What is a Household Gospel?

The time is drawing near. My book A Household Gospel arrives this September. I’ve had a few people ask me, “What is a household gospel?” Below you will find a brief description of the overall theme of the book. I will also be releasing a chapter of the book to read for free next week so watch out.

When Jesus arrives on the scene he doesn’t only expound the gospel, he lives it. We watch the gospel live among humanity. Jesus lives perfectly. He cares for the poor, raises the dead, and releases captives. He dies. He rises from the dead and ascends to sit at the right hand of the Father. But before he ascends to the Father, the risen King commands us,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has 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)

 

In our zeal to obey Jesus we have sent missionaries out, ordained shepherds, and preached the gospel, but have we missed the foundation of this great commission? Have we neglected our homes?

We’ve often not spread the good news in our homes with the same level of intentionality and passion as we have elsewhere. We have divorced discipleship from our families and daily lives. Whenever I’m meditating on Matthew 28 (“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”), my mind always goes to Deuteronomy 6:5-7,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

 

Paul makes this connection clear when he provides instructions to Timothy for ordaining elders in the churches of Ephesus,

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? (1 Timothy 3:4-5).

 

Although this guideline is for elders specifically, we must not be so quick to turn these qualifications into a holy grail, an instruction only for the “super” spiritual. D. A. Carson notes how ordinary these qualifications are. They are “remarkable for being unremarkable.” If we follow the storyline of the gospel, we see believing parents are always instructed to teach their kids how to love God (Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:1-7, Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13, 29:17, Ephesians 6:1-4). In a fuller revelation, we now understand this command in light of the gospel--in light of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

That’s what A Household Gospel is about. It’s ordinary means rooted in an extraordinary gospel. It’s about starting the great commission in our homes. It’s about rehearsing the gospel story in our homes when we sit to eat, lay down to sleep, rise up in the morning, and everywhere in between.