Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Gospel People

Every church needs mission maintenance and regular recalibration.  Sometimes, we need to go back to the very beginning and ask ourselves, "What kind of Christians are resulting from our ministry?  Is this what we've been aiming for?"

Jesus said, "Go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19), and the question remains, "What kind of disciples are we trying to make?"

Our answr:  Gospel People!
The Grand Story:

God calls us to be citizens of His Kingdom. This is the first message of Jesus recorded in the books of Matthew (4:17) and Mark (1:15).

The God’s Kingdom on earth was initiated at Creation (Genesis), first modeled by Israel (Exodus—Esther), celebrated through worship (the poetic books), made new by Jesus Christ (Gospels), exemplified by the early church (Acts & Epistles) and will be culminated in the coming age (prophets & Revelation).

The Gospel is our invitation to join this sublime story, participating in Christ’s grand mission of redemption.

"To heal the person, we must first heal the story they imagine themselves to be in." ~ James Hillman.

A Robust Gospel:
We are Gospel people, living and partnering on earth as Colonies of the greater Kingdom. This Gospel is robust – going far beyond an initial religious experience, or weak affirmation of belief (Matt. 15:8). It involves everything we are called to be as Christ’s representatives on this earth (Phil 1:27).

So, as citizens of this Kingdom (Phil 3:20), what do Gospel People look like (Titus 2:10)?

1. Gospel People Know God’s Grace (Eph 2:8-9):

The Gospel ushers us into God’s loving grace, resulting in genuine conversion and authentic worship (John 4:24).

• We realize our sin and our need for a Savior (Matt. 1:21).
• We understand the freedom of forgiveness (John 8:36).
• We repent and turn to God (Acts 3:19).
• We worship wholeheartedly, in grateful response to what He has done in us (Psalm 103:1-5).

2. Gospel People Flow in the Fullness of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8):

We are commanded not only to follow Jesus (Matt. 10:38) but to be filled with His Spirit (Eph. 5:18). This is an interior work, reflecting Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), and not just relating to Him. Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

  • This is a call to absolute surrender, holiness and sanctification. Being fully devoted to Christ. It means renouncing all idols and affections which draw us away from the Savior (Gal. 2:20, 1 Thess. 5:23).
  • The evidence of the fullness is the bountiful fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and daily obedience (1 John 5:3).
  • Being filled with the Spirit means living a life of love (Eph. 5:2), rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in everything (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
3. Gospel People Grow in Christ-likeness (Titus 2:11-12):

Fully developing followers of Christ are on a growth trajectory empowered by spiritual commitment. This requires moving beyond the elementary principles, to deeper truths. As Tim Keller said, “The Gospel is not just the ABC’s, but the A to Z.”

• Scripture and prayer are foundational and must be given highest priority (Acts 6:4).
• We engage in spiritual practices (disciplines) as training in godliness (1 Cor. 9:25).
• We learn from and submit to one another in Christian community (Rom. 12:10).

4. Gospel People Show Selfless Devotion to Christ and One Another (1 John 4:7-8):

Loving God means loving His people (1 John 4:7). The Gospel grafts us into a new community of faith (Rom. 11:19). We are not merely joining a group, but changing citizenship. A new allegiance is expected, which is reflected, by actions rather than intentions (Luke 6:46).

This devotion is evidenced by. . .

  •  Loving deeply (1 Pet. 1:22)
  • Attending faithfully (Heb. 10:24)
  • Giving generously (2 Cor. 9:6)
  • Serving passionately (Eph. 6:7)
5. Gospel People Go Into all the World, Blessing, Serving and Multiplying Disciples  (Matt. 28:18-20):

The Great Commission, our last command, must be our first concern. We are literally joining Christ in his mission to renew and redeem the world. “Behold I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

  • We view all of life as mission (John 20:21).
  • We reach out globally as well as locally (Matt. 22:9). John Wesley said, “The world is my parish.”
  • We are ready to go to the darkest places, bringing hope and light (Matt. 5:16).
  • Being disciple-makers, we invest ourselves in equipping others, who will, in turn, reproduce God’s grace in other lives (2 Tim. 2:2).
  • We will faithfully continue on the mission until it is completed (2 Tim. 4:7)

No comments: