As we begin this New Year, one verse of Scripture delineates a gospel shaped vision for the church: “I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge, and competent to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14).
Head: “Filled with knowledge”
A gospel shaped church is one in which its people are “filled with knowledge.” Gospel shaped churches seek, savor, and share doctrine and teaching as supremely found in Scripture. Teaching and doctrine, after all, have been the heartbeat of Christ’s church for millennia: early Christians devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching (Acts 2:42). A Christian church does not downplay, deconstruct, or disown doctrine.
Heart: “Full of goodness”
A gospel shaped church is one in which its people are “full of goodness.” Goodness without knowledge is warm feelings, fluff, and fervor. But knowledge without goodness is dry, deformed, and dead orthodoxy. A gospel shaped church, therefore, consists of people with hearts filled with the goodness of God to us in the gospel.
Hands: “Competent to instruct”
A gospel shaped church is one in which its people are “competent to instruct.” They are competent to instruct one another precisely because they have knowledge (head) and goodness (heart). Knowledge and goodness alone, however, is not sufficient for the church. A gospel shaped church, therefore, must instruct one another because knowledge and goodness without instruction will end in self-centered, shallow, and smug Christianity. A gospel shaped church always impacts others in reproduction (Matthew 28:18-20).
As we enter a New Year, may God empower Grace Community Bible Church to be a church where we are “full of goodness, filled with knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”
For more on how the gospel shapes the church in much more detail, listen to the sermon series on the book of first Timothy found here.