3-4.The Local Church & the Gospel
The Local Church and the Gospel
- Local Church and mission/ importance of a healthy local church.
- Healthy church has a clear understanding of the gospel/ salvation/ and conversion. We carry one message to this world. ONE. Everything flows off this message.
- If you do not have the gospel- you do not have anything.
- Listen to how Paul describes the gospel: 1 Cor. 15:1-4:
1) The gospel is to be made known (v.1)- not to be hidden. Please understand: Christ was not hidden. He made Himself known. NOT JUST FOR UNBELIEVERS: Paul speaking the truth again to the Corinthians/ Romans/ every letter written to a church or individual.
2) It is to be preached (v.1). God ordained the foolishness of preaching as the means. Christ preached the gospel. We proclaim it- and do not shy away from its scandal. Exhorting/ commanding men to take heed.
3) It is to be received (v. 1). It is not a distant message/ with no affect. It has implication for the life today. It can be grasped. It changes a man. It is the truth.
4) It is to be stood upon (v. 1). Everything in this life changes and moves/ this world is as sand. The truth does not move. It is the strength of the life. The gospel is not something we hear, receive, and then move on from…. We will never move on from this glorious truth. (Treasure house of God found in Christ).
5) It is the means of salvation to all who will receive it (v.1). Romans 1:16- the power of God for salvation. No other message, no other way. It is the very glory of God to this sinful world. The cross, we see God like no other time (all attributes)
6) It is to be held fast to (v. 2). Imagine you are caught in the middle of a raging flood with only a rope to hold on to. How would you grip it? We never leave- it is our hope. If anyone preaches another gospel, let him be accursed (even if it is an angel).
7) It is of first importance (v. 3). It is the primary ministry/ message/ greatest event the world has ever seen/ height of truth. Things most important= things we care for.
8) It is not your message, but received from God (v. 3). Therefore, we have no rights to change it/ pretty it up/ make it less offensive/ more attractive/ it is a scandalous message/ offensive. It is not primarily about you- but rather it is about God.
- Paul then moves on to explain it to them again the gospel.
-1 Tim. 3:15-16: Paul writing so they may know how to conduct themselves in the household of God, the church of the loving God- ADDS Description: “the pillar and support of the truth.”
- Picture of the temple – two bronze pillars at the beginning of it- holding up the roof. Temple of Diana in Ephesus (where Timothy was located) over 100 pillars.
- Pillars and supports= stabilize the walls/ prevents the collapse/ it holds the roof high so men can see it from a distance.
- What a fitting description of the church= foundation and function is the truth- stable in truth/ sustains it/ witnessed to men.
- What is this truth here that he is referring to? Paul tells us (v.14)- This is a hymn of the early church (most likely). Its focus is on the PERSON and WORK of Jesus Christ, it is the gospel (Christ revealed in the flesh, vindicated/ justified (resurrection), proclaimed, believed on, taken up to Glory).
- This is the truth, the fountain which all other truth flows. His church preaches the Person and work of Christ, and upholds the reality of the work of the gospel.
- Gospel: This word used in various contexts today.
- It is true that all of the Scriptures are about redemption- thus related to the gospel. It is true that the Person of God, sinfulness of man, work of Christ, and call of the sinner is given in the gospel message.
- But in a narrow sense- the Gospel is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- I hear people say “we should live the gospel.” This is not accurate, for the gospel is a historical event that took place 2,000 years ago. We live in response to the gospel.
-Acts 10:38-43: Paul preaching to the gentile Cornelius.
- Paul preaches Christ’s life (V. 38-39a)- From Nazareth, anointed (Messiah) by God, His power displayed through the healings, and destroying the work of the enemy.
- Paul preaches His Death (39b). He preaches the cross.
- Paul preaches His resurrection (v.40). He preaches his command to preach this to all- what His work accomplished.
- These are the primary elements of the gospel Paul proclaimed to everyone.
- This is where we live as the church- and truths that we simply put away.
Life: Importance of His life: Often ignored.
1) Gal. 4:4: 1) He was the Son of God- fully divine, and yet born of a woman- full a man. These two truths are extremely important to redemption. They are a mystery. Christ is one person, yet with two natures (human/ Divine). These two natures do not mix- yet they are one. United forever.
- Had to be fully human is order to be an adequate substitute. Heb. 2:17- made like us in every way, in order to carry away our sins. If he was not fully like us, he could not stand in our place and be our substitute.
