Many of us have heard of “the Gospel”, but do we know what it is? Is it important to us? Tonight’s talk took a look at how the Gospel is God’s power to Salvation. Here are some of the highlights.
The word “gospel” means “a good message”, “good news” or “glad tidings”, and Good News is something that this world desperately needs. The Good News that the Bible shares is all about solving this world’s problem – so what problem is the Gospel solving and and how does it do it?
In Romans 1:16 the Apostle Paul tells us that he’s not ashamed of the Gospel because it’s God’s power to save people, but he points out that it only saves those who believe in it. So, what are we to believe?
What is the Gospel?
In Acts 8:12, 25 we see that there are two parts to this gospel:
- The Kingdom of God
- The Name of Jesus Christ
Let’s break down these two points to get a bit more information about this powerful message.
What’s makes a Kingdom?
There are many pieces that need to exist for something to be called a kingdom, such as:
- A King
- A Land (territory)
- A Capital city
- A Government
- Subjects (citizens)
- A Constitution
- Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities
The message of the Kingdom of God was a key part of Jesus’ preaching (Matt 4:23) and He spent a lot of time telling people about all of these aspects that we’ve mentioned above. When he rose from the dead, he taught his disciples that same message and commanded it to be shared with the whole world (Mark 16:15,16). He placed utmost importance on that message: “Whoever believes it and is baptised will be saved!”
The Angel Gabriel taught that Jesus would be the king of a future kingdom, ruling on David’s throne for ever (Luke 1:30-33; cp 2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jesus is a descendant of King David, and will inherit David’s kingdom at a future date, but he rejected attempts to make him King during his ministry (John 6:15). He knew that it was to come at a future date.
In Acts 1:7-11, after Jesus’ resurrection his Apostles asked him if he was going to set up the kingdom at that time. His response, and that of the angels was no, he would return to the earth at a future date to set it up.
In 2 Timothy 4:1 we learn that when Jesus will be made King over the earth, he will also raise the dead to be judged (cp Daniel 12:2).
Jesus will share his future throne on the earth with the faithful (rev 4:10; 3:21).
The Power of the name: How we can share in that eternal kingdom on the earth
One thing we know from experience, as well as the word of God, is that we are mortal and don’t live forever (Romans 6:22,23; Romans 5:12). Romans says that “the payment for sinning is death but that the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord”. So, how can we live forever? Through Jesus Christ.
The Bible is clear that Jesus did no sin, despite sharing our own nature (Heb 4:15; 1 John 3:5; Philippians 2:8). Because he did no sin, God raised him from the dead and gave him eternal life.
One problem is that we sin, so we deserve to die. The only way we can be given eternal life is if we have our sins forgiven.
In fact, the bible is clear that there is no other way to be saved, apart from Jesus Christ (Acts 4:15). We have to believe in Jesus to be saved (John 3:16). Said another way, life eternal depends on us knowing God and his son Jesus (John 17:3). That’s because it’s only through knowing who God is, and who Jesus is that we can understand how to be like them. The Apostle Paul knew this and understood that his life had to be a reflection of the self-sacrifice of Jesus’ life (Galatians 2:20).
The type of sacrifice God expects from us is shown in Romans 6 as a symbolic crucifixion. We’re asked to put an end to our old life and start a new way of living. The old life we lived served sin, but our new life is to serve God. We make a commitment to put that old way of life to death and only serve God from now on through baptism (Romans 6:3-13). It marks a new beginning for the believer, where he confesses his need for and dependence on God. Jesus asks us to “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him” (Luke 9:23). It’s a daily journey, not just a one-time achievement.
The Power of the Gospel
The Bible reveals the gospel as two things: The Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ. The news of the Kingdom is the wonderful hope offered to those who are looking for a solution to the problem of sin and death. The Gospel of the name of Jesus Christ reveals how we can access that wonderful Kingdom that God offers to those who will believe his word and follow the example of himself. God not only shows us what great changes he’s going to bring on the earth, he teaches us what we need to do to share in those changes: Through faith and obedience.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel, because it is a powerful message for those who believe in it. So, Do you believe it?