Welcome to our second week of this “Faithful for the Future” 21-day devotion.
Last week, we focused on the first aspect of Emmanuel’s mission statement: to display God’s glory. This week, we will spend time exploring the second theme: Declaring God’s gospel.
What is the gospel? If I were to go out today and stop people on the streets and ask them this basic question: “What is the gospel?” I would get a lot of different answers. “It is a type of music.” “It means to ask Jesus into your heart.” “It is something church people believe.” “I don’t really know.”
The Lord has burned into my heart a very strong passion. And it this: We must never lose our love, appreciation and understanding of the gospel. The gospel is central to all we are and do. The gospel should affect both our thinking and our behavior.
Most, if not all the battleground in the Christian life takes place in the mind. If we can have our thought life permeated by a true and clear picture of the gospel, then we will be sustained by His powerful grace to be faithful for the future.
In addition, the gospel must also affect our behavior and how we live our lives. This is tied to the first aspect of our mission to display God’s glory. The gospel should affect every aspect of our lives.
The word “gospel” itself means “good news!” It is an announcement of what God has done for us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is not simply good advice. It is not a mere suggestion. Instead, the gospel is news to be proclaimed. It is to be announced. It is to be heard.
It would be like a headline on the Denver Post or Journal Advocate or the leading story on Fox News or the banner on Yahoo or MSN.com. It is announcing something that has happened such as “The War is Over!” If you go back and look at all the newspapers that announced the end of World War II—they were announcing an accomplishment of victory that had actually happened. They weren’t giving you advice, or a suggestion, but were announcing great news. That is the gospel.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Paul tells us that this is the most important thing he received from Jesus. The gospel is the news that Jesus died for our sins. That He was buried, and that three days later, he rose again. This was all in accordance with the prophecies of Scripture.
So at its core—the gospel manifests itself in the historical facts surrounding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and it centers on the cross.
It centers on the substitutionary atonement. It centers on the fact that Jesus died in our place bearing God’s wrath paying the penalty for sin that we deserved in order that we might be forgiven and saved and cleansed and accepted by God.
I want you to notice Paul’s wording here. The gospel is the message that we have received, but also in which we are standing. The gospel is the foundation that determines everything. This is the Perfect tense in the Greek, which means that we took our stand on it when we first believed and we are continually taking our stand on it in the present. And we are to hold fast to this gospel.
Paul is not teaching that we can lose our salvation here, but is warning us against a false type of faith. A faith or a believing that is in vain.
Remember, the devil and demons believe in Jesus. They know His word, but they shudder. They are enemies of Christ. So there is a faith that is non-saving. There is a faith that is superficial.
Matthew 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
When we trust Christ for salvation, we embrace Him wholeheartedly with our entire lives. We surrender to His Lordship. We take Him as our Treasure. And this is not just a one-time decision where we signed on the dotted line.
True saving faith means that you continually live a life of believing and trusting in Jesus and you hold fast to Him and you cast yourself continually upon His mercy to save you.
So, being a gospel-centered church means that we embrace the wonderful news that Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again and that we must all have a personal relationship with Him through faith.
Do you believe the gospel is of first importance? Are you believing in the gospel? Are you taking your stand in the gospel? Are you whole-heartedly committed to declaring the gospel—the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus!
Spend some time in prayer thanking God for His glorious gospel. Thank Jesus for dying on the cross for your sins. Ask Him to burn this passion for the gospel in your heart and mind.