1. Expositional Preaching and Teaching of the Word of God
The Bible teaches that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God has “granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore, our primary focus must be to glorify the Lord through the teaching of His Word to every member of the Body (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2).
Expository preaching and teaching is the method which seeks to uncover the original intended meaning for any given text of Scripture within its normal, literal, historical and grammatical context. This method of Bible teaching enables us to draw out God’s meaning from the text, rather than read our own meaning into the text. By being faithful and obedient in this task, we are moving away from a man-centered focus of church, and toward God’s design for His Body.
2. Sound Doctrine and Theology derived from the Scriptures
Because of the omniscience of God, He sees and understands His revealed Word in perfect and complete unity. In order to know God, we must seek to understand God’s character, plan and will as revealed to us through Scripture. “Theology” is simply the process of studying God. The more we know God, the more we will love Him. “Doctrine” is the collective teachings derived from the Scriptures. Sound doctrine and strong theology deepen our faith and bring us closer to God. We should seek to be “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6). Everything we believe should be faithfully and systematically drawn from God’s own Word and not from the musings of our own minds.
3. Explicit Communication of the Gospel
The Great Commission calls us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19), which cannot happen until people have heard the truth of the gospel and are saved. We know that “the gospel is the power for salvation” (Rom. 1:16) and that “[saving] faith comes by hearing… the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). People will not be saved unless the gospel is preached, and the gospel must be preached explicitly with words. We are to be salt and light in the world (Matt. 5:13-16) and a sanctified life will bear strong witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ through the gospel, but witness will not accomplish this alone. The gospel must be preached explicitly.
4. Genuine, Humble and Repentant Prayer
Prayer is the essential element that ties the spiritual life of the believer to God. It is the demonstration of our dependence on Him and the active substance of faith. Our prayers need to be genuine and reverent when we approach the Throne of God. As a Body, we need to do all things in humility, but especially when we pray. For when we are humble, God gives us grace (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). As Christians, we must always do everything we can to keep our sin from coming between us and God, which is why our prayers must be repentant. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
5. Fellowship of the Body
At the heart of church life is the fellowship of believers (Acts 2:42-47). Fellowship is the bond believers experience through faith in God, communion in Christ’s sacrifice, and the sharing of life together. Every member of Christ’s Body has gifts and specific functions (1 Cor. 12) therefore we know we need one another to experience the fullness of community here on earth. We are “one body in Christ, individually members one of another” (Rom. 12:5). As we build relationships, we offer one another friendship, love, compassion, teaching, exhortation, counsel and admonition. It has been commonly said, “You can’t live the Christian life alone.”
6. Discipleship “Along the Way”
The Great Commission mandates more than evangelism; it requires that we “make disciples.” Great care must be used when engaging in discipleship, as the end result is that believers are mature in the faith (Col. 1:28). While there is no specified curriculum for discipleship in Scripture, there are certainly models for us to follow. Scripture instructs believers to “remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7). Writing to his closest disciple, Timothy, the apostle Paul instructs him “…and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). It should be the deep desire of every member of the Church to champion the spiritual growth of others. Discipleship must be lived out in an organic way—“life-on-life”.
7. The Pursuit of Holiness
God’s desire for His people is holiness; “you shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). To be holy is to be set apart; not to be set apart physically, but in heart. Our lives should be beacons of light in a dark world (Phil. 2:15).
8. Passionate Worship
God calls us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is our spiritual service of worship (Rom. 12:1). This means that worship is more than music, and more than the sum of Sunday morning. As Christians, our lives should be lived in a constant response of thankfulness and praise to God.