You know you know it... But then again, maybe you don't.
Even if you go to church, it doesn't mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn't there - at least not in its specificity and its fullness.
Inspired by the needs of both the over-churched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this best-selling treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance - the gospel.
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The heart and soul must absorb the truthes evident in this book. His simplicity combined with truth makes it a joy to read. In a time where Chritianity is attacked, this book is a new weapon as a counter!
This is a very good book. I gave it a four out of five only because I have listened to about 300 of Matt Chandlers sermons and have heard most of what is in there through his years of pastoring. He is so gifted by the Lord and He has used Matt as a key tool in sanctifying me to Himself. God bless you Matt.
Matt Chandler is one of my favorite preachers to listen to because I appreciate his commitment to the Word of God, and his tenacity in preaching it, so I was excited for his book to arrive.
It is staggering to me the amount of people who claim the name of Christ don't truly understand the Gospel. It is often seen as the good news of our conversion--which it is--but many do not understand the fullness of that good news, and how the same gospel carries us through every day of our Christian life. Chandler hits on so many points on which I wanted to stand up and shout in agreement. I loved this book for more reasons than I have time for in this post, but I especially enjoyed reading this book because my heart resonates with the truths explained within it.
Here are a few reminders I enjoyed from The Explicit Gospel. (Please note, that this is not an outline of the book, but me summarizing a few of my highlights through the book.)
1. The gospel is not all about me!
"The context of the gospel message is not our benefit or our salvation; the context of the gospel is the supremacy of Christ and the glory of God." --Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
God was not lonely when He created mankind. He didn't need us to be complete or to have purpose. Yes, God loves us. Yes, He has purpose in our existence. But it is not all about you and me. The gospel is all about God. What He has done. What He is doing. What He is going to do.
2. When God looks at me, He is well pleased because of the gospel.
"The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death." --Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
I don't have to play the game of the Christian do's and don'ts. I don't have to go on mission trips and serve in the nursery. I don't have to be the perfect mom. I don't have to hide when I screw up. This is HUGE, friends. Christ has already done everything that needs to be done. I have been given the righteousness of Christ! My relationship with God has already been made right. There is no work I can do to make Him love me more. There is no sin I can commit that will make Him love me less.
3. The gospel leads to grace-driven effort, not behavior modification.
"Grace-driven effort wants to get to the bottom of behavior, not just manage behavior. If you're simply managing behavior but not removing the roots of that behavior, then the weeds simply sprout up in another place." --Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
"What ends up happening to so many of us is that we spend so much time trying to put sin to death that we don't spend enough time striving to know God deeply, trying to gaze upon the wonder of Jesus Christ and have that transform our affections to the point where our love and hope are steadfastly on Christ. The goal is this: that Christ would become more beautiful and desirable than the allure of sin." --Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
Yes. Just yes.
"Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it. Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his heart until he has achieved success. This is a very different pursuit than simply wanting to be good. It is the result of having transferred one's affections to Jesus. When God's love takes hold of us, it powerfully pushes out our own love for other gods and frees our love to flow back to him in true worship. And when we love God, we obey him." --Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
Many of these quotes come from the last chapter of The Explicit Gospel. It is a chapter I wish all Christians would read. I want to photo copy it and have it handy in my purse to hand out to people. Seriously.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. Regardless of where you are in your faith. Get it. Read it. Highlight it. Then pass it along for someone else to read.
I received a free copy of The Explicit Gospel from Crossway in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. I loved the book so much that I bought it for my Kindle app...the next-best thing to making copies for my purse.
In an age where many people call themselves "Christians" but don't necessarily know what the Bible teaches, this book is a very well laid out book that explains why we need to understand the true Gospel...not the one that we've warped it to be. The explicit Gospel is a Gospel that tells us that we must live out our lives as an example of Christ and we need strong Bible teachers who aren't afraid to stand up on the hard issues and teach what the Bible says about the issues. This isn't a book about being spineless or about narrow-mindedness, which many people say Christians are. This is a book that challenges you to live out the Gospel.