- As God, He was infinitely worthy could PAY for our sins for us, and man He could die on our behalf.
- We tend to look at His deity in the Scriptures when He heals the sick, and casts out demons, and calming the sea. But we must understand that everything Christ did on this earth was as fully a man, who was guided by the Spirit of God.
- Phil. 2:6-7: He was God, yet He willingly, and voluntarily laid aside His use of divine attributes- in other words, HE would refuse to use them according to His own will. He would trust the Spirit of God, and walk by faith. He limited Himself to humanity every second of every day on this earth.
- He was fully man- He was subject to our weaknesses/ pain/. Luke 2:52: He grew physically, intellectual, and spiritually. AS He came into the knowledge of God, and Himself, He applied it perfectly. He grew in Love.
- He was lead by the Spirit throughout His life.
AMAZING THOUGHT: There was a time when Jesus, as a boy, realized he was the Messiah. He had to read the Scriptures like anyone else- the difference is, he was without sin. He applied them, taught them perfectly.
- He had to be the God-man in order to redeem us.
2) He was born under the Law/ - This means the law has jurisdiction and authority over that person. If they have one offence against the law, then they are condemned by it. Under the Law: It has the rights to judge that person.
- MEANS: He is obligated to fulfill it, or faces condemnation. God’s Law: If you fail one commandment the sentence is death (separation from God- punishment) Adam and Eve.
- Obeyed the Law perfectly. At the end of His life, the book of the Law could be opened and there was not one offence against Him. “Loved the Lord with all His heart…”
- He was sinless- a perfect, spotless Lamb. Fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law that we could not fulfill. WHY?
- (V. 5)- He did this to redeem those under the Law- who were condemned by their sin. Being found blameless in the eyes of the Law, He is the only one who could PAY the price to release those who are found condemned. (Did this in His death. Later).
- Imagine if you showed up at the police station, as a criminal…. Jesus was blameless in relation to the Law.
2) Taught and interpreted God’s Word. He changed the way we see and read the Scriptures! His life changed the whole world.
- In His life, He taught God’s Word clearly, and perfectly. He taught God’s Word with authority. Corrected our interpretation… our feeble understanding. He opened up the Scriptures, and taught them theologically- showing the spiritual applications.
- Matt 5- Sermon on the Mount; “you have heard it said, but I tell you…” The Scriptures were being twisted by men who were fallen- Outward actions were being emphasized. Christ came and internalized the Scriptures, gave proper interpretation.
- Important: He became to hermeneutic (proper interpretation) of the Scriptures. He taught us how we should read the Scriptures (OT at the time).
- John 5:39 tells us the Scriptures (OT) testify of Christ. They are about Him.
- Luke 24:44- disciples on the Road to Emmaus. What does He do? He opens the Scriptures and shows how He fulfilled all the things written in the Law of Moses, Prophets, and Psalms. The OT, all the pictures, the poetry, are about Him.
- At His coming and His teaching- the interpretation of the OT changes. New Light. He became the glasses we read the Scriptures through.
- He is not only the Mediator between God and Man/ but He is also the Mediator between man and God’s Word.
- It is amazing: He was the Communicator (God/ Authority), the Communication (Prophet/ Revealed God), and Perfect Receiver ( Fully Man/ Our Perfect Example)- all in one. He interpreted God’s Word properly, and lived perfect under it. Our example.
- Jesus as God, is the Communicator, He is the Authority.
- Jesus as the Word of God is the ultimate communication (final revelation Heb. 1:1),
- Jesus as perfect man is the receiver- He is the one who perfectly lived in light of truth, providing all men and example to follow.
- His life and teaching is extremely important. It changes the way we understand His Word and Interpret His Word.
- He came to fulfill the promises of God in the OT- He is the reality to the shadows and type we see in the OT. We cannot fully understand God’s character, without Christ. He displayed God’s love and Mercy/ Compassion.
- If our great goal is KNOWING and GLORIFYING God, then we must know Christ!
3) He brought the kingdom of God.
- Mark 1:15- “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – could look at…
- Luke 11:14- Jesus casting out demons, accused by the Pharisees to be doing these things by the ruler of the demons/ a house cannot be divided against its and stand/ BUT if these demons are being cast out by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. The warning is someone stronger than the enemy is here.
- Why is this significant?
1) If the Kingdom has come, then the King has come. Therefore He is the One who will rescue His people- and every knee shall bow before.
