WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

 

Jesus began his ministry after being baptized in water and being led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of Satan.  After overcoming the devil, his first commandment to us was "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).  After his resurrection, he appeared until the eleven and said unto them “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).   We are to believe and then preach the gospel. So, what are we to believe and then preach (proclaim or show forth)?

God in His wisdom has included the definition of the gospel in the bible. It is defined in 1st Corinthians chapter 15:

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: (v1)

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (v2)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures:  (v3)

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures". (v4)

The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Why is it important?  In Romans 1:16, Paul proclaims, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...".   The power of God that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power that works salvation in our lives. That is, it is the power that "saves" us.

If you study these verses in Corinthians and Romans, you will find that there are some conditions. You have to receive the gospel (in your heart, not your head), you have to stand in the gospel (not be moved) and you have to keep it in memory (not hear about it once and then forget it). And most important, you have to believe. This is different than acknowledgement. To believe something, is to adhere to it, trust in it and rely on it. Verse 2 even goes on to say that if we do not keep the gospel (constantly) in memory, our believing is in vain or empty!  This in not a once saved, always saved experience, but a continuous walk or way of life.

So how do we get this power to manifest in our lives? By believing it!  Believe what God did for you when he sent Jesus to the cross and then raised him from the dead. We were all taught that Jesus died for our sins. But if we do not believe that he was raised from the dead, then we are still dead in our sins. Romans 10:9 states "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved". Not only do we have to believe, we have to confess him Lord. For him to be our Savior, he has to be Lord of our lives. That means we only do His will. (If you study the Lord's life you will note that he only did the Father's will and so should we as Jesus is our example).

Before we can receive and believe the gospel, we must repent. To repent means to have another mind (will). That is, to have God's will. When we repent, we are not just sorry for our sins but rather, we change from doing our will, to doing the Father's will. Did you know you cannot just decide to repent? Man does not have that much wisdom. Romans 2:4 says "...the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance..." It is God's grace and mercy on our lives that he leads us to repent. It is His choice to lead us to repentance and we have the choice to accept it and believe or reject God and not believe.

Referring back to Mark chapter 16, the full text of what Jesus instructed his disciples is:

And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (v15)

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but the that believeth not shall be damned (condemned)” (v16)

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (v17)

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover". (v18)

All of these signs described here are manifestations of the power of God that works through those that believe (we will discuss baptism in another teaching).  It is the same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead.  It is the same power of God that created the heaven and the earth as described in the book of Genesis.  Going back to the beginning words of Jesus “…repent ye, and believe the Gospel", stop being self-willed, believe the power of God given to us through the resurrection and we will be changed so we can do the will of God and receive His promises!

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