The Gospel in the Church
A lot of us think of telling others the Gospel and think of evangelism. Yet, Paul often talks about how we need to be reminded of the Gospel within the context of the church. It’s not just the access of salvation, it is the life of a Christian. Yes, it’s how we are saved, but it does not end at salvation, the Gospel is how we live our faith and pursue righteousness. The Gospel is still needed in the church. How are we to talk about the Gospel in the church? Paul gives us three avenues for the Gospel in the church in Colossians 1:28, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone, and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
Avenue 1: Proclaiming
Have you ever gotten home and announced your presence to your family? “Honey, kids, I’m home.” You did this because you felt it was important for them to understand that you had arrived, right? That’s what it means to proclaim. We are to announce the Gospel to one another because it’s important information for us to understand. Just like knowing a loved one is home, it informs what we do. It’s time to put away those other activities and focus our attention on that loved one. In this case we need to focus on the beautiful and incredible Gospel of Jesus Christ and let it inform how we live as Christians.
Avenue 2: Warning
Warning always implies a danger if one does not listen or do as the one who is warning says. Paul says that we are to warn each other in the Gospel. This means that we are to advise each other to live in light of the Gospel. There are serious consequences of ignoring our responsibility in living the Gospel. We do this out of love for one another. We don’t want to see each other fail, so we remind each other about the Gospel and how it gives us power over sin and its temptations. We can now though the Gospel live righteously before our God.
Avenue 3: Teaching
Lastly, Paul says that we are to be teaching one another the Gospel. Teaching carries the idea of factual statements, another way of saying this would be doctrine. We are to teach one another the doctrines of the Gospel. You might think, “Well I’m a Christian so I already know the Gospel.” No, you don’t. You know enough of the Gospel to believe in Jesus and repent of your sins, but we can never fully grasp the Gospel. We can never exhaust the Gospel. Just think about this quote from Erik Raymond, “The beauty of the Gospel is that while we were infinitely sinful we were also unfathomably loved.” Do you fully understand that? I know I don’t. We must constantly be searching for the riches of the Gospel and this includes the doctrines of the Gospel. We must study the Gospel so that we can proclaim it and advise one another to properly live it.
What’s the point of the Gospel in the church? The same point for the Gospel in any circumstance, “That we may present everyone mature in Christ.” That’s Paul heart for every believer and it should be our heart for each other in the church. We want everyone to be mature or fully developed Christians. We need to proclaim, warn, and teach the Gospel to each other in church in order to be fully grown, fully functional, and fully pleasing Christians.