When I was in seminary, almost every class I took required me to write a research paper, which meant that over a two and half year period, I wrote a lot of research papers. As I soon learned, there is a certain learning curve when it comes to writing a good research paper.
I remember, at the beginning of my seminary career, turning in one paper, thinking I had done a good job. After all, I didn’t write it the night before like some of my friends. Instead, I spent weeks gathering my research, outlining, writing, and re-writing. Needless to say, when it came time to submit my paper, I did so with confidence. A few weeks later, however, my confidence was deflated when I received a less than desirable grade. As I flipped through my paper, reading my teachers comments, I discovered the main reason for my grade was a lack of evidence. Even though I had spent a lot of time on the paper, I hadn’t cited enough of my research. In other words, I hadn’t given enough evidence for my claim.
Evidence matters. It matters in research papers, in the courtroom, on the news, and in churches. Evidence matters because it reveals what we know, what we’ve done, or who we are. Focusing in on that last one – who we are. I am going to spend the next few posts expounding on the evidence of a biblically minded church.
What is a Biblically Minded Church?
By a biblically minded church, I mean a church that is centered on God’s Word, so much so that God’s Word influences the way it thinks and the things it does.
What is the Evidence of a Biblically Minded Church?
I believe there is, at least, four pieces evidence of a Biblically Minded church in Colossians 1:3-14. The first piece of evidence we come across tells us,
(1) A Biblically Minded Church Preaches the True Gospel, Resulting in True Salvation.
In this day and age, preaching is readily available. All you have to do is take out your phone or turn on the tv. A lot of what you can access, however, isn’t biblical preaching because the true gospel isn’t being proclaimed. Instead, in its place might be a prosperity gospel, which is centered on health, wealth, and material possessions. A gospel of social justice which is centered on eradicating oppression. Or a progressive/liberal gospel which denies the inerrancy or truthfulness of Scripture and teaches that Christianity is just one of many ways to experience the Divine.
The True Gospel
In contrast to these false gospels, a biblically minded church preaches and teaches the true gospel. One that is derived from Scripture. It is what Paul calls in verse 5 “the word of truth.” Throughout the book of Colossians, he expounds on the gospel, but a good summary is found beginning in verse 12,
“giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:12–14)
The true gospel, on the one hand, doesn’t shy away from the bad news, which tells us that before we turn to Christ we are sinners who live in the domain of darkness. As a residence of that domain, we live in rebellion against God. As rebels, we deserve punishment in hell for all eternity.
On the other hand, the true gospel doesn’t leave out the good news either. It tells us that God in His grace and Mercy sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. All those who believe that Jesus is their Savior, repent of their sins and turn to follow Jesus are forgiven. They are redeemed from the wrath of God, are adopted into God’s family, and have the bondage of sin and death broken as they are transferred from one kingdom to another, where they will live for all eternity with Jesus as their King.
That is the true gospel, the good news that actually gives us hope. That’s the message you will hear in a biblically minded church.
The result of consistently preaching the true gospel is true conversions.
People’s lives and hearts are truly changed. The sin they once enjoyed is cast off. The desires they once had fades away. The things they once worshiped are broken and thrown out. The life lived for self, turns into a life lived for God.
Of course, this doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, it happens over a lifetime as one consistently follows Jesus. But it does happen. Those who have truly been converted do grow to be more Christlike over their Christian lives.
So that’s the first piece of evidence of a biblically minded church — it preaches the true gospel resulting in true conversions.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you apart of a church that preaches the true gospel?
- Have you witnessed true conversions in your church?
Post adapted from my sermon Are We A Biblically Minded Church?