To rightly understand the Gospel we must first separate it from other Bible teachings. When we do this we learn that some Bible teachers can be right as to the Gospel but wrong on other points of doctrine. And we discover that the Gospel is not limited to one religious movement. We discover also that God often reveals the same truth to different believers, not associated to each other. Exclusive doctrine, or one religion doctrine, is often false doctrine.
The word “gospel” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word; god-spel, or “God-story.” The story of God was first told by Adam to his sons. By Noah, Abraham and many others. Later, the prophets told of a kingdom, and there are near 500 references to this kingdom in the O. T. the King of the kingdom was also told by a star to men of the east. Balaam told of a star, (Num. 24:17) and was from the same part of the world, and we wonder if these wise men heard of the star through this Balaam prediction.
The everlasting Gospel in Revelation 14, is again reference to the establishment of this Kingdom. This reign was long promised and will ever be remembered, so it is called the everlasting Gospel. Gabriel told Mary of her Son reigning forever. We note that it is on this world, ruined by sin that God will, by his son, have dominion. But we note also that the Gospel of Revelation 14 is associated with the Lamb on mount Sion. So there are three aspects, or three implications to the word Gospel. It is the story of God. It is the promise of a kingdom on earth. And it is the good news of sin atonement by the Lamb of God.
In the French Bible the word Gospel is evangel, from which we get evangelical, the good news of a Saviour, not only to save Israel, but to save the world. (John 3:16) Paul writes of the Gospel being “declared” then “received” (1 Cor. 15:1) it is this message on which every Christian stands. The heart of the Gospel is the sin payment death, burial and literal resurrection of Christ. Twice Paul states; “according to the Scriptures.” It is a dynamic Gospel, “the power of God unto salvation” (Ro. 1:16) The Gospel brings life and immortality to light. (2 Tim. 1:10) It is the “Gospel of peace.” (Ep. 6:15) It is the only Gospel. (Ga. 1:8) And it is called the “glorious Gospel” (2 Cor. 4:4, 1 Tim. 1:11)
CHRISTIAN MIDDLES AND CHURCH MUDDLES
Churches have taken many names and professing Christians are numerous. Some church attendees have turned away from their traditional churches and have embraced a more “Bible church.” Some have found the truth of salvation, but others who have left the denominations of their fathers, have unknowingly embraced a division church or a one-man-centered sect. Other reformed churches have changed the name on their buildings but still hold to some of their religious traditions. All this has resulted in much confusion in our generation. And many are lost to find God’s way.
THE G. E. FOOD MIXER
The mixture of Good works and Evangelical doctrine is fed to the new church attendee. And many are slow to realize that this is much the same “diet” which was served in their old former church. The death and resurrection of Christ is preached, mixed with a continual believing, and a keeping-yourself-saved by religious works. The christening ceremony has been replaced with an immersion baptism. The conformation ritual with a more serious promise or commitment. The new church has replaced the become-a-member ceremony with a sinner’s prayer or altar-call ceremony.
So not a few church-switchers have realized that their new church was another religious sham, and have left all religion and all Bible reading.
THE ELECTRONIC CHRISTIAN
We certainly sympathize with shut-ins and all who cannot attend church services. But the internet, radio, television era has produced an electronic church, where machine has almost replaced the Bible teacher. It has often been noted that the Lord said; “go ye” he did not say “through ye” the Spirit of God can certainly use these electronic channels but the way of God is to send the vessel with the message. The listener must not only hear, he must also see and know who is preaching the message.
THE BIONIC CHRISTIAN
To be captivated by miracles is exciting and dramatic, but not necessarily Christian. Martyred Christians had no miracles to keep them going. They needed no weekly miracle church to make them faithful. The spiritual Christian is a confirmation Christian. Hebrews 2 tells us that the reality of Christianity has been confirmed by miracles, so does not need to be re-confirmed. Indeed, to look for more miracles is to misunderstand the reason for miracles, And to dis-believe the inspired written record.
THE PHILOSOPHIC CHRISTIAN
The philosophic Christian is much involved with “truth” not found by others. He majors on the new. He feeds on his-religion-only-way of interpreting the Bible.
The question frequently raised by the non-church goer is why Christians, all claiming to believe in the authority of the Bible, cannot agree among themselves as to church and name. The answer is obvious, not every Bible man, or woman, or preacher, is a Christian.
