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The Gospel Centered Church – Characteristics of a Gospel-centered church member

January 31, 2009

This is continuing a discussion of the Gospel-centered church that I’ve been examining throughout January.

If a church (which is not a building but people, of course) is Gospel-centered then what will be a few key characteristics of the Gospel-Centered believer?

Humility

The Gospel calls us to humility – Paul writes in Ephesians 2 that “it is by grace you have been saved, not works, so that no man may boast.” If I am saved by the work of Christ rather than my own efforts then how can I be arrogant? The believer then has a compassionate boldness. It doesn’t mean that I don’t stand up for God’s truth, but it does mean that I am a humble handler of His truth.

Great Commission Life

The Gospel compels us to be missional in a number of ways. If God became man to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), then I should live the life of a missionary, whether I end up working for a hot dog stand in the U.S. or if I am commissioned by the IMB and live in North Africa. My purpose is not contingent on my location or employment – the Gospel calls me to live as an ambassador for Christ regardless of the circumstances. This is not being an ambassador in word only (though there will be the regular proclamation of the Gospel message) but also living out the Gospel in acts of service and ministries of mercy.

Passion for Sound Doctrine & Right Belief

The Apostle Paul was passionate about correct doctrine and right thinking towards God.  The slightest deviation from the pure Gospel was unacceptable because bad theology is at odds with the Gospel itself, and it is the work of Christ that saves. Therefore, wrong thinking about Christ is a disaster.

Knowing the priority that Paul put on right doctrine should make us crave to study the Bible in order to understand and teach it correctly, enabling one to articulate the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. It should push us towards spiritual disciplines that grow the believer’s understanding of the Gospel; a pursuit of continually being reformed to the faith once and for all delivered to all the saints (Jude 3), as seen in Scripture.

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