This week, we finish up our series on Riverwood's definition of the Church, which is...
"The redeemed people of God living on mission together under the headship of Jesus to live out the implications of the Gospel."
So far in this series, we've looked at how the Church is people who have been spiritually saved by faith in the Gospel, and therefore are living with a shared purpose under the leadership of Jesus . Today, we look at the last phrase "to live out the implications of the Gospel."
Shortly before sitting down to write this weeks newsletter, I met with some other Converge North Central pastors from around Iowa. As I talked with one pastor with whom I have a good friendship, another pastor joined us. I knew the two of them did not know each other yet, but I knew both of them were from Nebraska and were big Cornhusker football fans. So to help connect them, I shifted the conversation to the Big Red. I smiled as a conversation begin to flow between the three of us about our excitement at the hiring of a new coach, and what the implications to his hiring might be.
The word "implication" is defined in the New Oxford Dictionary as "the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated." So when your company starts requiring a lot of paperwork on you as an employee as a way to track and measure your progress, the implication is that you and/or the other employees weren't getting the job done prior.
Likewise, I believe there are implications to the Gospel. They are not stated within the gospel itself, but they are their nonetheless.
Our definition at Riverwood of the Gospel is "the ongoing story of God redeeming broken and imperfect people and restoring them into the perfect and complete image of Jesus." If this definition is somewhat accurate, that God is restoring us into the image of Jesus through the Gospel, then there are implications to life as a result.
For instance, your marriage might not be in great shape, but the gospel shows husbands that they are to die to themselves for their wives (as I taught last Sunday ). Or, as another example, when you get fired from a job or rejected in a relationship, your worth and value are not diminished, because the gospel shows you are worth the blood of Jesus because of God's image within you.
This is why we can't just "believe" the Gospel. When you truly believe something, it affects how you live - within your marriage, at work, as a parent, in your neighborhood, on the ball field, at the store, basically everywhere you go. And I want to see you living out what you are learning about Jesus and His Gospel.
My dream when I started Riverwood wasn't simply to create a Sunday morning experience that left people feeling good, and then go live the rest of their life however they wanted. My dream is to see the gospel we talk about every week be on your heart every day, affecting how you talk, how you listen, how you relate, and how you love. There is a world of people who are spiritually disconnected from God, and if you have made Jesus the center of your life, you are invited to live out the natural implications of the Gospel in order to be a blessing to these people.
So keep your eyes on Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to live a gospel-centered life. And as you live life in Christ, you will naturally live out the implications of the Gospel.
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