Posted tagged ‘Gospel Centrality’

The Trellis and the Vine on Gospel Centrality

May 23, 2012

A couple of excerpts from the excellent book The Trellis and the Vine on the centrality of the gospel:

“Throughout the world, the gospel is spreading, propagating, budding, flowering, bearing fruit. People hear it and by God’s mercy respond and are saved. But it does not stop there. Once the gospel is planted in someone’s life and takes root, it keeps growing in them. Their lives bear fruit. They grow in love and godliness and knowledge and spiritual wisdom, so that they walk in a manner worthy of their calling, fully pleasing to the Father, bearing fruit in every good work (Col. 1:9-10; 2:6-7)” (36-37). [emphasis mine]

“The New Testament envisages that all Christian disciples will be prayerful speakers of God’s word, in a multitude of different ways and contexts. In each context, the message is essentially the same. It’s not as if we come to know Christ through the gospel word but then use a fundamentally different message to encourage each other as Christians. The ‘word of God’, the message that he has revealed in and through Christ by his Spirit–this is what converts us, and it is also what causes us to grow, bearing the fruit of godliness. The vine grows, both in number and in leaves and in their quality and maturity, through the word and Spirit–through God’s truth being heard, and the Spirit making it effective in people’s hearts” (53-54).


Annotations of Gospel Centrality: Colossians 2:6-7

April 28, 2012

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.
Colossians 2:6-7

Growing up, I was trained to think the way Christians grow is from experience to experience.  Church services were the weekly “experiences” intended to give you the fuel you need to “make it through the week.”  Youth camps where the “mountain top” experience where you “rededicated” your life to live more wholeheartedly for God.  In just about every aspect experience was presented as the next step for spiritual growth.

Another approach to Christian growth, opposite of experience (or mysticism), is the increase of knowledge.  The idea is that those who know the most are the most mature and most godly people around.  When someone displays their ability to answer deep questions, we assume they must know God.  They must really far in their walk with Christ.  The outcome of this approach is that advancement in the Christian life is measured by the amount that one knows intellectually.

These camps of rationalism and mysticism are both right and wrong at the same time.  They are right in that it is necessary that we know God, both intellectually and experientially.  They are wrong in that they equate spiritual growth by experience and knowledge.  The Bible critiques both views with the gospel. We grow in the Christian faith the same way we entered into the Christian faith–by repentance and faith.

How did you receive Christ Jesus the Lord? By turning from sin (repentance) and turning to Christ (faith). So then, how are we to live after we have received Christ? Answer: the same way–repentance and faith.  The outworking of the gospel in the Christian life is going to generate a repenting faith and a believing repentance, and when the gospel is central, repentance and faith will be ordinary, ongoing, and regular. Where there is no repentance and faith, there is no effect of the gospel and consequently no growth in the Christian life.

In God’s wisdom, the Christian life is called a walk.  It is not a leap from experience to experience (mysticism).  It is not acknowledgement of intellectual assent in greater degrees (rationalism). It is a walk–an ongoing, dependent effort to live in light of the gospel–the same gospel you were taught–so that each step in the journey of knowing God can traced by greater repentance of sin and renewed faith in Jesus. Only then, do we really experience God and can say that we truly know God. Only then can your life abound in thanksgiving, because you never cease to remember the great work of rescue and redemption God accomplished on your behalf that you might know and enjoy Him in the journey.

POTW :: Tim Keller Reader

December 19, 2010

Last week, we had around 55 folks sign up for the Tim Keller Reading Group.  This is a picture of my reader (roughly 250 pages) that I had bound at the local OfficeMax.  Not bad for $5. I’ll be wearing this out over the next four months. If you’re interested and haven’t joined, go here for more information.

Jeff Vanderstelt on Gospel Centrality

December 18, 2010

Few evangelical leaders have done more to promote gospel centrality than Soma Communities, and in particular Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski. If you are new to Soma, here’s a good place to start.  You can also access a wealth of gospelicious audio (to borrow Scotty Smith’s term) from their archives (especially check out their stuff from Soma School).

Below is a brief interview where Justin Anderson asks Jeff Vanderstelt about what does it mean to be gospel-centered and how it affects us having an outward focus.  Check it out.

You Need the Gospel Every Day

November 6, 2010

John Piper on the centrality (and necessity) of the gospel. This is SO good.

The Transfer of the Gospel

October 25, 2010

On October 3, our church launched our first daughter church. It was a great moment as we have worked over the past two years to transition into being a church planting church. I had the privilege of preaching at Grace that morning, and in light of the launch of our first daughter church, I decided to preach on “The Transfer of the Gospel” based on 2 Timothy 2:1-2.

My basic point is that church planting churches are made up of disciple-making disciples who are made by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Putting it another way, if you are not being strengthened by the gospel, disciples will not be made and churches will not be planted. Therefore, to be a church planting church, we need a community of disciple-making disciples. To have a community like that, we need to experience and be empowered by the gospel on a continual basis.

I made my manuscript available on PLNTD’s relational communities and thought I’d post it here as well for anyone interested.  As many of you know, my goal is to provide as much resources and information that will help individuals and churches in treasuring the gospel, making disciples, and planting churches.  To download the PDF of my sermon manuscript, click here.

SBC Resolution on the Centrality of the Gospel

June 19, 2010

Readers of this blog will know that I have written a great deal about the centrality of the gospel.  Three years ago I stated that the greatest need in the SBC is the recovery of the gospel (see also Nathan Finn’s comments).  So needless to say, I was really encouraged to see a resolution passed this year on the centrality of the gospel.  My fellow pastor, Tom Ascol, was very instrumental in drafting this resolution.  Check it out:


Jared Wilson on the Gospel

May 10, 2010

Last Saturday, my friend Jared Wilson spoke at The Calling, a youth conference sponsored by Atmosphere Church. Below are the MP3’s to his four talks, one of them being a Q&A on gospel centrality.  Check them out.

» The Resilient Gospel
» The Empowering Gospel
» Crucifying the American Dream
» Q&A on Gospel Centrality

Darrin Patrick at Southeastern Seminary

April 13, 2010

Last week, Darrin Patrick spoke three times at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and they have no posted the videos of his messages and Q&A.  Darrin is a brother whom I have had the privilege of getting to know over the past couple of years, and I encourage those of you who are seeking to cultivate gospel centrality in your life and church should lay hold of his messages from The Journey (and elsewhere).

Here are the videos from SEBTS this past week:

Gospel-Centered Preaching

[Download MP3]

Mining for Idols

[Download MP3]

Open Forum

[Download MP3]

The Gospel is the fuel for the Christian life.

February 19, 2010

The centrality of the gospel has been and continues to be a driving theme in my life.  I’m grateful for how this crucial reality is articulated from so many brothers in my generation, not the least of which is Tullian Tchividjian.  Listen how he describes how the gospel is not just what ignites us as believers but fuels everything we do in the Christian life.