Submission to God’s truth is the heart genuinely won by the Saviour. Such a heart does not try to twist God’s Word to accommodate his human philosophy, nor does it try to accommodate his personal church or his pride agenda.
First believers were called Christians, (Acts 11:26) not because of their building or well-known name association, but because of their life style. They were followers of Christ and of His teachings. They had pastors among them, but no one-paid pastor, they had men who took leadership responsibilities but had no one-man leader. They had fathers among them but had no official one holy father. They had wise men with wise counsel among them, but their only authority was the word of their Lord.
They probably had many names of importance among them, but only took one name. The Lord’s Name. They learned the truth, that every gathering who takes a second name de-values the Lord’s Name. “In His Name” or “in My Name” is found one hundred times in the N. T.
They learned baptism and the importance of obeying the Lord’s request; “this do in remembrance of me.” They were not an association with a mother church. They believed that every church stood on its own golden base and is directly responsible to the Lord himself. (Rev. 1:20) The seven churches in the first chapters of Revelation were independent of each other, with their own presbytery and their own priesthood. The fact that Jerusalem, which was the first church, is not mentioned once by the Lord tells us that each assembly was directly responsible to the Lord in heaven and did not answer to a headquarters on earth. The same inspired words were read to the seven assemblies, showing a fellowship between the churches, but that fellowship did not link them together as a denomination with a fixed creed.
We also note that Peter is not mentioned, nor any apostle, no second name is given to any church. They were identified by their town or city and not by any preacher or by any special quality.
It is most sad that young believers today are divided because of the opinions and pride of older men. Our generation has been permanently “wounded” because of past division churches. Past leaders will stand before God and will answer, not only for their own sins, but for wrongly leading others.
However, we need to focus on the Gospel message, and N. T. examples of what the Gospel is, and what it can do.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 1:18
Did Paul accuse the Jewish nation when he preached the cross? Did he tell of Israel in apostate darkness murdering their messiah? Or did Paul note the power of God, in using the heathen world-wide Roman Empire to fulfill His will?
Many have since preached the cross. Have told the wondrous story. Have tried to imagine the pain, the last steps of Jesus walking with his cross.
Beneath an Eastern sky; amid a rabble cry; A Man went forth to die; for me!
Thorn crowned His sacred Head; blood-stained His every tread, Cross-laden, on He sped; for me.
There were many executions before, but never before was there darkness at noon, and for three hours. Never before did the earth shake and graves opened. It seems that creation was reacting to the death of the creator!
The Gospel preacher has read the account of Abraham and Isaac? “Behold the fire and the wood” (Genesis 22) the Son had the wood, the Father had the fire. God raised the knife at Calvary, no voice this time to stop the hand. Awake O sword, against the Shephard, FINISHED was the loud cry, we know the meaning of this well-known Greek word.
The Gospel preacher has noted the two people of 1 Corinthians 1:18. The US and the THEM. The world is divided, there are many kinds of people in the “them.” The “us” don’t all go to the same place on Sunday morning, but will all go to the same place after this life. Today seven billion people are in the “us” or in the “them.” Jesus said the majority are among the “them.” (Mt. 7:14)
Today the cross is empty, the tomb is empty, and the throne is filled. Today Jesus is glorified by God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints and feared by demons. Today the cross is the central message of Christianity.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 3:7
The question is not only finding commandments in the Bible. But finding what commandments are written to us. Also we must ask why certain commandments are given. Many today use the Ten Commandments as a ladder to get to heaven, but the commandments were not written for that reason.
The Bible is a history book, many words apply only to Israel, or were written to correct specific problems. These many words can help me throughout the many turns of life, but we need to find doctrine written to us. Much of what Jesus said to his disciples were only for his disciples, but other words were for people who would later be converted. (John 17) When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3:7 He said “except A MAN is born again” Also “for God so loved the WORLD…” (John 3:16) It is clear from these verses that the Lord is speaking to you and me, and not only to Nicodemus.