2) It transforms the way we think about the kingdom. The Jews thought the Messiah would come in and reign- clearing out the Romans. He shows a greater bondage- a spiritual war- a need for a greater freedom from sin.
- Thus, the kingdom is spiritual in nature.
- Hard concept to grasp: Acts 1:6- even after resurrection, disciples still confused. Ask Christ, if now is the time the kingdom will be restored to Israel?
- They did not understand the kingdom is God’s rule over God’s people. Christ immediately brings up the fact that they do not know the hour- and then speaks of the Holy Spirit coming on them in power- The Holy Spirit was a sign of the kingdom to come.
- Thus, He was relating to the people that the kingdom is here, yet it is not consummated. It has begun at Christ, it is continuing to advance through the salvation of people, and it will be consummated at the second coming. Sins presence removed, all things under subjection.
- The church is not the kingdom, but it is an outpost, or embassy of it. It testifies to the kingdom that is now pictured in the church, and yet will come and swallow the earth.
- This frees the church and His people to live for the kingdom, and not this world. This world is broken- this is not our home- our hope and our desire is not found here. This frees us from living for this world.
- We do not look for another kingdom, we are placed in the kingdom of God, that is a everlasting kingdom. “ The Kingdom of God is at hand, Repent and believe the Gospel”
-LIFE of CHRIST: Fully man/ substitute/ sinless/ fulfilled the Law for our righteousness- changes the way we read and understand the Scriptures, fulfillment of the OT pictures and promises- Inaugurated the kingdom, changes our view on it/ frees us to live for another kingdom.
Death: Importance of it. The height of Christ’s earthly ministry/ the event that changed the world. The heart of the gospel. His life moved towards is the cross. What was accomplished on the cross? (infinity to study)
- There are numerous things that were accomplished on the cross-
1) Pay the penalty of sin. God is just- and cannot simply overlook sin. No more than a judge can overlook a crime- he must uphold the law. He cannot ignore it, and his anger burns toward those who bear the law.
- Man is fallen, guilty from Adam’s offence, guilt from the work of his own hands. His criminal record is as long as the earth is round. His fallen heart produces a wicked works. He is guilt, and has no hope to remove one of His sins.
- If he only had one, he would still deserve hell for all eternity. (EXAMPLE OF SIN)
- Christ, born under the law, free from its condemnation because he obeyed it perfectly- paid that debt for him- Col. 2:14- Canceled that certificate of debt/ the bad record through His death. Takes it out of the way/ by nailing it to the cross.
- Only one thing nailed to the cross- that was Christ Himself.
- 2 Cor. 5:21: Answers how He did this. He was our substitute!
IMPORTANT WORD: Imputation (accrediting). He bore our sins, the weight of them- He was treated like God should treat us, and pay the penalty for us.
- The 2nd half of that verse- He accredits the very righteousness of God to our account. JUSTIFIED in the sight of God. DECLARED Righteous. NOT MADE.
- He removed the sin, by paying the penalty we have against us.
2) He satisfied the wrath of God on the cross. God is a Consuming Fire (Heb. 12:29). He is angry with the wicked everyday. Every act of disobedience, fills up the cup of the anger of the Lord. Rom. 2:5, says that man is storing up wrath for the day of wrath. You can think of it a giant cup of sin, a cup of fire, that every time a man sins, more is added. One day it will pour out on man for eternity.
- To have a biblical view of the God= God is a God of wrath against sin.
- 1 John 4:10- “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- IMPORTANT word: Propitiation. Means “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end, and changes His wrath to favor.” Wrath satisfying sacrifice.
- There was much more that happened that men could not see that day. Men saw the darkness for three hours- symbolizing judgment.
- He paid the penalty- but that was more than death- it was receiving the punishment we deserve.
- Do you remember Christ in the Garden that night? Asking the Lord if it is possible to remove this cup? What was in the cup? Death? No, much more. It was the cup of God’s divine Holy hatred.
- Can you imagine the weight? Each one of God’s elect- having a cup, each sinning against the Lord filling his cup up/ from Adam to the last person saved/ pouring their cup into one large cup. Christ was handed that cup to drink. You can see why he was under such distress.
- But he knew the cost, and willingly took it. The Father treated His Son as the one who sinned against Him. Is. 53, He crushed Him.
- His wrath emptied on His Son, thus He can now look on us with favor.
3) Reconciled God and Man.
- To be reconciled means to have a change in relationship- from hostile, to friendship. To be brought back together in unity.
