Lucia's Blog: THE RICHES OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, May 29, 2020

THE RICHES OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'"
Romans 10:14-15



We marvel at the single-minded way that Jesus worked at bringing the hope of a new life to people who were hopeless cases, mired in long habits of sin and corruption. He has shown us the way. Now it is our turn to carry His Gospel message to those marred by sin, redeemed sinners rescuing others still lost and dying in a twisted world of darkness and despair.  Let us explore the riches that God has placed in the Gospel Message.

Jesus’ purpose for coming to this earth was to be the Gospel, for He is the good news of God’s saving Grace.  Thus preaching and teaching is essential.  It was the only way of evangelism in the first century as it must be today. You see, salvation is offered to anyone who believes the Message of Christ. Thus, we are responsible for hearing the Good News that Jesus brought.  God saves through the Gospel and the Gospel alone.  Jesus is the only way to salvation, and it is available to all who believe in Him and His Gospel.

Paul instructed Timothy saying, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”  (2 Tim. 2:2).  That harmonizes with the Great Commission as recorded by Matthew  28:19-20 Jesus wants Christians to teach people everywhere about their need to obey the Gospel to become children of God and be saved from His wrath.  But to teach others the Gospel, we must personally study the Scriptures so that we may teach others (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).  

It is the responsibility of every member of the Lord’s church, for God will judge us on the final day!  The Great Commission begins with the Word, the Gospel.  God never said to wait for the lost to come to you, for He has commanded us to go to them.  There is no need for fear or intimidation, for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).  When Jesus sent the apostles, He assured them saying, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”  (Matt. 28:20)


I.  THE GOSPEL
"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest'" (Matthew 9:35-38).

  • What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean?
The Greek word for "gospel" is translated "good news."  Although the concept of "good news" is familiar to us, the word "gospel" is strange for many people.  Does anyone ever use the word "gospel" outside a Biblical context?  For most of us, the word "gospel" is a strictly religious word  used only when we are using "church language."  We assume that when we use the word "gospel," most people know the meaning.  You see, so often when we tell others we want to teach them the "gospel," they cringe.  As a matter of fact, some will do anything to keep you from sharing the "gospel" with them.  They will say, "I don't want to talk about church things," or "I don't want to talk about religion, period."  But do we actually understand the why of that reasoning?

The verb, Uangelidzo, is translated as "gospel," "good tidings," "glad tidings," and in many cases, it is translated simply as "preached," as in "preaching the glad tidings."  It may refer only to glad tidings to something other than what we think the Gospel is.  “Glad tidings” was used in Gabriel's message to Zacharias, to communicate to the latter the coming birth of a son, John.  Gabriel said he was there to "bring thee good tidings"  (Luke 1:19).  Yet, and I must stress, we must look to the context to determine the meaning of the "good news."  The same applies to the noun form "uangelion."
  • The Kingdom:
One of the first things we learn about the definition of the "gospel" is that it is the "gospel of the kingdom of God." The Gospel is about the kingdom of God instead of the Gospel coming from the kingdom. Consider Mark 1:14-15, followed by Luke 16:16.
"Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."'
"The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. "
So, the Gospel of the kingdom, the Gospel of God, and the Gospel all refer to the same Message.  Matthew 4:23 states that Jesus went throughout Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom as does Matthew 9:35.  Again in Luke 4:43, Jesus said that He "must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God" to other villages as does Luke 8:1.  The Gospel that the apostles preached was the same Gospel.  In Matthew 24:14 when Jesus instructed them about the events leading to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, He said to them,
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Acts 8:12 states that Philip the evangelist "preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ."

