A person becomes a follower of Jesus by understanding and trusting certain truths about the gospel. The Holy Spirit exposes personal sinfulness and brings conviction of sin before the holy and righteous God whose standards he or she have violated. The Holy Spirit then shines the light of hope on the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross and inspires the confession of wholehearted trust and surrender to Jesus. The truth of the gospel must be revealed and accepted for eternal salvation to be realized. In other words there must be gospel comprehension to experience justification before God. Continuing to progress in gospel comprehension establishes a life-long process of experiencing saving grace as believers continue to grow in the knowledge of biblical truth, the knowledge of personal sinfulness, and the knowledge of the sufficiency of Jesus. As a church we want to encourage gospel comprehension because it brings glory to the God of abundant grace and mercy.
Understanding is Essential
The following verses show the importance of gospel comprehension as a foundational component of people coming to faith as well as a characteristic quality of followers of Jesus.
Matthew 13:23 “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Romans 10:9–10 “…9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Colossians 2:6–7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
God calls the people of Nor’wood Bible Church to cultivate the ground of unbeliever’s hearts, to plant the seed of the gospel in those tilled hearts, to water the seed of the gospel with loving concern and tender care, but it is God who brings life and produces spiritual growth (Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:5-9). The following are some planting and watering activities made available through Nor’wood Bible Church our members can prayerfully promote.
- Christianity Explored (Seven week study of the Gospel of Mark focused on sharing Jesus as the only way of salvation to unbelievers and skeptics)
- Life Explored (Seven interactive sessions that present an exciting new way to share the gospel in today’s highly visual culture)
- Events and meetings that can connect with unbelievers in our Men’s Ministry and Women’s Ministry
- Pertinent subjects addressing life issues from a biblical perspective in the Adult Sunday School class
- Biblical truth presented in our graded Sunday School classes that aids parents as they form a biblical world view, drawing unsaved children to a saving knowledge of Jesus
- Passages from the Bible unpacked from the pulpit each week coupled with consistent gospel presentations
- Regular meetings of small groups of believers from the church where unbelievers can be invited to hear and witness the gospel at work in the lives of followers of Jesus
- Servant Evangelism activities (events designed to show God’s love in a practical way to the people in our city)
- Holiday meals through Mercy’s Gate (an opportunity for needy neighbors to come to our church, pick up a meal and meet church members)
- Christmas Eve Service (an opportunity for the people of our church to invite unbelievers to a one-hour Christmas event where the gospel will be shared)
Exposure to the Truth of God and People of God
We are sure that the good work God begins in people He will bring to completion (Cf. Philippians 1:6). Because this is our biblical conviction, our desire is to help people to develop a regular practice of prayerfully growing in their knowledge of the Bible, their understanding of God and their appreciation of the beauty and relevance of the gospel. This is an ongoing need throughout the Christian life because learning and walking in gospel truth is a life-long process.
- Worship in song, public prayers and communications expressing biblically accurate truths, humble awareness and thoughtful enthusiastic expressions of God’s greatness and glory
- Manifestations of delight and satisfaction in God displayed by God’s people. This would be evidenced by, but not limited to:
- Countenances that display warmth and joy in the presence of God and His people
- Prayers that communicate the need and anticipation of God’s glorious grace
- Conversations that share awareness of God’s activity in and through His people
- Worshiping God in the Holy Spirit’s presence and power which creates sensitivity to God and others
- Displays of true humility, brokenness, gratitude, dependence, and praise before God while singing, being biblically instructed or interacting with others
1 Corinthians 14:24-25 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
We pray that God will use experiences like these in our church to lead unbelievers to grow in gospel comprehension and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
As the gospel is shared, and people come to saving faith in Jesus, we want to teach them the importance of openly declaring their faith by meeting the Lord Jesus in the waters of believer’s baptism. Baptism is important,but it does not wash away sins. Only faith in the finished work of Jesus cleanses us from sin (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is important because it portrays a beautiful picture of the believer’s union in the death, burial and resurrection life of Jesus (Cf. Romans 6:1-14). This glorious sacrament communicates grace to the believer and represents gospel comprehension.
The ministry of gospel comprehension is continued when baptized believers become visibly united with Nor’wood Bible Church as the visible body of Christ in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (We do not believe we are the only local church, but a local church that is a true and viable manifestation of the universal invisible Church.) Those who become members of our church will receive instruction about the doctrine and direction of Nor’wood Bible Church through reading our Ministry Information Notebook and being involved in a membership class taught at the church. In addition to receiving information about the doctrine and direction of the church they will be instructed concerning the Covenant of Membership they will be making before God and the people of the church. The Covenant of Membership expresses the God-enabled devotion embraced by individuals with the congregation and the congregation with the individuals, witnessed and empowered by God before His people. Since gospel grace is an important part of the life and function of the local church, membership in a church shows growth in gospel comprehension.
Regular participation in Communion, or the Lord’s Table (or Supper), is an important way for believers to experience grace from Jesus as we meet Him at His table to reflect on His life and work on our behalf. The corporate and humble remembrance of Jesus gives us an opportunity to take time to examine our hearts, confess of our sins and find cleansing for those sins (Cf. 1 John 1:8-10). As we remember how Jesus humbly offered His body as a sacrifice of atonement for our sins we are encouraged to renew our commitment to be humbly offered to God and one another in a spirit of unified devotion to our Lord (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:17-34). Learning the value of remembering Jesus like this is a significant part of corporate development in gospel comprehension.