The Send Network Church Planting Blog

5 Tests to Determine if Your Church Is Truly Gospel-Centered: Part 5

August 20, 2012 by J.D. Greear
  The following is part five of a five-part summation of a message given by J.D. Greear to local pastors and church leaders at the Advance the Church spring regional, 2012. The link to the full audio is below. Acts 2:41–47 gives us five "tests" of gospel-centrality. If we are preaching the Spirit-anointed gospel, these five things will be the result in our churches, just as they were in the very first one.

5. Gospel-centered churches are characterized by extravagant generosity (Acts 2:45).

The gospel is that Jesus "became poor for our sake so that through His poverty we might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). When a church gets this, they become extravagantly generous toward others. The first Christians didn't just give out of their excess. They voluntarily sold their stuff so that there were no needs among them.  Eventually this sort of gospel generosity overflowed into the streets, but it started in the church. As the apostle Paul says in Galatians, “Let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Ultimately, the love that Christians show to one another is a profound statement to an unbelieving world. It is by our love for one another, Jesus said, that the world will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35; cf. 1 Peter 4:9). As Francis Schaeffer said, “The final apologetic that Jesus gives is the observable love of true Christians for true Christians.”
The first Christians didn't just give out of their excess. They voluntarily sold their stuff so that there were no needs among them.
Evangelistic effectiveness and doctrinal depth; fervent, faith-filled prayer; a sense of the presence of God; empowered members and extravagant generosity are five things that the gospel produced in the early church. How present are they in your church? If one of these characteristics is missing, is it possible that we don't understand the gospel as much as we claim to? These are the indelible marks of a gospel movement. If these are missing from your church, the answer is not to “go and try harder”. We need to ask ourselves, “Why is the gospel I am preaching not producing these things?” Here is the link to the full talk.   J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and author of the new book GOSPEL: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.  

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