The Gospel – The Message of Jesus Christ
The Gospel Defined – What is the Gospel?
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, NASB
The Gospel is a Message
The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word “evanggelion” …2098 meaning “a good message, i.e. the gospel,” or “the good news.” This is where we derive our word “evangel” and also “evangelical,” two words which are commonly used in Christianity to speak of “the Gospel” or of “being Gospel believing.” When we use the word “Gospel” in Christianity it takes on a very specific and defined meaning which has its origin in the Bible, and more specifically in the New Testament(even though the Old Testament pointed to it frequently). It is in fact “the message of the good news” of Jesus Christ and the free offer of salvation from sin and reconciliation to God through Him. So to define the Gospel in a brief statement it would look something like this…..
The message or “good news” of the person and work of Jesus Christ, God the Son, come to the earth to fulfill God’s eternal plan of salvation. The message carries within it the power to transform the sinner by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, into a child of God and grant them eternal life. It furthermore includes the proclamation of all of God’s promises to mankind in Christ, as well as His threatenings to those who continue in their sin and rejection of God’s way of salvation provided “freely” through Jesus Christ. Primarily, mankind has been separated from God by willfully sinning against Him, is subject to His wrath, but that mankind can be saved from God’s wrath by repentance from sins and faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is defined as “trusting in and relying upon the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, receiving Him as both Savior and Lord.” It also announces the Kingdom of God, come to the earth now, under the rule of the King, Jesus Christ, and that He will soon return to the earth to destroy sin and evil forever, and renew all things in creation to God’s intended state of glory. Secondarily, that this gospel message is to be preached among the nations, so that mankind can be saved from sin and death and reconciled to God through adhering to it. (Romans 1:16-17, 3:19-28, 5:19-21, 10:9-10,17, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Acts 17:24-31, John 3:16-18, 1 John 5:11-13)
This message of the Gospel is at its core rather simple, and yet at the same time has many complex elements and nuances that are very important to understand.
The Gospel is Simple
When we consider the basic elements of the Gospel it is really rather simple. 9Marks.org has classified them in these four basic categories…..
· God – It is a message about the One true and living God and His claim on our lives as our Sovereign Creator and Righteous Judge.
· Man – Man was created by God, in God's image, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. But man sinned against God by disobeying His holy law. Man therefore separated himself from God's holy and satisfying presence, and incurred His wrathful displeasure.
· Christ – Christ’s death was the substitute payment for the penalty that we deserved for our sin. His death is God's only provision for the forgiveness of man's sin and the appeasement of God's wrath against him. His life provides a perfect righteousness for us in the sight of God.
· Response – We are called to respond to this good news in repentance and belief – turning away from our sin and self-sufficiency toward God, and trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the substitute penalty that we deserved for our sin.
In these basic elements the Gospel is rather simple. In one sentence, “Man has been separated from God because of sin, and Christ is God’s provision to atone for man’s sins, and man can simply receive God’s provision through repentance and faith.” This is the good news about Jesus Christ that historic Christianity has always proclaimed and this is the essential message that we still proclaim today. The message is timeless and not subject to modernity, or culture or any other influence that would change its meaning until Christ returns in power to establish His Kingdom physically upon the earth.
The Gospel is Complex
Although the essential message of the Gospel is rather simple, it has many details and related matters that cause it to blossom and bloom into a very complex and beautiful saga of immense proportions. In fact, the Gospel is the central theme in History and the crowning achievement of God’s work in creation. The creation was created so that the Gospel story could be accomplished by God and this is what we call Redemptive History. The entire Bible is devoted to revealing this Gospel to us as the central focus of all of the History of mankind, both now and forever. In fact, Heaven is now and will be filled with high praises of the Lamb of God for His very loving and gracious sacrifice at Calvary!
Revelation 5:8-14 – 8 And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." 11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped. NASB
Therefore, the essential message of the Gospel is simple and clear, but the ramifications behind what it is proclaiming are complex and involved in a very awesome way. For example the Gospel confers on us a KING and a KINGDOM which has now broken into time and space in a certain spiritual way, but has not yet reached its fulfillment. Jesus reigns as KING from the right hand of God and is awaiting His enemies to be put under His feet. The Lamb of God has come and given His life as a sacrifice for sins to offer us forgiveness, and He calls us to willingly repent and follow Him. But this same Jesus, the suffering Lamb, is also portrayed in the Bible as the Lion of Judah who is a soon coming King who is coming to conquer and take His Kingdom by force, and warns all who do not obey Him willingly, that rejection of His Kingship will result in the worst possible consequences of all, eternal damnation. (John 3:36, 2 Thes 1:7-10) The KINGDOM has come in a very real way, but it has a “NOW” but “NOT YET” characteristic to it.
1 Corinthians 15:22-28 – 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all. NASB
Notice the terms used in this passage,…order….after that….then….when….until…etc. Thus the Kingdom of God has “stages of fulfillment” which have “NOT YET” reached their climax. All of this is conferred upon us in the Gospel message because in the Gospel we proclaim Jesus as King, and Judge of the living and the dead. All men will face King Jesus in judgment, at death, and will be judged by Him for the “deeds done in the body.” The Gospel calls us to obedience to Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord, a Lord who rules over us as our King as well as a Priest who intercedes between us and God.
Acts 10:42-43 – 42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." NASB
Romans 2:5-6 -5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render to every man according to his deeds: …..16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. NASB
Notice how both Peter and Paul tell us that the message or Gospel they are preaching contains this element of judgment to come as well as forgiveness of sins.
This teaching is a part of a 12 month series called "The Savior, The Cross, and The Gospel" ….
See all the audio here….. http://www.heritageabq.org/teaching/seriesview/36/
This teaching can be heard on audio here:
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The Lord is the Strength of My Life
Posted By Blogger to HeavensLight at 12/05/2012 02:54:00 PM