In the Image of God


The Gospel
Part II

The Preaching of Jesus Christ

Jesus preached the Gospel by example. He drove out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, multiplied the loaves and fishes, walked on water, and commanded the wind. He demonstrated that a light need not be noisy. He encouraged us to preach the Gospel by our actions. When our righteous actions stir interest, we should be ready to give reasons for what we do. In everything, we should do all for the glory of God.

Jesus also taught by parables, of course, but also by direct instruction as on the Sermon on the Mount. When we follow his way, which he taught us in the Gospel, we preach the Gospel in a more truthful and dramatic way than any spouting we may be inclined to do.

(See:
Rom 16:25, 26, 1 Cor 1:17, Acts 13:26.)


The Gospel for the Poor


The ones most inclined to believe the Gospel are the poor materially and in spirit, that is, the meek and humble. The well to do have a momentous struggle to enter the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, the poor have already obtained the Kingdom of God. The poor have their priorities straight. First, work for the Kingdom of God, then all else will be given.

(See:
Luke 4:18, 6:20, 7:22.)

The Gospel of God

We normally think of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God or of Jesus. The first and foremost Good News is that of the one God, Our Father. In fact, the first message Jesus proclaimed was the Good News of God. Paul wrote to Romans about the Gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become sanctified. Peter told those early Christians to obey the Gospel of God.

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he said, “‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” This great understanding brings a believer near to the Kingdom of God.

Paul told the Romans to turn from worthless idols to the living God, who made the heavens and the Earth, in the beginning. It is this God who provides rain in due season and fills believers hearts with joy.

The Gospel of God is called glorious to which he entrusts to us.

(See:
Mar 1:14, Rom 15:16, 1 Thes 2:8, 1 Pet 4:17, Mark 12:29-34, Acts 14:15-17, 1 Tit 1:11.)


The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The pivotal aspect of the gospel concerns Jesus. The gospel is about and of Jesus. Foremost is the story, or Good News, about Jesus — what he said and what he did. Mark begins by telling us that his is the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Then all the Gospels tell of the exorcisms, healings, miracles, parables, and sermons. John the Baptist explains that while he baptized with water, Jesus would baptize the believers with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The Good News is that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior who died for our sins in our place and was resurrected to prepare a place for us in the God Family or the Kingdom of God. Matthew narrates the story of how Mary Magdalene poured perfume on Jesus’s body to prepare him, Jesus said, for death. Jesus used even this act of love by Mary to demonstrate the cosmic importance of that death almost two thousand years ago.

In those days the Apostles preached the Gospel of and about Jesus. Today, the Bible gives written testimony — as in the New Testament — of the Gospel of Jesus, our Savior.

(See:
Mark 1:1, 7-8, Mat 26:6-13, Acts 5:42, 13:32-39.)

The Gospel of Forgiveness and Repentance

As important as Jesus’s death was to obtain forgiveness for our sins is our forgiving the minor hurts suffered by us. How do we compare the insignificant injuries we normally receive to the beating and death of Jesus? We must forgive as we were forgiven.

The Bible explains how to receive and give forgiveness. We must not cover our iniquities. We should never arrogantly claim to be without sin. Instead we must confess our sins to God. Of course, He knows our sins better than we do. But, we must learn what is evil and then discover that evil in us.

Here is the example. When a speech therapist instructs the student to remedy poor diction, he follows a proscribe pattern. He trains the student to hear what is correct pronunciation and improper pronunciation. He has to distinguish right from wrong speech. Then the student must hear his own speech to recognize the right from wrong in his diction. Only then can the student make the appropriate corrections in his own speech.
The same is true in our lives. The Bible is the right; the world is the wrong. The Bible gives examples of people acting rightly and wrongly so we can learn to distinguish. Then God, through His Word, allows us to see ourselves. After we recognize our errors, we can begin to make the appropriate corrections. Our discovering the error of our ways and the confession thereof leads to forgiveness. When we begin, with God’s help because we cannot do it alone, to change, we have begun the lifelong process of repentance.

(See:
Luke 24:47, Micah 7:18, 1 John 1:7-9, Psalm 32:5, Pro 23:13, Mark 1:15.)

The Gospel of Obedience to the Law

Jesus, as recorded in Luke, said that it is easier for the Earth to be destroyed by, say, a comet than for a single letter to be removed from the Law. Paul warns that God will punish those who do not obey the Gospel of Jesus.

What is the Law Jesus referred to? In Hebrews, the writer said that God will write His Laws on believers’ hearts. The Law refers to the Commandments and the first five books of the Bible.

The Law and the Gospel cannot be obeyed without faith. We cannot obey God without His power at work within. Without God’s power, all we do is shift from one set of evils to another. It is like the person who quits smoking, only to substitute overeating for the cigarette.

(See:
Luke 16:16, 17, 2 Thes 1:8, 1 Pet 4:17, Heb 10:17-18, Jer 31:33, 2 Cor 3:3.)