I love listening to Matt Chandler on his podcast, so I was thrilled and anxiously awaiting his book to come out. It did not disappoint me at all! In fact, I highlighted this book so much and know that I'll be reading it several times just to make sure I didn't miss anything. I appreciated how he shared his story of being diagnosed with cancer (which he still has) and how instead of letting it stop him from sharing the Gospel, he is using it to continue in his mission. I think of it as his thorn in the flesh.
This book hits on the hard things that many people have formed an unbiblical view about. It varies from women in the ministry, hell, the prosperity gospel, and the social gospel. There are many more things he touches on, but I think these are the most heard about recently. When Christians are moving so far away from the Gospel itself and into a more of a man-made, no sacrifice, God will give me what I ask for and make me rich for following Him belief, this book is bound to convict and bring you back to the Truth. You won't be able to read it without realizing that you need to change some things in your life and you need to stop compromising what God says.
The Explicit Gospel is a book that will be passed down through the ages as both an encouragement to those who are followers of Christ and will serve as a reminder about what the true Gospel is about in the midst of so many false and man-made gospels.
___________________________ I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I was eagerly awaiting the release of this book, and upon reading it I was not disappointed. Hats off to Matt Chandler (with contributions from Jared Wilson) for a clearly-written word designed to bring the meaning of he Gospel back into focus. In a day when mass confusion reigns concerning the explanation and application of the God's "good news," Chandler challenges the status quo of shallow preaching that tends to "assume" rather than "make explicit" the meaning of the Gospel. According to the author, we need to carefully learn to balance the Gospel "on the ground" and "in the air." Using humor and timely illustrations, including experiences from his own battle with brain cancer, Chandler communicates an easy-to-read treatise that has relevance to both the seeker and the long-time church member. The reader will be left examining the practical aspects of his own faith in Christ, as well as be encouraged to trust the Savior more deeply. In fact, pastors in need of their own "refresher" are encouraged to read it. I hope that "The Explicit Gospel" will have wide distribution and generate much Christ-honoring discussion in church congregations and small groups. We never outgrow our need of the Gospel and should preach it to ourselves everyday. Chandler's work is a step in the direction of helping us do that.
Matt Chandler serves as lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. He describes his time at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus.
I was drawn to Matt’s new book, because it was another book that wrestled with the idea of “what is the gospel.” It’s been a subject of mine as of late and so I wanted to glean what Chandler’s ideas were about the subject.
The purpose of Explicit Gospel is “to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!” The premise of the book stems from the idea that both the over-churched and the un-churched may not have a clear understanding of the importance of the gospel.
The book certainly reads with “Matt’s voice,” noted that Jared Wilson is the co-author of the book, Explicit Gospel may very well have been written from sermon transcripts from some of Matt’s best sermons on the topic. This book is filled with Matt’s stories and humor and that makes for an enjoyable read.
Chandlers book is broken into two sections the gospel on the ground, and the gospel in the air. The “ground” gospel is our own personal relationship with God and the importance we place on our daily worship. The “air” gospel is about the cosmic relationship with Christ and how the cross is our ultimate salvation.
Chandler certainly writes as a Calvinist, so much of the book centers on our depravity and Christ’s full saving grace of the cross. But even if you don’t share the Calvinistic view, I think Chandler did a good job with this book and it is a worthwhile read.
I received this book from Crossway for a fair and honest review.
Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson bring clarity and creativity to a misunderstood Gospel.
"One thing is for certain: If my T-shirt doesn’t convert those I encounter in a store, my bumper sticker will get them on my way out."
As silly as this may sound, our actions often reflect this to be a reality. We live in a day where many believers hold to what Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson, in their new book The Explicit Gospel, call a “bumper sticker” or “T-shirt theology”—looking on the surface rather than preaching deep truth. Chandler and Wilson address common misunderstandings of the Gospel and set out to clarify what the Gospel is and its implications. The majority of those who profess to be Christian claim to know and trust the Gospel, but the sad reality is, most do not even know it at all.
The book is divided into three parts: the Gospel on the Ground, the Gospel in the Air and Implications and Applications. Chandler first examines what he calls “the Gospel on the Ground.” This is the Gospel on the micro-level. The Gospel on the ground addresses God’s holiness, mankind’s fall, Christ’s life and death and man’s required response. It deals with how man is reconciled to God through the finished work of Christ. Most presentations of the Gospel in our day begin and end here.
