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I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be gospel-centered, specifically in our context at Emmaus. Over the next few days I’ll be writing about what gospel-centeredness is and how it works itself out.

Emmaus is a gospel-centered church. This means that everything we believe and do is calibrated by the gospel and its implications. We have a Gospel-Centered DNA.

What does this look like? We use three words that capture it: Christ, Gospel, & Community.

Christ means anointed or king. When Jesus came into the world he announced that he was this promised king (Mk. 1:14). He was sent by God to rescue his people, defeat Satan, destroy death and bring in his perfect kingdom (Matt. 1:21; 1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 1:8, 12:28). Because of his perfect character (sinless & holy) and his successful work as the only Savior, Jesus is to be supremely treasured (Col. 3:1-4). A gospel-centered church magnifies the worth and work of Christ.

The gospel simply means “good-news.” The gospel is good-news because it is the story of how God rescued his enemies by adopting them into his family (Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:3-5). This was accomplished through the self-sacrifice of Jesus in the place of rebels like us (Rom. 5:11). His perfect life of obedience and his death upon the cross satisfied the requirements of God’s Law for us while earning the basis for God accepting us (2 Cor. 5:21). Through his life, death, and resurrection Jesus has conquered sin, Satan, and death while reconciling sinners to God (Col. 1:21). This gospel message is to be declared faithfully, believed, and applied to every aspect of life (1 Cor. 9:16-27). A gospel-centered church is a gospel-saturated church.

God is building a new community through the gospel (Col. 1:6). This community is a family consisting of former enemies who are now adopted sons and daughters (Gal. 4:4-7). This community is called the church, a people who are continually reformed and refreshed by the transforming power of the gospel (Rom. 12:1-2). Members of this new community are people who are called to be on mission. Just as Jesus was sent as a missionary in his incarnation so too he sends us, his followers as missionaries into the world for the work of the gospel (John 20:21; Matt. 28:19-21). This mission consists of building the gospel community through loving service to one another as well as proclaiming the gospel to those who have yet to believe. A gospel-centered church is training church because they understand their identity and mission.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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