God created the world and said it was very good. The creation that was formed was corrupted by sin’s presence—Genesis 3; Romans 8:18-25. It was not what God intended for it to be. Mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. It is also mankind that, perhaps, had fallen the furthest from its original intent. But God wasn’t finished with mankind. He still loved his creation. From Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 we see God’s plan to offer the abundant life to people (John 10:10). This abundant life which can be experienced on earth is superseded by the abundance of life which will be experienced in Heaven.
Jesus preached and empowered the message of salvation for all people. In Luke 19:10 he said, “the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which is lost.” John 12:47 records his ambition, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” The word “salvation” is “related to the idea of deliverance, victory, and safety. The nouns expressing this concept, including the Hebrew יְשׁוּעָה (yĕšûʿâ, “salvation”) and Greek σωτηρία (sōtēria, “salvation”), generally signify deliverance, safety, and wholeness, and, in the Hebrew Bible, victory.”
OUR NEED FOR THE GOSPEL
The word “Gospel” encompasses all that God has done to save mankind through Christ. This powerful thought demands we recognize that the world is lost. This is abhorrent to postmodern ears, but it is true. 1 John 5:19 tells us “the whole world lies in wickedness.” We see this reality played out every day everywhere around us. Some have blamed religion for the great atrocities of the world. This claim has been cut down by the atrocities performed by atheistic world powers. The problem is not God’s religion. The problem has always been people who choose to follow godlessness rather than godliness. Far too often we choose to live after the lust of the flesh as animals. Just as Paul said in Romans 8:13, “If you live according to the flesh you will die.” Romans 1:28 tells us the consequences of godlessness—“Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”
We still continue to struggle with godless behavior. We have not been brought up in the way we should go—Proverbs 22:6; Eph. 6:4. We love evil instead of good—Amos 5:15. We therefore are feeling the consequences of sin. Proverbs 13:15, “The way of the treacherous is their ruin.” We now remember that “Sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), and that we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:17).
However, there is hope. “sin is a reproach to any people”, but “righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34). “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12). Godless cultures leave mankind to do whatever their desires push them toward. The increasing size and power of our “nanny state” government is evidence of this. If we do not govern ourselves by the Scriptures, then government must care for us. This system will not last long. As George Washington said, “it is impossible to govern without God and the Bible.” Especially in our democratic free society, we cannot function without God and his laws.
THE GOSPEL HOPE
The good news of the Bible is “the power of God that leads to salvation” (Romans 1:16). We need more than the “social Gospel”. We need the Gospel that concerns itself with both temporal and eternal. The focus of God’s Gospel is to make us fit for eternity with Him. Those who live in sin are dead while they live (1 Timothy 5:6). But, the Great Physician heals—“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107:20). God’s Gospel is the “lamp unto our feet and light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105, 130). The Gospel is God’s heavenly lifeline thrown out to a dying world (1 Corinthians 15:52; James 1:21).
The Gospel is the chief of worthy causes. It is a great challenge to all to be sanctified and to live as saintly people. The Gospel is “heavenly seed for earthly soil” The field is the world (Matt. 13:38). The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11). When the seed is sown in human hearts and minds and is allowed to take root, that individual can become God’s ideal. The Gospel has a wonderful influence on individuals when it takes root in their hearts and minds. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Since “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:6), we have the opportunity to not only think of Christ but to think in a Christian way! The Gospel seed produces after its own kind. In Bible times, the Gospel made Christians (Acts 11:26), and it will make nothing less now. We must therefore submit to the Word, utilize the Word, and evangelize with the Word (Ephesians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
The word “gospel” is used to describe much. We colloquially use the word to describe “truth” as in “the gospel truth.” The Gospel is:
The central content of the Christian revelation, the glad tidings of redemption. It is St Paul’s epistles that have given to this Greek noun such an important position in Christian vocabulary, but the way he uses it without explanation in writing to believers in Rome whom he did not know suggests that the Christian sense was already current. St Mark follows Paul’s usage but can also on occasion extend it to refer to the contents of Christ’s own preaching (1:14 f.). The cognate verb εὐαγγελίζομαι, to bring glad tidings, is found in religious contexts in the Septuagint. Is. 52:7 is quoted at Rom. 10:15, with reference to the Christian message, and Is. 61:1 at Mt. 11:5 (par. Lk. 7:22) on the lips of Christ, with reference to His own preaching.
The Gospel is God’s message of hope for the world lost in suffering and sin.
The Gospel’s primary emphasis is the good news from God to man that salvation is accessible through Christ’s sacrifice, His church, and His service.
- The Gospel is a true lasting spiritual message for a decaying materialistic and hopeless materialistic world.
- The Gospel is a straight message for a crooked people—Acts 2:40; Philippians 2:14-16.
- The Gospel is message of love for a world filled with hate—John 3:16; John 5:42).
- The Gospel is a message of grace for a world filled with disgrace—Ephesians 2:8-9.
- The Gospel is a message which does not change for a world which does nothing but change.
- The Gospel is the message of certain salvation for a world in danger of certain damnation—Matthew 28:19=20.
- The Gospel is the invitation to a world isolated from one another and from God—Isaiah 59:1-2; Matthew 11:28. ( Adapted from Gus Nichols’ sermon “The Commission and a Lost World” in Great Preachers of Today page 36)