Show Notes – Episode 03

Josué Ortiz joins us for Episode 3 of Leading in the Gospel. Josué has been pastoring the Iglesia Bautista Gracia Abundante (Abundant Grace Baptist Church) in Mexico City for the last two years.

What Is Gospel-Centered Theology?

Biblical (gospel-centered) theology views Scripture as the progressive revelation of the redemptive plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. In that respect, every passage of Scripture connects, develops, and fits within that larger redemptive focus. Without a gospel-centered theology, it is dangerously possible to take a passage in a moralistic approach exclusively—what we must do as opposed to what we cannot do and what Jesus did on our behalf. Of course, Scripture is full of commands to believers. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” But we must not forget that obedience always flows from redemption. In other words, when there is love due to the redemptive story, the obedience aspect will be the natural result of a believer. Without the redemptive focus that biblical theology provides to preaching, there will be a sense of hopelessness, self-accomplishment, and an emphasis on the exterior.

From Genesis to Revelation, God is revealing the story about redeeming a lost and sinful humanity through the sacrifice of Christ for the glory of God.

There are a few questions that we can ask in helping to find the redemptive narrative in a passage: Who wrote this? When did they write this? To whom were they writing? Why were they writing this? Why did God include this passage in Scripture?

Why Is Biblical/Gospel-Centered Theology Important?

Without the redemptive plan, Scripture becomes a book of morality. If we don’t explain this plan to our people, we create an environment of unreachable morality. 

This good news changes everything. To be gospel centered is to see God’s redemptive plan no matter where you are in His word..

There is a difference between interpretation and application. 

Out of the story that God wrote, we can assimilate all of the facts of our faith. This allows us to dissect the Bible into categories and topics which form our systematic theology. Biblical theology connects the dots of systematic theology into the larger narrative that not only informs the mind, but moves the heart.  Systematic theology is extremely important, and by all means, implement your systematic theology throughout your gospel-centered messages, but it must be connected to the larger redemptive story. 

When teaching the “what” of Scripture, we must include the “why” and “how”. Both always point to salvation by faith in the Messiah to come in the Old Testament, and to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. When you tie behavior and doctrine back to the narrative, you are connecting what we obey to why and how we obey. 

Biblical theology does not in any way diminish or discourage godly behavior, but rather undergirds that behavior with the story of God’s love. 

Do not underestimate the power of the gospel both to save and transform.

Personal Questions:

1. When studying a passage, do I ask…

       —”What must I do now to keep God happy with me?”

       —Or do I ask, “Where is the redemptive plan being emphasized in this passage?” Either it is by how men fail to meet God’s standard of perfection (e.g., Samson, Abraham and his deceit, King David) or by how God is providing that standard of perfection (e.g., the sacrifice God provided for Abraham so that Isaac did not have to die, the passover lamb).

2. In the past few messages that I have preached, has my sermon connected with the larger story of Scripture?

3. Is my systematic theology undergirded by the gospel?

Team Questions:

In this episode Cary and Josué spoke about Christ-centered exposition and hermeneutics. Discuss with your team how each person can strengthen their understanding of the Bible, which in turn will help those to whom you minister see God’s grand redemptive story.

1. Why is it vital that we see Jesus at the center of Scripture?

2. What questions should we be asking as a team to make sure that we are operating as teachers and preachers in a redemptive, historical view of Scripture?

3. Discuss an Old Testament story that finds its truest fulfillment in Christ. How do we tend to moralize this story only, instead of exalting Christ?

4. What parts of our teaching ministry currently focus on the moral imperatives of the Bible before starting with the gospel provision of Christ?

Other Resources:

What Is Biblical Theology? by James M. Hamilton Jr.

Biblical Theology: How the Church Faithfully Teaches the Gospel by Nick Roark and Robert Cline.

“Marks of a Healthy Church | #2 – Biblical Theology – 9Marks” (

Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays

Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell

Unfolding Drama of Redemption by Graham Scroggie (3 Volumes in 1)

Christ-Centered Biblical Theology: Hermeneutical Foundations and Principles by Graeme Goldsworthy

“Why is it important for sermons to be Christ-centered?” by David Prince (