The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Along with some venerable and legendary voices from church history, I believe Romans is the greatest book in sacred Scripture. Romans 1:16 says the gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." This is the message of Romans - the gospel - and Paul spends the entire book explaining it and its theological, ecclesiological, and social implications.

It's the only thing that can transform a soul from selfishness to service, from idolatry to true worship. It's the only sure foundation upon which to build a church. Everything else is sinking sand. A church might thrive and grow on the outside but lack gospel-centeredness, have high numbers but be spiritually impotent. I challenge you: study what the apostles have to say in the NT about what comprises a church and causes it to grow spiritually and numerically.  I think you'll find what has become my firm conviction: it's the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This gospel must be spoken to unleash it's soul-transforming, church-edifying, culture-changing power (Rom. 10.9-17). And its implications must be lived (Matt. 5.13-16). But what's its content? What's its goal for our lives? God's glory. This is what the gospel does more than anything else in the universe - namely, it reveals God to us; it makes us like Him. (As it concerns the latter, I refer to what theologians call His communicable attributes [cf. Gal. 5.22-23].)

I John 1.1 says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands." John's saying, "My retinas beheld the glory of God for three years, and it rocked my world!" Doubt it? Hear the same testimony in another book he penned. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory" (John 1.14). Let me translate: "God's glory manifested with fingernails, skin pigment, and a specific hair color!"

My friend, it is the primary responsibility of the local church to proclaim such earthy glory in everything it does. The gospel's power both evangelizes sinners (Matt. 28.19) and edifies saints (Matt. 28.20). In other words, a church is established and grows through promoting and protecting the gospel (cf. I Tim. 3.15).

However, we lack the ability to fulfill this mission - individually and collectively. With our own strength and resources, we'll fall flat on our faces every day and every time. Unless we're given divine power. Brothers and sisters, this is why our God has given us His Spirit! Pentecostal power enables us to appropriate Calvary's power for our character and congregations (cf. Acts 2.42-47). Pentecost is not primarily about speaking in tongues; it's fundamentally about God graciously giving His people the promised ability to do what He commands (Ezek. 36.26-27) - commands which point to a Person (cf. Matt. 5.17; Luke 24.25-27, 44-45; 2 Cor. 1.20). Only in the power of the Holy Spirit are we able "to walk in the same way in which he walked" (I John 2.6).

For all these reasons, the mission of new3c is to proclaim God's glory in the gospel of Jesus Christ through a Spirit-empowered community. That's something worth living and dying for, don't you think?

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