The foundation of being a gospel-centered community is the gospel message. The gospel message is “good news”- the message of hope, peace, meaning, and purpose. We cannot be a community all about Jesus without knowing the gospel message found in God’s Story…

In the beginning, God created all things out of nothing by his spoken word. God made Earth and filled it with life. He made human beings in his own image and likeness to worship him and live in relationship with him. God’s creation was perfect.

The first man and woman were to take care of God’s creation. They soon rebelled against God’s authority and disobeyed God (sin). Because they disobeyed God and did not follow God’s ways, all of creation was cursed. Evil, pain, suffering, disease, sickness, and physical death all entered the broken and fallen world because of humanity’s sin. Sin also brought spiritual separation from God who is holy and perfect.

Ever since the initial disobedience and rebellion against God, every person has also rebelled against and disobeyed God. As a consequence, all people experience separation from God and from having the relationship with God that he desires.

Because God loves humankind so much, he did not let the story end there. Ever since the first man and woman sinned, God had a plan to make all things perfect again and for humanity to have a relationship with him. God set out on a mission of redemption to save humans from punishment, pain, evil, and separation from him. He sent his Son Jesus to the earth to be born a human and live a perfectly obedient life.

Jesus taught people about how to live in a relationship with God and showed them how to live in God’s ways. Jesus taught that he was God sent from heaven to save people from their sins so that they could have a restored relationship with God and eternal life.

The religious leaders did not like Jesus claiming that He was God, that he could forgive sin, and that he is the source of eternal life. A group of people came and took Jesus to the high priest for a trial. Jesus was sentenced to death. He was brutally beaten and whipped by the soldiers then, like a criminal, Jesus was nailed to a heavy wooden cross. Then Jesus breathed his last breath and died.

Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in long strips of cloth, and buried in a rich man’s tomb. A large stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb and Roman guards were posted to make sure nothing happened to his body. Early on Sunday morning, some of the women who followed Jesus went to prepare his body for burial. When they arrived at the tomb, they saw the stone rolled away and the soldiers were gone! Suddenly, two angels appeared. They said, “Why are you surprised? You are looking for Jesus, but he is not here, he’s been raised from the dead.”The women were excited but afraid and hurried to tell the disciples the amazing news. Some of them ran back to the tomb and looked inside for themselves…Jesus was not there! He had risen from the dead and was alive.

Jesus revealed God’s loving heart to those under condemnation, and he offered redemption and eternal life to anyone who would believe in him and follow his way of living. By dying an undeserved death, hung on a cross by evil oppressors, Jesus became the sacrifice that cleanses us of our guilt and takes away our punishment. By his victorious resurrection from the dead, he secured renewal, hope, and life for humanity and all creation. And all that Jesus accomplished can now be received through faith by anyone – no matter what they’ve done. It is only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that we can be saved from our sins, have a restored relationship with God, and receive eternal life. This is the good news of forgiveness through Jesus!

But the story is not over yet. All people must decide to either accept or reject what Jesus has done. The life and message of Jesus must be shared with people all over the world so that everyone has this opportunity to respond. Those who accept Jesus are invited into a new way of living, a new community for those who follow Jesus (the church), and a restored relationship with God that is free from guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation. Though we continue to live in a world enslaved to evil and marred by tragedy and struggle, we have a firm hope based on God’s promise that something better is coming: a renewed world that finally ushers in the perfect goodness, peace, joy, and vitality that was always intended for God’s creation. One day Jesus is coming again to make a new heaven and new earth, so God’s perfect creation as he intended is restored. God will be with his people forever, never to be separated again.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 9-10, 13