But Chandler argues that the Gospel message is much bigger than this—that it extends to all creation. So in section 2, Chandler discusses the Gospel on the macro-level, or what he calls “the Gospel in the Air.” He explains the Gospel on this macro-level in saying:
The gospel in the air gives us this conception of the scope and the ambit and the greatness of the gospel. If the Bible gives us a wider context than personal good news for personal sin requiring personal response, let’s be faithful to it. At the end of the Biblical story, the gospel’s star figure says, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5). If his word is true, we must take his reference to “all things” seriously. As Lloyd-Jones says, “The whole universe is involved."(p. 90)
Chandler shows the Gospel is not simply justification but also includes redemption and restoration of all creation. The book of James is very clear in that the one who truly understands and is transformed by the Gospel is the one who helps the poor, the orphan and the hungry. One whom the Gospel has done a work in is one who takes part in this ministry of restoration. When a person embraces the Gospel, he embraces God’s heart to restore what has been tainted and destroyed by sin.
Finding the right balance between the "Gospel on the ground" and the "Gospel in the air" is crucial. In section 3, Chandler shows the danger of over- and under-emphasizing either aspect of the Gospel.
There are several dangers of the Gospel being "on the ground” too long. When a person stresses the Gospel on the ground, the Gospel becomes nothing more than an individual salvation call. Often, even men who desire to be faithful in preaching the Gospel will fall into this trap. The major problem with this is that it divorces salvation from community and the Bible’s overarching theme of restoration. Salvation then becomes a personal relationship with Jesus but divorced from the Church, community and God’s plan of restoration. The believer is saved but not saved into a new life. The Gospel becomes a message about man’s reconciliation to God without any mention of God creating a new humanity called to act as a vice-regent for the risen Christ.
Likewise, there is equal danger of the Gospel being "in the air” too long. When one focuses on the Gospel in the air, that leads to a Christ-less Christianity, or a social gospel. There are many organizations that guise themselves as Christian relief organizations but may never directly present the Gospel. When things such as helping the poor, fighting injustice and participating in acts of mercy are divorced from Christ and His purpose to reconcile sinners to God, you have no Gospel at all. Chandler critiques Saint Francis of Assisi’s idea that we should preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words. Chandler instead argues that words are essential in the Gospel message. He explains the Gospel beautifully with his illustration of intrinsic circles. There are three aspects, or circles, of the Gospel that need to be understood: the first circle addresses how God is reconciling man to Himself through Christ; the second circle addresses how man is reconciled to man in covenant community; and the third circle addresses how reconciliation takes place between God and creation. All three of these aspects must be explained or present if one is to be faithful to the Gospel message.
Both Chandler and Wilson are two of the funniest Christian speakers/writers alive, both having a unique ability to balance theological precision with humor and illustration. Expect the unexpected while reading this book. But know that Chandler and Wilson are also writing on an issue of great importance to our day. The Explicit Gospel brings extraordinary clarity and creativity to what all assume is understood—but quickly realize has been forgotten.
Earlier this year I was loaned a copy of the 2011 Elephant Room Conference DVDs. Matt Chandler, an invited guest and author of The Explicit Gospel made a few comments that caught my attention. Chandler expressed his concern that the gospel was becoming somewhat of a “junk drawer” in that people tend to throw a variety of things under the label of “the gospel,” yet many people have a hard time defining exactly what the gospel is. The Explicit Gospel is Chandler’s candid response to his own expressed concern.
In The Explicit Gospel, Chandler seeks to cut through the fog of ambiguity that many perceive as surrounding “the gospel.” Chandler paints a picture of the gospel by looking at the gospel from two perspectives: the gospel on the ground and the gospel in the air (let’s be clear here – this is not two separate and distinct gospels, but rather two necessary perspectives of the same gospel).
