By Not Known
The Christian gospel is well summarised by the words of John the Baptist and
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. (Mat 3:2)
Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mat 3: 17)
These sayings make an announcement and give an imperative. The announcement
is grounded in a quote from the prophet Isaiah. The gospel message of the New
Testament is in continuity and fulfilment with the message of the Old Testament.
The announcement is the nearness of the kingdom of God’s saving rule. God’s
kingdom came in Jesus. It was announced in his preaching, shown in his deeds and
inaugurated in his Cross and resurrection. All that waits is the final stage of its
consummation in his second coming and the re-ordering of the creation for
The imperative is to ‘repent’. This means an U-turn from the inside out such that
we face towards God instead of turning our backs on him. The call to repent is
often complemented by the call to faith. (eg Mk 1:15).
The kingdom announcement and the imperative make up the Christian gospel. This
is the gospel that we are to believe and continue to believe in order to live and die
within God’s salvation.
This gospel of Jesus and his kingdom should lie at the church’s heart. That is worth
pondering as we review the ministy of 2007 and preview the ministy of 2008.
There are several aspects to being a gospel-centred church:
Gospel-centred preaching and teaching of the Bible at all levels.
Gospel-centred ministy planning.
Gospel-centred evaluation of success and failure in ministy,
Gospel-centred use of all resources.
Gospel-centred leaders at all Levels.
Being a gospel-centred church means vey much more than having a regular
evangelistic emphasis – although it includes that. It means keeping the gospel at
the centre of our values, vision, mission, plans, priorities and actions.
Few will deny that we ought to be a gospel-centred church. But the great trap is
that we affirm gospel-centredness while subtly undermining it. The ‘good’ of
church-centredness easily distracts us from the gospel ‘best’.
The life and ministy of Jesus shows us what it is to remain gospel+centred. Let’s
keep our eyes there in 2008.