Gospel Identities: One Identity... Expressed in Multiple Forms
How do God's people glorify God in the world? How does our identity in Christ shape how we live daily, with other Christians, and interact with the world? These are what we call our Gospel Identities.
WHAT SHAPES, FORMS, AND DRIVES THE CHURCH?
Many people define the Church primarily by what she does, not who she is. Unfortunately, this leads to an understanding of the Church that defines her not by God’s work, but by man’s work, leading to a view that man builds the Church instead of Jesus (Matt. 16:18). With this understanding, anybody who simply implements the forms or activities of “church” can call what they do the Church of Jesus Christ.
This is “church” based upon works of man and not Church based upon the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus said he would build his Church, not us. This sometimes stems from a man-centered Gospel (It is my decision – my work – that saves me) OR can lead to a man-centered church (It is all about what we do that defines us, not what Jesus has done).
*We must remember: We Are Who We Are because of What Jesus Has Done and Is Doing…Our Being comes out of His Doing…and Our Doing proceeds from Our Being in Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me - Gal. 2:20
We need to define the Church in light of: 1) Who God Is and What God has done; 2) Who He has made the Church to Be; and 3) What He has saved and created her to do.
Our Core Gospel Identities
WE ARE FAMILY
Identity Statement: We are children of the Triune God brought together in a covenant community (church) to care for the spiritual and physical well being of our brothers and sisters (and their children) in Christ.
WE ARE DISCIPLES
Identity Statement: We are disciples/learners/apprentices/pupils of Jesus who walk in total trust, allegiance, and obedience to our Lord and Savior. We desire to know him, serve him, enjoy him, become like him, and help him be known.
WE ARE WORSHIPPERS
Identity Statement: We are worshippers of God living our lives in a constant response of gratitude and glory back to God for Who He Is and What He Has Done in Christ. We are dying day-by-day to the sin and idols that keep us from intimate worship of the true living God.
WE ARE SERVANTS
Identity Statement: We are servants of Jesus in the world following the path of the cross. We lay our lives down to serve our brothers/sisters in Christ and the world.
WE ARE MISSIONARIES
Identity Statement: We are sent by the Holy Spirit as witnesses of the gospel to declare and demonstrate this good news in word and deed to our world.
In summary, The Church is made up of a family of worshipping disciples of Jesus sent out as missionary-servants to proclaim the gospel in Word and Deed.