Yesterday, we took some time to understand what gospel-centered ministry looks like from the perspective of the pastor. The reason for this is that I want to be explicit about what I (and our pastoral and staff team as a whole) am seeking to do in regard to the ministry of our church. We want to proclaim Christ… and thus mature people in Him. This is what it looks like for us to be gospel-centered as we serve the local body.
But what about you (y’all)? Is there any great significance to our church’s purpose being “gospel-centered” for your life? My answer is YES. First, there is significance because of what the church is… by definition. The church is not first an organization or a leadership structure. It is not a building or bank account. The church is people. A people called to Christ and called together for the sake of His name among the nations. This is what a church is. So if we want to say that our church is living for God’s glory by being gospel-centered… then we are necessarily saying something about what individuals are aimed at with their lives. So, is there a calling on the people of God to be focused on the work of Christ in this way? Absolutely!
Just as we saw Paul describing his own ministry in , so he gives directive to the people of Colossae generally. In fact, some of the language of his exhortation will sound very familiar to you from yesterday…
Paul had said that his own ministry was one of proclaiming Christ. He preached Jesus and taught and admonished people. What does he call the community of faith to do? The same things. He asks that the word of Christ, (i.e. the preaching of Christ in the gospel) be at home in the church. Let that message be an ever-present aroma in the local body. And let it permeate our exhortation, teaching and singing. But mark this… those actions are pictured as common, mutual ministry. This is what “we” do. Not the pastors, elders and ministry people. All of us. We are to let the gospel saturate what we do in fostering maturity in people.
Earlier in the letter, Paul gave what many believe to be the centerpiece to this great Christ-exalting book of the Bible, saying:
This is what it means to walk as a mature believer. Oh sure, there will be new victories over sin, and godly disciplines developed. There will be service and prayer and signing in the life of a growing saint. But at the end of the day, if Christ and His work are absent… then all of these may be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. True maturity is found in a life that is rooted in the gospel of grace. Which is why a church… a gathering of saints and family of faith, simply must let that message take center stage. It is why even individual Christians like you and me, need to strive every day to be truly gospel-centered.
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (ESV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (ESV)
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (ESV)