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The Gospel

 

The message from Christ and about Christ and what he alone has done for all who come to believe in him as Lord and Savior, as God in the flesh. (Clink GOSPEL VERSES to see how this is the one and only Gospel outlined for us in God's word.)   updated 8/2006


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(Note to Parents: I wrote the following as simply as possible in hopes you might consider reading it to your children from time to time. Maybe you can read a little of it each night at as you gather them for prayer at bedtime.  See what you think. As questions arise, go to the GOSPEL VERSES link above to read them the answers from the Bible.—Bro. Jim)

 

THE GOSPEL (in brief):

Christ died to absolutely secure the salvation

of all who come to believe in him

as Lord and Savior, as God in the flesh!

 

The Gospel (in three paragraphs)

SIN - All human beings are sinners who disobey God's law. They are born in sin, and because of their sin they enter this world condemned to God's eternal punishment—Hell. They are totally helpless to do anything to change their situation. (As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. Eph. 2:1. Dead is helpless.)

SALVATION - God sent his only Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life (without sin) and suffer the full punishment for sinners by dying on the cross for all who would come to believe in him as their Lord and Savior, as God in the flesh. He chose them from the before the beginning of the world and he gives them the gift to believe in him—the gift of faith—and assures them through his word, the Bible, that they will live with him forever in his heavenly kingdom! (All who were destined for eternal life came to believe. Acts 13:48)

SERVICE - All who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior thank him for rescuing or “saving” them from eternal punishment and winning for them a place with him in his heavenly kingdom. They love him above all else and seek to show him their gratitude by obeying his commands and live lives of love and service to God and each other. ("..let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16) 

The Gospel is the message of Jesus Christ. It is the message that came from him and is about him. It is also called the "good news."  It is a message that bears much good news for those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, Son of the living God and God in the flesh.

We find the Gospel throughout the Bible in various contexts but it was probably stated no more clearly than by Jesus himself who said:

HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME HAS EVERLASTING LIFE! (John 6:47)

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that he came to earth to establish his kingdom—a kingdom that is not of this world but in heaven—the place where God lives. Jesus told us that all who believe in him as God in the flesh would be part of his kingdom.  He knew who would believe in him because he chose us to believe in him and he loved us so much that he came to die for us to secure our place in his heavenly kingdom.

Jesus knew we are all sinful people. We inherited a sinful nature—our natural tendency to sin—from a guy named Adam, who was the first man God made.  Though God made Adam perfect, Adam sinned against God, he did something that God warned him not to do. And ever since Adam, all human beings do the samewe sin, we disobey God. We are born in sin and it is a natural part of our being. But just because it is "natural" does not make it right. Sin is rebellion against God—who is all good and all holy. 

Because of our sin, there was no way we could go to live with God someday unless someone rescued or saved us. Without a rescuer or "savior," all of us would go to hell because all of us sin and God has warned us that all sin, is deserving of hell. But the good news is that God has sent Jesus, his very Son, who volunteered for the painful task of rescuing or "saving" all who believe in him. God had planned all this from before the beginning of time.

Jesus came to make it certain that, all who believed in him, would live with God in his kingdom one day. Jesus, the very Son of God, would cover himself in our flesh by being born here on earth, and live among us. Jesus' mother was a woman who was like us in everyway. Her name was Mary and God chose her and filled her with his grace, his favor, which she did not deserve. But she gladly accepted God's call to be the Mother of Jesus. She was a virgin when God the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived a son, Jesus. God picked a man named Joseph to wed Mary and to be Jesus' stepfather on earth. Jesus was born in a lowly stable and he was raised as a carpenter. He would share in all our trials and tribulations and be like us in everyway, except that he would never sin! 

When Jesus had grown to be a man, he began preaching that the kingdom of God was coming. He healed the blind, the lame, the sick, those afflicted by evil spirits and he even raised the dead to prove to us that he is the Son of God—God in the flesh! He told us clearly that he was the only way to God the Father. Jesus promised that all who believe in him will have everlasting life with him in his kingdom. 

He also clearly warned all who refuse to believe in him as their Lord and Savior that, after they die, they will spend an eternity in hell for their sins. He told us that hell is a place of eternal torment set aside for those who reject him. That means they don't want to trust him—and they don't believe that he is the Son of God, the One who died to forgive their sins and win them eternal life with him in heaven.

He showed his deep love for all who would come to believe in him, by allowing us sinners to get angry and put him to death on a cross. He took all the sins of everyone—who ever did believe or ever will believe in him—upon himself.  He took all our sins to the cross and he made himself the perfect sacrifice to God the Father by dying for all those sins. He died in our place and became the last sacrifice and the most perfect sacrifice ever made to God the Father. God raised Jesus, bodily, from the dead just three days later.

After he was raised from the dead, Jesus talked to and continued to teach his followers for several days and he promised to send his Holy Spirit to live in each one of us who believes in him. He promised us that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth and that he would be with us always through the Holy Spirit. Then he ascended into heaven body and soul. But before he left, he also promised to return to earth again one day in all his heavenly glory to take us home!