Rom. 5:10: We were enemies/ hostile. Man apart from Christ is worse than a devil. He fights against God’s grace. He sins against the blood of Christ (something the devils do not do).
- I hear men make mistakes and say, “well I’m only Human.” That is not a accurate statement. Adam before his sin was fully human- acting as God created Him- IN HIS IMAGE- Christ was Perfect man- HUMAN. Human does not mean mistakes. Because of our sin, we are worse than the beasts- For even they know their master’s hand (Is. 1:3)- Even the donkey knows his owner.
- Man has rebelled and refuses to acknowledge God as Owner.
- Man is not an innocent party, NOT caught in a war- He is the Lord’s enemy. His life is in rebellion every second.
- “while we were enemies, WE WERE reconciled” It was us who were brought back. It was us who turned their back and declared war/ God never moved.
- HOW is this possible? “through the death of Christ.” His death paid the penalty we owe- He removed the wrath that was due us.
- WHEN? “while we were still enemies”- It is not that man has turned to seek reconciliation. He was still an enemy when God, graciously sought him, turned His heart, removed his sin through the death of Christ.
- Because sin has been paid for- God and man once again can have fellowship.
- Matt. 20:28: “Christ came to give His life a ransom for many”- Ransom speaks of a payment of a price.
- 1 Cor. 6:20: “We were brought with a price” – Common idea/ prisoner of war brought for a price to be set free. Slave could buy their freedom.
- This is a great picture of what the death of Christ accomplished. Not only were we still enemies, by we were also willing slaves. (KEY WORD: WILLING). The Scripture tells us, that we love darkness (John 3:19).
- Slaves to sin, slaves to the dominion of darkness, under the power of Satan.
- Yet, Christ ransomed us> Language used to let us know that salvation is costly to God. It cost Him a price. NOT silver or gold- but the greatest Treasure. He emptied the treasury of heaven when He gave His Son to lay down His life. He gave all to reconcile us to Himself.
- No other way: God’s law was broken, and it demanded death- God is Just and could not ignore man’s sin. Christ was the substitute, taking the wrath of God we deserve, paying the price we could not pay- all while we were his enemies and were not seeking Him. This is grace.
4) Defeated the Devil:
- 1 John 3:8: The Son of God sent to destroy the Works of the Devil.
- Gen. 3:15- is fulfilled in the death of Christ. It was a deathblow to the work of the Devil. His power in the life of the believer has been destroyed. He has no power to pull one from the strong arm of God. His kingdom is being plundered.
- Like the kingdom, it is now, but will come fully at the return of Christ, the death blow has taken place, but will come in full later. (Rom. 16:20)
- Col. 2:15: Through Him, He disarmed the rulers and authorities. They have no more rights over the believer. Col. 1:13: Rescued from the domain of darkness.
- FREEDOM: from bondage of sin. No longer bond to sin.
- DEATH OF CHRIST: Paid the penalty as our substitute/ bore the wrath of God as our Lamb that took away our sins/ Reconciled God and man/ ransomed man by His own blood/ defeated the devil.
Resurrection: Death of Christ is the heart of the gospel, resurrection is the power.
- Greatest miracle in the world. Imagine a person found dead, but gets up- a person beaten to death. Imagine a mango crushed by me/ elephant/ Mt Everest/ God Himself- He gets up and walks away- Who is this person? Why would God crush Him?
- Apostles knew the importance of resurrection. It was their primary message in the book of Acts.
1) Declaration of who Christ was/ He was vindicated: Rom. 1:4 - Through the resurrection, God declared Christ publicly as the Son of God, the Messiah.
- Throughout the course of His ministry He declared Himself the Son of God- miracles attested to these truths: God publicly and undeniably declared in res.
- He was uniquely declared- separated from all other humanity- He was not raised to die again- but He will never to die again.
- John 2:18: When the Jews asked for sign to prove His authority after he cleansed the Temple, what does He point to? His resurrection- three days, He will raise it up.
- This was the sign that would blast out across this earth.
- All of the thoughts of the Romans, Jews, Pharisees, of who Christ is and the mockings/ was silenced. He no longer became an irrelevant leader/ a man who died on a cross.
- There have been many self-proclaimed teachers- but only One who was raised.
2) It confirms the Christian faith:
- It declared that His Son’s work was accepted by God. The Sacrifice made was received. The death/ payment/ propitiation/ Enemy defeated/ ransom paid- Thus you can truly have forgiveness of sin. He truly paid for them, and they are taken away/ truly you have received the righteousness of Christ.
