The Gospel in the Local Church

I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand…” (1 Corinthians 15:1).

“Gospel” is a word frequently used in our day. Someone might speak of “gospel truth” or sing “gospel music,” and many Evangelical churches are placing a heavy emphasis on “gospel-centered” or “gospel-focused” ministries. However, it is clear that all of this talk about the “gospel” has not done much to proclaim or illuminate the actual content or implications of the Gospel.

Furthermore, even in local churches where the Gospel is still the genuine focus, there is often a misunderstanding about the application of this message. Christians are aware that Christ’s person and work has saved them from God’s ultimate judgment, but they are regularly unaware of the implications this reality has for their homes and families, their church memberships, and their engagement with the world around them.

Healthy churches are marked by Gospel clarity. This means the Christians who comprise a healthy church have heard and received the Gospel; they are turning from disbelief and disobedience toward a Christ-exalting trust and practice. And it also means that these Christians are continually standing in this Gospel of grace and being conformed to righteousness, after the example and by the power of Christ Himself.

Simply put, healthy churches are chock-full of healthy Christians who are thoroughly learning and thoughtfully embracing the Gospel.

 

If you would like to read more about the Gospel, I wrote a short and basic description of the Gospel in a previous post “Do you know the Gospel?

Are you Discipling?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

It has become common to describe American Evangelicalism as “easy believism.” This phrase points to the often thin and nebulous beliefs of today’s Evangelicals. Many of those who claim Christianity in America have little knowledge of biblical teaching and frequently live out of step with a biblical worldview. And yet, Christ has commissioned all Christians everywhere to be about the task of making disciples!

Discipleship is everything a Christian does as he/she follows Christ, and Discipling is a Christian’s active and intentional effort to help other people follow Christ too. This is the stuff of ordinary Christianity, and there are incredible benefits to discipling. However, this basic function of the Christian life is often avoided, misunderstood, and/or unhelpfully systematized among many local churches.

Healthy Churches expect the membership to be intentionally discipling one another. It is Christ’s clear command, and this is the relationship and process by which God grows us up in Christ.

May God help us to be and to make disciples.