What follows are notes from a guest sermon by Kenneth Maresco, an executive pastor at Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Md., at Solid Rock Church, Riverdale, Md. Both churches are members of the Sovereign Grace Ministries family. The title of the January 27 message is "The Gospel-Centered Family" and was the third in a four-part sermon series at SRC on Gospel-Centered living.
Scripture (I Timothy 1:15-17):
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.
Three Major Points for Application:
- Remember the Gospel ["Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"]
- Remember your own sinfulness ["to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost"] --Apply this mindset to our lives. We are the worst sinners we know, we are most intimately aware of our hidden sins, our sinful thoughts, attitudes, lusts, etc. Being aware of our sinfulness makes all all the more aware of God's grace to us and keeps us humble in our relationships with others
- Remember your life is to be a display of God's patience ["Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life"] --My walk with Christ is not so much about my performance as it is about God's patience towards me, a sinner saved by His grace and being conformed to the image of Christ in spite of my sinful flesh which is at war with the Spirit
Eight Principles of a Gospel-Centered Family:
If we are motivated by the Gospel, what can be different in our family relationships?
- We can related to one another with humility rather than self-righteousness.
- We can communicate truth to one another with gentleness.
- We can be faithful to direct others to the Word of God and their conscience.
- We can maintain hope in the midst of disappointments. [Maresco added that hopelessness is "never an option" for believers in Christ]
- We can involve others in our lives.
- We can take our sin seriously without being overwhelmed.
- We can avoid bitterness and resentment by forgiving others.
- We can glorify God by pursuing Him diligently.
- Pursue the Savior in our daily walk, humbly acknowledging our continual need for his grace
- We do this by studying the Word, praying, and continually offering thanksgiving to God for His grace towards us