For the first sermon series in 2010 at Redeemer Fellowship I'm teaching through our core values. We've grown a lot over the past year, and we wanted to use January as a time to flesh out those gospel principles that characterize and drive us as a church. At Redeemer our core values are truth, worship, community, mission, and restoration. This past Sunday we began with truth.
Someone once asked me why the gospel isn't one of our core values. I think that's a good one to have, but for us the gospel is bigger than a core value. The gospel gives birth to these values, and they all mean very little apart from it.
Because the Gospel is the great clarifying truth of our very lives and the world we live in. It is the gospel that gives us a true understanding of who we are, who God is, and what is the purpose of life. We value truth because apart from it we are doomed to live lives in darkness and confusion, while attempting to find meaning in lies and make-believe. We value truth because God is a God of truth, and the only true God. We value truth as Scripture, and believe that by his Spirit and word God sanctifies (transforms) us.
But I have found it's easy to "value truth" intellectually without letting truth form us as the people of God. So, I concluded last Sunday's sermon with a call for us all value truth so deeply it leads us to be passionate, precise, humble, gentle, transparent and true.
In brief, I explained that:
The truth of the gospel should produce passion; an earnest desire to know God and make him known. Any real and experiential knowledge of the truth will not result in a cold heart. The truth isn't meant to be collected and shelved, but savored and proclaimed.
The truth of the gospel should encourage precision. God has been gracious to reveal the truth about himself and us, and we must exercise care in our attempt to understand and express those truths. Passion without precision is a dangerous imbalance that can lead to foolishness, or even heresy.
The truth of the gospel should produce humility in us. It's unfortunate that the opposite is so common. But the truth is God's, not ours. It is given by God, not created by us. It is revealed by his grace, not discovered by our own inquiry. If you know the truth, that is a mercy of God. Act accordingly.
The truth of the gospel should encourage gentleness. Yes, sometimes you need to rebuke, correct and confront. And when it comes to wolves and false teachers we take off the gloves. But bringing the truth of the gospel to bear in the lives of those who do not yet believe is more than a paradigm shift. It is the crumbling of their world and the rebuilding of a new and better one. Gentleness is necessary.
The truth of the gospel calls for transparency. To value truth is to reject falsehood. This means that we, as the church, do not pretend to be what we are not. We desire to be real with one another as we recognize we are all sinners by nature and saints by God's grace.
The truth of the gospel calls for us to be true ourselves; to be a people of integrity. God delights in true character because it reflects his character and is itself a testimony to the restoration of the imago dei in us through the gospel.