Paul preached in Acts 17; “God commanded all men everywhere to repent.” The intelligent Bible reader will note such Bible verses that preach to him. As an individual sinner, he must repent, he must to born again.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 8:35
The book of Acts is the Gospel action book of the Bible. It has been pointed out that the generations of Ham, Shem, and Japheth are especially marked out in Acts 8, 9, and 10. There is the record of thousands being converted, but there is special mention of Noah’s lineage. The far-away gentile and the near Jew. The hard core jailer, and the religious Roman. Also In the book of Acts, we note Divine intervention, as in the conversion of Saul in chapter 9. Second, vessels, or men are used in Gospel work, as Peter in chapter 10. And also, the written word is used, as the Ethiopian in chapter 8. The three are used together in chapter 16. The earthquake, the Lord revealing to Paul, in a vision to go to Philippi, men are used and the “word of the Lord” was preached to the jailer and his family.
This order has marked the Gospel throughout the Christian era. And Satan has tried to take away or replace these vital necessary qualities which are needed for every new birth.
We want to especially note Philip using the same word that the Ethiopian was reading, (Acts 8:35) not a church or a Bible formula. So not only is the inspired word necessary, there is also guidance as to what word will be used.
We also note that the Divine intervention was an angel in the case of the Ethiopian, but was the Lord Himself in Saul’s conversion. So again, not only is divine intervention noted, the intervention was different. Of course we see different men used, Peter and Philip in the first chapters of Acts, Paul and Silas in chapter 16. These examples are given us for “our learning” and the wise soul winner will take note. The wise Christian will also note these qualities when choosing his Gospel companions. Right soul winning is a major mark of every true church.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 2:5
The Bible tells us that God is an uncreated Spirit, infinite, immortal, and omniscient. God is eternal. (Ps. 102:27) And He sent His eternal Son. Sin has come into the world, but the love of God is greater than sin.
If the Son is to be Mediator, He must first be a distinct Divine Person. The fundamental verities of salvation, justification, atonement, and expiation of sins, depend upon the Deity of our Lord. If He is not God He cannot pay for sins not yet committed when He died. If He is not a Man, and distinct from God, He cannot die and be separated from God. (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3-4; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 1:7)
The Father Himself called His Son “God.” (Heb. 1:8) And the Son joined himself to the Father, and thought it no robbery to be equal with Him, being of the same nature, power, and glory. (Ph. 2:6) And the Son “made himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2; John 1) taking human nature. Which did not change His Divine nature, the Son remained what He ever was, and became what He was not, a Man.
The eternal Son is now exalted at the right hand of the Father, and even His sufferings and death did not change His Nature and Essence. For if He is not God, equal and of the same Essence, He cannot become the Mediator between God and man; (1 Tim. 2:5) He cannot come between, and lay His hands on both to make peace and reconciliation. He must become a man to die. He must be God to atone fully, even for the sins not yet committed by the generations not yet born. “Great is the mystery of Godliness, God was manifest in the flesh…” (1 Tim. 3:16)
The men-like manifestations in the Old Testament, declare that the Lord Jesus Christ was before Bethlehem. One of the three angel-men in Genesis 18 is called the Lord. Christ revealed himself to Abraham, and later to Moses. (Heb. 11:26) While the expression “the angel of the Lord” may not always refer to Jesus, it is so in many passages. He came to announce the judgment of Sodom to Abraham, which is figurative of coming judgment, which will be executed by the Lord Jesus when He is revealed from heaven in flaming fire. (2 Th. 1)
He revealed Himself to Jacob and changed his walk for life. (Ge. 32) He came to Joshua (Jos. 5) as the defender of Israel. It will be so when the riding Monarch appears to deliver His earthly people. (Revelation 19) Another well-known manifestation is the holy scene in Isaiah 6, of which it is written: “These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spoke of Him.” (John 12:41) Thus our Lord Jesus is declared in the Old Testament. We note that the first mountain of God in Scripture is Moriah, (Ge. 22:14) which became the mount of JEHOVAH’s provision. How can we consider the Abraham-Isaac altar scene and not think of mount Calvary, which was outside the north gate of Jerusalem, and not far from mount Moriah. There our sacrifice was placed upon the altar; He “died for our sins, according to the scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:3)
God has now set his Son over all in heaven, and will do likewise on earth in the Kingdom age. All will see His exaltation and glorious eternal reign. (Luke 1:33)
We often say that JEHOVAH is omnipresent, that is, He fills heaven with his presence and is everywhere. We often say that God is all power, which is especially proven by the works of creation. (Romans 1:20) And we say that God is all knowledge. His knowledge can never increase nor decrease. He knows no more now than he did from all eternity. No new decrees or resolutions are formed in His heart. His counsels are “of old”, He sees and declares the end from the beginning, and nothing unforeseen can ever come to pass in His presence.” (Isaiah 46:10)
The Son left this omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence glory to become a man, but displayed these three attributes while living among men, thus proving that He was, and is God. The eternal Son came to earth, but He told Nicodemus that He was in heaven, (John 3:13) He was, and is omnipresent. He proved his omniscience, knowing about men and even knowing their thoughts. (Mt. 9:3) He also proved his omnipotence, which was revealed in His many miracles and in resurrection power.
