I recently got into a spat with a nasty virus: 104.4-degree fever, aches, chills, the works. And while locked away from my family, I did what any sane person would do—I took to Netflix.
During my sequester, I dove into BBC’s Sherlock. I’ve always been fascinated by Mr. Holmes. He has a freakishly keen ability to discern and deduce. And after he’s performed one of his feats, Sherlock is known for quipping to his sidekick, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”
Elementary? Nothing Sherlock does is elementary. His skills are highly advanced. Yet he’s only seeing what is already there. And that’s how it is when it comes to living the Christian life. We don’t need to look for some spiritual unicorn. We just need to look at what is already there.
The gospel is elementary and advanced. The gospel is for new and old Christians, hurting and thriving Christians, excited and ashamed Christians. We all need the same thing: a deep soak in gospel truth. In Jesus there is a fountain flowing deep and wide. It’s time for us to go deep––deep into the gospel.
“Going deep” doesn’t mean studying the end times or the original biblical languages. It’s not about reading up on the four keys to this, that or the other. It doesn’t mean listening to hour-long sermons with three alliterated points (or no points at all), and it has nothing to do with Sunday school. Going deep means plunging into the grace of God. Paul says that in Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). It doesn’t get any deeper than Jesus.
Gospel teaching is deep teaching; the depths of “deep” are found in Jesus. Gospel-formed hearts are hungry to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). That’s what we need to know more than anything: Christ’s love for rascals like us. So if your pastor labors to preach the gospel, listen to him. Deeply. Intently. Prayerfully. Even if you’ve heard the gospel a bazillion times. It is never wrong for him to remind you of it; in fact, it’s safe for you.1
The evangelical church is flimsy today because too many pulpits are busy scratching people’s ears rather than preaching to their hearts. But Diet Gospel is no gospel. It lacks the iron and other essential nutrients your soul needs. It’s chock-full of cotton candy that pleases the palate but destroys the soul’s digestive track. Gospel- deficient sermons and books build churches and Christians with gummy-bear spines. The gospel, on the other hand, builds courageous Christians; the book of Acts is full of them.
Do you want to go deep? Center your life on the gospel by super gluing the glories of grace to your heart, head and hands––daily. Recover the gospel; have a personal reformation by preaching the gospel to yourself. You are justified, you are being sanctified and you will be glorified. You are forgiven and freed. In Christ, you are greatly loved. God has redeemed you. Jesus calls you his friend and family member. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in you, empowering you to live like Jesus for the glory of Jesus. We need Jesus for everything. Think about it.