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We Prioritize the Gospel Above All

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2021 9:00 am

We Prioritize the Gospel Above All

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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November 17, 2021 9:00 am

The gospel alone transforms us, empowers us, unites us, propels us. This is why the Apostle Paul puts the gospel in a special class all by itself—because a church without the gospel at the center is a church without power.

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Today on Summit life with Jeannie Greers.

Lots of organizations for good business of poverty relief can help marriages morality and social change with the gospel because we see the church.

The gospel is the most important message God gave it to us the church to preach the local church. Anything and everything else that we could do has to take a distant backseat to the gospel proclamation.

I'm your host Molly bit of edge. Today is a special day here on the program as we begin a new teaching series that very heart of everything we do here at Summit life you've heard us say it before, but it is essential that we say it again and again the gospel alone transforms us, empowers us, unites us and propels us. That's why the apostle Paul puts the gospel message in a special class all by itself, because the church without the gospel at the center is a church without God's power. I know that's a strong statement, but it is so important in today's climate of man-made religious experiences and subjective truth. God's church is his plan so it's critical that we get this understanding settled in our hearts today.

Pastor JD begins a deep dive into the mission and values of the local church value number one reprioritize the gospel above to grab your Bible and a pen and let's get started. The mission is shaped by four values that I want to preach the each one of those values is deeply anchored in the teachings of Jesus, here, here, the four values of the Summit church. We say that everyone reprioritize the gospel above all, reprioritize the gospel of all. Number two that we do whatever it takes to reach all people number three we say that we aim to make disciples not converts number four.

We believe every member is to be set we say send every member this week I want to discuss gospel above all first reviews 15 to get your Bible that you brought your Bible today I want to show you how. In his letter to the Corinthians as in all his letters, Paul prioritizes the gospel above everything. For Paul, the gospel is going to be in a special class all by itself right superscript is 15 three is where I want you to look first.

Paul says, for I delivered unto you. As of first importance what I also received Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures that is buried that is raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures first importance. By the way, that's the key word there implies that other things were important.

Paul also but these other things were not of first importance first importance means it's in a class all by itself.

In fact, earlier in Paul's letter here.

The Corinthians he had made a statement that many scholars make had to be an exaggeration for scrimmage to do.

Paul says I decided to know nothing among you except for Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ and him crucified. Here's why they think that that has to be an exaggeration) you read the letter first Corinthians. It's about a lot of other things besides just you know Jesus dead and buried.

So why would Paul say like I only wanted to know and teach one thing among you, and that was Jesus Christ and him crucified. Here's why. Because everything else. Paul is going to deal with the Corinthians.

Whether were talking about relationship problems or doctrinal problems. Are you when I get along on ultimately's essay connects back to how you understand and live out of what you know about Jesus and him crucified the gospel. Paul says is really my only agenda is my priority is my authority. It's my blueprint for action to the church at Corinth was an absolute mess. There was this tense situations doctrinal confusion ethnic strife political tensions there were really suckers for Caracol personality and just all kinds of problems. Lots of lots of immaturity. Paul said I answered all that all that is simply Jesus Christ and him crucified solution for all those things he says is really grasping Christ. Understanding what it meant for him to die for you. What that gives to you and then putting that is the center of everything that you do and all that you think about right. So later that chapter later chapter 3 verse 10.

My peers will Paul says he says according to the grace listen to this, given to me like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation in somebody else's building on each let each one take care how he builds on that foundation. I will get something. This foundation is really important what foundation you talk about Paul. Nobody can leave the other foundation, he says. Other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. There can be no foundation for anything in the church other than the message of Christ and him crucified. Everything else he says is built on that and anybody who builds on that, whether that's a teacher like me or whether that is a disciple maker or parent with a child or anybody you can't build on that foundation. You gotta take care that what your building is consistent with that message and is really an outgrowth of it in first Corinthians 9. Paul goes on. He explained that he is personally willing to change anything about his life if he gets him a better hearing for the gospel. You will set aside his preferences, it will set aside get this even his ethnicity he will put aside his culture. He will put aside his politics.

Put aside anything if it means being able to reach more people with the gospel.

Verse 22.