The Holy Spirit is also in the world and is underlined in John 3. A clear distinction of Divine Persons is the foundation of Christianity, and each have a distinct part in the plan of salvation.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 23:40
Fear is a very real part of life. Some know only the fear of explosions and violence. An ideal society is one without fear. Promised to Israel in a future day. Our Lord spoke of a future terror that will come upon many during future world judgement. Their hearts failing them for fear. (Luke 21:26) John writes of an Angel who will say with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come. (Rev. 14:7) There is fear because of coming wrath. (Eph. 5:6) Jesus said; fear not them which kill the body, but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt. 10:28)
Believing the fact of condemnation for sin strikes fear in every intelligent creature created in the image of God. Even the atheist fears, thinking that there may be a living God. Adam said: I was afraid, (Genesis 3) he feared because he had sinned.
The fear of God is also the conviction that God is watching me. It is believing that God is in the circumstances of my life. That fact will create convictions and may alter our decisions in the situations of life, and the Bible records woman and men that feared God.
And so the robber said; do you not fear God? (Luke 23:40) this rebuke was directed to the other crucified man, and his words were followed by confession of his sin and his turning to Jesus.
We learn here that the fear of God will not save, but can lead to salvation. The Roman captain in Acts 10 was not saved because he feared God, but it led to his conversion.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 10:27
Theologians tell us that the soul is made up of a conscience, memory, and affections. Our conscience keeps sin out. Our memory keeps knowledge in. And our affections keeps us attached to our Lord. Learning goes into the mind or memory compartment. Sin is blocked by the conscience compartment. And worship is associated with the affections, or heart compartment.
To worship, I need a believing heart. (Romans 10) a rejoicing heart, a burning heart (Luke 24) a melodious heart. (Ephesian 5) The value of worship is underlined by the far away Magi’s and by Mary’s pound of ointment. (Matthew 2, John 12) There is worship by the scholarly and worship by the lowly.
To love the Lord with all our being is the Lord’s commandment in Luke 10:27. The question we must ask. How can I do this? We can maybe love with our hearts, but can we love with ALL our hearts? Another question we must ask. If this is possible why did Jesus die? The Lord’s words here are not to tell us what we must do to go to heaven, His words are to tell us what we can never do. We must admit that we can’t love perfectly, so we need a Saviour. Is Jesus a Saviour? Or only an example? Paul later wrote; “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5)
GOSPEL DEFINITION 4:10
The Gospel is the declaration that the believer is saved and the unbeliever is lost. It is not only the declaration that the believer will be saved and the unbeliever will be lost. Sin has infected all and is presently in our world. Sin atonement by Calvary is for all and is presently in our world. If we can be sure of the first, we can also be sure of the second.
Salvation is a gift. 2100 times in scripture God gives, He gives life, and gives all that will maintain life every day. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) But there is a more important gift. Jesus said to the woman; “if you knew the gift of God.” (John 4:10)
Why is the gift of salvation like water? Because of its availability, and because only God can make water. Salvation is available to all and prepared at great cost, the death of the Son.
There is another reason why salvation is like water; it must be taken, not looked at, not used to wash, not mixed with other liquids, but taken.
As to the gift of physical life, we had no choice. God wants us to choose eternal life.
But we note that the Lord reminds the woman of her sin before she got the gift. “The man whom you now have is not your husband.” (John 4:16)
GOSPEL DEFINITION 20:11
We have noted a second birth in John 3. In Revelation chapter 20:11 we find a second death. Some say all will die and that will be the end, but the apostle John writes of a second Death. There will be a vast number of people who will die twice, and there will be a vast number who will not die at all. (1 Cor. 15:51)
Many believe that all good deeds are recorded in heavenly books. But John writes of sins recorded in other books. Many believe that all will be decided at the resurrection, but there are two resurrections. John writes of the second resurrection. (Re. 20:5)
John saw a throne in Space. The majesty and holiness of the throne is noted.