The gospel on the ground, as Chandler calls it, is the perspective of the gospel and how it relates to the individual. The gospel on the ground is man’s dependence on the gospel for both salvation and sanctification. The gospel in the air, on the other hand, is the perspective of the gospel and how it relates to all of creation. Chandler suggests that the gospel in the air shows us how the gospel redeems not just man, but all of creation. The entire book focuses on these two perspectives of the gospel and how necessary it is to consider the gospel from both perspectives because, in Chandler’s words, “It is imperative that we embrace a gospel that is scaled to the glory of God” (p. 172).
The Explicit Gospel is a “deeper” read – certainly not a book that you can read without investing much thought. While the book uses many of the same terminology found in my theology textbooks, Chandler communicates the content in a way that is much more engaging and inviting than those theology textbooks were at times. Additionally, throughout the course of the book Chandler touches on particularly interesting ancillary topics such as worship, discipleship, moralism, etc., while relating all of these back to the issue at hand – the gospel.
The Explicit Gospel is for you – whoever you are – and I recommend keeping a pen and Bible close by.
Chandler writes excellently on this topic that so many have misunderstood (myself at times included). This book, is in my opinion, one of the most important books written in the last 10 years. Chandler writes with wit, but takes the issue of the Gospel with the reverence it deserves. Highly recommend this book to everyone.
I was excited to see this book on the store shelve the other day because I've been listening to Matt Chandler for a year or so and I've learned a lot by listening to his church's podcasts. His messages are extremely convicting and very compelling.... but most importantly he cherishes every single word of the Bible. The book caries all of his signatures.
After reading this book my appreciation for what Christ did on the cross had greatly increased. I was set straight in a lot of areas that I need to work on.
On top of all of that, he brought up the dangers of not handling the gospel correctly or if we try to make it say what we may want it to say.
If you are a teacher or preacher I highly advise you to read this. Even if you don't really teach in a church setting, this can help you with teaching to your own kids and help you show them what is of first importance.
Don't ignore this book and if you do read it take it slowly.
The past few years have seen an influx of books from writers thinking through what the Gospel is and what it demands. Some of these books significantly advance the conversation on the Gospel, while others do not. The Explicit Gospel by Pastor Matt Chandler with Pastor Jared Wilson significantly advances and re-orients the current Gospel conversation by focusing on the Gospel in the air and on the ground.
Pastor Chandler ministers in an area of the country where many people understand Christianity as a cultural identity but do not know the Gospel explicitly. He writes that in ministering to twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, “the gospel had been merely assumed, not taught or proclaimed as central, and hadn’t been explicit” (13). The gospel on the ground, helps one see “clearly the work of the cross in our lives and the lives of those around us, capturing and resurrecting of dead hearts; we see the gospel extended in this way when Jesus and his prophets call individuals to repent and believe” (16). The gospel on the ground is at the micro level while the gospel in the air is the story. In the gospel in the air we “find a tour de force story of creation, fall, reconciliation, consummation—a grand display in his overarching purpose of subjecting all things to the supremacy of Christ” (16).
Chandler like any good Pastor in The Explicit Gospel warns his readers of becoming to individualistic and syncretic by calling Christians to know the Gospel explicitly and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus Christ. This book is one of the finest and fullest treatments on the Gospel that I’ve ever read. While dozens of books make the New York Times best-sellers list every year, I sincerely pray that this book will make that list, because it will shock and offend people with the Truth, but always lead them back to the fount of all blessing in Jesus Christ by revealing to its readers the glory of God and the beauty of Jesus.
The Explicit Gospel is a well-written, biblically faithful and robust explanation on not only what the Gospel is but how the Gospel should inform and transform Christian’s lives. In a style that pulls no punches, Pastor Chandler accomplishes his goal in this book in making much of “our great God and King Jesus” (222). The Explicit Gospel is a great book for those who have no idea what the Gospel is and should be required reading of every Christian. Pastors or ministry leaders ministering in contexts that are plagued by moralism should read this book to learn to combat moral therapeutic deism. Regardless of whether you’re a new or mature Christian, you need to read The Explicit Gospel to be reminded afresh of the beauty and glory of all Christ has done on your behalf. I recommend The Explicit Gospel wholeheartedly and sincerely pray that many readers will discover afresh the beauty of Jesus as they read it.
Title: The Explicit Gospel Authors: Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson Publisher: Crossway (2012) Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Crossway Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”