Now, thanks to Jesus, everyone who believes in him is marked in a way that only God can see. While we still have the sinful natures we inherited from Adam, we are covered in the holiness or righteousness of Jesus. We call it Jesus' "righteousness"  or "right standing" before God. Jesus clothes us in his righteousness—a righteousness that is not our own but his. That is why we do not brag or boast about our salvation because we know it has nothing to do with us or our actions. Instead, our salvation has everything to do with Jesus and his mercy in choosing us to believe in him. 

Jesus' righteousness is the only reason we can rest assured that—no  matter the difficulties and problems we face in this life, no matter how much trouble we have fighting our sinful natures—God will know us and he will welcome all who believe in his Son into the wonderful place he has prepared for us. We call it heaven—a place where we will live eternally with the Lord. A place where there is no sorrow, only joy!

While we are still on earth, Jesus commands all his followers to love God and love each other. But we don’t always do that and he knew we wouldn't. So he told us to forgive each other and confess our sins to him and he promised that he would forgive us. Because we trust in him and what he did for us on the cross,  we know he forgives us and that gives us great comfort, despite all our trials here on earth. We know that, no matter what happens to us here on earth, he has won a home for us in heaven--where we will be with him forever! We put all our trust in him and none of it ourselves. We know that, only by his power can we ever do what is right.

Jesus also gives us true signs of his presence among us, signs that he has given to his church here on earth. The church represents his body here on earth and includes all those who have come to believe in him—all those he has given the gift of faith. One of those signs is baptism. Baptism signifies we are joined to Jesus and his church here on earth. Baptism is the way Jesus himself gave us to show everyone that we publicly proclaim that we do believe in him as our Lord and Savior, God in the flesh, who has shed his blood and died on the cross to save us from our sins. We confirm this to everyone when we do as he commanded and are buried or baptized in the water and rise up from it. We proclaim we are joined to Christ, his death and his resurrection. Baptism is a sign that Jesus gave us to show forth and share with everyone, the gift of faith he has given us.

The other sign or ordinance, as it is sometimes called, is Holy Communion. It is called an ordinance because Jesus commanded or "ordered" us to receive the bread and wine at Holy Communion during his Last Supper here on earth. It is his command that we celebrate what he has done for us and we are delighted to do so.

In Holy Communion the Lord shows us that by his one sacrifice, once and for all times, he himself feeds us with every grace necessary to sustain us in this life. At Holy Communion, we individually and as a body of believers, confirm the gift of faith he has given us and rejoice that he is the Son of God and that he alone has given us everlasting life through his one bloody sacrifice, when he died on the cross for us.

As baptized members of one body, the church on earth, each of us goes to Holy Communion again and again and each time we do so we are telling everyone in church that we believe in Jesus and all he has done to save us, the fact that he has secured our salvation and we will be with our resurrected Lord some day soon in heaven. We confirm that we believe all of his promises, including the one he made at his Last Supper that we truly receive his body and blood when we receive this special meal of bread and wine. We can't explain exactly how we receive his body and blood, anymore than we can explain why he chose us to believe in him, but through Holy Communion we confirm that we accept him fully and every promise he made us, as found in the Bible.

By participating at Holy Communion we tell everyone that we do indeed believe Jesus died to forgive us and all who believe in him of their sins. We receive the bread and wine to let others know, that we believe Jesus has covered us in his own righteousness, and that all thanks to him, we will join him one day in heaven.

Of course, we don't have to wait for a church service to worship Christ. We can and should go to him in prayer daily to praise and thank him, no matter what our circumstances or concerns. Everyday, we can praise him for saving us and assuring us that we will be with him one day in heaven. We can thank him for the work he is doing in us through his Holy Spirit.

We take our concerns to him as well, ask him for healing of body, mind and spirit and thank him for the trust he has given us in him to meet all our needs and forgive our many sins. We ask him to give us more faith and to help us keep his commands, not that keeping his commands will get us to heaven but instead, that our obedience will bring glory to Christ among our friends and others we know. We thank him for the peace and blessings that come to us when we are obedient, we also thank him for any suffering that may result from that same obedience. Such suffering is a small way to show our thankfulness for all he has done for us.  He welcomes anyone who believes in him to come to him in prayer anytime. He promises he will always forgive the sins of those who believe in him and tells us to forgive those who sin against us.

We ask him to give us a desire for his word, and help us seek to read the Bible daily that we may we hear what he has to say to us. For instance, he commands us to be ever-watchful for him. Why?

The answer is that Jesus also promised us that he is coming back to earth again to raise our bodies from the grave after we die. He will make them newer and better than ever—and join them with our souls, which will already be with him in his heavenly kingdom!  As soon as believers die, their souls go to heaven to be with Jesus. 

For those of us who are still alive when Jesus comes again, he’ll take us body and soul into heaven!  See what wonders those who believe in Christ have to look forward to? If you believe in him, rejoice and thank him everyday, by your words and your deeds, for the salvation he has won for you!  You always have something to look forward to—a heavenly home with Jesus!

Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)

He who believes in me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)

(Clink GOSPEL VERSES to read the many verses in the Bible that tell us this is the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ!)

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