Blessings from T4G2010: Mark Dever – The Church is the Gospel Made Visible

My (very rough) notes from this first session with Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church:

Text: Ephesians 3:10-11

Q. How does your church make the Gospel visible?
Q. How many of our churches are good in proclaiming the Gospel?
Q. Are we working against the Gospel in our churches?

An unhealthy church undermines the effectiveness of our proclamation of the Gospel! So, how will our church make the Gospel visible?

1) God – How is His name and character displayed in our church?

  • Holiness – How is this displayed in the life of each member? How is the fruit of the Spirit displayed in each of our lives?
    • Our lives are to proclaim the Gospel
    • Is our church marked by the need for holiness in our lives?
    • We need to be repenting sinners!
    • Is God being presented as Holy, set apart, distinct?
    • How do people react in our church when they meet God?
    • Holiness is not bondage, but freedom!
  • Love – We need the kind of love & concern for others that we are willing to be inconvenienced by doing good inside and outside the church
  • Authority – read David’s last words (2 Sam. 23:3-4)
    • Authority is a good thing, bright and splendid, it brings life
    • God can both rule us and love us – He is perfectly trustworthy
    • Do we have a right view of authority in our church?
    • We can reflect God this way – God’s authority blesses people in good ways
    • Without right authority, authority will become abused and a destructive lie about who God is.

All three (holiness, love and authority) help explain who God is to the world.

2) Human Beings – imago Dei – made in the image of God

  • All humans are to be valued (James 2)
  • Relationships and friendships across boundaries that are not natural to the world are to be pursued
  • The local church is for all people – who love all those made in God’s image
  • Understanding human depravity – our lives should reflect that we are fallen; we should not be self-righteous
    • Are we just good rule keepers?
  • Is humility honored in our church?
  • How do I / you exemplify humility?
  • We need not be afraid to use the law of God in our interaction – we were sinners before Christ & we are sinners after Christ.
    • We are not done with our journey / lives upon our salvation!
    • Knowing this, how does this impact our relationships?
  • We need to have a verbal explanation of sin and visible reality of reconciliation, repentance and forgiveness!
  • We know when something isn’t right and yet we know what we can do about it (give the gospel!)

3) Savior, Jesus Christ

  • Because Jesus Christ isn’t here, we should make him visible to others (thru our lives)!
  • We bear his name, his teaching, his worship and are indwelt by his spirit
  • We are the body of Christ, how do we make Him visible? By his teaching & our lives being devoted to Him
  • We do not just proclaim His person, but His work as well to ourselves and others
  • Our lives should be provocative.
  • We should be demonstrating forgiveness, need for grace, being gracious, mercy, outgoing love

important realization: we will not see the people of God created without the word of God (they are not created / reached by programs, pastors, etc)

Sermons should be central to our church.

Meditate on Hebrews 10:34 – our sacrifice only make sense in the light of eternity.

Our church should be the proof of the Gospel and the appearance of the Gospel

Be careful of the Gospel, handle it carefully, proclaim it carefully. Also, be careful of the church for whom Jesus gave His life!

John Newton quote: I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am.


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