Declaration V: The Gospel of Jesus Christ Is Primary
Romans 8:1-4 ~ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do, because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his Son in the likeness of sinful man as a sin offering. He condemned sin in sinful man that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in those who do not walk according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ~ “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”
The church is not a business but it certainly has matters to deal with. The church does not have a business mission statement but it most certainly has a mission for and from God. Some would see it otherwise but the most important thing in Christianity is the Gospel. It isn't the newest business fad incorporated into the way we "do church".
We need to keep the most important thing…the most important thing. Some will opt to put music or worship first but Christianity without its message of redemption through the death and resurrection of Christ isn’t even a valid religion. We can only fulfill Romans 8:1-4 as regenerate sinners. Only regenerate sinners, born of the Spirit from above, by the power of the Gospel, can be and do what God expects from us.
The Gospel must come first. Every Christian must first be Gospel-oriented and Gospel-driven. We must preach the Gospel, plant churches, train others to witness, engage in ministry and missions and do so via mercy and grace.
“Whatever subject I preach, I do not stop until I reach the Savior, the Lord Jesus, for in Him are all things. I take my text and make a beeline toward the cross.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
As they say in Star Trek, this is the prime directive. This is numero uno when it comes to living out our faith. It is why God came into the world and then left the world and left his church here on terra firma. We must spread the Good News. We must be dogmatic about this point. This is hardcore doctrine. On this the entire Christian faith sinks of swims. This is thee distinctive feature of Christianity that no other religion can claim. In the Gospel we move from just a critique of knowledge into the realm of physical reality about Jesus Christ. It is a historical narrative through which God Himself fulfils promise of faith.
When we adhere to the precepts of the Gospel it requires a manifestation of certain behaviors that act as indicators of where a believe stands in relation to the faith and what they believe about the Gospel. According to Martin Luther, one of the behaviors that should be observable is (1) repentance, or turning to God, and this turn concerns the entire life of the believer. (2) That divine mercy can only be received in faith as a free gift. (3) The true treasure of the church is the gospel of the grace and glory of God in the crucified and risen Christ, which should be openly exhibited, freely offered, and plainly explained for the sake of those that are willing to repent.
The Gospel needs no additions to dress it up either. We don’t need to decorate the Gospel with frills. We need not embellish its story; it needs no human emotion nor sensation. It is not improved by flamboyant personality or razor-sharp oratory skill. A person need only teach or preach the gospel.