Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
The Gospel

The Gospel

I have gotten a bit exercised during this past week of study regarding the basics of the Christian faith. And the reason for my concern is what I hear from those within the evangelical church. Therefore I am going to start posting some of the basic things that we should know as Christians and let you grade yourself. A number of these things you will recognize from our previous classes but I am curious about your retention and application for these things. The other day I put something up concerning the 10 Commandments.

My subject for today is “the gospel.” If a non-believer were to come up to you today and ask for a clear explanation of the gospel, that you could support Biblically, would you be able to do it? Not long ago a Christian radio program put this question to over 60 different people at a Christian Booksellers Convention. In order to hear their responses when asked about the gospel simply click on this LINK.

When one prominent pastor and theologian heard this particular show he was driving in his car. After hearing the responses of those asked about the gospel he became so distraught that he pulled his car off the side of the road and wept. Do you understand the gospel, and can you articulate it in such a way that others can understand it?

Christ Centered Worship

As I put in an earlier blog, we have been discussing “the gospel” from the very beginning of our class back in August 2008. Therefore when I see books about the gospel I am drawn to them. The next book I am planning to read is by Bryan Chapell called “Christ-centered Worship.” Here is a short description of what he considers to be Christ-centered worship.

“Christ-centered worship is not just talking or singing about Jesus a lot. Christ-centered worship reflects the contours of the gospel. In the individual life of a believer, the gospel progresses through recognition of the greatness and goodness of God, the acknowledgment of our sin and need of grace, assurance of God's forgiveness through Christ, thankful acknowledgment of God's blessing, desire for greater knowledge of him through his Word, grateful obedience in response to his grace, and a life devoted to his purposes with assurance of his blessing.

In the corporate life of the church this same gospel pattern is reflected in worship. Opening moments offer recognition of the greatness and goodness of God that naturally folds into confession, assurance of pardon, thanksgiving, instruction, and a charge to serve God in response to his grace in Christ. This is not a novel idea but, in fact, is the way most churches have organized their worship across the centuries. Only in recent times have we lost sight of these gospel contours and substituted pragmatic preferences for Christ-centered worship. My goal is to re-acquaint the church with the gospel-shape of its worship so that we are united around Christ's purposes rather than arguing about stylistic preferences.”

The Gospel is about God!

Do you think that is obvious to most evangelical Christians today in the church? Well, let me assure you based on what I am hearing it is not! OK, now it’s time to call me old fashioned, narrow minded, rigid, caught up in his old ways - hey, I resemble that remark! So are you ready to be really offended? I don’t want to hear about your story primarily... instead I want to hear Christ’s story. Please LISTEN-LISTEN-LISTEN brothers and sisters, the gospel is not about YOU, the gospel is about CHRIST!

The gospel is good news because it is about Jesus Christ, God's Son who assumed our flesh, lived a perfect life in our place, under the law and fulfilled it perfectly, bore our debt because we had broken the law, and was raised on the third day for our justification. However, today it has become more popular to share our testimonies as to what Jesus has done for me especially as it relates to moral transformation. It seems we want to lead and have primary in our gospel conversations the experience or story of our lives. However your experience and my experience is subjective but the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus isobjective.
I am saved by something external to me and something that is objective. I am not saved by my feelings nor even by my experiences. Do you see why it is so important to keep Jesus at the centerpiece of the gospel and not you??

Personal testimonies are important but only in the sense that they lead us to and point to Christ. Often times a personal testimony comes across as, I was a bum, cussing all the time and on drugs. But since I asked Jesus in my heart my life has turned around, I go to church, help old ladies across the street and sing in the choir. Do you see why non-believers and babes in Christ are more concerned about the gifts than the Giver? We are so interested in selling the benefits, such as escape from hell, no more guilt for sinful acts, eternal life, that we have forgotten to mention that the gospel is... you get God!

I am on a crusade to put God back where He belongs when it comes to the gospel and that is at the heart and center of it! The gospel is not about my story, it is about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is an objective truth that is external to anything in me. Because of that objective truth then something subjective has happened which is manifested in my life as transformation into Christ-likeness.

But once again I start with Christ and what He has done that is the basis of the gospel and not with Bert and what he is or has experienced. We don’t want someone to believe or trust in an experience or a moral transformation in us. The difference is between the gospel of God and the gospel of self, let’s be careful what we share, and how we share it!

Here is a short audio clip from the National Christian Broadcasters convention and how many responded to the question which should take precedence the gospel of Christ or personal testimony. To listen just click on to this LINK.

The main problem...

Tim Keller writes an excellent article on the “Centrality of the Gospel.” This was really the theme of our retreat back in May, and I want you to know that we never get away from our need for the gospel each day.

Roger Nicole on the gospel

Since we have been studying the word ATONEMENT I thought this article would be good for us to read as a class. It is by Roger Nicole, from his seminar on the atonement, I hope you enjoy!

Moved by His incomprehensible love for mankind, the Triune God was pleased not to abandon our rebellious and corrupt race to the misery and hell that it justly deserved, but to undertake to save a great multitude of human beings who had absolutely no claim on His mercy.

In order to bring this plan into execution, the second Person of the Godhead, the Son, took unto himself a full human nature, becoming in all things like his brethren and sisters, sin excepted. Thus he became the Second Adam, the head of a new covenant, and he lived a life of perfect obedience to the Divine Law.

Identifying with his own, he bore the penalty of human sin on the cross of Calvary, suffering in the place of the sinner, the just for the unjust, the holy Son of God for the guilty and corrupt children of man.

By his death and resurrection he has provided the basis

* for the reconciliation of God to humans and of humans to God;
* for the propitiation of a righteous Trinity, justly angry at our sins;
* for the redemption of a multitude of captives of sin whose liberty was secured at the great price of His own blood.

He offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice sufficient to blot out the sins of the whole world and secured the utmost triumph over the enemies of our soul: sin, death, and Satan.

Those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ are thus to be absolved from the guilt of all their sins and are adorned with the perfect righteousness of Christ himself. In gratitude to him they are to live lives of obedience and service to their Savior and are increasingly renewed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This good news of salvation by grace through faith is to be proclaimed indiscriminately to mankind, that is to every man, woman, and child whom we can possibly reach.

The Power of the Gospel

Our community retreat is May 1-3 at Ridgecrest in Asheville. The topic is going to be “The Gospel.” Therefore over the next couple of months I will include various gospel encouragements on our blog site.

This is a great story regarding the power of the gospel.

The Gospel

Never let the Gospel get smaller

This article from Dr. John Piper at Desiring God ministries.

Seek to see and feel the gospel as bigger as years go by rather than smaller.

Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time.

The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,

* grace gets bigger;
* Christ gets greater;
* his death gets more wonderful;
* his resurrection gets more astonishing;
* the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
* the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
* its global extent gets wider;
* your own sin gets uglier;
* the devil gets more evil;
* the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper;
* its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger;
* and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.

So keep this in mind: Never let the gospel get smaller in your heart.

Pray that it won’t. Read solid books on it. Sing about it. Tell someone about it who is ignorant or unsure about it.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel.... For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)