his plan is beautiful. The true relevance of the gospel comes not from fitting God into my story, but finding my place in his great story of salvation.

Listen to or read “The God-Centered Gospel” (Ephesians 1:1-14).

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