By way of introduction there are ten characteristics of Gospel that will help us in our study. These are:
1. IT IS OF GOD. Paul related that he was "called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel OF GOD --- the Gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding HIS SON"
(Rom.1:1-3). Let us understand that the Gospel is OF (FROM) God. In other words as a result of God's GRACE (Acts20:24).
2. IT IS OF (ABOUT) JESUS. In speaking to the Ethiopian eunuch Philip began with the passage of Scripture he was reading and "told him the GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS" (Acts8:35). What this means is best clarified in Acts5:42: "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the GOOD NEWS THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST (Jewish Messiah)."
3. IT IS OF THE KINGDOM. "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, PREACHING the GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM"
(Mt.4:23) (See also Mt.9:35; Lk.4:43; Lk.8:1). The concept of Kingdom can be easily misunderstood. Here it means a "realm" where a King rules. That King is Jesus and WE ( those IN CHRIST - - - His Church ) are His realm.
4. IT IS PREACHED ( taught ). "This Gospel of the kingdom will be PREACHED . . ." (Mt.24:14) Also numerous other Scriptures. Very predominantly the "mode of delivery" of the Gospel is preaching. But it can also be taught (see 2 above). I am also of the firm opinion that "preaching and teaching" the Gospel are not restricted to the oral realm but lends itself to such as reading, demonstration, example etc. (the heavens DECLARE the Glory of God . . . but they don't talk).
5. IT IS NOT WITH WORDS OF HUMAN WISDOM, Although it is preached. If there is one lesson or warning that you take away from this teaching on Gospel . . . THIS IS IT ! ! ! Paul, in writing of his preaching the Gospel, noted that it was "Not with words of human wisdom, LEST THE CROSS OF CHRIST BE EMPTIED OF ITS POWER" (1Cor.1:17). Can you see the grave danger in false preaching (preaching using human wisdom)?
When we examined prayer to find why it is so powerless, we came to the conclusion that it was misunderstood. Do you see the same thing here? Is this another reason why the church is so powerless? IT ABSOLUTELY IS ! ! ! CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYTHING MORE THREATENING THAN THE CROSS OF CHRIST BEING EMPTIED OF ITS POWER?. How can we tolerate false preaching (which the vast majority of preaching is)?
6. IT MUST BE IN TRUTH. In dealing with "false brothers" Paul stated that they "DID NOT GIVE IN TO THEM FOR A MOMENT, so that
THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL might remain" (Gal.2:5). Remember, the devil knows truth! In fact it is his kryptonite, his mortal enemy: But remember his lies are our mortal enemy. Paul chastened the church at Galatia: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - - - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to PERVERT the gospel of Christ" (Gal.1:6-7). Clearly, to be a "Good Message" TRUTH must be revealed.
7. IT CONTAINS THE INHERENT PRINCIPLE OF FAITH. Paul wrote to the Philippians: ". . . whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the Spirit, CONTENDING as one man for the FAITH OF THE GOSPEL" (Php.1:27). It is important to realize that, in the things of God, FAITH IS AN ACTION WORD ! ! ! Note the action word "contending" above. See Hebrews 11:1-40 for an excellent proof.
8. ON IT WE TAKE OUR STAND. "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which
YOU HAVE TAKEN YOUR STAND (1Cor.15:1). A better interpretation of the Greek might be "on which you have become established" or "come into right standing". See the importance of Right Standing which was elaborated on in the teaching on prayer.
9. BY IT WE ARE SAVED. "By this gospel you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain (1Cor.15:2). Notice the condition introduced by IF. What is it that we are saved from? . . . (Romans 5:9) tells us it is GOD'S WRATH.
(Romans 1:18-32) gives us a clear and ugly picture of God's wrath. These are warnings of the "earthly" things that accrue to deception.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT LOSING SALVATION.
10. TRUE GOSPEL BRINGS PEACE. "You know the message God sent to the people of Israel telling them THE GOOD NEWS OF PEACE through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all" (Acts10:36). As alluded to in 9, we cannot lose our salvation. Otherwise where could there ever be any peace? We can lose privileges and power and we might even have to suffer wrath, but WE WILL NOT LOSE SALVATION.
With these ten characteristics established, let's proceed with a detailed analysis of Gospel under three headings:
CONTENT . . . . . . . INTENT . . . . . . . EXTENT.
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