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What is a Gospel-Centered Church?

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be gospel-centered, specifically in our context at Emmaus

Emmaus is a gospel-centered church. This means that everything we believe and do is calibrated by the gospel and its implications. We have a gospel-centered DNA.

What does this look like? We use three words that capture it: Christ, Gospel and Community.

Christ

Christ means anointed or king.

When Jesus came into the world, he announced that he was this promised king (Mk. 1:14). He was sent by God to rescue his people, defeat Satan, destroy death and bring in his perfect kingdom (Matt. 1:21; 1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 1:8, 12:28). Because of his perfect character (sinless and holy), and his successful work as the only Savior, Jesus is to be supremely treasured (Col. 3:1-4).

A gospel-centered church magnifies the worth and work of Christ.

Gospel

Gospel simply means “good news.”

The gospel is good news because it is the story of how God rescued his enemies by adopting them into his family (Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:3-5). This was accomplished through the self-sacrifice of Jesus in the place of rebels like us (Rom. 5:11). His perfect life of obedience and his death upon the cross satisfied the requirements of God’s Law for us while earning the basis for God accepting us (2 Cor. 5:21).

Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin, Satan and death while reconciling sinners to God (Col. 1:21). This gospel message is to be declared faithfully, believed and applied to every aspect of life (1 Cor. 9:16-27).

A gospel-centered church is a gospel-saturated church.

Community

God is building a new community through the gospel (Col. 1:6).

This community is a family consisting of former enemies who are now adopted sons and daughters (Gal. 4:4-7). This community is called the church, a people who are continually reformed and refreshed by the transforming power of the gospel (Rom. 12:1-2).

Members of this new community are people who are called to be on mission. Just as Jesus was sent as a missionary in his incarnation, so too he sends us, his followers, as missionaries into the world for the work of the gospel (John 20:21; Matt. 28:19-21). This mission consists of building the gospel community through loving service to one another, as well as proclaiming the gospel to those who have yet to believe.

A gospel-centered church is a training church because they understand their identity and mission.  

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erikraymond@churchleaders.com'
Erik is a pastor at Emmaus Bible Church (EmmausBibleChurch.org), a church plant south of Omaha. Converse with Erik on Twitter at @erikraymond.