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The Gospel

The Gospel

by Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
February, 1999

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Last updated:
February 6, 1999.

The word "gospel" simply means "good news" or "glad tidings".  When we find it in the New Testament, it is the good news about the salvation of man offered through the blood of Jesus Christ.  We have nothing "new" to offer you, dear reader, other than the "good news" of salvation in Jesus Christ.  In this article we intend to point out several truths concerning the New Testament Gospel.

First, the Gospel was a message to be preached.  John the baptist and Jesus himself both preached the gospel of the coming kingdom (Matthew 3:1,2; 4:17).  But, after his resurrection from the grave, and just prior to his ascension to heaven Jesus told his apostles, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."  "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19,20).

This Gospel was preached to the Jews on Pentecost day A.D. 33--"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words...  (Acts 2:23 KJV)  Him... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain... This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:14,23,32,36). The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the heart of this great gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Jesus had promised his chosen apostles that they would be baptized in the Holy Ghost and that they would receive the very words necessary to preach the Gospel.  He said, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26).  Again, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13).  Furthermore, Jesus said, "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak" (Matthew 10:19).  Their activities and preaching were directed by the Holy Spirit.

Just before Jesus returned to his Father he told these apostles to remain in Jerusalem until these promises came.  And these are the events that led to the preaching that we have just referred to in Acts 2.  The message that was preached there was not the apostles' but the words of the Spirit.

We learn a number of principles about the Gospel from the letter to the Galatian churches.  Paul writes, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:6-12).

We learn that the Gospel can be perverted and by that people are lost. Paul states, in the above passage, that one who would preach a perverted gospel should be "accursed" or cut-off.  In 2 John 7-11 we find that apostle warning, "For many deceivers are entered into the world... Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."  From this passage, (Galatians 1), we understand that it is possible for those who had received the Gospel of Christ, and been saved by the Lord's grace, to be removed from him to another gospel.

This glorious Gospel was preached to the Samaritans--"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.... When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women....  And they, [Peter and John] when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans" (Acts 8:5,12,25).  Wherever the apostles went they carried this same great message.  When Paul and his company came into the region of Lycaonia and the cities Derbe and Lystra, the New Testament says, "There they preached the gospel" (Acts 14:7).  Paul said that they were specifically called to preach to the people of Macedonia.  In a dream he saw a man pleading for help and he states, "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them" (Acts 16:10).

Because Paul realized that the preaching of this message was of utmost importance, he, being in possession of it, wrote, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:14-16).  He felt that anguish and despair would be his if he failed to preach it--"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

It is a blessed privilege to carry this message for the salvation of souls.  Those who love the Truth respect those who preach it.  The Scriptures exclaim, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom 10:15).

The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is the means of being spiritually begotten.  Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth, "...In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Corinthians 4:15).  To be saved a person must hear the Gospel and believe it.  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Remember Jesus said to, "Preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..."  Later, we read, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).  Timothy was told "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

So we see that hearing the Gospel and believing it will lead a person to salvation.  Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7).  The honest seeker of the truth will happily accept it.  Those who "gladly received" the message on that Pentecost day, referred to earlier, "were baptized" (Acts 2:41) "for the remission of sins" (verse 38).

Here we have it!  The message implanted in the hearts of men springs forth in obedience to the command to be baptized.  This is clearly what Jesus had reference to when he said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:21-28).

Now we can understand what took place when Philip preached Jesus unto the Ethiopian in Acts 8:35-39, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."  The Truth was received into the heart of the convert and it resulted in baptism.

Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).  Do you see it?  The Gospel is preached, men believe it, and the seed is planted; it results in a birth of water, that is, baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).  This is the beginning of a "new creature" in Christ Jesus.  "Baptized into Christ" we "put on Christ" (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26,27).  There we "rise to walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4) we become "a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17), and are become "the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:19).

In order to be a new creature a person must turn from their old life of sin -- Jesus said, "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3; see Acts 2:38); confess "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God" (Acts 8:37).  Again, Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).

Friend, have you heard the Gospel message, believed it, and obeyed it? Do you "ask" so that you may "find" the Truth?  Do you "diligently seek" of God?  Will you "knock" for the door to be "opened unto" you?  Why not hear Christ's tender pleading, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28) -- HEAR the Gospel of Christ -- BELIEVE Him to be the son of God -- REPENT of your sins -- CONFESS Jesus blessed and holy name before men -- and BE BAPTIZED into Christ for the remission of your sins, that is, for your salvation (1 Peter 3:21).  Then the Lord promises in Revelation 2:10 "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."