What is the gospel? Is it just that Christ died for our sins or is it so much more? Is it just that we are forgiven for our sins and have a ticket to heaven? Or is it more? Is it just like a magic lamp that we use to get what we want in life? Is the gospel an ATM machine of prosperity? Is the gospel a dead sermon delivered in a dead church with a dead congregation that is simply going through all the religious motions? Is God crying out like he did in Isaiah 1 that He is “sick of all our meetings?” Do we have a board meeting or conference to decide what the gospel is to our denomination? We have thousands of books explaining the gospel, but do they? Just what is this gospel? What has happened to the gospel? Or more accurately what has happened to the gospel in modern day Christianity? Where is the fire? Where is the power? Where are the miracles? Where is the deliverance? Where is the liberation? We have lost how grand and majestic the gospel message is. It has been stripped down to the bones in our generation. The message of the gospel today lacks muscle, power, victory, triumph and fire. To most of us the Gospel is decent. but tepid and does not stir our hearts or ignite them on fire to tell anyone about it. People are not changed, stirred, moved, or set on fire by the Gospel preached in the churches today. Why?
Eric Ludy has a wonderful illustration of the gospel. He says before we were born again by the gospel, we were in a prison cell. The Devil was the prison warden and there was no way out. No hope. We were under the control and thumb of the enemy. Just when the Devil was about to deliver the final crushing blow to us, Jesus Christ came through the prison door. Everything that meant to come on our head and eternally separate us from presence of God came on Jesus. He took the full blow for us. So now over our prison cell it says, “Forgiven, cleansed, saved, justified, righteous, and reconciled.” This is an extraordinary message. This is exciting and riveting good news. But even greater he has opened the door to our prison cell, set us free from every captivity of mind and heart and commissioned us in His presence to go out with the gospel and rescue others from their prison cells. Most Christians even though they are saved never come out of their prison cell and remain a prisoner to sin. The door to the prison cell is now unlocked by Jesus. He dealt with the penalty and problem of sin. Jesus dealt with the problem of you so he could take the place of the throne in your life. Outside of prison is a carriage waiting to take you into the presence of God. The King beckons you. He beckons you to live where he lives; to live in the very chamber, the holy of holy where he lives in the very presence of the Creator himself. That is extraordinary. Everything He has is yours. All his power and all his authority is made available to you. You now have special favor on your life. You are now a beloved child of God but he says, “I have a job for you. This job is not any easy one. I want you to go back to prison not as a prisoner but as a rescuer. I need you to be my hands and feet. I need you go back to the world and break off the cuffs of slavery, rescue those that are lost, and break off the chains of darkness from their lives. I need you to do for them what I did for you.” This is the great call of Jesus Christ to join ranks of the hunted and despised as we represent Almighty God.” The Father and the Son say, “We are not going to lose this battle, so I am going with you, hand your body over to me, I am going to fill you with all the power of heaven, greater is he that is in you then he that is the world, the roaring lion of the tribe of Judah will live in you, we will drive all the powers of the earth and hell back for I am in you.” We are filled with the very life of God so we are image bearers upon the earth, that we talk like Jesus talked, love like Jesus loved, heal like Jesus healed, have compassion like Jesus had, disrupt Satan’s kingdom like Jesus did, walk like Jesus walked, and act like Jesus acted; we are commissioned to show forth heaven on earth. That is the gospel. That is the good news. God did not intend you to live life in a prison cell. God did not set you free so you can live life for yourself. We were called to live life for Him in His presence. We were called to go out and not just suffer but to win. God is interested in winning souls and saving lives. This is the gospel. It is grand; it is epic. It is incredible. We are to extend the borders of promise in this generation. The Gospel is a recipe for triumph. Forgiveness is not the end game of God, but just the beginning. The Gospel not only gives us access to God, but gives God access to us. God has access that he might enter into us and turn the world upside down. We are to demonstrate the life of Jesus Christ. We are not to show defeat and mediocrity. We have Almighty God within us. God is ready to correct the pattern. The glory of Jesus Christ and God is at stake. Rise up and take it back.
This is our watch. You could have been born at anytime or season in history, but you were born now. Is it an accident? God has called you to this generation. God has laid a foundation so he can use you for His purposes. Let him. God cries out daily, “Can you give me your life?” Jesus Christ wants you. Can he have you? Do you want God or this world? Do you want Christianity on your terms or God’s terms? We need Jesus Christ in a magnificent way to build us to overcome that selfish you. We need all that Jesus Christ purchased for us on the cross. We stop so far short of the grandeur and magnificence of what Jesus Christ accomplished on that tree. Without the Gospel there is no hope for mankind.
