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Feb 26, 2023

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

Speaker: James Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Is there more to the story?

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." What is the gospel? What did Jesus mean by “the gospel”? Why is the gospel important? What are we doing about that message?

  • Gospel: the good news.
  • Evangelism: the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching and personal witness.
  • Disciple: not just a student or a learner but a follower who applies what is learned.

Evangelism is not our personal testimony; it is the spreading of the gospel. The gospel is not personal salvation or me- centered but is based on what God has done through His Word. People sometimes struggle with the gospel because they don't know the Word.

A salvation culture doesn't require the member of the decided to become disciples but focuses mainly on redemption. A gospel culture insists that people become disciples and be transformed. Mark 8:34 And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." The gospel of the New Testament cannot be reduced to just a plan of salvation.

I Corinthians 15:20-28 But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man death came, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to our God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is clear that this excludes the Father who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

This whole story - from the very beginning to when Christ returns as King over all and gives it all to His Father - tells of what the gospel is and what it accomplished. Paul is telling us to tell the world the whole story of the gospel from beginning to end. The Old Testament gives our story of efforts and failures and shows that apart from God we can do nothing. It's the story of God's people who continue to fail, yet God, in His mercy, sent the way for redemption. From creation to the ultimate city of God, the gospel story is about Jesus. Verse 28...When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Jesus told us to preach the gospel. When we preach salvation without the gospel, it cuts us off from where we came from, who we are, and what is to come. The gospel is more than our individual story, but about God's mission to redeem the world. From the Old to the New Testament, we see the beautiful woven tapestry of a story where God is constantly involved with His people. God's people received grace, mercy, guidance, His presence, and then His Son, Jesus. Through Jesus, who paid the penalty of sin, we are redeemed for all time. The gospel tells the story of Jesus as Lord over all.

The gospel in Acts, because it declares the saving significance of Jesus as Messiah and as Lord, summons us to confess Jesus as Messiah and Lord while our view of gospel tends to persuade sinners to admit their sin and find Jesus as their Savior. Christ, or Messiah, means King or Ruler. Jesus is not just a Savior but also a King. Savior is our redeemer and then Messiah as King demands our allegiance. Becoming a disciple is not just knowing of Jesus' works but submitting our lives to knowing our King. Does God's Word have rulership in our lives? Do we yield to Jesus as Messiah?

Preaching Jesus only as Savior and not equally as Messiah and Lord is not the gospel. He must become King.

What is the gospel?

  • The fall in Genesis 3 was an not just an act of sinning against God's command but also a betrayal of our fundamental kingly and priestly roles.
  • Adam and Eve tried to elevate themselves to God's role. 
  • They were sinners - they were usurpers in the Garden.
  • God forgave by banning us from the opportunity to live forever as broken image bearers.
  • God's forgiveness drove them out of the Garden as mercy to not live forever as broken image bearers.
  • Over and over we humans fail to rule properly and fail to mediate properly so that we become usurpers. 
  • God then chooses Abraham to form a nation of kings and priests. The assignment God gave to Adam was transferred to Abraham and to Israel.
  • The God gives Moses the important task of leading a rescue by giving the Torah and helping them find their way to the Promised Land.
  • God does not lose His desire for a kingdom of priests.

All these were given the same task… to be kings and priests. Exodus 19:4-6You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.

  • But like others before, Israel fails to be the priestly kingdom.
  • God charts a different path through Samuel, Saul, David and then Solomon, but all failed.
  • Israel's failure leads to God sending the one true Israelite representative, Jesus. This is where Jesus being Messiah makes sense and is here that the gospel finally makes sense. Jesus is Messiah. The assignment given to Adam, then transferred to Abraham, Israel, Moses, and to David has now been transferred and perfectly fulfilled by Jesus who now gives that message to us. 
  • Jesus becomes our Savior, King and Messiah. 

Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”

What are we to do?

  1. Become people of the story. The gospel is all about the story of Israel coming to its resolution in the story of Jesus. Let that story become our story.
  2. Immerse ourselves even more into the story of Jesus. Read the 4 gospels in the New Testament and become people of the story that are complete in Jesus. Read, ponder, digest, mull them over. Jesus is more than our Savior, He is King - A King who invites us to become part of His story, who invites us to tell His story to a hopeless world that leads to a resurrection like no other.
  3. Counter the deluding of this story. Be convicted on God's Word to know and live in accordance with Jesus.
  4. Embrace the Word as it defines the gospel so that we can be saved and experience transformation.

The gospel propels us into the mission of loving God, loving others, and loving this world. Change begins with repentance:

    • Acknowledge that God is right,
    • Acknowledge that I am wrong,
    • Make Him Lord and King of my life. 

Do you have new understanding of "the gospel"? How did it change your beliefs?

Explain the difference between the plan of salvation and the gospel. How do you share the gospel with others?

How will you make changes to become a part of His story?