John saw the Judge’s Face. Sinners will try to flee from his Face.
John saw the sinner’s fate. The dead standing before Jesus. One billion Sinners before an angry God. (Heb. 10:31) Cain, the first man born into this world will be there. Judas, the man who sold the Lord. Lot’s wife will be there, the Lord said; “remember Lot’s wife.” The little sinner will be there too, with his long list of little sins. The church goer will be there, he entered the building door many times, but never enter salvation’s door. Every Gospel rejecter will be there. And every Gospel neglecter. The largest audience ever seen will have no place to go, nothing to say, no friend to help, and no one to blame.
John saw the records traced. The books will be opened. Every idol word will be judged, (Mt. 12:36) every sinner will plead guilty, all will bow. (Phil. 2:2) and acknowledge their sins. The sins of humanity will be seen, what has spoiled God’s creation.
John saw the final place. 1000 years before, at the judgement of the living nations, the Lord will say; “depart from me, into everlasting fire” (Mt. 25:42) John saw the lake of fire. He saw the Saviour who is no longer the Saviour, He is the Judge. John saw millions cast into the lake of fire.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 26:28
History tell us that many past believers were killed, and that more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than maybe all other centuries combined. More than 150000 saints are martyred every year in many third world countries. Someone said; “the image of a cross may cost $2, but “wearing” the cross of the Bible will cost me my pride, my friends, maybe my employment, and maybe even my life. One man was “almost persuaded” (Acts 26:28) but he had much to lose. He was in a position to count the cost. He understood that the word “Christian” means to follow Christ. He was a follower of Caesar.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 4:3
“But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them ” (2 Cor. 4:3)
It is said that truth cannot be imposed, but accepted of free will. When people hesitate or oppose the truth, there must be gentle re-underlining of the truth, there must be reading, and re-reading of the word of God.
But the above text tells us of a power that is blinding the mind. It is impossible for the sinner to understand, to receive the Gospel message unless a greater power illuminate the mind. How important than to expose sinners to the Gospel. Praying that the Gospel of Christ will shine into the darken soul.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 22:12
The Lord’s parable, (Luke 14:23) has inspired many Gospel preachers. “Compelling the sinner to come in” seems to be the prominent theme of the modern day revival church. The altar call or the sinner’s-prayer-salvation-formula is rooted in this parable. The sinner is declared born again by the preacher, after a prayer has been repeated. Emotional re-commitment prayers are added in some places, often with a “speaking in tongues” experience. The modern quick church builder preaches salvation as a gift sitting on a table that all can see. The sinner must take the gift, and is pressured to do so, using the words of the parable, “compel them to come in.” But is this the teaching of the parable? We must compel the sinner to hear the Gospel message, we do not compel or push sinners into salvation. Putting on the wedding garment illustrates salvation in the parable, not the compelling to come to the supper. (Mt. 22:12) Salvation is truly a gift, but a gift that the sinner can’t see. The preacher needs to pray that the sinner’s eyes will be opened to see the gift. The sinner is born again when his eyes are opened by the Spirit, not when he fulfills the preacher’s formula.
The Spirit illuminates the mind by a direct, or indirect word of Scripture, (1 Peter 1:23) a word from God telling of a living Saviour who came to save a dead sinner. At such a moment the doxology hymn can be sung; “O the love that drew salvation’s plan, the grace that brought it down to man, the mighty gulf that God did span, at Calvary.”
GOSPEL DEFINITION 16:8
We read that the Spirit moved on the face of the waters. (Ge. 1:2) and that a systematic order was created, establishing an order of movement by the earth around the sun, and the earth moving or spinning as it moves through space. God also established an order in the life preserving elements of the earth. Water and air movement is part of a systematic process which has worked flawlessly for many centuries. But we remark in other Scriptures that God can directly move the same elements. Often noted in well-known Bible events, as the flood, the parting of the red sea and at the cross. God has directly moved nature elements to show his presence and His power. Which were the infallible evidence that Jesus, who demonstrated the same element control, was indeed God manifested in the flesh.
According to John 16:8 the Holy Spirit moves on the “face of the earth” He is the divine Convictor of sin. He functions much like the systematic rotation of the earth around the sun. But at special times He moves directly, as in the days of the early church. The Holy Spirit is associated with the conversion of every sinner, He is like the wind noted by the Lord in John 3.
