4. We Are Gospel-Centered

The core to all Christian beliefs is God's powerful message of the gospel -- good news promised from the Bible's Old Testament to be fulfilled and proclaimed in the Bible's New Testament until Christ Jesus returns on the world's final day for all to meet him face-to-face.

The gospel replaces anything else that may seem important and primary to the core of life -- including our very own lives. And naturally, what we consider important to life becomes central to our lives such as greed driving work life or doing good drives self-righteousness and pride. Therefore, what centers our heart also aims our life. God then declares himself to be what centers heart and aims our life. He says it in different ways but means the same thing. Jesus even says to his disciples:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)

Jesus is helping his disciples see the difference between God as central to life and living compared to many of the Jewish leaders (elders, Pharisees, Sanhedrin, chief priest, etc) of being self-righteousness, self-esteem or self-glory. One can even do good things, but good things disconnected from God's good news is mere God's common grace to the world but not able to save anyone -- only God saves to then work through his people in drawing more people to trust him and learn to be loved by him.

The first mention of the gospel or good news came from the Bible's first book in the Old Testament about God coming to the world to save humanity from sin and eternal judgment, because Adam and Eve sinned against God which led to a broken relationship to him and overwhelming guilt and shame as a result. God did not want them or anyone else after them to be eternally judged and separated from him forever. To do so, someone had to take upon their eternal judgement, which is the promised one -- Christ Jesus.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he [Christ Jesus] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his [Christ Jesus] heel. (Genesis 3:15 ESV)

Only a gracious and loving God would do something like this as any other deity or god described in history always leaves salvation up to humanity. That creates a problem, since mankind dies -- powerless to stay alive though we try. 

God works differently than any other real or fictitious person throughout the world and history. He does the work of salvation -- Jesus is born as a human to be the only, real, fully divine-human (God-man) to walk the earth to end up taking upon humanity's sin and punishment. The punishment was by death on a Roman Empire execution cross by the command of the Jews -- God's own people he used to declare himself through to the world. And, he continue to show himself gracious in loving sinners like the Jews or anyone of us, to then including us to love one another so that the world comes to know and trust him. We are unashamed of this, as Paul says:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes .... (Romans 1:16 ESV)

The world must know. The world must hear. The world must trust.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:8–13 ESV)

We must hold the gospel central. We must declare with our words and works. We must continue what Christ called for and commanded of those that believe him.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20 ESV)

The gospel is at the core and epicenter of doctrine, the Bible, history and our lives so that the world hears and believes as we have heard and believed.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14–17 ESV)
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