He says I become all things to all people that, by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel for necessity is laid on me. He says woe to me. If I don't preach the gospel. Those I can't let anything get in the way of me doing this one thing that is of first importance to the point that I'm trying to show you is all throughout this letter from the very beginning of the letter right to the very end of the letter Paul shows you that the gospel is prioritized above all for him. So it begs the question right. Why, why does the gospel play such an important role for Paul and why is the gospel of first importance in our mission as a church not required before you answer that which is make sure we all understand what we mean when we say gospel, the gospel. The gospel is the message as you and I are condemned are sent Christ came to earth to do for us. We could not do for ourselves and live the perfect life and died in our place of the we could be forgiven. We always say that you live the life that we could not live the perfect life and then die the death we were condemned to die in our place.

The keyword in the gospel hope you you know this. The keyword is substitution substitution. We say we always hear the Senators that you can summarize the gospel in four words right. You know they are there, Jesus and my place for nice is like this. He says the gospel is the good news telling us that the determining factor in our relationship with God is Jesus work for us not work for him.

His commitment to us, not our commitment to him is obedience for us, not our obedience to him is what determines where we stand with God. This substitutionary work is given birth to a new creation and a new radical way of living a life committed to kindness and to justice.

A new unity as brothers and sisters in Christ to the family this gospel message. This gospel message you said is the only message by which we can be safe to be saved, means a somebody has to hear that message they have to believe it. They have to repent of their sins and accept Jesus offer to save them, which leads us to the first.

The first reason why the gospel is a first importance of our mission is right is that is number 11 without the gospel well the gospel people are lost. The gospel people are lossless and it doesn't matter what good we do in the world. If we don't preach the gospel apart from the gospel. Apart from believing the gospel people are lost for eternity apart from Christ. Whatever earthly things we engage in. No matter how good they are right. They simply will not last, poverty relief, social activism, good business kindness toward our neighbors or the immigrant of the oppressed, standing for marriage and morality, raising healthy families.

Every single one of those things are good right I the show love for our neighbor and they glorify God.

We should be engaged in all of them but see, apart from the gospel message. Ultimately, people are lost and that's most important right, we say that we care about alleviating suffering here and we do the worst kind of suffering would have to be eternal suffering right I have heard it said that Jesus spoke about hell more often and more vividly than he did just about anything else that you, Jesus, the author of love describe hell in the most bloodcurdling of terms. Jesus giving me again, the author of love, the one that was known for his compassion and his kindness that was so tender that children like to be around him and and and felt safe around right he spoke, and in such terms about hell that it would just it would curdle your blood. And if that's true, it it's gotta be a crucial truth, we gotta pay attention to the preaching of the gospel is the one thing given C exclusively to the church. Lots of organizations lots of organizations can can work for good business in poverty relief and can help marriages and morality and social change with the gospel.

The gospel you see is given to the church. The gospel is the most important message God gave it to us the church to preach the local church and that means that anything and everything else that we can do has to take a distant backseat that gospel proclamation that me to say to you, apart from Christ apart from you believing and receiving the gospel you are lost. Even if you get everything else you've ever wanted in life right a great marriage great job great family right in the year he retire wealthy, you will lose it all without Jesus.

What does it profit a man Jesus that he would gain the whole world and lose his own so the question is, have you received Christ I set the first reason that it's above all, is the only message by which people can be saved and is given exclusively to us the church to proclaim here is the second reason that it's above all, here number two without the gospel there is no power in Christianity, I can good goodbye to first commit 15 of yourself you still there knows what Paul says in the opening verses of that chapter. He says now I would remind you, brothers and sisters of the gospel I preached to you, which you received in which you stand out sortie stand right in.

In the gospel and by which watch this.

You are being saved, if you will pass the word I preached to you, are being that is what we call progressive language.

Ongoing salvation is not just that you were saved once by believing the gospel. You were also being saved by believing the gospel that's active present this not only confuse Serge there are two dimensions of salvation by their is what we call positional salvation where you accept Christ, and in that instant, your sins are forgiven all of them right. You are given in that instant the righteousness of Christ. You are in that instant made complete in him, you are permanently adopted into God's family once and for all, like when you adopt the child legally. There's not a gradual process in one instant right legally.

The child goes for me and one family to being in and out of that's what happens when you accept Christ is what we call positional salvation, and that is not what Paul is referring to here what Paul is talking about here what he says you are being saved is what we call progressive salvation is referring to what happens after your positionally say that he says you grow progressively in Christ likeness for the rest of your life you mature and how does that happen. But where is the power for that ongoing growth was a Paul says is in the same place that your initial salvation came from believing the gospel. You see Bert Sue chapter 15 verse two holding fast the word of the gospel. We always say you grow in Christ the same way you began in Christ. How did you beginning Christ you began Christ by believing the gospel how you grow in Christ by holding fast to the gospel by re-believing it. If you will, by meditating on holding fast to easy. I grew up thinking that the gospel was only the entry right into Christianity like the ABCs of Christianity that the door through which you entered the diving board off of what you jump into the pool of Christianity, and thus right.