The Spirit is also responsible for the publication and preservation of the Bible, and with the functioning of the local church. His present ministry includes calling workers to the ministry (Acts 13:1) and making leaders in local churches. (Acts 20:28)
GOSPEL DEFINITION 15:4
The parable of the lost son is well-known. (Luke 15:4)
His Domain, he had many blessings.
His Distance, he got away and into a far country.
His Disgrace, he was humiliated.
His Diet, he was feeding on what was unthinkable a few months before.
His Determination, he must get back.
His Discovery, the father was waiting, with love and forgiveness.
His Dress. He got the best robe, clothed in righteousness, a ring, and shoes to walk as a Son.
With pockets full of money
I journeyed far away
But living high I wasted all
And then I couldn’t pay
So clothed in rags and hungry
Friends gone and all alone
Out in the fields and feeding swine
I’m thinking now of home. J. M. 1993
I see someone in the distance
Running to me in the way
Why it look like, it’s my father
My son! My son! I hear him say
I must confess my sin to him
But his words, O hear the sound
Bring the best robe, and shoes and ring
For my lost son is now found.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 11:28
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy- laden and I will give you rest. (Mt. 11:28)
The greatest invitation.
By the greatest person.
The greatest promise.
The greatest provision.
The greatest privilege, learn of me.
The greatest peace, rest for the soul, or, the assurance of salvation.
All believers have a specific time when they heard the word “come”
Right-living practices and sin avoidance is not the way. There must be New Birth.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 3:20
John writes of the voice of Jesus in Revelation 1. It was as the sound of many waters. (Verse 15) The voices of the prophets were like little streams of truth that flowed through the ages, here is the ocean of truth, the voice of the Son of God (Heb. 1:1) His voice was also as thunder, at Sinai they feared the voice, at the Great White Throne His voice will be terrible.
But John also heard his voice of comfort. (Verse 17) He felt the touch of his hand. The stars and all saints are in His hand, the book is in His hand, (Rev. 10:8) the keys, and the destiny of all humanity is in His hand.
Hell is the place of departed spirits who are lost, death is the body or grave. The Son holds the keys to release both the body and the soul. (Rev. 1:18) The eternal “I AM” said: “I became dead.” Into this new experience He entered, He defeated the enemy with his own instrument, as David with Goliath’s own sword. After the cross and the tomb, the Son left earth for heaven and home. (Acts 1) The last earthy sight of the disciples was the pierced feet of Christ. He ascended up, and went through the Shekinah cloud, and is presently the heavenly sight of all who are now in paradise, including these disciples who witnessed His ascension. The Lord has gone up and is sat down. Did the disciples realize, that from that moment heaven was changed forever? A real Man had gone into paradise. Unlike Enoch and Elijah our Lord ascended in glorified-body power. Un-submissive to the law of gravity, and in defiance of the prince and power of the air, He ascended on high and sat down. Far above all principalities, and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, the Son is glorified and exalted. The propitiation work of Christ, which men rejected or failed to see and acknowledge, is now established. The Father has received the Righteous One, and heaven is now ready to receive all who have believed in His completed salvation work. (1 John 2:2)
Because He ascended with his own body, every redeemed body will also ascend and go in. “Where I am there ye may be also” (John 14) is the promise to the complete saved person, not only to the soul. But because the Forerunner has gone in, millions of souls have already followed and are now in heaven.
Revelation 3:20 tells of his hand and his voice, standing outside of a professing church. Certainly He stands outside the sinner’s heart today and knocks. And many will be in heaven because of this golden text.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 16:14
We mentioned the work of the Holy Spirit, especially seen in the book of Acts.
Lydia was a good living woman, she worshipped God, but still needed salvation. We do not read of her seeking or of her believing. (No doubt she did) The emphasis is on the Lord opening her heart. Acts 16:14.
We do well to note evidence of the work of God in all conversion accounts. It is good to preach the necessity of believing or coming to the Saviour, but we must not forget that salvation is a work of God.
As noted, the Lord tells of the necessity of the convicting power of the Spirit in John 16. Of the voice of the Son in John 5:25, which is the Saviour himself speaking through the scriptures. And in John 6:44 the Lord tells of a “drawing” of God to the Son. So there must be the illumination of the Spirit, the voice of the Son, and the drawing of the Father before the dead sinner is quickened to life.
