The Gospel: Of First Importance

As many of us transition into a new season of life with a new semester or a new job, we stepped back on Sunday morning to be reminded of the gospel and it’s centrality in all of life:

1 Cor 15:1, 3-6: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel… For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (See also Colossians 1.5-6, 21-23; 2.6-7; 3.16-17).

Here are a few additional suggestions to help you keep the gospel before yourself and others this fall:

  1. Make a plan to spend consistent time prayerfully reading the Bible. It’s easy to take this suggestion and run with it in a way that is in the opposite direction of the gospel.  We could approach the Bible and think, “Ok, I’ve failed to be consistently in the Word.  I’m a failure and I need to try harder.”  But here’s what I need to remember: “Yes, I’ve failed to be consistent in the Word.  I’ve failed at a lot of things.  But it’s the Bible that lifts my heart and encourages me because it tells me that Jesus, the consistent one, died for me and still has more forgiveness and empowerment for me.  I need that.  Where can I get this grace?  The Bible.”  The Bible reminds us of the gospel, and it’s the gospel that fills our hearts with the hope and thankfulness that leaves no room left for sin.
  2. Consistently join us at 9am on Sunday. This isn’t meant to be a self-serving plug.  There is so much grace for us as we meet together to pray, hear from God’s word, and hang out together.  Let’s come expectantly to receive.  And let’s come expectantly to give, encouraging each other in the faith and welcoming visitors as we’ve been welcomed by Christ.  On a very practical note, even going to bed on Saturday night and being there on time is important for our own sake – I’m no good for anyone when I’m tired and I’m distracted the whole morning if I walk in late.
  3. Read a gospel-centered book.  Grab a friend and go through one that will teach you about what Christ has done through his death and resurrection and will help you see how that connects with sitting in traffic and eating breakfast (among other things).  A good place to start is with C. J. Mahaney, Living the Cross-Centered Life or Tim Keller, The Prodigal God.
  4. Fill your life with music saturated by the gospel. I’ve often found that my heart is out of tune with the reality of the lyrics when I start to sing, but by the end of the song it’s lifted and encouraged.  Matthew Smith is helpful, as well as Indelible Grace, Sojourn, Red Mountain, and Sovereign Grace.  And even if you’ve never like a rap song in your life, you have to be encouraged by Shai Linne.
  5. Be part of a local-Church family.  God loves you and the local church is his wonderful plan for your life.  This is the primary context that Jesus gave us to grow in our faith and to help others grow.  When God saves us, he saves us into community.  The discipleship groups are a part of our community not only as weekly meetings, but as networks of relationships that spill over into everyday life.  There are also so many younger and older people to disciple and be discipled by.  Also, even if you’re only around for a couple more years, put in your lot with us and become a member (not ‘member’ as in a club, but ‘member’ as in a necessary organ of the body).
  6. Be on mission. Have you ever found that some of the times you believe the gospel the most strongly is when you’re telling it to someone who doesn’t believe it?  I’ve shared the gospel with a friend across the table and then sat back and thought, “Wow…  This is really true!  And this is wonderful news!  I really believe this!”  But we don’t just share the gospel so that we might believe it more, but so that others might share in the joy of knowing Christ and be rescued from his judgment.

And other ideas come to mind?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

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