It takes the whole Bible to expound the gospel, so reducing it to three sentences is inadequate. But this summary provides a necessary reference point for considering the question of this post: Jesus, God’s promised Rescuer and Ruler, lived our life and died our death. He rose again in triumphant vindication as the first fruits of the age to come. He brings forgiven sinners together by the Holy Spirit to live as his people, under his gracious reign, as we point to and wait for the New Creation.To be gospel-centred means that the gospel is not only to be the focal point but also that which sets and sustains the culture of our churches.
Our preaching must be the gospel, the whole gospel, and nothing but the gospel. We don’t preach moralism, sentimentalism, emotionalism, behaviourism, abstentionism, antinomianism or legalism. Whether we’re preaching from a podium or teaching in a living room, to whomever, wherever, whatever the issue – we preach the good news that is Christ.
Prayer and singing are opportunities to rehearse the gospel. It is through both that our affections are excited and we’re reorientated around the gospel, which renews, shapes and directs our hearts.
Don’t let business meetings get hi-jacked into being about protocol or procedure. Meeting times, Bible translations, instruments and coffee brands are all gospel issues.
If the gospel isn’t central, don’t be surprised when our youth jump ship. No matter how “sexy” our meetings, we can’t compete with the world’s sizzle. Youth ministry must faithfully bring the gospel to young people.
What will keep a couple together in 10 years’ time is not a compatibility test, but the gospel. Rehearse the gospel in your marriage preparation; massage it deep into the hearts of your men and women.
Train people in, with and for the gospel. The gospel enables them to disciple others, engage with non-Christians, answer critics, respond to hard questions and cope with disappointment & failure, joy & success.
In pastoral care, take people to the compelling truth of a God who, in Christ, justly forgives sinners. It tells me of my sin and of my Saviour. I no longer have to justify myself. Lying becomes unnecessary, forgiveness a reality, reconciliation a certainty.
Our mission is the gospel! We’re not here for our comfort or renown. The gospel is the unique contribution we make to a fallen world. So whatever other legitimate activities we support (relief, infrastructures, emergency aid), the gospel is that which sets us apart.
To be gospel-centred means that the gospel shapes and defines everything we are and do as God’s people. Which, like so many good and vital things, is a lot easier said than done. But, since when has ease of implementation ever been a necessary criterion.