The Christ Centered Gospel
Perhaps you are wondering why Community Bible Church would describe itself as “Christ-Centered?” After all, isn’t that implied in the term “Christian?” Is it even possible for a person or a church to believe in Christ, but not be “Christ Centered?”
Tragically, the answer is yes. It is possible to do church or be Christian with little or no thought to the person of Jesus Christ. Let me illustrate by asking the most foundational question of our faith. How does a person get to heaven?
By keeping God’s commandments? NO!
Romans 3:20 “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
By being a good and moral person? NO AGAIN!
Isaiah 64:6 “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
By Faith in Christ? YES!
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Faith in Christ is the only way for men and women to get to heaven but what does that mean? Have you ever known someone who believed that Christ died on the cross and rose again, but clearly did not obey the Scripture and live a Christlike life? If you answered yes, you are like most of us. Countless religions teach that doctrine, and profession are an end in themselves. Many men and women are putting their hope for eternity in what they believe with their mind and what they profess with their mouth. But outward mental assent does not and cannot change your heart. And a changed heart is the most desperate need of all men.
About the Pharisees, who were the doctrinal watchdogs of their day, Jesus said,
Mark 7:6″Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”
James asserts that even demons have correct doctrine about God and that is certainly not enough to be saved.
James 2:1“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” 9
It is commonly believed, that Christ’s main reason for coming into the world was for mankind. Many Christians embrace a Man-Centered view of the gospel and the church, that have the following in common:
God sees mankind as worthy of His love
God overlooks the sins of mankind and acts to make us happy and fulfilled.
God is offering salvation to mankind, hoping they will respond to it.
But the Gospel Good News is Christ Centered from beginning to end and reveals an entirely different purpose for His coming. It is absolutely true that men need to hear the gospel good news of Christ and believe it for salvation. But, the Bible reveals that Christ’s coming to earth was to reveal the Spectacle of who God truly is.
The Scripture calls that spectacle “The Glory of God.” It exposes “Who and What God is….in reality.” John Piper has aptly said that God’s Glory is seen when He goes public with Himself. The Scripture reveals God progressively to His people and Christ was the fullest revelation of God and therefore of God’s Glory to Creation.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:17-18 “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
Christ, who is the creator and light of the world, came into the world to reveal God in His glory. In the Law of Moses men saw only God’s righteousness and justice. This is not Good News for fallen and rebellious men. It is very bad news! The men of Moses’ day understood that perfectly when God revealed His Justice and Righteousness at Mount Sinai.
Exodus 20:18-19 “All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
At Mount Sinai, God revealed only part of who he was. Christ came to reveal God fully to men.
Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image [exact representation] of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
The Christ Centered Life
The Christ Centered Life and Church have had their hearts captured and captivated by the Glory that is Christ. This happened to Paul. Paul did not convert to Christianity, he beheld the Glory of Christ and loved Him with all he heart, with all his mind, with all his soul and with all his strength. Jesus Christ became Paul’s most cherished treasure. Not doctrine, not acclaim, not education, not success…..but Jesus Christ Himself.
Philippians 3:7-8 “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”
Paul did not give up his life for a cause. He gave it up for Jesus Christ who had loved him in his brokenness and hopelessness and saved him by grace alone. This is why Paul said repeatedly that he “Preached Christ.” Christ Centered preachers do not teach morality or legalism. They exalt and proclaim the person of Jesus Christ as the only hope of men. Christ Centered Believers are carrying around the priceless treasure of the universe in a clay pot. It is their purpose to call attention to the treasure and never the pot.
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”
The Christ Centered Local Church
The Church is Christ’s Bride, His Body, His Household, His Temple and His Flock. When speaking of its creation Jesus said,
Matthew 16:18 “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Paul prayed for Jesus to receive Glory in the church [Eph 3:21] and asserted to the Romans that everything was centered in Him.
Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
The existence of the church is because it is Christ’s will. It exists because He has built and continues to build it. It is a temple in which He dwells and it gathers, not primarily to meet the needs of men, but to exalt and proclaim her Lord and Savior.
