A Vision for the Gospel



God is great, and worship is our response to His greatness! The church’s primary purpose is to insure that God receives the glory He desires and deserves. That is why the saints gather together to corporately rehearse the greatness of God through worship. The focus of the church should be the worth-ship of God. Evangelism’s main goal is first and foremost to recruit worshippers for God. When Christ is embraced as offered in the Gospel, the believer is brought into a personal worshipping relationship with God the Father.
The Goal of Redemption, Tabletalk, Feb. 2004, p. 55, Used by Permission. Mike Chastain
I believe we have lost our way as an American church.
What does it take for people to be satisfied “in church?”
Right worship band
Right programs/ministries
Right ambiance/decor/setting
Engaging speakers
Enough of our own peer group to connect with
I have two images burned in my head....
Mission’s trip to New Mexico/Arizona 3 years ago. Sitting in that little Native American church and worshipping with our brothers and sisters, seeing an entirely different way of “doing our church gathering.”
And two…and probably even more poignant to me…
From one of the Dispatches From the Front Videos…The church in a remote village sitting on the floor of a hut, singing, worshipping, bibles in hand.
Yet filled with so much joy.
And we get disgruntled if a church does not have coffee in the lobby…or won’t let us take it into the auditorium…of if the temp is too cold, or the praise band is not good enough (or does not have one), etc.
We have lost the joy of our first love.
We have lost our way from the foundation of who we are and what we were made for.


Big Idea: The church needs a renewed and impassioned vision for the gospel.
A Catechism Approach
The Chief End of Man
Connecting to the Gospel
What is the Gospel?
Sharing the Message


A Catechism Approach

Is anyone familiar with the Westminster Shorter Catechism?
What is it?
A series of questions and answer intended to teach theology and truth.
What was its purpose?
Originally intended for children
To teach doctrine and truth
Why question and answer format?
Designed for interaction.
This is the structure I want to take this morning, as we often do in our small groups, and ask questions and engage over those questions and the scriptures and truths we will engage with.

The Chief End of Man

Anyone know the first question in the Catechism?
What is the chief end of man? Westminster Shorter Catechism
And what is the answer?
To glorify God and to enjoy him forever
- TO GLORIFY GOD — 1 Corinthians 10:31.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
See also 1 Peter 4:11; Colossians 3:17.
What does it mean to glorify God?
DOES NOT mean to give him additional glory since he is eternally and infinitely glorious all on his own. (Matthew 5:48)
DOES mean that we manifest HIS glory in our lives…we make HIS glory known....we display HIS glory (value/worth) in and through us. (1 Peter 2:9)
When we praise Him, we glorify him (Psalm 50:23)
Why do we praise something?
We enjoy it
We want others to enjoy it
We want others to see the benefit of it
There is an excitement and enjoyment that comes when others enjoy the same things we do.
I enjoy watching football.
I enjoyed SOOO much more years ago when I was able to watch it with others who enjoyed it too. I watch primarily alone now, but it is so much more enjoyable when watching with others who enjoy it (Especially if we are rooting for the same team!)
So, when we verbally praise something, we glorify it.
Also, as 1 Corinthians 10:31 points out, EVERYTHING WE DO is an opportunity to (AND SHOULD) reflect His glory.
How do we glorify God in our actions?
Obeying Him
Submitting to his commands and will
Exemplifying his character in our conduct and actions (i.e. honesty, integrity, mercy, love, compassion, justice, etc.)
What does it mean that man’s chief end is to glorify God?
The chief purpose for which he was created.
THEREFORE, it is the main thing or the main endeavour that man seeks to obtain AS HIS CHIEF good or happiness.
Meaning, man is most happy and satisfied, most fulfilled, when.....he glorifies God.
Why is this true? It seems counterintuitive. It is contrary to that which the world attests. Why is this reality true?
Because we were created for it.
Because the greatest good in the universe is God. Nothing can satisfy more so than He because He is the greatest good. Therefore, when we delight in Him, are satisfied in Him, we find in that satisfaction, in making much of that satisfaction, our greatest pleasure and delight.
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him - John Piper
Why is God glorified MOST when we find our GREATEST satisfaction in Him?
Because it means that we hold him up above EVERYTHING ELSE and make him supreme.
There is a lot that is pleasurable in the world. But when HE is greater still than all else, HE IS SEEN in all his glory and wonder, and he is glorified. And as he is glorified, we are supremely pleased.
Which lead us to the second part of this....
Psalm 73:25–28 ESV
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Is God narcissistic in demanding our praise?
Why is ENJOYING GOD linked here with GLORIFYING GOD as the chief end of man?
C.S. Lewis said it best...
But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it.
The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses [Romeo praising Juliet and vice versa], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. . . . Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible. . . . I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with.
Our verbal PRAISE (Glorifying God) expresses AND completes our enjoyment of God!
When we enjoy God, WE WILL EXPRESS PRAISE AND ADMIRATION about God; we will glorify God.
Our enjoyment of God IS NOT COMPLETE until we express it.
In what ways do you see this principle that Lewis expresses to be true?
Favorite food/restaurant
Sports team
Vacation destination
Hunters inviting others to express their joy of the hunt and their kill
New clothes/outfit
Hair cut
WHEN we find something we enjoy, we want others to enjoy it with us. Right?
The chief end of man...
To glorify God AND to enjoy Him forever.

