Monday, July 09, 2012

A Gospel-Driven Church

You ever wonder why you're still here?  I mean, if salvation is all about your forgiveness of sin and keeping you from hell so that you spend an eternity in heaven, why are you still breathing?  Wouldn't it have been much better for God to save us and then take us immediately to heaven?

These are questions that I wonder about sometimes.  I know the theological and biblical response to these questions.  But, sometimes it just doesn't make sense to me.  I guess it's a good thing I'm not God.  You see, God, for some reason I can only guess, seated Christ at His right hand and left the mission of spreading the message of His death, resurrection, and reign to people who often don't seem to care.  Obviously, God know what will best bring Him glory, and God chose to display that glory here and now through the Church.

This is why we need to ask ourselves some tough questions.  Like what motivates our church ministry.  In other words, why do we do what we do?  Our church has developed a mission statement that is, under Scripture and our doctrinal statement, supposed to govern everything we do.  It goes like this:  Grace Baptist Church exists to glorify God by bringing people into God's family through the gospel, helping them grow into mature followers of Christ, and equipping them for ministry in the church and to the world.  We have boiled it down into four easy-to-remember words - Evangelism, Exaltation, Edification, Equipping.

The first phrase of the mission statement gives the why of our existence.  We are here to bring God glory.  Everything we do revolves around this.  Everything we do is motivated by this.  This is our central focus and should be at the forefront of our minds at all times.  We do not bring attention to ourselves or our organization.  We are not about having huge buildings or making people feel comfortable.  We don't stroke egos or try to make people rich.  We are about the glory of God now and for all eternity.

And God has told us how He expects us to glorify Him.  In Jesus' final instructions to His disciples before He ascended into heaven, He said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

This was His Great Commission to His followers - take my message to others.  That is why we are still here.  We are like waiters.  The Chef has cooked up the meal and we are to bring it to the table.  We exist to proclaim the good news (the Gospel) that God in Christ was reconciling men to Himself.  And what greater privilege could we have?  We are heralds of the Sovereign King of the universe and we bring a message of peace with Him!

And the Gospel message isn't just for unbelievers.  It's for believers as well.  We need to hear constantly that our God chose us, love us, sacrificed His Son for us, clothed us with Christ's righteousness, forgives us when we sin, restores us, and will sustain our faith until we reach glory.  This is the Gospel!

This is what should motivate or drive our church.  This is what we should be our focus.