Therefore, the Christ Centered Church sees her preaching, evangelism, discipleship and worship through this lens. We do these things for Christ. We call men and women together on Sunday that they might exalt their Lord and tell Him so in song and prayer and in obedience to His Words. We preach to make Christ Glorious and not just to address the “felt needs” of men. This does not mean that men and women do not have needs, but the Christ Centered Church sees Christ and not itself as the answer to those needs.
When we preach it is for Christ. When a soloist sings he or she does it in worship to Christ and to tell of His excellence to others. When we teach a class well or give money to a missionary, it is because Christ is worthy to be so honored. The Christ Centered Church does everything for the Glory and Exaltation of Christ.
Paul knew this was the prime directive of the church. He said so repeatedly.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 1:23 “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.”
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”
Ephesians 3:8 “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”
The Christ Centered Church is just that….centered on Christ with a growing confidence that He is the All Sufficient One. He can save His people and He can care for His sheep and that He is enough for us all.
Christ Centered Scripture
Through the Scripture God has chosen to reveal Christ and Himself to all generations of men. This means that men throughout history are able to know God through The Bible. Ultimately the Bible is about God and Christ His Son. It is not a book of morality. Morality only exists because God exists and is revealed to men in the Scripture.
By revealing Himself in Scripture, God has given the absolute standard of morality. Morality is what God is. Righteousness and goodness are what God is and does. Everything is therefore measured by who God is and God is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ.
It is not even a religious book although many diverse religions claim it. The Bible describes how God Created men, how they rebelled and the steps that God Himself took to reconcile men to Himself again. This is not a book about religious rituals or works in any sense.
Instead the Scripture is Christ Centered. In it His Church and His Children see Christ exaltation as the primary purpose for the New Testament. The Old Testament foretold and foreshadowed the full revelation of God in Christ. John begins to explain this very thing at the beginning of his gospel.
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being…….
John 1:14 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word of God is both living and written. The Bible is the written Word of the Living God. It is to be believed and obeyed, but never exalted and worshiped. The purpose of the Scripture is to reveal Christ that all creation might exalt and worship….. Him. Christ affirmed that both He and the Word of God were Truth.
John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
John 17:17 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
The Bible is to be studied for the purposes for which it was given. It was given to reveal God and He was most perfectly revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ. A knowledge of the Scripture for the sake of knowledge alone is a vain pursuit. Jesus encountered an entire clergy of men like that in His day. They, like many today, prove that you can know the Scripture without knowing God or His Son, whom He has sent.
John 5:39-40 39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
There is More Soon so check back
Christ Centered Evangelism
Christ Centered Missions
Christ Centered Transformation [Sanctification]
Christ Centered Preaching
Christ Centered End of all Things
The Universe and our world revolve around the person of Jesus Christ, who is God the Son. The purpose of God that is revealed in Scripture is not to save men, but to Glorify Christ through the saving of men…..and all other things which He does. The purpose of prophecy is to point and them move history toward the complete revelation of Christ as God the Son and Creator. The possessor of the world because He made it and everything it contains.
Revelation 19:9-11 “Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
Community Bible Church believes that all the promises of the prophets made to Israel, will in fact come to pass. We see in Scripture that the Prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming proved to be literal and were fulfilled in time and space. There is therefore no reason to believe that those Prophecies about Christ that are yet to be fulfilled should not also be taken in a literal and grammatical sense. These include:
Christ’s return for His Church [The Rapture]
Christ’s return to destroy the enemies of God [The Second Coming ] [Rev. 19]
Christ’s establishment of a literal 1000 year kingdom [Rev. 20]
The Final Judgment of all unbelievers [Rev. 20]
The Creation of a New Heaven and A New Earth [Rev.21]
The Eternal State [Rev. 20]
The Scripture reveals that prophecy predicts the end of all things with a Glorious pagent of God’s Sovereignty and Glory in Jesus Christ…King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Entire Scripture closes with these final words of Jesus to mankind.
Revelation 22:13-21 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
The Conclusion of the Matter
We at Community Bible Church, confidently affirm that the New Testament reveals a Christ Centered purpose for all that God does. Christ is therefore the reason for all that we do and say and believe and purpose. It is our constant prayer for ourselves and for all believers to whom we minister and with whom we fellowship……
……”that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19