WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Simply put, "gospel" means "good news" and entails the revelation of all that God has promised and how He is fulfilling those promises through the person and work of Jesus Christ. God has revealed these promises and His power to bring them about through a narrative recorded in the Bible. The climax of this narrative is the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ—God’s incarnate Son. But since this narrative begins unfolding long before the earthly life of Jesus, we must go back—way back before the creation of all things. This is the story of God and all things. This is the gospel.
BEFORE THE WORLD
“Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Long before the world existed, there was God. He is the Most High God and is powerful over everything. God alone always does what is good, right and perfect—that’s why the Bible calls Him Holy. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit existed in a perfect, joyful love that had no end. Because the Father delighted in His Son and loved Him, He gave Him a great gift. The gift was a people to whom God would make Himself known so that they would know and love God and be known and loved by God forever. God and His people would have a perfect, joyful love, just like the love of the Father for the Son. God had a plan, a mission in creating everything that He would create.
In His wisdom, God created all things in heaven and on earth by His powerful Word. He spoke and everything came to being—the water and land, the sun, moon and stars, and all plants and animals. He also created angels that were very beautiful to live with Him in heaven, and to serve and worship Him. Lastly, He created man according to His image. After God created everything He said it was very good.
GOD AND MAN IN RELATIONSHIP
God placed the man and woman in a beautiful garden to live. They had a loving relationship with Him and with each other. He told them to take care of the garden and to enjoy everything. To show them His will, He gave them one special command: they could eat from every tree in the garden except one. If they ate from that one tree, they would be punished and die. For a time, the man and woman listened to God and obeyed Him, and they lived in peace. What the man and woman experienced is what we were made to do.
People were in joyful communion with God. They trusted Him for what was best for them. God was the delight of their desires and thoughts. They feasted in the presence of God who would walk with them in the cool of the day. There was no fear, guilt, corruption or rebellion. There was peaceful, joy-filled community. It was a feast of delight.
PEOPLE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER
The first people, Adam and Eve, also lived in joyful communion with each other. They served and cared for one another out of love and joy. There was no conflict, jealous competition, no posturing for power, no revenge or vain striving. There was no malice, anger, condemnation, bitterness, shame, cutting words, sexual perversion or abuse. They never used each other for selfish gain.
PEOPLE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAND & NATURE
What’s more, the land was rich, fertile, and peaceful. Nature was calm, delightful, and pristine. There was no fear of hunger, poverty, disease, pain or disaster.
REBELLION OF THE DEVIL
Now, do you remember the angels I mentioned? One of the angels was very smart and beautiful. He began to feel proud of His beauty and intelligence, and he wanted to be like God and to have the other angels worship him. Only God deserves all worship and service, so God cast the disobedient angel—the devil (which means enemy)—and the other angels who listened to him out of heaven. These bad angels are called demons.
REBELLION OF MAN
One day, the devil tempted the woman to eat the food from the tree that was forbidden. The woman listened to the devil and ate the fruit and also gave some to her husband. This disobedience was sin, because they rejected God and believed He withheld from them what was best. They sought to be gods of their own lives.
PEOPLE’S BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Instantly, fear, rejection, guilt, shame and confusion became the driving experiences in relationship. Where harmonious community existed, envy, strife, and deceit now pervaded. Man was bent in willful rebellion from God’s authority, rather than joyful submission to Him. People exchanged the truth and beauty of God, for self-worship and self-service.
PEOPLE’S BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER
In their sin, people became lovers of self, always seeking to be served but not to serve; to be loved, but not to love. They craved control, rejecting any authority apart from themselves. They were filled with all kinds of evil in their thoughts, desires, motives and actions.
PEOPLE’S BROKEN RELATIONSHIP WITH LAND AND NATURE
Their sin even corrupted the land. Thorns, weeds, decay, disease and fear of animals and natural disaster penetrated the serenity.
God is righteous and holy, and He always punishes sin, therefore, God cast the man and the woman out of the garden. They were banished from their home; the place of God’s presence and provision. The feast was traded for war. Pure community was traded for a broken community. And, ever since, people have wandered as exiles in the wilderness of this life, groping in different ways for the security, comfort and rest of our original home. We have all sinned by not listening to God’s will, not giving Him the honor and worship He deserves, and not trusting Him as our God and King.