The Gospel of the Grace of God

Another way of stating the Gospel of salvation is calling it the Gospel of grace. God’s grace is seen by His insistence in bringing us to perfection and maturity. Jesus’s death and resurrection satisfied God’s justice, the death penalty for sins, and mercy for the repenting and believing sinner.

(See:
Acts 20:24.)

The Gospel of Peace


Why does the Bible call it the Gospel of Peace? When we accept Jesus as our Savior, when we repent and believe the Gospel, when we faithfully follow Jesus’s way, we end our long war with God. Peace ensues. This peace cannot be taken away by any person or any circumstance because it comes from within where the Spirit of God blessedly dwells.

(See:
Eph 6:15, Acts 10:36.)

The Mystery of the Gospel


Few understand the Gospel, the true Gospel, not the one that people think it is. Paul prayed that he would be able to reveal the mystery of the Gospel by his preaching.

Jesus preached and lived the Gospel in Israel, mostly around Jerusalem. Yet, it was not the Jews who, in any large numbers, accepted the Gospel. The mystery is that many of the Jews experienced a hardening of their hearts so that the power of the Gospel never entered their minds through their ears. Hearing, they understood not.

Further, it was and is the Gentiles who would believe the Gospel. The mystery of the Gospel is the Gentiles would be fellow heirs with the few Jews who believed. Unhappily, most of the Gentiles mixed too much tradition, paganism, and worldliness into the Gospel. Their faithlessness to the true Gospel left them a shell without the power within.

(See:
Eph 3:4-6, 6:19, Rom 11:25-27, Acts 15:7.)


The Gospel of Faith

Virtually the first thing Mark wrote was: “Repent and believe the Good News.” As much as we are to have faith in Jesus, we are to believe the Good News. James advises us that anything done without faith is sin. Faith comes from God, who implants it in our hearts. Faith comes from hearing the Good News. Faith resonates by our articulating the fact that Jesus is our lord and master whom we obey from the heart. Faith is completed by our obedience to God’s Way and to the Gospel.

Do you believe Jesus is lord? You know that Jesus is not only our lord, but also the lord of the Sabbath. How do you complete your faith in Jesus as lord? The major way is to rest and worship on the same day God made holy as seen in
Genesis 2:1-3 and the day that Jesus is lord of.

Hebrews states that there remains a Sabbath rest for God’s People. Hebrews warns that we must make a strong effort to enter the rest unless we become convicted of not having faith.

Fear not to show your faith. God will never allow you to be put to shame.

(See:
Rom 1:17, Phi 1:27-28, Heb 4:2, 4:3-11.)

The Gospel of Salvation


The angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds tending their flocks sometime in the early fall. The angel told them not to fear because in a town below the Savior was born. It was the Gospel proclaimed by the messenger from God. First the Gospel was preached to the Jews, then Jesus sent the Apostles to Gentiles with the Good News.

(See: Eph 1:13-14, Acts 13:26, Luke 2:11-12, 2 Thes 2:14.)

Power of God


The Gospel is the power of God, Paul told the Romans, for the salvation for everyone who believes. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but rather of power, the power of God’s Word.

It is that power at work within that is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think. The power within is also a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, the guarantee of our salvation. The Gospel unlocks the power of the Holy Spirit.

(See:
Rom 1:15-16, 1 Cor 4:20, 15:1-4, Eph 1:13, 14.)

The Gospel of Eternal Life


The man, excited by the Gospel ran up to Jesus and begged him to divulge the secret of Eternal life. Simple, Jesus answered, keep the commandments. No problem, the man retorted. Not good enough, Jesus observed, you lack something. Sell all you have and give it to the poor, Jesus said. The young man went away crestfallen because he was very wealthy.

To get into the Kingdom of God the Gospel says we must desire it above all else. Jesus said, leave family and friends for him and Gospel.

But, we have a problem. Have you ever wondered why God sent the children of Israel into the land of Egypt, the nation of sin and bondage to sin? Further, God sent His own Son to that same evil country. Why? While God will never lead us into temptation, He knows we must overcome some great obstacle of our character to enter the Kingdom of God. Egypt represents our weakness of character. For some it is money, or ego, or intelligence, or talent, or personality. Everyone has an idol before God, which the person must be cleansed of to enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, give up everything that stands between God and us. Tear down the curtain separating us from God. Be born again, not only of water and the Spirit, but also of a new attitude and character, which only God can create in us. God will change us into a new creation fit for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. True, but to have the nature, which will allow us to enter the Kingdom of God, we must be filled with the Spirit, good words, and good works emanating from the heart.

— Gil Kovacs

(See:
Mark 10:17-31, John 3:14-16, 2 Tim 1:10, John 3:3-13.)

Please e-mail me any comments or questions at kov@mediaone.net.

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