- Rom. 4:25: Delivered over for our transgressions (died because of our sin)/ Raised because of OUR justification (Raised to confirm our justification). His resurrection confirms our justification.
- Important to understand: He was not raised to justify us- but to declare that justification was made. The redemptive work for man was finished on the cross. This verse is stating that the resurrection confirms payment accepted.
- 1 Cor. 15:17-19: If Christ is not raised, we are to be pitied. We are still in our sins. There is no hope. Why? Because that means that His sacrifice was not accepted.
- But He has been raised/ which confirms that our sins have been forgiven.
- He ascended to the throne of Heaven in His glorified body. Ps. 24- “lift up your head o gates” – A man, our elder brother now sits at His right Hand.
- His is Lord over all, the Judge of the Living and Dead- King of Creation. Sovereign Lord that every knee will one day bow before. He will return again.
- This is a very brief look at the gospel. This is the message and hope we hold, stand on, and proclaim as a church.
- If you do not have a healthy gospel- then the local church is worthless.
- It is the only solution for all the world. A new leader, government, or whatever will not due. Only the gospel can turn a nation around. It is the power of God.
- We need churches in India/ that know the Lord, and the power of His resurrection. Men and women who search hard after Him, who love Him, who treasure His Word, and who cherish the Gospel of Christ. Men and women who love Christ, serve Christ, and whose entire lives are to please Him.
- We need congregations that put Him at the center of all things- the church service, the prayer meeting, the preaching and teaching, the fellowship.
- This is the message we carry. We don’t use clever speech- or tactics.
- We don’t take the offence out of it. It is offensive. We tell me of their sin- the judgment to come- we tell them of the life of Christ/ His death/ and His resurrection in power.
- I love my children- I want to see them saved. I want to see them serve the Lord- But I cannot persuade them with other things. If I want to persuade them to go with me to the store, I might say I will get you a piece of candy if you come with me.
- I cannot do that with the gospel. “If you accept Jesus you will go to heaven- you will have a great life- you will be satisfied”- I preach the gospel to them. I show the person of Christ- His life/ death/ and resurrection. I want them to see Him and not the benefits.
- We are called to carry one message to the Lord- The Greatest, and most powerful message ever proclaimed- It awakes the DEAD!
- We need congregations who are about ONE thing.
- Psalm 27:4
1) One thing David (A man of God’s own heart) sought. ONE thing.
- One thing he asked of the Lord (if u could have one thing to ask, what would it be?)
- David not only asked, but the thing he sought, which refers to a continual action.
2) The he may dwell in the House of the Lord all His life: to never leave the presence of God. To live in the awareness of His presence. To draw close to the Lord.
- This was the greatest of all things. His joy-
3) He desired to see the beauty of the Lord. The Lord is beautiful, more beautiful than anything in this world.
- Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesians 1- prays that they would come to know more revelation of Him. That the eyes of the heart would be opened to see the riches they have in Christ.
- One thing David desired, the presence of the Lord. To draw close.
- Luke 10:38-42:
- Story of Mary and Martha. Jesus visiting with these two sisters. Martha distracted with business- making preparations for meal/ cleaning up.
- Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His Word. Martha gets upset, “tell her to help me”
- Verse 41- “But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
- Martha was about many things- but Mary was about ONE THING. She was about sitting in the presence of Christ.
- Many distractions were going on- there was much to do- it would have been easy to be busy- BUT Mary chose the best thing. She knew what was the most important.
- She was about the one thing first and foremost- that was the presence of Christ, listening to His Word.
- Phil. 3:13:
- (verse 8)- He counts all thing as loss, in comparison to the surpassing value of knowing Christ. Willing to trade the world for Christ- That is an easy deal.
- (verse 10)- He desires to know HIM! Know him and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, conformed to his death (dying to self).
- (verse 12)- He does not regard himself as perfect, but presses forward to lay hold of Christ.
- (verse 13)- He has not laid hold of Him yet, but ONE THING he does, is press forward to what lies ahead.
- Paul was about ONE THING- To press forward and lay hold of Christ. He desired His presence.
- We need congregations of ONE Thing. To dwell in His presence, to draw close to God in Christ. To not be distracted by business, press forward to know Him.
- To get along with Him. To go on that mountain with Him. Moses face shined- we need hearts that shine forth. Men who know Him, who hold Him high/ who follow His Word/ who are about ONE THING individually, corporately, and missionally.