Last night was the Sovereign Grace Ministries gathering. It was a priviledge to be there as a guest of the pastors. We worshipped together with songs full of sound doctrines that lifted our affections as Bob Kauflin led us. And then CJ Mahaney spoke from Acts 15-16 on
1. The church's doctrine (15v11).
2. The care of the church (15v36).
3. The mission of the church (16v5-6).
4. The future of the church (16v1-3).
I was particularly struck by his clarity and weighty passion for preserving the gospel as the first task of the church, as he commissioned those he serves to build gospel-centred churches and to beware of the dangers of the academy, and of assuming the gospel, not to mention our own hearts. We were reminded to read and re-read gospel-centred books like The Cross and Christian Ministry, Pierced for our Transgressions and the new Dever/Packer volume, In my place condemned he stood.
We observed and enjoyed the gospel of the grace of the Lord Jesus and saw Paul's concerned to go from Antioch "and see how they are". What a concern for the church! How can I best see how my staff and the SW students are doing? How can I serve them with concern for the gospel and affection for them? We were introduced to Open Source Mission - the gospel translations project.
Striking also was the passion to raise up future leaders, a call for pastors not to hand over churches by dying, but by identifying, developing and raising-up their successors while they live, and so transferring the gospel to the next generation.
I deeply enjoyed the company of gospel-loving brothers and look forward to this morning's second meeting. After which I'm at The Gospel Trust (band of bloggers), before Together for the Gospel kicks off at 2pm!