The Gospel Defined – What is the Gospel? Part 2
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
Another example of elements in the Gospel is that the Gospel proclaims to us the One true and living God who is the Creator of all things. Christianity is monotheistic, as there is only one God and there is no other. (Isa 45:5-6) This is a fundamental part of the Gospel message. Without it, the Gospel makes no sense at all.
Acts 14:14-16 – 14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them. NASB
Acts 17:24-28 – 24 "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.' NASB
It was important when Paul was preaching to the pagan polytheistic (many Gods) people in Lystra and again in Athens, for Him to lay the foundation of monotheism before He could proclaim the entire Gospel to them. This is not unlike the pagan pluralistic culture we find ourselves in here in postmodern America. Many people do not have a monotheistic worldview, so we must lay that foundation in their understanding so as to make sense out of; – God, Man/Sin, Christ, Response. These things show us how the Gospel is also a complex message made up of many different elements that all work together to display the glory of God and His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul and the other Apostles, were preaching the full Gospel, which included all of God’s manifold blessings, threatenings and promises as He brings the creation to its ultimate fulfillment when His Kingdom is established and all His enemies, including death, are destroyed and forever removed, and all things are made new.
Ephesians 3:8-12 – 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; 10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. NASB
This is another important aspect of the Gospel. The Kingdom will soon reach its fulfillment and all things will be made new, death and hell no more shall awe us, the old creation will be destroyed and God’s people will forever enter His rest, and He will dwell among them!
Revelation 21:1-5 – 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 5 And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." NASB
In fact, all of the categories of doctrine in the Christian faith are inseparably tied to the Gospel and provide for it a foundation and support. All of these great doctrines have important ramifications to the support of the Gospel and work together to weave the tapestry of God’s amazing redemptive purpose as He unfolds it in the History of the world.
· Authority of Scripture – Apart from the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture the Gospel has little credibility.
· Theology – The Gospel proclaims the existence of God and His claim upon mankind as His creatures.
· Salvation – The Gospel presents fallen man with the only way to be saved from God’s wrath and given eternal life with Him forever through the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.
· Ecclesiology – The Gospel calls out a people from the darkness of sin and the world to become the people of God through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. All of these redeemed people comprise the Church.
· Eschatology – The Gospel proclaims the Kingdom of God and His rule, coming to lay claim to His creation and banish His enemies forever.
And this is not all. The Gospel has other important ramifications as well. Consider this brief outline given by DA Carson in his sermon, “What is the Gospel?”
8 defining words
· Christological – A message about Christ, incarnate God, Lord and Savior.
· Theological – A message about God and His relations with mankind.
· Biblical – A message thoroughly defined by the Bible.
· Apostolic – A message preached and established by the Apostles.
· Historical – A message based on historical facts.
· Personal – A message for paramount importance for every single individual .
· Universal – A message to be preached to the entire world.
· Eschatological – A message which reveals the purpose and fulfillment of all things and the ultimate ends of the world.
5 clarifying sentences
· The Gospel is heralded through proclamation.
· The Gospel is received in authentic persevering faith.
· The Gospel is disclosed in personal self humiliation.
· The Gospel is the central confession of the whole Church.
· The Gospel is boldly advancing under the contested reign and inevitable victory of King Jesus.
Or consider these elements added to the list by Tim Keller’s survey of the Gospel in His sermon “Gospel Centered Ministry.”
· Doxological – The Gospel is a message that teaches us to glorify, enjoy and worship God and His Christ as the great purpose of all of life.
· Cultural – The Gospel is a message that has power to transform the moral fiber of a culture. It cuts to the heart of how people relate to one another with conviction.
· Transformational – The Gospel transforms us into new creations in Christ as it is God’s very power to save and transform.
· Wonderful – The Gospel is a glorious display of the character and nature of the wonderful God.
All of these things show us clearly that the Gospel is complex and multifaceted message about God and His eternal purpose accomplished through Jesus Christ, which encompasses the entire record of human history and the fulfillment of the ages.
Jesus is the Gospel
But in its most basic element it is a message about Christ. Jesus Himself is the beginning and the end of the Gospel. Paul when writing to the Corinthians tells us…..
1 Corinthians 1:20-24 – 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. NASB
1 Corinthians 1:30-2:2 – 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. NASB
Here Paul says Jesus is the power of God and He is the wisdom of God. What Paul is communicating is that we cannot experience the power or wisdom of God apart from the person of Christ because He is the central theme of God’s wisdom and power. We see the power and the wisdom of God through the Gospel, as it explains to us God’s amazing love expressed through Jesus and His passion on the Cross. “We preach Christ crucified” says Paul. His message is one about how the death of a certain man can redeem the entire creation from death and decay! This he says is a “foolish” message to the Greeks and a “stumbling block” to the Jews, but to those whom God has called, “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” He goes on to tell us that Jesus has become for us….wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. Not that Jesus gives us these things, but that He, His person, is those things for us. Now dear friends, here is true freedom….Jesus IS my wisdom….Jesus IS my rightstanding with God…..Jesus IS my holiness before God….and Jesus IS my redemption, my personal payment for my personal horrendous sins! Christ IS these things for me, because I am unable to be these things on my own! Oh what a Savior! Jesus’ very name means “The Lord saves!” Jesus is the Gospel! This reminds me of a word from the man of God John Newton…..“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”
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/
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The Lord is the Strength of My Life