I just assume that the gospel was primarily a message for unbelievers and then once you have received it will then you gotta move on from that into into the deep stuff into maturity, but that is not all. The gospel is football the gospel for Paul.

You see, verse 1015 verse to the gospel is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool with the place we stand towards the gospel is the pool itself by not just the ABCs of Christianity the A-Z we grow in Christ, not by going beyond the gospel, but by pressing deeper into it. That's why Paul says that's why Paul says he is determined to know nothing except for Jesus Christ and him crucified right because that's what it means to grow is to go deeper into that message.

So from whatever Paul is talking about is going to come back to Jesus Christ and him crucified for clarity and what he should do and in the power to do that right is that right is that the fire to do in the Christian life comes only from being soaked in the fuel of what has been done the fire to do in the Christian life comes only come only from being soaked in the fuel.

What has been done only when we realize that we can do nothing to impress God. Are we motivated from the heart to do everything the police.

I guess the second reason why our gospel has to be above all but as a church without the gospel the center is a church without power. I initially regret 1 More Pl. in Corinthians were Paul teaches that second Corinthians chapter 3 also watches beholding the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ. We are being transformed into the same image from 1 of glory to another. How are we transformed into glory by beholding the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ. How do we grow.

In other words, in our love for God. We see more Jesus we learn more about his love for us how we grow in obedience out of a growing self-control. I would run the fruit of the spirit right, we are transformed in all these things by seeing Jesus more clearly.

So what should I be doing every time I stand up here and open the Bible for you why I should be helping you see Jesus say many contemporary teachers of God's work approach the Bible primarily like it's a book of practical advice. Now look at what it says about leadership what it says about parenting and happiness, money and relationships in the center of it on the Bible has a lot of that.

Okay the Bible is not primarily any others thinks the Bible is about Jesus is not a collection of heroes for you to emulate. It is the story of a Savior right that you're supposed hope in and adore the hero with the Bible is not me or you were dating or David or Ruth or Barnabas, the hero of the Bible is Jesus. See if we want to be a church that fulfills our mission. The gospel has to be the center. If we want to be a church with any kind of power any kind of spiritual power. The gospel has to be the center for Martin Luther, the 16th century reform's white why he always said the gospel is the doctrine on which the church rises or falls okay so so so so let's ask right. What could go wrong at the summit church with this talk about things that could compete with the gospel. Above all, hear the summit church to give you just a quick handful of number one you have to go wrong by putting a greater emphasis on due rather than done in many churches.

The emphasis starts to get put on what Christians should do instead of what what Jesus has done many churches in the old South where I grew up were focused on what Christian should wear. I how we should talk of the movies we should go to a not good to the music which you listen to and I was in the dress standards by many churches today the focus is all on on what social activism is appropriate for Christians what that looks like the politics of use of that right here.

These are all that I just mentioned are all good things but they're not the message of the gospel.

The gospel is not the message about anything that you should do the gospel is the message about what Christ is done. Paul says in holding fast to that message. That's where the power is holding fast submit to the message is what enables you to do the good works of mercy and justice and compassion, not because you have to, but because you you desire to the emphasis of our message here should never be on on what Christians do. It should be primarily what Jesus is done.

I set the first one that's that's one way we could get away from gospel bubble number two we get away from it by just taking conversion for granted.

Churches can lose their gospel focus by taking the conversion of its members for granted people who grew up in the church right they usually adopt their communities morals right they believe in God.

They participate in church activities. They obey the laws, you know, there are generally good people, but Jesus said that is not enough. If you were going to enter the kingdom of God. He said John 33 right you must be born again right. Jesus said that the born-again heart starts to to love different things and desire different things and starts to want to seek God, it starts to find sin repulsive. It's not that you become perfect, but you develop a distaste, a disdain for sin friendly.

Just ask is that change happened to you. You had that moment where you humbled yourself and receive Christ and gave yourself fully to him. Have you been born again. Have you asked the second thing is we could just supper the emphasis on on that morning morning and the third thing that competes at our church with the gospel. Above all, is it prioritizing preference or permission converting enzyme.

