GOSPEL FILLER by walterp
June 11, 2008, 11:13 am
Filed under: Devotions, Leadership

By Walt Alexander

Can the gospel become filler? Can it become rote? Can it become just another idea that flies meaningless through our minds? Can it be ineffective to produce appropriate joy and hope and peace?

Recently, I was warned by a dear friend to watch out lest the gospel become filler in my speech. More specifically, he was warning me not to allow the gospel to be just something I use to fill the gaps (such as between songs, in prayers, etc.) when leading worship. This insight sent me hunting through all areas of my life to see where the gospel has become merely filler.

I don’t know what your Christian life looks like, what books you read, what church you attend. However, I have had the privilege to attend Cornerstone Church of Knoxville, a church affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries, for nearly 7 years. Cornerstone carefully and consistently unpacks and applies the gospel – the truth about Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners – each week through its teaching, its song selections, the example of its leaders, and its children’s ministry.

However, though steeped in rich, gospel-centered teaching, in my own soul, I have noticed a tendency to allow the gospel to become an ornament on the tree of my life and not the life-blood on which I live. Many times, I have found myself preaching this good news to myself but remaining altogether unaffected. It is almost as if the gospel can become meaningless to me. I can feel so bound to preach and yet fail to strive to see in applied to my life. This is when I believe the gospel becomes filler, when it fails to be applied consistently and carefully.

Do you ever have this experience?

What do you do when this happens?  Do you have any practical suggestions for us?


7 Comments so far
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Walt, thanks so much for being humbly transparent in your post. It would be very easy to disguise flaws and weaknesses, so thank you for humbling yourself! (and thanks to whoever made that observation in your life. What a good friend to you!!!)

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, yes…the gospel can become merely a formula in my life at times. I find this especially when I feel condemned, haven’t read the Bible recently, or am really sleepy.

What’s incredible, is that in my experience, and also in scriptural examples, when i cry out in prayer for help, confessing my need and my helplessness to hold on to God, He reminds me of the free grace given to me. He reminds me that He saved me, not that I found Him.

So, if you are reading this and have struggled with what Walt was sharing (a tendency to not be amazed by God’s grace) practice the spiritual disciplines of scripture reading (especially Romans or John) and praying.

Comment by Caleb H.

Read Psalm 86:11-13, Psalm 121:1, Psalm 27:4, Psalm 118:21-23 alone. And then share them with a friend. I believe the Gospel comes alive in the Psalms.

Comment by David Wells

I am considering relocation to Maryville and am considering attending Cornerstone. I’m trying to get a feel for the church and church community. Any thoughts?

Comment by Randy

Yes, please come and visit. I love the solid biblical teaching there and a heart to preach the gospel. A plus is that because there is only one service, it allows for lots of fellowship to happen after the sermon. It’s a good time to meet many new faces. Hope to see you there one da! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a few more posts.

Comment by Tyler Thayer


I appreciate you writing. Let me give a bit of my background. We are currently living in Nickelsville, Va. about 20 minutes from Kingsport, TN. We relocated to this area about 3.5 years ago from Southern California where my wife Sandy and I were born and grew up, just north of San Diego county. The reason for the relocation was the cost of living and the crowds. We had a one year old baby (Nathaniel, now 4)and we honestly could not afford to live there any longer. Since the move we have added to the family our 2 year old daughter, Trinity and another baby on the way (12 weeks into the pregnancy). I was introduced to Sovereign Grace Ministries about a month ago and am intrigued by the cross focus. As I’m sure you know finding a Church that preaches God as the center as opposed to man as the center is rare. I just finished the “Living the Cross Centered Life” audio book and have listened to a few of the most recent sermons from your Sunday service. I am considering Maryville as destination hopefully in September. Regarding a church home, we need a genuine loving church family, We need to connect with God at church, We need to actively worship God at church. We need to connect with beleivers throughout the week outside of church. I need to protect my family from legalism and condemnation that is prevelant in some congregations. I am hopeful that CCK is where God is leading us.

Please share your thoughts.


Comment by Randy

Hey Randy,

Glad to hear from you again. I believe that you will find opportunity for all those things at CCK. Not that we claim that we are the perfect church, but I love it and thankful to God for the church family and leadership there. I will email you before the end of the week.

’til then…Soli Deo Gloria.

Comment by Tyler Thayer

Thanks, I look forward to your email.

Comment by Randy

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