GOD SENDS JESUS
Although everyone continued to sin, God’s love for people never ended. God had a perfect way for people to be reconciled to Him. God showed His love for those He created by sending Jesus, His one and only Son, who was one with God from the very beginning. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
When Jesus was on earth, He showed that He is greater than the powers of the world, and that He alone is able to satisfy our needs. He even has power to raise the dead. Unlike us, Jesus never sinned. He always loved God and others, in His thoughts and desires and words and actions. He obeyed His Father in heaven perfectly. Just like God, He alone always did what was good, right and perfect.
CROSS & SUBSTITUTE
Most people loved Jesus. However, there were some religious leaders who were jealous of Him. These men arrested Jesus and decided to kill Him. They condemned Him in trial and as punishment they made Him carry a large wooden cross to their place of execution. They took His hands and His feet and nailed them to the cross. His blood flowed from His hands, feet and body. Jesus suffered much pain on the cross.
Jesus’ death was special because it was a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was perfect and He alone did not deserve to die. But in obedience to God, He died for all peoples of the world. Out of love, God sent Jesus to die on the cross. Only through the shedding of Jesus’ blood does God forgive anyone’s sin. Jesus’ death demonstrates God’s love towards His people. God bore the curse and divine wrath we deserved for our sin.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
After Jesus died, he was placed in a secure tomb. His followers thought that it was a tragic death of a great man. But, on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead breaking the power of death, paying the penalty for sins and achieving victory over the devil to the glory of God. Jesus secures an eternal salvation for those who believe on Him. Jesus took our punishment and now provides a way for us to come back to God.
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those
who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has
come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
(1 Corinthians 15:20–22)
After He rose, he spent forty days on earth teaching and caring for His followers and telling them what new life in Him is like and how any who come to Him can come back to God, have forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. Then He returned to His Father in heaven and sat down at His right hand where He has reigned in power ever since.
After Jesus ascended to heaven, His followers began to tell everyone they knew, and even strangers about the eternal good news of what God has done in Jesus to reconcile sinners to Himself and set all things to right in the age to come. This good news, or gospel, about Jesus has spread ever since. Everyone who believes this good news is reconciled to God and adopted into His family. God is gathering people into His family throughout the world, every day. For now, God’s family lives together in the same world as those who have rebelled from Him. Here on earth, God’s family in Jesus joyfully worships God, gathers to care for each other and scatters to tell others about this great hope! Those who have trusted in Christ in their place, rather than trusting the work of their own hands to be accepted by God, have been given new heart full, and being filled up more and more, by the love of God. God’s Spirit comes to take up dwelling in Jesus’ followers and because of Jesus Christ they have and are going in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. The peace of God rules their hearts and minds as they are given eyes to see the sovereign hand of God over all things. They understand that God’s plan for the end of this world and its remaking has everything to do with every aspect of their lives and their purpose here on earth. They need not fear the disaster, the devil or death, because God is greater than all and has proven it in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, current reign, and certain, imminent return.
God has set a day in the future when Jesus will return, recreate and set all things right on earth. He will judge every secret purpose of the heart. He will complete His victory by delivering His people to their eternal home with Him, and all who reject Him will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might. He will cleanse the world from sin, and remake it to be good and perfect, even better than it was in the beginning. God’s family will live with Him and know His love forever. God will again dwell with His people. There will be no more decay, disease, death, mourning, crying or pain. Selfishness, anger, sexual immorality, bitterness, vanity, murder, greed, and all wicked lusts and thoughts will end.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.”
We must put our trust in Jesus Christ in order to have new life, the blessing of knowing the God over all creation, to be saved from the judgment to come, and to enter into eternal, joyful relationship with God. You have the opportunity today to receive the greatest Treasure of all. If you found the greatest treasure in the world buried in a field, wouldn’t you sell everything you had to buy that field?
Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I am the Son of God, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). He came to defeat the works of the devil, forgive your sins and bring you back to God. Will you set your trust upon Him for your acceptance before God? Will you confess Jesus Christ as your King and deny self-mastery?
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We invite you to join us and millions around the world and throughout history who have turned from their sin to trust and follow Jesus Christ. May God would give you new eyes to see His surpassing beauty and a new heart to treasure Him above all things.
Please join us Sunday morning for worship. We would love to welcome you into the family of God through baptism and journey with you in faith.