Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What is the Gospel Message?

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The Gospel message contains the most important message that everyone must hear and the apostle Paul provided the nucleus in 1 Corinthians 15:3, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” It is an essential message to be heard and proclaimed because “the strongest argument for the Gospel of Christ is the personal testimony of someone whose life has been changed by it” (Source Unknown). Proclaiming the Gospel is “to tell the good news, to tell thoroughly all the truth of the gospel, holding back nothing, but declaring 'the whole counsel of God” (Alfred Gibbs).

Also, there are four Greek words used in the New Testament to translate the word `preach' that Alfred Gibbs shared:
·      Kerusso—to proclaim, to herald. This is used of the public proclamation of the Gospel. (Matt. 11. 1; Mark 1. 4; 3. 14; 16. 20; Rom. 10. 15, etc.)
·      Euaggelizo—to tell good news. From this word are derived our terms—'evangel', 'evangelist', 'evangelize'. (Matt. 11. 5; Luke 4. 18; 7. 22; 1 Cor. 1. 17; Gal. 1. 8; Heb. 4. 2, etc.)
·      Kataggello—to tell thoroughly. (Acts 4. 2; 13. 38; 15. 36; Col. 1. 28)
·      Laleo—to talk. (Mark 2. 2; Acts 11. 19; 14. 25, etc.)

The common idea boils down to intentionally engaging people to seek an audience. Thus, it is essential that preachers must focus its message on the centrality of Christ and no one else. Somebody shared that when St. Bernard preached on one Sabbath, all the scholars came forward to praise him. The next Sabbath he preached Christ and all the sinners came up to thank him. In this example, every preacher must remember a simple motto and that is, “to be worthy of the thanks of sinners, not the praise of men, is the ambition of the true minister.”

Proclaiming the Gospel message is contained in this powerful statement: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Looking at it closely, it begins by acknowledging that, “Christ died.” Ed Stetzer explained, “Jesus took the wrath of God for me, and he died. His body was placed in a tomb, and on the third day he came back from the dead, never to die again.” Before Jesus breathed His last, He shouted, “It is finished” to signify a new beginning (John 19:30). Next, it spoke of the reason for His death: “Christ died for our sins.” It is where Jesus became “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Ed Stetzer provided an incisive description: “The substitutionary atonement is at the heart of the gospel. This is where we see and understand the great love that God has for us, that the Son would allow the Father to place our sins on him and punish him in our place.”

Finally, it revealed the basis of His death: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” The Gospel message was woven from the tapestry of Old Testament promises and fulfilled in the New Testament to the last letter as Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).

When we share this statement of great importance, we open the door of opportunity for people to discover God’s love. Paul told Timothy, “Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). It is our task to tell people about what Christ did and then let God do His work in their lives through the Holy Spirit’s power. Remember that our objective as servants of Christ in reaching people is to proclaim, “by this gospel you are saved.” In doing so, we align ourselves to what Paul told the Corinthian church, “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:2). Therefore, in putting everything in perspective, let’s consider what Oswald J. Smith highlighted, “The world does not need sermons; it needs a message.” God’s message must be proclaimed faithfully “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Let’s talk again!

Preaching Sermon Illustrations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://moreillustrations.com/Illustrations/preaching%202.html
Preaching Sermon Illustrations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://moreillustrations.com/Illustrations/preaching%201.html
Stetzer, E. (2015). What is the Gospel? A Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Christianity Today. Retrieved from http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/june/what-is-gospel.html