Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is the Gospel?

Fr. Dale Matson

As someone charged with preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, I find that it is not always as easy to articulate as I would like. If you Google “What is the Gospel?” you will get quite a variety of answers. I have selected some verses from Scripture and offer a summation following the verses. Certainly each of you has his or her favorite verse that you would add. Maybe the shortest version would be “Jesus Christ” and a more comprehensive summary would be the Nicene Creed.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).*

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23).

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12).

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1st John 4:13).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).

God by His grace has provided us with the faith to believe in and receive His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus saves us from sin, death and the devil and through the power of God The Holy Spirit given to us, the Lordship of Christ and His presence in us allows us to lead a life of love toward God and service to Christ in others.

I believe it would be a useful exercise for each of you who read this to attempt to put the Gospel in your own words. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1st Peter 3:15)

Are you ready to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? You may be asked sooner than you expect. Amen.

*New American Standard Bible


Sibyl said...

Thank you, Fr. Matson,

Your posts here always go right to the heart of the issues that have created the instability, conflict and turmoil in the Anglican, really the whole Christian world (and whether they like it or not, the secular and pagan worlds as well) and give us a better grasp of them and of the key principles of the faith.

It is vital for Christians to understand exactly what The Gospel is and means so we can pass on this 'good news' of God's blessing and hope and we can discern when God's Word and His Church is being violated, distorted and polluted.

John 5:24 is another verse that gives the Gospel message in a short space:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

The hearing (heeding, consenting, obeying) and believing (faith and trust) are both transforming spiritual acts and gifts of is repentance, renouncing and leaving the kingdom of evil, lies, lust, death and being reborn and implanted into the Kingdom of Life, Love and to grow on in His likeness, learning how to hear His voice, walk in His Spirit, live rightly, His power, mercy, grace and holiness.

John has a number of Gospel capsules:
John 14:15 and 21 say, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
Jesus is referring to the Two Great Commandments (Love the Lord your God with all your hearts, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.) and to John 15:12, all of which which the Nicene creed omits.

The mere cognitive assent to doctrine required in the Nicene creed or even the Apostles creed is not enough. Loving God and our neighbor is required. Knowing and loving God before all things, learning His voice, hearing and doing His Word and Spirit is the responsibility, privilege and (we discover to our delight that it is) the way of true and lasting joy - for every Christian, lay and clergy.

Sibyl said...

Another way to communicate the Gospel is by this acrostic:

Sin (and satan)

Dale Matson said...

Thanks for the additional and useful comments. I am frequently torn between pointing out what seems to me to be false teaching and simply stating the Truths as they have been handed down to us. "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Corinthians 4:1, NASB)