John 1 tells us that the new birth is not of the will of man. (Verse 13) So the preacher deciding that the sinner is to be saved at the end of his preaching is a mistake. And the preacher telling the sinner that she is saved because she or he has fulfilled the “believing formula” is a deceitful work of Satan.
But what is man’s part, what must the sinner do?
Paul preached repentance toward God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
Peter writes that the word of the Gospel is the seed of eternal life. (1 Peter 1:22)
In Mt. 13, the parable of the sower, the sinner hears the Gospel and understands it. (Mt.13:23)
So it can only be after the sinner repents, after the sinner hears the word of the Gospel and after the sinner understands or has his mind opened to a precise truth, that God will give life.
The miracle of salvation is the resurrection of the dead soul to eternal life. It is also the giving of that life at the same moment that the sinner believe or accept the Saviour.
Man entered into sin with a clear understanding, Adam willingly entered into death with a clear mind. So man must inter life with a clear mind. Satan cannot accuse God of forcing or tricking the sinner. Satan did not force Adam to disobey God. So the Lord will not force any into salvation.
GOSPEL DEFINITION 3:16
This most well-known verse, John 3:16, has an almost forgotten word.
To preach that worst sinners will perish is believed by many. But the Bible tell us that every Christ neglecter will perish. (Heb. 2:3) That all mockers will perish. (1 Cor. 1:18)
That the blinded sinner will perish.
(2 Cor. 4:3)
That the sinner without knowledge of the law will perish. (Rom. 2:l2)
That all non-repentant sinners will perish. (Luke 13:2)
The Bible tells us of only 2 kinds of people in our world today; those that perish. (1 Cor. 1:18) and those that will never perish. (John 10:28)
The disciple’s words to our Lord concerning their physical well-being can well be applied.
“Carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38 Luke 8:24)
The Lord does care today, and is not willing that any should perish… (2 Peter 3:9)
GOSPEL DEFINITION –Conclusion
The Gospel is the good news of Salvation, taught in three ways in the Bible; in doctrine, in parables and by examples.
The Gospel is a heart discerner. It will enlighten the mind. It can change the mind. It can save the soul. It is a conscience searcher, and a life changer. It can be hid, (2 Corinthians 4, Isaiah 59) It can be neglected. It should be explained. (1 Corinthians 15)
The Gospel is associated with God’s will. Is the Gospel heard today? Are Bibles available in 3000 languages? Is there worship to God from every language because of the Gospel received? We then conclude that the prayer is being answered, God’s will is being done on earth. (Mt. 6:9) In a future day, in the kingdom, the will of God will be done perfectly on earth.
The Gospel is associated with faith or trust. But before we are asked to trust, God gives us evidence that He can be trusted. Before God will ask us to trust Him He will show us His trustworthiness. God has not failed his creation. Today, plants and trees will produce oxygen and process carbon dioxide, if they stop we will die in five minutes. Food of every kind has kept his creation for many centuries. The preservation of planet earth, flying through space, is another example of the trustworthiness of God. The question is; can we trust God as to salvation?
Is it not surprising that people can trust the police to protect them. Children trust their parents for their livelihood, but many children and adults cannot trust God for salvation. The police and our parents can fail us, but can God fail us? Has He not given proof that he can be trusted?
What will be the end of the Gospel neglecter, and the Gospel rejecter?
Jesus tell of a place where there are no friends, no water, no mercy, no exit, and no light. A place where the Love of God cannot go. A place where prayer is never answered.
A place of darkness and solitude. The Lord tells of a rich man who went there.
And of five brothers who were on their way to the same prison.
Someone said that Jesus spoke of a rich man’s MERRIMENT. His life was very comfortable.
Of a rich man’s MISFORTUNE. He died.
He spoke of a rich man’s MISERY.
His shocking experience …in hell.
Of the rich man’s MEMORY. He remembered good things. He remember every Blessing from God.
And Jesus spoke of this rich man’s MESSAGE.
It was never delivered to his five brethren. But is recorded for all who will read it today.
The message is; “Don’t come here.” (Luke 16:19-31)
God takes no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked, but He will carry out full justice upon all who reject (or neglect) the Saviour, and die in their sins.
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God.” (Ps. 9:17)
The reader will note that no O. T. definitions are penned in this booklet. There are undeniably many Gospel text in the O. T. which we will study in another booklet.