Jesus commanded the apostles to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:16).  This, of course, involves preaching the Gospel of the kingdom.  The Message was that the kingdom that was prophesied in the Old Testament, the kingdom to be established in the first century, was at hand.  Notice what Colossians 1:13-14 saying regarding this kingdom.
"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Thus, the primary purpose of the Gospel was to take men from darkness into the light (Acts 26:16-18; 1 Peter 2:9-10).  Being delivered out of darkness is part of being transferred into the kingdom.  Understanding the Truth about the kingdom is part of the Gospel.  If one cannot understand the Gospel, he will not believe the Gospel.  If one does not believe the Gospel, he cannot be saved (Mark 16:16).  No one has the right or authority to fellowship or promote anyone who denies the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • The Church:
Jesus purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).  His death was vital to our salvation and a fact of the Gospel.  We are baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13).  It is a command of the Gospel that we must obey.  The kingdom is the people of God, the church.  So it is the Gospel of the church in that sense.  The teachings of the New Testament about the church, the body of Christ, the house of God, is thus directly related to the Gospel.  Since the sacrifice of Jesus is at the heart of the Gospel, how can anyone ignore His body and what His blood did for us as a part of the Gospel?
  • The Creation and the Creator:
In Revelation 14:6-7, we are told that the "everlasting gospel" consisted of giving God the glory, worshiping Him "that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and fountains of waters."  It is not surprising then to find Paul preaching the Gospel at Lystra in Acts 14:11-17, including God the creator as part of the "good tidings," the Gospel.  To believe or to teach anything other than what the Bible teaches about God, and His creation is an attack on the Gospel.
  • The Resurrection:
The resurrection of Jesus is the centerpiece of the Gospel.  It relates directly to the concept of resurrection in general and the very nature of man.  In Matthew 22, Jesus answers the Sadducees saying, "ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God."  In 2 Timothy 2:17-18"Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some."

In 1 Cor. 15, Paul argues for the resurrection extensively.  He begins the chapter by establishing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  This was the heart of the Gospel Paul had preached to them.  The grand climax of that chapter is the second coming of Jesus to raise the dead.  Anything other than what the Bible states about the resurrection is error and must be opposed at all costs!  One cannot preach the Gospel and teach error about the resurrection!
  • Life After Death:
The resurrection and the existence of the soul and life after death go hand in hand.  2 Timothy 1:10 says that Jesus "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  In 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, the second coming of Jesus, judgment day, and eternal punishment are raised in connection with those who do not obey the Gospel of Christ.  Paul preached the Gospel to the Athenians in Acts 17.  He spoke of God's nature, resurrection, and judgment day.  No error on any of these facts must be tolerated!
  • The Hope of the Gospel:
Paul gives plenty of information regarding the death of Christ and its consequences.  
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven... "  (Colossians 1:21f).

It is vital that we continue grounded and steadfast in our faith and not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel so that the value of the death of Christ might work in our lives the way God has planned it for us.  God has already done His part. Therefore, we must do our part. It is part of our faith.
  • We must be Careful not to Give People the Wrong Impression of God:
Are we responsible for our choices and behavior? Of course, we are!  Must we assume responsibility for our actions and the way we live our lives?  Absolutely!  Must we seek God's will and obey Him?  Surely!  However, God is not our enemy just because those statements are true. The good news, the Gospel is that God loves us and wants to help us even when our lives are chaotic and a mess.  The proof of God's commitment to us is Jesus Christ.

God specializes in what seems to us to be lost causes.  The night that He was tried by the Jews, Peter (Jesus' most committed disciple who vowed to never deny Jesuscursed and swore he never knew Jesus (Matt. 26:74).  Imagine if someone were to treat us that way?  I'm pretty sure we would be outraged!  Now, 50 days later, God used this same man to preach the resurrection of Jesus and the fact that God made Jesus Lord and Christ. Peter took that brave stand in the same city where he denied Jesus.  Isn't that amazing!

Did Peter repent?  Absolutely!  Imagine the cowardly man who publicly denied Jesus, because he was afraid, on the night of Jesus's betrayal. Now imagine him finding the courage to stand up for God's work in Jesus His Son on the day of Pentecost.  What about Paul, who made a statement very well known by many of us?!
"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."  (1 Timothy 1:12-16)

You see, prior to Paul being a Christian, he was a very religious but hostile man.  His religion made him this way.  In Acts 26:9-11 He said of himself before Agrippa when giving his defense:
"I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities. I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

Indeed, Paul was an obsessed hate monger and not a nice man at all.  He did many ugly and hostile things to the name of Jesus.  He put many Christians in Jewish prisons and encouraged the execution of many of them.  He used physical force, pain, trying to get Christians to blaspheme.  He was furiously enraged at Christians.  And he was willing to go outside of Judea to arrest Christians without remorse.  In his statement to Timothy, he describes himself as a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor.  In other words, he said, "If God could save me, God can save anyone!"  That is how serious our God is about saving all mankind through the Gospel of His Son.  That is how much God loves us and wants to save us!


