Has Your Church Begun To Assume The Gospel?
…thanks to Justin Taylor here are some diagnostic questions J. Mack Stiles offers in his book Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel (p. 41):
- Was the gospel in the sermon Sunday morning?
- Could the uninitiated hear that sermon and come to real faith in Christ?
- Are gospel principles governing organizational decisions?
- Do you hear the gospel in people’s prayers?
- Does your fellowship encourage you to say the gospel? And then is it more than just a memorized sketch? Sure, it may follow the form of “God, Man, Christ, Response,” but is it in people’s own words?
- Furthermore, do you see it in their actions? Is the gospel lived out?
- Is membership based on a true commitment to the gospel or just because someone wants to join an organization—or maybe write an expose?
The healthy evangelist is asking these questions and looking for answers so as to guard the gospel. Here is the critical
- Could you have preached that sermon if Christ had not died on the cross?
- Could you have developed that leadership principle had Christ not been crucified?
I’m not saying be impractical—the Bible has much to say about being practical—but make sure that the practical is tied to the message of Jesus. Otherwise we are on the road to an assumption that will lose the gospel.
It grieves me that some today, in their zeal against the “cheap grace” gospel can preach a “gospel” without any good news at all, or preach a sermon that sounds more like Moses on Mt. Sinai.