Category Archives: Church growth

How Do You Preserve the Gospel?

In a recent message delivered in London, titled “Preserving the Gospel and Gospel Churches,” Don Carson expounded the meaning and context of 2 Timothy 1:14 and 2:2 …

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. … and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

… and then he said the following:

How do you preserve the gospel? You give it away.

It’s the only thing in the world that you guard by giving away.

You do not finally guard the gospel by raising the mote, circling the wagons, going into defensive mode alone, so as not to be contaminated by the interaction with the world. You preserve the gospel by gospelizing. That’s why any form of apologetics that becomes primarily defensive is finally spelling its own demise. At the end of the day we must be about the business of training others. …

The initiative is not coming from a person who volunteers, nor is it coming from a Damascus road experience, nor is it coming in some sort of crisis of faith, nor is it coming from some young stockbroker or medical student who is wondering what to do with their life. No, it’s coming from a senior Christian who is tapping the shoulder of a junior Christian and saying, “Receive these things from me.” That means we ought to be taking initiative in our own congregations, in our own frames of reference, looking for people with the ability to do this sort of work, disrupting their lives, tapping them on the shoulder. … [Telling them,] “I would like to pour my life into you and entrust to you the things the Apostle has given to me.” That’s how you preserve the gospel, by passing it on. …

A church that never passes things on to another generation—reliably, faithfully, with training, with instruction, with understanding, with an eagerness to evangelize—that church is doomed to obsolescence, shrinking ranks, and finally, irrelevance.

Church Life

From D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in The Life of Joy and Peace (Grand Rapids, 1989), page 225:

“It is church life like this [Philippians 2:16–30] that really conquers the world, as it did the ancient world. Men and women saw something in the Christian society that they had never seen anywhere else.”

HT: Ray Ortlund

Exegeting A Crowd

I’ve been meaning to transcribe an excerpt from a recent message at my home church, Covenant Life (Gaithersburg, MD). Being in Louisville, perhaps, is why the excerpt from Dr Albert Mohler’s message came back to mind.

On May 4th Dr Mohler preached on The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23). He made these remarks at the beginning of the message:

“The crowd is so large that has been gathering over the course of this day that Jesus is required to do what a teacher must do and that is find some way to get distance from the crowd that is necessary to be seen and heard. In this case Jesus gets into a boat and goes slightly off shore in order that he might teach. The crowd is a very important factor to this passage.

The crowd is a matter of some question–some challenge, some perplexity–to us as well. Is has become clear that evangelical Christians in particular have a hard time understanding the nature of a crowd. We are tempted to think of a crowd as a great gathering of receptivity.

We understand that the crowd is gathering because something has been happening. We as evangelicals sometimes mistake a crowd for a church. It’s hard for us sometimes to understand what’s going on. Jesus helps to clarify this for his own disciples.”

–Albert Mohler, The Parable of the Sower, sermon at Covenant Life Church (Gaithersburg, MD) on May 4, 2008.

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