A Gospel Centered Church!
A couple of years ago we went to a friends lake house and they had a couple of kayaks. I thought that would be a fun adventure since the last time I got in a kayak was in the 7th grade, so off I went. As I paddled out towards this island in the middle of the lake, I noticed two things. The ﬁrst was how pathetically out of shape I actually was, the other was related to that but as I took a break from paddling, I slowly began to drift. Drifting is a slow process that gets you off of your intended destination. This is true in kayaking as well as life. Our lives have a tendency to drift off our intended purpose. As followers of Christ, we have our destination already set for us in becoming more like Christ Himself and living lives that please Him. In order to do that, there’s nothing better for us to center our lives on than the very work of Jesus on the cross. This is why Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15.3-11 that he delivered to us that which is of ﬁrst importance – the gospel.
Therefore, just as we need to be centered on the work of Christ, the Gospel in our own personal lives, the Church is no different. This may be shocking but the Church has the same tendencies as we do personally to drift off of what’s most important. The Church can drift into being program centered in an attempt to please people and draw people. In the last twenty years or so, the Church has also been known to be more about a best practices approach rather than sticking to the simplicity of the gospel itself. Don’t get me wrong, all of these have a good motivation behind them but so does giving candy to your kids, which may seem great at ﬁrst til you visit the dentist.
Our hope for Declaration Church is that we would be a Gospel Centered Church in every way. We don’t view the Gospel as elementary. As Pastor and Author Tim Keller says, the Gospel is not the A, B, C’s of Christianity but rather the A-Z of Christianity. We simply don’t graduate from the Gospel. We want to be so centered on the Gospel that it pours out of us in every aspect. In our mission only the Gospel of Jesus has the power to save (Romans 1.16). This sounds obvious but we have the tendency to think that being nice or doing good deeds will lead people to Jesus. The only good deed that ever saved anyone was Jesus dying on the cross. In our community, we are not going to be centered upon our felt needs or afﬁnity groups but the work of Christ on the cross and our mission resulting from that (Philippians 2.1-11). In our celebration of GOD’s glory – how we worship and why we worship – we celebrate Him personally and corporately not because of how current GOD is in making a deposit into our own personal joy box but because of how great His love for us was expressed in sending His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for an undeserving people. May we never get over that truth. May GOD help us to remain centered on His great love for us expressed on the Cross of Jesus Christ. Amen.