E. Stanley Jones: Religions are man’s search for God; the Gospel is God’s search for man. There are many religions, but one Gospel.
Mark 16:15-20 (Amplified):
15And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].
16He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] will be condemned.
17And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages;
18They will pick up serpents; and [even] if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well.
19So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and He sat down at the right hand of God.
20And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. Amen (so be it).
The Message Bible:
Then he said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned.
17-18“These are some of the signs that will accompany believers: They will throw out demons in my name, they will speak in new tongues, they will take snakes in their hands, they will drink poison and not be hurt, they will lay hands on the sick and make them well.”
19-20Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them, was taken up to heaven, and he sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence.]
Our duty as Christians is to GO and TO PREACH to everyone. God promises to work with us and go with us wherever we carry the Gospel message.
Matthew 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24So his fame spread throughout all) Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and) paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Matthew 11:5: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Romans 15:19: 19Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel includes healing of every disease and affliction and oppression; the Gospel includes the healing of the blind, the deaf and the lame and the raising of the dead; the Gospel includes the casting out of all devil spirits that oppress the minds and hearts of people. Mighty miracles, signs, wonders and awesome works of God always follow the Gospel when it is fully preached and connected with faith.
Reinhard Bonnke: Christ’s “Great Commission” is not a scrap of paper, blown to our feet from centuries ago. It is Jesus, standing in the midst of His Church forever, saying, “Go…lo, I am with you.” Suppose Jesus said it to you personally-would you take more notice of it? What would you do? Would you continue living with a business as usual attitude? Or would you press on more to urgently witness for Christ.
Luke 4:18 (Weymouth):
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
He has anointed me to proclaim Good News
to the poor; He sent me to announce release
to the prisoners of war and recovery of sight
to the blind; to send away free those whose
tyranny has crushed.
Message: God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach
the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce
pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set
the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s
year to act!”
NIV: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We no longer have to be prisoners of war in the spiritual battle that rages with the devil. Jesus Christ opened the prison door of every tyranny of mind, body, heart, and soul and set us free. He crushed every tyrannical work of the devil that had previously broken our heart and spirit. He delivers all those who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity. Jesus Christ unloosed all the obstructions and cleared the pathway to the heart of God. He melted the devil’s work of separation and deception, and widely opened the door of access to our loving Father. Jesus Christ made it available that we might know Him and have full communion and intimacy with Him to such a degree that it overwhelms the heart. The human race feels restless, empty, unfulfilled, useless, valueless, and incomplete without a deep, vibrant, and living relationship with their Creator God Almighty. To know his love, to know his goodness, to know his justice, to know his righteousness, to know his mercy, to know his truth, and to know his faithfulness is the ultimate rush and thrill in life. How exciting to have God as your closest friend, your trusted advisor, your loving parent, and your strong protector.
Satan had been the master of the human race from the Fall to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, but in the resurrected and ascended Christ, a new day dawned for the world. The power of the great enemy, the crafty serpent, and deceitful slanderer has been permanently broken, crushed, and defeated in our wonderful Lord Jesus. We are a new people, a called out mighty seed, a glorious new creation clothed in righteousness, and holiness. We have a new Lord, who has ushered us into a new age of spiritual, mental, and physical freedom and the crushing of every yoke of bondage that has held us in its grasp. We have a new destiny, as sin and death are no longer our emperors and rulers to whom we must bow and serve. THIS IS THE GOSPEL!
Wuest: Paul, a bondslave by nature belonging to Christ Jesus, an ambassador by divine summons, permanently separated to God’s good news.
It is God’s Gospel not our own as it originated in the very heart of God and was accomplished in Jesus Christ. As Christians we are all set apart for the Gospel of God. Our lives must be dedicated to living and sharing the Gospel. We set everything else aside that the world throws at us for our devotion and we are committed above all to the Gospel.
Gospel (euaggelion from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) was originally a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was in just as common use in the first century as our words good news today. “Have you any good news for me today?” would have been a common question.
Euaggelion was used for the proclamation of good news of victory in battle with announcement of the death and/or capture of the enemy. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Paul appropriated euaggelion, taking it from its well known secular use and speaking of the message of salvation as good news. Paul’s good news was not from or about the emperor but was “of God“, belonging to God, originating with God, and committed to men by God, Who qualified them for preaching and gives them effects related to their preaching of the gospel. God alone receives the glory in the gospel.
