A person’s last words are important. They can give a glimpse into their heart as to what they think is most important. I remember, a few years ago, when grandpa passed away the last thing he said to me was “I love you, too.” Those words will always stay with me as long as I live, because they reminded me that even in death, my grandpa loved me. In the same way, the Bible records Jesus’ last words to his followers before he ascended into heaven, which we know as the Great Commission. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV). Basically, Jesus’ last words were casting a vision of gospel saturation in “all nations” or among all peoples! Jesus longs to see the message of His gospel saturate every square inch of the globe and he has called his disciples (you and me) to carry out this mission. This is what Jeff Vanderstelt discusses in his new book Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life published by Crossway.
In the book, Vanderstelt points his reader to the biblical model of gospel saturation. For generations the church has seen ministry as an activity that happens in a holy building on Sundays and Wednesdays. As a result many Christians see church as something they do each week rather who they are. This traditional model of ministry also breeds the mindset that ministry is something that is done by professionals who get paid rather than every day disciples. However, this was never Jesus’ intent for His church. Jesus intended that the church be a called out people to live on His mission in the everyday stuff of life, which requires everyone to be in the game!
Vanderstelt starts his discussion of gospel saturation by reminding the reader of the gospel. A person cannot help saturate the world with the gospel if they first have not been saturated by the gospel. What we do flows from who we are. As followers of Christ, we are broken people who have been made whole by the death and resurrection of Jesus. This truth must first saturate our lives before we share it with others. However, the gospel is not a truth that is merely used to bring a person to faith, but a reality that sustains a person’s faith. Vanderstelt, reminds the reader of the biblical paradigm of we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Using theological language these are described as justification, sanctification, and glorification. This paradigm is best seen in Romans 8:30. Salvation is not a merely a one time moment but a lifelong journey of faith by the grace of God. Living in this reality reminds us of our desperate need for Jesus and his grace to work through us for his glory!
Being disciples in the everyday stuff of life requires a paradigm shift, because what we do flows from who we are. Vanderstelt continues his discussion of gospel saturation by reminding the reader of their gospel identity. In the gospel we are family, servants, and missionaries. As family, we are adopted as sons and daughters by God the Father through the blood of Jesus. We are then called to be servants of one another as family just like Jesus, the Son. We are then empowered to live as missionaries by the Holy Spirit. What we do must flow from who we are. If we don’t live as missionaries out of our identiy as family, we will try and earn God’s love by serving Him. Living, then, as missionaries in the culture is not the call of a select few, but the call of every disciple in the everyday stuff of life. This is the only way the gospel will saturate “all nations.”
Saturate, is an excellent resource that I would recommend for all believers! For pastors and church leaders it is a call to equip your people for the work of ministry (Eph. 4). For church members it is a call to remember who you are in Christ and see your family, work, and leisure as opportunity to be a missionary charged with the mission of gospel saturation. Remember, what you do flows from who you are.
I received this book through the Crossway Review program “Beyond the Page” in exchange for an honest review of the book.