Paul said that he would put aside all of his preferences for the sake of the gospel to reach more people for Jesus right you become.

He sent a Jew to the Jew and Gentile. The Gentile right into whatever Tookie said to make the gospel accessible to people. It lay aside any preference he be more muted about certain political opinions and cultural perspectives and preferences of admit, yet in the grid getting a greater hearing for the gospel. We've often said here. The summit church that the way that you could know you're in a really gospel centered church is that at some point you feel culturally uncomfortable because because we might be doing something in that moment to read somebody else is not really designed for you my people, like wow I like that like it's normally for you I were doing this because were trying to reach people in our community.

If you want to be in a place in a church where everybody around you shares your preferences and mirrors your politics identically what you want is a Christian country club, not a church I can point you to several all over the South where you can you can find that here, here were going to put the gospel above all for the sake of reaching people, even when at times it makes us uncomfortable is okay last thing that threatens gospel bubble here. The summit church. Number four prioritizing uniformity in secondary thinks again for Paul say that the gospel was a first importance means that there were other important things began, but the gospel alone was of first importance. Paul wouldn't let any others secondarily important things get in the way of the of the first important thing right that included not only is his preferences, but also his perspective.

His opinion his agenda on any secondary matter that he thought got in the way of preaching the gospel. We see this by the way, not just in Paul in his letters that we see pretty clearly the life of Jesus on several tops on one of the clearest to me is Acord Luke chapter 12 about halfway to the chapter there is a younger of two brothers come to Jesus and he accuses his older brother of leveraging the older brother privilege for the old brother position to cheat the younger brother out of his inheritance map you read the Old Testament at all you know immediately that justice is close to God's heart. Answer Jesus cares deeply about issues of injustice yet instead of giving this brother a specific, you might even say political answer to this dispute. We see Jesus pull back from adjudicating it. In fact what he says is man who may be a judge over you so that instead of doing that he could warn both of them younger and older brother about the idolatry of money and preach the gospel to them both because in light of eternity. That's ultimately the much more pressing question again is not the Jesus didn't care about speaking to to justice issues or to care about his issues. He did just that to get involved in that one specifically would hinder him from his one first importance mission, which is preaching the gospel to all people, not to be clear, this is not to say that Christians don't don't speak to justice or political issues. Individual Christians must individual Christians should get involved at all levels seeking justice in shalom is a Hebrew word meaning piece for the societies just for us, the church as an institution we focus our platform.

On the one thing the first importance that is the preaching of the gospel and that means that we as a church right away as we preach the gospel and as we proclaim God's standards of justice. If we pull back from offering political solutions or individual applications or interpreting situations and circumstances.

That's all we had to do and I've often heard it said their seat is helpful to think of the churches organization and organism is an organizational local church like us as an organization we have a pretty narrow focus when it comes to proclaiming the gospel just what the Bible says right but as an organism individual members. You guys are out in the community you're taking the message that you learn things in your applying them in the community and means of business and politics of education right that's not all the churches organization that's not our responsibility. Our responsibility to teach and inspire you. So we limit our platform to what the Bible directly says I am the gospel and in you is the organism out in society. You're the ones that are in politics and things like that. Taking the way you understand it you just helpful to keep the distinction organization organism is an organization were very limited in what we we we we we define ourselves by as organism, we can't involved in everything gospel.

See above all, all the other values organelle off I go over the next few weeks are going to come of this. We have to get this right gospel. Above all, is what unites us and what defines her success in the season right, we say be the movement. We need to be a gospel movement, the gospel of the law mission in your life. The first message in our new teaching theory. The movement reach disciple examined.

This is what God called earliest disciples to do and it's what he's called us to do to do and that's what this new teaching series in our latest resource are all about God's business.

It's time for us to prioritize the gospel. Above all, in our individual lives that we do whatever it takes to reach people around us, our newest resource that even this meant study guide lays out a plan. It's bigger than anyone of us back each one of us has to do our part. Ask for your copy of the new study, when you get in touch today. It comes with our thanks when you donate to support this ministry your gifted $25 or more helps us stay on your station expand on some new stations reach more people join the team to make summit might only get today by calling six 335-5224. Give online sign up for our email sure to do that today is the best way to stay up to date with the ministry you get the latest blog post, make sure that never met sign up Thursday as Pastor Jane that comfortable uncomfortable tomorrow night clear ministry

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