II.   JESUS WANTS EVERYONE TO HEAR THE GOSPEL TO BE SAVED:

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples with instructions about going into the world to preach the Gospel.  They were supposed to preach the Gospel to every creature, to every human being, whether king or beggar in the street.  They were to preach the good news to everyone, all the lost.  So what is the good news?  It is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  Jesus came to bring Grace and Truth to this world of darkness (John 1:17), bringing salvation, but we must have the faith to obey God’s terms of salvation.  We are commanded to strive to live by the perfect Law of liberty, and that includes evangelism.  We are to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and keep being faithful to Him until the end (1 John 1:7-9; Phil. 3:12-14).  Those who have not yet obeyed the Gospel must obey the Gospel to become God’s children.  That is, they must bury the old man of sin and wash their sins away in the waters of baptism, for one must die to rise into newness of life (Romans 6).  After we obey the Gospel, we must share and teach it to the lost, for it is God’s command!
 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not obey will be condemned"  (Mark 16:15-16).  

The Gospel is the power of God to save men that they may turn away from their evil ways to God for direction and guidance.  God saves men by the preaching of the Gospel of salvation.  It is the only WAY that Jesus is going to heal the sin-sick soul that is dying.  The Gospel is the power of God to change the hearts of men so that they can return to Him. The Gospel is given into our hands to teach it to all men that they might be saved from their sins.  Every day people are dying unprepared for eternity!  It is by the preaching of the Gospel that we are going to prepare these people and win souls for God.  God has already provided all the means and the Message to save the souls of men, and we must bring the two together (John 3:16; Romans 1:16).  Can we expect to find favor before God with the blood of the lost on our hands (Acts 20:26-27)?  Is there any other way of hope for a dying world?  What is the condition of the lost without Christ?  Is there any other place where the lost can turn to?

For that reason, we must carry God’s precious Message and guide the erring back to Him.  There are so many lost souls in this world in need of the Gospel to save them.  Look up and see how the fields are already white for harvest!  (John 4:35).  We must lift up our eyes and notice them and approach them the way Jesus wants us to.  The opportunities to teach the lost the Gospel are abundant!  So let us not slip back into our comfort zones, but let us move forward to seek and find these lost souls.  So we must pray to God to lead us to a lost soul in need of the Gospel!  Let us fill this world with His Gospel!  Let this sink deeply into your hearts!

The Grace of God and the Gospel go hand in hand.  Grace gives us the revelation, the Message of God, the Gospel that was preached by the apostles, and that was passed on to us.  God's Grace is revealed through the Word which serves as a channel for God's Grace,
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age"  (Titus 2:11-12).  

Thus, the Grace of God that brings salvation is that which teaches us to deny ungodliness so that we may live righteously.  It is the Message Gospel of God where Grace is found.  In 2 Timothy 1:8-10, God saved and called us according to His purpose and Grace, which is revealed in Christ, who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.  So God's Grace works or functions according to His purpose.  In Acts 11:14, Peter spoke to the Gentiles words by which they were saved (cf. 10:33-48).   In Acts 20:24, 32, we read that the Grace of God is manifested to all men through the instruction or teaching made  possible only through the "Gospel."

Paul's ministry was to testify about the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24, 32).  The apostles ordained by God carried out this commission that began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) where 3,000 souls obeyed the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 2:37-41).  The apostles preached the Gospel not only in Jerusalem but all Judea, Samaria and to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  All the cases of conversion in the book of Acts show the efficacy of the Gospel.  Today as well, we are saved by the Grace of God when we obey the Gospel.  It is only by the Gospel that we learn how to please God.  Obeying the Gospel of the Grace of God demands that we fulfill the terms of salvation found in the Gospel.


CONCLUSION:

Why the World Needs the Gospel?

Undoubtedly, the world needs the Gospel.  Sadly, many Christians don't even have a clue about this great need Why do I say that?   Simply because they are not aware that the world has such a great need.  It is disturbing to see how the crowds commonly function on the atheistic principles taught to them in the public schools:  the end justifies the means.  Thus, they grow up, making terribly wrong choices.

