What does it mean to follow Jesus?
The gospel is the good news that Jesus died to save us from our sin. It’s the story of God’s redemptive plan to save, transform, and re-create the world he made through his son, Jesus. To follow Jesus means to believe and confess these truths in your heart and with your mouth. Salvation through the gospel is only possible through the Holy Spirit’s power, who applies God’s saving work to us.
Heart of the gospel +
The heart of the gospel is the creating and saving work of Christ. The good news of the gospel is the story of God's redeeming work accomplished through Christ in human history.
God Creates +
In perfect unity and eternal fellowship, the triune God created everything from nothing out of the abundance of his love. By the power of his word, he spoke matter, space, and time into being. Creation climaxes as God creates man and woman in his own holy image and relational nature. All of creation brings glory to God as it reflects his holiness, beauty and nature.
Sin breaks +
Adam and Eve ruled and represented creation, but chose to disobey God. Because of their disobedience all of creation is now broken, cursed and fallen. Now, humanity's relationship with God and with one another is broken beyond human repair. Sin and suffering taint all of creation. Everything will die.
Though created in holiness, all people choose to sin and rebel against God. We call this our sin nature. This means that given the choice to do God’s will or our own, we will naturally choose to do our own thing. Because of this, we all deserve God's wrath. He's perfectly holy and we are utterly sinful by nature.
Jesus Saves +
God's plan: God, knowing man would fall, points to a coming Savior in his word, who will save man from sin. He displays his glory through the progressive revelation of his character and redemptive plan to save his people and his world from the devastation of sin. All of the Old Testament points to a coming Messiah! Through a chosen people, God brings Jesus, the son of God, to save.
Christ's work: The centerpiece of the gospel’s good news is Jesus and the work of the cross. Jesus comes as our prophet, priest, and king, to live the life we can't live and to die the death we should die. In our place, through his death on the cross, Jesus bears the full wrath of God against our sin. On the third day, he rose from the dead, conquering sin and death.
Our Benefit: Forgiveness, pardon and grace are offered to all who repent, believe and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. Everyone who believes, by the Holy Spirit's power to save, begins an unbreakable eternal relationship with God, receiving full acceptance and access to the Lord as beloved children identified with Christ himself, holy and blameless. We are motivated by grace and compelled by his love to live a life of worship and obedience. We are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, brought to spiritual life and able now to believe and obey our God by faith.
Jesus Transforms +
God’s Family: Christians are adopted into God’s family to live life together in and through the church. Growth takes place in community centered around God's word. The Holy Spirit works in and through the church to provide direction, discipleship, and community for God’s people. Maturity and growth take place as each member of the family lives a life of love and service, on mission, sharing this gospel message with others.
Gospel Growth: The message of the gospel saves us and grows us. An ever-increasing understanding of God’s holiness and our sin (through God’s word, God’s people and God’s Spirit), draws us to the cross in repentance and faith. A deepening understanding of Jesus’ work on our behalf increases our love, joy, gratitude, and fellowship with God. Jesus and the work of the cross become ever-more beautiful and amazing as we fall more in love with him. The gospel grows us by leading us to a Christ-centered life of increased dependence, worship, love, and service.
On Mission: The gospel is always growing deeper and wider as it penetrates into the hearts of believers and extends out to those who have yet to know the love of Christ. In thankfulness and joy, we are quick to give love and grace to others. The gospel puts the church on mission and grows God’s kingdom on earth as more hearts live under the rule and reign of Christ.
God Restores +
All things are made new! In the final chapter, God faithfully completes his redemptive plan. Through the work of Christ, all of creation will be restored, renewed, and reconciled to him. God is presently at work in our hearts and in his universe, pointing to the day when all things will be made new. God’s redemptive plan will culminate in a fully redeemed people living with him in a new heaven and a new earth – a holy and restored creation that will worship and enjoy its Creator forever!