We recently had small group leader’s luncheon and had a great time discussing what it means to be gospel centered and how we can make our ministries more gospel centered. I thought I’d post a summary here on the blog of what we talked about at the meeting. Really, what we discussed transcends small groups and hits at the essence of what it means to be a Christian.
We essentially answered three questions:
1) What is the gospel?
If we are going to be gospel centered we have to begin with the gospel. If you were asked to share the gospel could you do it in a clear and concise way? What verses would you use to support your points? The crux of the gospel is that God sent Jesus into the world to die for sinners. When we believe this and repent of our sins we have Jesus’ perfect righteousness imputed to us.
2) What would the effects of a gospel-centered life be?
According to Joe Thorn a gospel centered life is a life where, “a Christian experiences a growing personal reliance on the gospel that protects him from depending on his own religious performance and being seduced and overwhelmed by idols.”
In our meeting we discussed many of the effects that a gospel-centered life has on a person. If you’d like to see the full list of what we discussed you can see it here. However, right now I’d like to focus on two effects: heart transformation and humility.
Often times we struggle with besetting sins and try to fight these sins by changing our habits or setting up safe guards. The problem however is that we never deal with the root of our sin. And like the weeds in our yards, if you don’t tear out the root they’ll come back.
The gospel gets to the root of our struggles. The gospel is not only how we enter into the Christian faith but it is also what sustains and transforms us in our faith. It is not as if we enter the Kingdom of God by faith and then grow by our works. All is grace. All is the gospel. We can overcome sin in our lives not because we have a superior will power or because we found the right fix. We can overcome sin in our lives because Jesus has defeated the curse of sin. Because of his grace you no longer have to sin. We have freedom because he has set us free. Transformation comes through trust that Jesus has paid the price for our deepest idols. Our obedience is not out of a desire to be accepted by God but out of the knowledge that we have already been accepted.
The very fact that our justification and our sanctification comes from Jesus and not our own works forms us into a humble people. We don’t have pride in our righteousness because our righteousness comes from Christ. We don’t have pride in our transformation because our transformation comes from Christ as well. We live with the humbling and joy-filled knowledge that who and what we are is all from Jesus and his gospel.
3) What are some ways you can make your ministry more gospel-centered?
Jonathan McIntosh lists 6 different commitments that a gospel-centered ministry adheres to:
- Reading and teaching the entire Bible in light of the gospel message
- Preaching the gospel to believers, not just unbelievers
- Leaders applying the gospel to themselves ﬁrst; church leaders are a model of repentance
- Developing a leadership culture marked by ever increasing “gospel-astonishment”
- Being known for an atmosphere of grace (gospel-centered churches are a safe place for seekers, skeptics and those outside the faith)
- Producing people who not only know the doctrine of the gospel but who also love the person of Jesus Christ
So here are my questions for you. Do you know the gospel? Can you articulate the gospel? Are you daily astonished and motivated by the gospel? And are you sharing the gospel in your relationships?
For more information about Grace Bible Church, visit begrace.org.