A Christ-Centered and Gospel-Saturated People

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In a nutshell, at CCC we are aiming to be a Christ-centered and gospel-saturated people.

What does that mean?

THE GOSPEL

In the simplest of terms, the gospel is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that accomplishes redemption and restoration for all who believe and all of creation. In His life, Jesus fulfilled the law and accomplished all righteousness on behalf of sinners who have broken God’s law at every point. In His death Jesus atones for our sins, satisfying the wrath of God and obtaining forgiveness for all who believe. In His resurrection, Jesus’ victory over sin and death is the guarantee of our victory over sin and death. Jesus’ saving work not only redeems sinners, uniting us to God but also assures the future restoration of all creation. This is the gospel, the “good news,” that God redeems a fallen world by His grace.

GOSPEL-CENTERED: THE BIG PICTURE

Therefore, to be gospel-centered means that that the gospel – and Jesus himself – is our greatest hope and boast, our deepest longing and delight, and our most passionate song and message. It means that the gospel is what defines us as Christians, unites us as brothers and sisters, changes us as both sinners and saints and sends us as God’s people on mission. When we are gospel-centered the gospel is exalted above every other good thing in our lives and triumphs over every bad thing set against it.

THE GOSPEL-CENTERED LIFE
More specifically, the gospel-centered life is a life where a Christian experiences a growing personal reliance on the gospel that protects us from depending on our own religious performance and being seduced and overwhelmed by idolatry. The gospel-centered life produces:
  • Confidence In What Christ Has Accomplished (Heb. 3:14; 4:16)
When the gospel is central in our lives we have confidence before God – not because of our achievements, but because of Christ’s atonement. We can approach God knowing that He receives us as His children. Our sins no longer anchor us to guilt, shame, and despair, but the very presence of sin in our lives compels us to run toward Christ’s loving arms, seeking the grace that restores our spirits and gives us strength.
  • Access To Intimacy (Heb. 7:25; 10:22; James 4:8)
When the gospel is central in our lives we have access to a growing intimacy with God, not because of our religious performance, but because of Jesus’ priestly ministry. We know that Jesus is our Mediator with God the Father and that He has made perfect peace for us through His sacrifice allowing us to draw near to God with the eager expectation of receiving grace, not judgment.
  • Transforming Power (2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13)
When the gospel is central in our lives we experience spiritual transformation, not just moral improvement, and this change does not come about by our willpower, but by the power of the resurrection. Our hope for becoming what God designed and desires for us is not trying harder, but trusting more – relying on His truth and the Holy Spirit to sanctify (change) us.
  • Authentic Community (Heb. 3:12, 13; 10:25; 2 Tim 3:16, 17)
When the gospel is central in our lives we long for and discover unity with other believers in the local church, not because of any cultural commonality, but because of our common faith and Savior. It is within this gospel-centered covenant community that we experience the kind of fellowship that comforts the afflicted, corrects the wayward, strengthens the weak, and encourages the disheartened.
  • Joining Jesus on Mission (Mat. 28:19-20)

We serve a missionary God. The Father sent Jesus, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is sending us to live “on mission” to make God known and enjoyed above all things. Those who have been redeemed by God through the gospel are sent as missionaries into their own social, work, and family relationships to live and love as active and intentional followers of Christ in a love-starved world.

THE GOSPEL-CENTERED CHURCH
A gospel-centered church is a church that is about Jesus above everything else. That sounds a little obvious, but when we talk about seeking wholeheartedly to maintain gospel-centrality as a church we are recognizing our tendency to focus on many other things (even “good” and “important” things) instead of Jesus. There are really only two options for local churches: 1) to be gospel-centered, or 2) issue-driven.
Issue-driven churches can be conservative or liberal, and come from any denominational tribe. Sadly, a church can get the gospel “right” on paper and still not be gospel-centered in practice.
  • Some churches are driven by doctrinal purity.
  • Some churches are driven by maintaining the status quo.
  • Some churches are driven by numbers.
  • Some churches are driven by a desire to be culturally relevant.
  • Some churches are driven by how culturally distinct they can remain.
  • Some churches are driven by social justice.

Gospel-centered churches do not forsake any of these things, but they are not driven by them. They are driven by a love for Jesus and His work on our behalf. Therefore gospel-centered churches are so focused on Jesus and the hope of redemption that they are passionate and articulate about their theology. Their desire to know and make known Jesus requires doctrinal thoughtfulness and leads them to seek as many people as possible to repent of their sin and trust in Christ. When the gospel is central in a church it leads them out into the world on mission, while preserving their counter-cultural character as the people of God. The gospel-centered church is driven by love (for God and others) and this leads to joyful, responsive obedience that points back to God.

In saying this we don’t want to suggest that at CCC we do not struggle with being issue-driven. That temptation is always present, that is why we are earnestly seeking to “reboot” a gospel-centrality by keeping the gospel always before us in our worship – and our work.
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