Life really isn't all about us. It's about a loving Creator who has given us life so that we may love and enjoy him forever. This great God is also the source of great news, what the Bible calls the Gospel.
Instead of lists of rules and good deeds to perform, God instead provides Jesus.
The good news is simple: while other religions and philosophies have lists of rules and good deeds to perform, God instead provides Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life, but not for himself. He was perfect for one reason: so that he could take upon Himself the sins of you and me. Sin . . . that's right, sin.
We don't like this, but God tells us just exactly what sin is. Sin is lawlessness – breaking God's law (John 3:4). Sin is merely refusing to believe God (John 3:18) and ultimately, a rejection of God's authority over us (Romans 1:18). But Christ took upon himself our sin and our punishment was placed upon him! As a result, our morality, or lack of it, doesn't matter at all. The only thing that counts is the righteousness of Christ for us.
This is the Gospel and the only way to enter God's kingdom: it's truly good news. But more than that, the Gospel is the way to address each one of life's problems. It alone is the way to grow so we look more like Christ – to have peace in the face of every trial and hope in the middle of calamity.
How, you ask? Read on . . .
We are more sinful than we ever realized, but more loved than we ever thought possible.
Christ makes this love possible, and this is where we must begin – our only hope is in Christ.
Knowing that Christ loves and accepts us in spite of our sin changes our approach to God.
Rather than living a "moral" life out of fear or some perceived need to fill a spiritual resume, we obey our God to demonstrate our gratitude toward him. We call this living by grace, and God makes it possible through Christ.
The Gospel creates a new way of living life.
We're not to live a Godly life for merely personal reasons. God wants to create a "holy nation," people who live with him forever, from every race, class, ethnicity and human experience. The Bible says, "I will be your God and you will be my people" (Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 30:22). The Gospel creates a concrete visible community where supporting, encouraging and loving one another is essential. And this community of God's people meets together to bring God the worship he deserves.
This Gospel flows out of us and into others.
At Emmanuel, this Gospel permeates everything we do. We expect that all of our actions will be "overheard" by people who have not heard the good news of the Gospel. After all, we think that everyone should hear this truly good news!
The Gospel is the only thing that really heals!
Man's evil has destroyed every area of life. But Christ can heal and transform damaged lives far better than man can ever do. Therefore, we seek to be like Christ in our lives, to work with excellence in our vocations and to bring healing through living for others rather than ourselves. We live for God's glory rather than for ourselves.
At Emmanuel we meet weekly to grow in our love of God and his gracious Gospel. We sing of our love and we worship. But just as important – as a result of God's grace – we try to live out that love and worship as the Gospel flows through us. We change, grow, reflect, ponder and are energized by this Gospel. Our mission is to show the world the effect of the Gospel as we serve in the business world, government, the arts and education.
Emmanuel is a church – not a place of entertainment, social hall or merely a local religious gathering; more so, it's a genuine reflection of a holy God who has loved us with an everlasting love. Come and worship him along with us!