Connecting to the Gospel

What has THIS got to do with the gospel?
Sin destroyed and derailed OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE.
The gospel restored it.
The gospel, in all its glory and majesty.....is the greatest display of God’s glory, and thus the greatest source of our joy in this life and in the one to come.
John 15:1-17.
John 15:1–17 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
By what?
That you bear much fruit…and thus prove to be my disciples.
1 Corinthians 10:31. By our actions, we make known the glory of God.
DO ALL of our actions reveal God’s glory to the world?
Do we need to make changes to our actions so that they do?
GREATER LOVE HAS NO ONE THAN THIS…that someone lay down his life for his friends
There is no greater display of God’s glory than the act of laying down his life for his friends.
MORE…for his enemies.
Romans 5:6-8.
Romans 5:6–8 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God died for enemies.
Yeah, his disciples were his friends. Yeah, he died for them.
But they also all abandoned him.
And Jesus died not just for them, but for all, including those who had so rejected him that they handed him over to be crucified.
THIS IS THE HIGHEST AND GREATEST delight and satisfaction of our souls....the greatest truth/reality that we have to delight in.
The way we GLORIFY GOD and ENJOY HIM FOREVER, is to be gospel focused, gospel saturated, gospel crazed, gospel oozing, gospel sharing, gospel delighting, gospel immersed people.

What is the gospel?

This is the very question we are going to spend the next while exploring and equipping us with the knowledge and skill to understand it, live it, AND explain it.
So, what is the gospel?
Can you explain it simply, succinctly, and clearly?
Why do we call it the message of salvation? Why salvation?
Because scripture speaks of it this way...
John 3:36.
John 3:36 ESV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 3:16.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
We will talk more about this in the weeks ahead but there is wrath and judgement wrapped up in the gospel message.
BUT, is that the primary message? Is wrath the focus?
What is the primary message of the gospel?
Reconciliation - 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.
2 Corinthians 5:20–21 ESV
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 3:18.
1 Peter 3:18 ESV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
YES, there is wrath and judgment as part of the message, BUT the message is primarily ABOUT HOW TO BE RECONCILED to God.
Gospel is about reconciliation to God.
It is about that which was broken being restored.
It is about that which was estranged being brought near
It is about a broken relationship being made right
It is about bringing man, creation back to the source for which they were made so that they may enjoy God and glorify him forever as they find in him the total sum of their desires and the total satisfaction of their souls.
Have we, though, made the gospel MORE about wrath (or avoidance of wrath) than about reconciliation?
We cannot separate the two.
But I do wonder at times, if we have not emphasized one over the other, the detriment of the gospel because we no longer understand what it is we are calling people to.
People see religion and not relationship at times.
And that is partly our fault in how we we share the message.

Sharing the Message

Does it matter IF we share the message?
Why does it matter that WE SHARE the gospel?
Because it is the centerpiece of our enjoyment of God.
It is the centerpiece of the glory of God.
Revelation 5:1-14.
Revelation 5:1–14 ESV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
It is now and forever more the pinnacle of God’s glory and our enjoyment of him.
SO it matters.
Why does it matter HOW we share the gospel?
What are some examples of a poor way to share the gospel? What makes it poor?
Do you want to go to heaven when you die?
Now I realize that this may well be merely a means to get INTO spiritual conversation BUT I fear it sets the mood wrong; puts it in the wrong context.
This is part of the reason for this series/study.
To KNOW the gospel
To equip with the skill to SHARE the gospel well.
One final thought that I want to connect back to for a moment....
If “...the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment,” what does it say about us as the church that we are not expressing it more?
That we are not enjoying it
That we do not enjoy it enough to risk ridicule, embarrassment, or opposition from others.
Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.
Perhaps because we have not truly been altered, affected, impacted by it
We do not truly love it, or love it enough.
We have allowed fleshly comforts and desires to become more important.


Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He Himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, “I am the Bread.” He did not come merely to shed light; He said, “I am the Light.” He did not come merely to show the door; He said, “I am the Door.” He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, “I am the Shepherd.” He did not come merely to point the way; He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” J. Sidlow Baxter
Do you have a vision for the gospel?
Do you have a passion for the gospel?
How do you know if you do?
How often do you talk about it?
How often do you share it?
How often does it affect, alter, and dictate your actions?
How often does it stop fleshly thinking?
How often does it transform internal passions and desires?
Will you join me on the journey to renewing and filling our hearts with a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
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