Hooked on Purpose
11/17/17 at 02:36 PM 0 Comments

Does anyone still preach the Gospel? By the way, what is the Gospel?

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What is the Gospel?
Credit: www.design.purposehouse.net

Since children's Sunday school, they taught us that the Gospel is "the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ." But when we preach the Gospel, is that all we are supposed to articulate? Sometimes you wonder, "Does anybody still preach even that much?"

With so many sermons covering so many topics, how do we ensure that what we preach reflects the authentic Gospel? Jesus didn't preach death, burial and resurrection. He preached the gospel of the kingdom and then, articulated to the disciples that repentance and remission of sins should be preached.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:45-47)

So what then, should we be preaching when we say we are preaching "the Gospel"? By the way, there's no way to answer fully in one blog post but at least we can offer a few guidelines based on Scripture and Jesus’ wisdom. With that as our focus, let's look at some key elements that should be included in any gospel message we share.

The Fall and Promised Deliverer

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15) (read Genesis 7-21 for context)

Known as the protoevangelium, this verse (and verses 7-21) introduces elements of the gospel. Namely, it articulates the wages of sin (curse of sin) and the redeemer who would pay the price/penalty of our sins by becoming a curse for us by hanging on a tree (Galatians 3:13). The implication is that because of Adam’s sin in the garden, we are all born in sin. So the refuting argument against the gospel of being a good person holds no weight. This element of the gospel message is important so that everyone sees their need for a savior whether they consider themselves a good person or not. As the psalmist, King David, said in Psalm 51:5, “For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (New Living Translation)

Kingdom

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (Mark 1:14)

God rules and reigns over a kingdom. He is a sovereign—a ruler, a monarch having supreme power over everything. There is a way of life in his kingdom. And before repenting and changing course, we all live contrary to the way of life in this kingdom. Yes, God is love and loves everyone but he is also ruling king that has an obligation to uphold the laws and justice of his land. He cannot excuse sin and be a just king. This element is important so that people realize that his is not a God for whom anything goes. He must uphold the standards of his kingdom just like a judge in a courtroom must uphold the laws of the land.

Repentance

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

Repentance means to change your mind, turn in a new direction, drop the old thing and embrace the new. Until one believes in the King and his kingdom, he can’t change his mind about the old way of life. Repentance is essential to the gospel message and necessary to let go of the old way of life and embrace the king and his kingdom. This is important because the Holy Spirit must have opportunity to convict the hearer that their way of life has violated the king’s rule.

Remission of Sins

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

Jesus’ death on the cross did not merely cover up our sins, making it necessary to atone for them year by year through the sacrifice of animals. Jesus’ death on the cross remitted our sins, washed them away completely and satisfied every debt our sin will ever produce. His death was enough--once and for all--to pay the wages of our sin debt. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and only sacrifice that could pay all the wages and garnishments we piled up from living against the laws of the kingdom and offending the King. It must be clear that the law couldn’t do that, bulls and goats nor good works. There are not enough good works to pay off the King or negate broken laws. Those who are enemies to their king are treated as traitors and traitors are sentenced to death. Only the gracious act of a King can pardon them.

The Grace of God

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:14)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)

God is a gracious king. He not only wants us to be citizens of his kingdom in right standing but also extends his grace to adopt us a part of his family—his sons and daughters. His gracious desire to dwell with us compelled him to provide a way to pay for our wages of sin against his rulership. Without that just payment, the king and kingdom would not have the justification to reward citizens who had betrayed their sovereign (traitors) with such love and favor. Because of grace, the sovereign king sent his son to pay our wages so that we could be adopted and grafted into his precious, royal family. He is a gracious king and by grace we are saved—a precious gift extended to us by our benevolent King and Father.

Jesus

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; (Romans 1:9)

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; (Mark 1:1)

Jesus, God wrapped in flesh, was the first demonstration of that Kingdom coming to earth. With his supernatural birth, heaven broke into earth and the message of God’s kingdom proclaimed. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that paid the penalty for our breaking the king’s laws and revolting against his sovereignty. Jesus was the solution to the King’s increasingly heartbreaking problem with his traitor subjects—sin. So it was indeed good news that a solution had been found, a way for the kingdom loyalty to be restored in the hearts of her citizens. Jesus became the curse of sin for us that we might be blessed. (Galatians 3:13)

New Heaven and New Earth

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17, 3:2)

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Peter 3:12-14)

God’s blessing and gift of salvation are not only for us to be saved from the penalty of sin but also so that we can live forever with him in his re-established kingdom—the new heaven and new earth. As God’s designated judge, Jesus is coming back one day to judge those who would not believe in his kingdom as well as those who believed for the works they accomplished before his return. Salvation is more than “fire insurance.” It affects how we will live eternally. We will live either eternally with Satan in torment or with God in the new heaven and new earth.

Finally, this post was never intended to be a hard and absolute guide. But I do believe the Scriptures provide clear gospel signposts to which we need to pay attention. I hope that this post has been helpful and at least given you some things to ponder when it comes to your presentation of the gospel.

To summarize, the gospel is called:

  • The Gospel of the Kingdom
  • The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
  • The Gospel of the Son
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God
  • The Gospel of the Grace of God

And here’s one way I would encapsulate the seven essential gospel elements we’ve listed:

We were all born in sin (right from the garden) and separated from God’s righteousness. But God promised a deliverer to redeem us. That redeemer, Jesus, came proclaiming God’s way of life—his Kingdom and rulership. Repent, embrace that way of life and rulership for the kingdom of God is at hand. As a result, God will remit (wash away) your sins by his grace through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Not only will you be saved from the penalty of sin but will also live with him in his Kingdom when he returns (the new heaven and new earth).

Let’s go share the Gospel!

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Lenita Reeves is an author, speaker, pastor, wife, mother of four children and is hooked on all things purpose. She spends her time writing, speaking, blogging and conducting seminars on discovering and maximizing purpose. Click to receive your free Letting Go on Purpose eGuide. And remember to subscribe remember to all her blog posts at http://www.purposehouse.net.
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