The Gospel Message, however, contains no such ethic.  In fact, the apostle Paul explicitly rejected and condemned the idea of doing evil that good may come (Romans 3:8).  Jesus taught a higher and absolute standard of righteousness and morality:  love God and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39).  It implies that neither God nor our neighbors are means to an end, but ends in and of themselves!  Both God and our neighbor have intrinsic value.  Jesus echoed this truth when He declared that one soul is worth more than the whole wealth of this world (Matt. 16:26).  Thus, God and the souls of men are precious as ends in and of themselves!

So, how do I show my love for God and my neighbor?  The answer to this question is explicitly found in the commandments (John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-3).  Paul urges us to keep God's commands so that we may demonstrate our genuine love toward God and our neighbor.  When we follow these absolute and higher standards of righteousness and morality found in the Gospel, the result is not small But when we take away real morals, we harm our neighbor (Romans 13:8-10).

Most people in this world do not want to harm anybody but reject the best way to that:  to commit to and obey the Gospel Message.  Indeed, the world needs the Gospel Message desperately, but they don't know it or want it.  The question is not, "Can God save men?"  The issue is, "Do people want God's forgiveness?"  "Do they want to belong to God by obeying the Gospel Message?"  "Do they want to hear and believe the Gospel, the good news, the good tidings to be saved?"  The choice is theirs to make.

The Gospel is God’s power God’s power is Jesus as Messiah and Savior of the world. God's power for salvation is the news about who Jesus is, what He has done for our salvation, and the way of life that He taught.  God’s salvation is accessible to all who will believe that Gospel Message. No one is forbidden or excluded. God does not show favoritism or partiality in salvation.   All humanity can be saved and transformed into the image of God. Jesus was not the Savior of the Jews only, but the Savior of the world.

It is through the preaching or teaching of the Gospel that God saves men.  Therefore, we must share the Gospel with the lost. God has commanded us to do so (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 3:15).  We must share the Gospel with the lost, for it is the power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16).  We must share the Gospel with the lost, for by doing this, we show the lost that we love their souls and don’t want them to be separated from God eternally (Col. 1:28).  We must share the Gospel with the lost because we have compassion for them and don’t want them to perish.  When the Gospel is taught and is believed and obeyed, it is God’s power to save and transform men.  Men like Saul of Tarsus, the worst sinner of our day, and even people like you and me!

Our Lord Jesus loves all souls and wants us to share the Gospel with the lost.  He is interested in our souls and the souls of our families as well.  So we must open our eyes and see the harvest! The harvest is plenty, and there is much labor to do!  We must pray to find opportunities to teach the Gospel in a manner that is worthy of Jesus, for we must teach the Truth properly, for that is the only way it can save (John 8:32).  We must realize the importance of soul-winning, the harvesting of souls (John 4:35).  Evangelism must be as much a part of our lives as breathing air!  We must follow the example of our Lord in evangelism, He understood the concept of soul winning.  How often do we get discouraged about soul winning because we are unable to see the immediate fruits of our labor?  Just because we don’t see immediate success, does not mean that we have been unsuccessful in preparing the soil for someone else to reap the harvest.

To follow the example of Jesus in evangelism is to rejoice when others build on the work we have done by teaching the Gospel of salvation.  Thus we must learn to be longsuffering where we’re not able to see immediate results or harvest.  Likewise, we must crucify self and be selfless, investing the best of our time in the Lord’s work and rejoice when others reap the harvest.  Our work in the Lord is never in vain!  (1 Cor. 15:58).  Therefore, let us apply Jesus’ excellent principles of evangelism and learn from His example and the example of the greatest soul winners that we might be more successful in our endeavors!

God has been faithful to His promise to save all people, and He continues to keep His words. The righteous live by faithWill you trust God? Will you put all of your faith in Him? Will you be faithful to God as He has been faithful to you and His promises?  Will you be ashamed to proclaim faithfully the riches of His Gospel, which is God's power to save all who will believe in Him?

May we proclaim faithfully and boldly the riches of His Gospel, which is His power unto salvation for everyone who believes in Him.  To Him be the glory!


Luci

No comments :

Post a Comment