Sunday morning Pat continued with our refresher series on the top ten priorities for the church. This is a really great series and it reminds us of those simple priorities given by Christ to His church. Christ is the head of the church. He owns it. He purchased the church with His precious blood, and He cares about what goes on in His church. This relational fact can be found by reading Revelation 1 & 2. Jesus Christ gives blessing and condemnation to the local churches mentioned in those two chapters. So, as a local church we have been given priorities as a body of believers to adhere to. I presented the the first three provided in Pat’s sermon last week. They can be seen at this posting. Today we continue with priorities number 4 and 5. The priority of:
4. A pure gospel – Romans 1:16 – 3:31.
Have you ever considered that there are in fact two gospels; The true and pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and then everything else is “another gospel”. The priority of the local church is to present a Christ-centered gospel. Here is a challenge for you: Can you articulate the gospel message in 90 seconds or less. I understand that this is a requirement for membership at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, where Mark Dever is senior pastor. I am challenged by this. As believers we should all be able to present the gospel in a clear and concise way. The biggest hurdle the unbeliever needs to understand is that no one is righteous. Romans 3:10. As unbelievers we were helpless enemies of God. Does this not enhance the beauty of the cross, and what Christ accomplished there? He paid the debt we owed to God. Our debt due for our sins against a righteous God was His own wrath which He poured out on His son on the cross. When Christ said “it is finished” the debt was paid. The local church should be teaching the lost about their sin. We should not be candy coating it because God takes it very seriously. If we aren’t taking it seriously then we are in fact presenting another gospel. Galatians 1:8, 9 tells us that preaching another gospel is condemned by God. I urge you to know the pure and true gospel and know how to communicate it to others.
5. The great commission – Matthew 28:16-20.
We are commanded to tell others about Christ and His gospel. This same gospel given to the disciples and passed along to us in the 21st century should be passed like a baton to others, and to future generations. Our priority as we are going is to make disciples of Christ. This commission from Christ is not just a commission to church staff and pastors, but to all believers. The gospel is an all inclusive message, not exclusive as some might believe. We are to make disciples of all the nations, all the peoples. But we do need to tell them of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ for salvation. The word of God tells us in Acts 4:11, 12:
11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
We also find Jesus telling Thomas in John 14:6:
Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the only savior for the lost.
The audio for this sermon can be heard online here.