The Gospel is the good news announcing that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God saves sinners.
…that’s the Gospel in a sentence. Our stories of salvation are parts of a greater story, The Story of God, which is yet to be concluded. Just as two eyes help us with depth perception, both the means of salvation and the reason for salvation observed in unison can give us a clear view of the Gospel. This is the good news that everyone needs to know.
The Message of the Gospel (Gospel Power) – the means of salvation.
God – He is the eternal, all-powerful, Creator of everything. Only God always does what is good, right and perfect and he does not allow sin to remain in his presence.
Sin – All men and women rebel against God’s authority. We demand to sit on the throne as monarch of our own lives. Any and all sin separates us from God earning death as our deserved punishment. (Eph. 2:1-3)
Christ – In the ultimate act of love, God gave of himself in Jesus Christ. He became one of us, yet lived a life we couldn’t live (without sin), died a death we deserved (our substitute), taking the penalty for our sins on himself. (Eph. 2:4-7)
Faith – Jesus rose from the grave defeating death so that by the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith, we could be saved to live a new life in a beautiful and perfect relationship with God. (Eph. 2:8-10)
Our response is to believe that this good news is for us. In recognizing that sin keeps us far from any kind of relationship with God and that there is nothing we can do to make it right, the Holy Spirit has already begun to change our hearts giving us faith to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. We must turn away from our sins and to God knowing that he alone saves and he alone gives life.
In this case, the Good News is that God, in and through the work of Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit, accepts us, empowers us and is changing us. Three tenses of the Gospel: past grace; present grace; future grace. We have been saved from the penalty of sin, are being saved from the power of sin and will be saved from the presence of sin because of God’s power and work, not our own. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:27-29; 2:6-7; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
Luther said that the first commandment is the gospel – “You shall have no other gods before me” is the same as, “You shall have no other justification for your life, your righteousness, your significance, your security etc…other than me.” God’s act to save us tells a beautiful story of redemption, yet it is not finished.
The Ministry of the Gospel (Gospel Purpose) – the reason for salvation.
Creation – In the beginning, God created everything good. There was peace between God and his creation. Perfect relationships, untarnished beauty in every way. (Genesis 1-2)
Fall – Sin entered the world through the sins of Adam and Eve. As a result of their sin, all of Creation has suffered a “fall” a breaking away of a right relationship with God and have become enslaved to sin resulting in death and separation from God. (Genesis 3)
Redemption – Throughout history (and the point of the whole Old Testament), God was foreshadowing and pointing to a rescue that would come through his own son, Jesus Christ. Today we look back on this event in history and declare that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God has redeemed us (made us free) to live in right relationship with him again.
Restoration – Though we still live in a world that is not free from sin, we know that God has made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5) and he will one day completely make all things new (Rev. 21:5).
In this case, the Good News is that God sent his Son to redeem the world and create a new humanity. Eventually the whole world will be renewed. Death, decay, injustice, and suffering will all be removed. God is saving a people and sending them out for His Mission so that Christ will be glorified in all things.
The Church has been saved BY God’s work FOR God’s work. (Ephesians 1, 2:10,14-22; 2 Corinthians 5:15-21; Revelation 21) The Gospel is not just about my individual happiness or God’s plan for my life. It is about God’s Glory and His plan for the world.
There is a movement afoot. God is doing something and we have been called to His purposes. The people of God are participating within God’s redemptive plan by being a display people offering a foretaste of what the future will be like under God’s rule. (Jeremiah 29; Matthew 5:3-16; Luke 6:20-36; 1 Peter 2:9-12)
We are like a trailer to a movie…giving a foretaste of the kingdom fully consummated by Jesus that makes people long for the future redemption of all things under Jesus as King…the difference is that unlike a movie trailer (which is usually better than the movie) we are in fact, a poor reflection of a far better future.
How is your life reflecting that you believe Jesus did enough to save you at the cross? What things or people instead of Jesus do you look to for acceptance, significance and security? How has God saved you from the penalty of sin? How is he saving your from the power of sin? How will he save you from the presence of sin? How do you and your Gospel Community live out the purposes of God in salvation? How is your church leadership modeling this? How have you participated or observed sending believers out for the mission of the Gospel?
Sermon: What is the Gospel? (Sept 11, 2011)
Converge Basics (pg 3-5)