Gospel Centered Theology
October 15, 2017
We’re in a series entitled, The Priorities of a Healthy Church. We want to seek, with lazer-like focus, to highlight the things that are critical to us as a local church. We spent our first two weeks considering the necessity of keeping God’s Word, the Bible, at the center of the church. We considered why it’s important to keep the Word at the center, and what happens when we don’t keep it at the center. Today, we take the same approach as we talk about keeping the gospel at the center. When you consider the story-line of scripture, what’s at the center? It’s the message of God’s rescue of lost sinners through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That’s the very centerpiece of God’s revelation in His Word. Therefore it’s absolutely imperative that we keep the central message of the Word of God at the center of all we teach and do.
Main Theme: The centrality of the Gospel in the life of the local church.
I. What Is the Gospel?
- The Gospel – The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again, triumphing over every enemy, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only eternal joy.
” Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” — 1 Corinthians 15:1-3
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” — Romans 5:8
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16
“… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” — Romans 10:9
- “The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history.” — Jerry Bridges
II. What the Gospel Is Not
The Gospel is not:
- Jesus is an upgrade to your life.
- You need to live better.
- God is fuzzy warm love.
III. What Happens When the Gospel is Kept at the Center?
- The Gospel Produces Joy
- The Gospel Produces Humility
- The Gospel Produces Peace
IV. What Happens When the Gospel is Not Central?
When the Gospel Is Not Central:
- It robs our joy in God
- Matters of lesser importance become central
- When we lose our grip on the gospel, and no longer keep it central, other things will quickly take that center place
” All around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grip on the gospel, fumbling it, and in danger of letting it drop from their hands altogether.” — John Stott
Illustration – the Church in Corinth. Paul’s words to them – “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” — 1 Corinthians 1:17
“I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry.” — DA Carson
- Preferences can become supreme
- Temptation to Legalism, Self-Righteousness, or Subjectivism
V. So What Does This Mean for GCC?
- By grace, we’re going to be a gospel-centered people.
- A happy people who remember that once we were captives.
- A humble people who know that apart from God’s activity in sending Christ, we would be lost.
- An eager people – we want to share the story of our liberation with others that we meet.
- We’ll keep the gospel central in our lives, in our church.
- We’ll teach the gospel.
- We’ll sing the gospel.
- We’ll rejoice in the gospel.
- We’ll maintain the gospel as the matter of first importance.
- That means every ministry flows out of, is a derivative of, the gospel.
- Other good things, other good ministries are secondary to the work of the gospel.
- God’s got great things in store for His people!
- “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” — Romans 8:32
Questions for Discussion / Application:
- What is the gospel? In 30 seconds or less, explain the gospel.
- What does it mean to keep the gospel central in our lives?
- Why is it so important for believers to keep the gospel central in their lives? What is it so important for local churches to keep the gospel central?
- What are the positive effects of keeping the gospel at the center of our own lives? What does it look like practically in daily living to keep the gospel central?
- How do you seek to keep the gospel central in your own life?
- What the the positive effects of an entire local church keeping the gospel at the center?
- What are some of the negative effects a person might experience from not keeping the gospel central?
- What can you do personally to focus more intentionally on the gospel?