What is the gospel? – Pt 6

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God  by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith

Romans 1.1-5

6.The gospel – Jesus Christ the Lord.

“Jesus Christ our LORD (verse 4).

This brings us to the heart of the gospel message.

God the Father has declared his Son, Jesus Christ, to be Lord of heaven and earth. After his death and resurrection, Jesus explains to the apostles that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).

 This has special significance since on an earlier occasion, Jesus had referred to the Father as “Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25). Since his death and resurrection, that title is now equally applicable to Jesus. He is Lord of heaven and earth. This simple phrase seems to be the clearest and simplest statement of the gospel message.

It is in essence what John the Baptist is saying when he calls men and women to recognise that “the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). It is near because the coming King is near. Jesus is that King. His Kingdom is not confined to Israel. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to him.

That is what the Father is saying to us. Jesus has had the “name that is above every name” conferred upon him (Philippians 2:9). He has been enthroned in heaven (Hebrews 1:3). Paul reminds the Romans that salvation is for those who confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord and those who believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead.   (see Romans 10:9).

Our present-day trend in evangelistic preaching to separate the Jesus who saved from the Jesus who rules is unbiblical, and because it is unbiblical, is totally unhelpful. I cannot have my sins forgiven until I acknowledge Jesus as my King. Our constant use of Revelation 3:20 – however helpful the picture of restored fellowship may be – has not  ultimately helped us in making clear to people the true nature of our response back to God. ‘Opening the door’ may or may not convey the surrender to Lordship. It will most certainly do so if the verse is expounded in context.

Wherever in the Bible we set out to show people the gospel – whenever we are engaging in personal evangelism or speaking to groups large or small, what we must take care to do is to preach God’s gospel. 

God’s gospel is about Jesus – the historical/contemporary Jesus – the Jesus who died and rose again taking the punishment our sins deserved – the Jesus who is LORD – the Jesus who is King in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:31-33; Luke 4:43).

(A reminder that the content of the these blogs over the past six days have been taken verbatim from Chapter 2 of ‘Know and Tell the Gospel’ by John Chapman and published by Matthias Media available from The Good Book Company and most bookshops.)

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