Connected or Disconnected: The Gospel Question.
As you read this, ask yourself this question, “Where does the ministry of the local church begin?” Some of you may answer that a church ministry begins with the preaching of the Bible, doing mission projects for the community, or serving the members. I would say that a local church ministry begins by calling people to repentance and faith. We begin with the gospel as the motivation for all that we do. Whether we preach the Bible, do missions, or serve members it is this call to repentance and faith that must drive our ministry. People can hear and respond to this gospel call simply by reading God’s Word. Even so, those who hear and respond to this good news will desire to hear, trust, and live out this gospel week in and week for the rest of their days. So what is the gospel and how do we call people to faith and repentance? Let me share it with you using a few often repeated ideas.
- Created by God: We have been made by and for God. Our lives are not our own, nor can they have any significance without Him. Thus we must measure ourselves against his revealed will for us.
- Catastrophic Fall: We are bad. We all desire to do bad more than good. This means we are guilty of breaking God’s revealed will (or law). If you don’t believe me just take a quick test. Read Exodus 20 and honestly ask if you have broken those commandments. Thus we deserve God’s punishment for breaking his law.
- Cross: God in his mercy and kindness, while we were sinners sent his son to this world. Jesus Christ that Son, God in the flesh died on a cruel cross paying the penalty for sin and taking for us God’s wrath. God raised him up due to his righteousness, thus Christ can forgive us and pardon us.
- Commitment: When we realize the punishment we deserve was taken by Christ, our right response is to commit to turn from our sinfulness to Christ which is called repentance. At the same time we commit ourselves to Christ, trusting or having faith both in his ability to save us from sin and to raise us up to a new life in him.
- Christ is Coming Again: The final part of the gospel is understanding that we have be called by Christ to make this message known to all who will hear it until he comes again. When Jesus does come he will only show forth his kindness to those who have repented and trusted in him while he will express God’s just wrath to sinners who refused his call.
A church’s ministry rests on believers calling others to respond to this message. Are you connected to Christ through repentance and faith? Those disconnected from him face coming wrath. Christ took that wrath on the cross for as many as would cast off their sinful pride and call solely upon him for salvation. Repent and Trust in Christ!