Have you ever studied a foreign language? Have you ever become fluent in another language?
Even thought I took six years of Spanish throughout middle school and high school I would have never considered myself to be fluent. I knew a lot, but I was constantly translating English to Spanish or Spanish to English. The more I studied the better I got, but I never got to the point where I thought, spoke, and lived my life in Spanish. In other words, I never became fluent.
Recently, I have been listening to some teaching by Jeff Vanderstelt. He is a pastor and church leader in Tacoma, Washington. During one of his teachings he used the process of learning a language as an illustration of what the Christian life is like.
Here is what he said:
“If we are trying to disciple people, then they are going to have to know some basics. For example, people have to know the gospel. I am often so surprised how many people in the church do not know the gospel.
Now when I say that I do not just mean they understand that Jesus died for their sins. I do mean that. They do need to know that, but they need to know much more than that. They need to know how to talk about it, how to explain it, how to have a conversation about it, or how to apply it to their lives.
The way I say it is that they are not gospel fluent. Fluency is when you translate your world through that language and I think the church is supposed to be that fluent with the gospel. The gospel is the way and the means by which we translate the world.
So that when we see something. When we hear something do we see and hear everything in life through the redemptive narrative of the gospel. When we watch movies we can’t help but see the redemptive themes of the fall and a need for a rescuer.
When you are fluent you cannot see anything without seeing it in light of the gospel. Every time their is sin or an issue in their life they see the gospel and apply it to that issue. They filter their life through that grid and apply their work, their families, their sexuality, their recreation, and every part of their life.”
If you would like to listen to the entire message you can find it HERE.