Today, we come to the last item to discuss from our recent survey conducted with life group members of Gateway. We have discussed:
And today, we return to something more positive. The one thing you said must never change about Gateway. And please forgive me if it sounds like I’m repeating myself.
The one thing you said that must never change at Gateway is its “doctrine and preaching.” What you said is our greatest strength is also the one thing, by far, that you said must never change.
One hundred and sixty-nine of you — that’s 66% of you who answered the question — said Gateway’s “doctrine and preaching” must never change. The next most popular answer had 18 mentions. So, by far, what you believe is Gateway’s greatest strength is what you do not want her to waiver on. You do not want Gateway to surrender when it comes to her doctrine. And you do not want Gateway to concede when it comes to her preaching.
And my promise to you, as your pastor, is that this will not happen. Recently, I preached a sermon on Jesus being the life of the party. In that sermon, I talked about the eternal fire that many are headed to even though they think they’re headed to God’s eternal party. Some of you, more than I imagined, came up to tell me how courageous I was. One person said that the message was a “thinning out the crowd message,” because it’s not a popular message. It’s not a message people want to hear, but — he said — it is God’s truth.
I don’t know about it being courageous, but it is truth. I’m in no way claiming to have it all together, and I hope I won’t ever give into cultural pressure, but what I can say is that I will never knowingly waiver from God’s Word.
Though it may be hard to say, and even harder to hear, if God’s Word says it, I must say it. If God’s Word proclaims it, I must proclaim it. If God’s Word declares “this is truth,” I must declare “this is truth.”
I hope to do so lovingly, tenderly, and graciously, but I know that God’s message can be unpopular, even among church people. No amount of love, tenderness, or grace will cover up the cutting effect God’s Word can have on the human soul. And no amount of love, tenderness, or grace can cover up the hardening effect God’s Word can have on the human soul, either.
But know that I love you. And I will do my best — by God’s grace and strength — to preach the Word. In season and out of season. When it’s what you want to hear and when it’s not what you want to hear. When you come to Gateway Church, I want you to be confident that God’s Word will be faithfully preached.
So, we have much to be thankful for here at Gateway Church, and we’ve looked at some things we need to work on, as well. As we submit ourselves to God’s Word and allow His Spirit to lead and guide us, we will continue pressing forward becoming the church God has created us to be.