The Gospel is the power of Almighty God bringing salvation, wholeness and deliverance in every category of life. It brings eternal life and the new birth into the family of God as children, but also crushes everything that dares oppress us or bring us into bondage when it is believed. The Gospel is the unlimited power of God unleashed upon the world.
Bonnke: A schoolboy asked, “How can you call something news which is two thousand years old? Jesus is history, not news.” The boy made a mistake. Only dead people are history. Jesus is alive and active throughout the world. He is a world figure, and all world figures are news, especially this One…The Gospel is not only what Jesus did but what He does. Acts 1:1:The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. He began to do it and He is still doing it. He is making news today.
The Gospel has many facets and parts to it but its essence is to set men, women and children free from sin, unrighteousness, fear, bondage, sickness, death and any type of oppression. The Gospel heals; the Gospel saves; the Gospel restores; the Gospel reconciles, the Gospel revives; the Gospel makes alive; the Gospel liberates and the Gospel destroys the power of the enemy over our lives.
The Gospel brings the righteousness of God. Righteousness is the God-given ability to stand in the presence of God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, shame, or unworthiness and to stand in the presence of Satan without any sense of inferiority, weakness, fear, or cowardice. Righteousness is to be legally brought into a right relationship and standing with God that will last forever. Righteousness is part of our salvation in Christ and rests upon God’s act of justification, where he legally declared us free from the penalty of sin and judicially delivered us from everything that stands in the way of us being declared righteous.
“Justification” is a legal term similar to a verdict from a judge, where by a judicial act, God declares that all the demands of the law have been completely satisfied and fulfilled for the believing sinner by the righteous act of Jesus Christ. Justification changes forever the judicial standing of a person before God from being dead in trespasses in sins to being completely righteous in Christ and completely free from the death penalty of sin. You have been judged and found righteous. You have been acquitted, found not guilty, and restored to a right relationship with your heavenly Father. You have been declared legally innocent and pronounced forever righteous because of the blood of Christ. This is a permanent state for the Christian believer, as this declaration of righteousness can never be repealed, overturned, or declared null and void. There is no double jeopardy, where a person would be tried for the same crimes again in a court of the law. The court of heaven, with God as the righteous judge, has forever pronounced a verdict to His entire creation that you have been made the righteousness of God, completely justified, free from the bondage and penalty of sin, and able to boldly stand in His presence without any sense of sin, condemnation, guilt, or unworthiness. This verdict has been sealed in the blood of Christ, and no satanic power can overthrow it. You can also stand in the presence of the devil and his entire kingdom in absolute victory, knowing that you have been completely delivered from the power of darkness. The devil is under your feet and has no authority anymore over you, because Jesus Christ forever crushed and paralyzed the evil one from hurting, harming, or ruining your new life in Christ.
The Gospel brings the salvation of God.
The Gospel is the awesome finished work on the cross of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us the there was so much that was nailed to this cross that any man, woman or child can come to Jesus Christ, confess him as their Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, and receive all the benefits and blessings accomplished on the cross by his death and resurrection. Our sins, our sicknesses, our pains, our separation from God, the curse of death, the law, our rebellion, all the consequences of sin, oppressions, depressions, sorrows, all bondage of heart and life, Satan’s claim to our life and everything that could ever hold us back from a vibrant and living relationship with God was nailed to the cross. It was by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that we are given life to the fullest and complete freedom from every fear, every anxiety, every worry and every prison of the mind or soul.
The Gospel is the great mystery hidden throughout all the ages that we are all part of one body; that there is no longer a division of Jew and Gentile in the Body of Christ and each member has Christ in them the hope of glory.
The Gospel is the future promise of the hope of Christ’s return and all this involves from new bodies, to eternal life, to reigning forever with our Lord.
The Gospel brings the peace of God.
The Gospel brings the joy of God.
The Gospel is about the grace of God.
The Gospel is rooted in love and enables us to love like our God loves.
The Gospel is the receiving of the gift of holy spirit, first given on the day of Pentecost, and the ability to walk by the spirit and operate all nine manifestations of the holy spirit.
The Gospel is the power to declare that sin is no longer the king and ruler of your life and the power to live a holy life and produce the fruit of the spirit.
The Gospel is what every human soul needs on the face of the earth.
The Gospel makes us new creations in Christ and we can produce a new life, new works, new character and new person that is in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is a changing of Lordships as Jesus becomes the new Lord of our life.
I have just touched the surface as to some of the aspects of the Gospel and the grandeur and majesty of the Gospel. There are many more aspects of this glorious Gospel. The Devil does not want anyone to hear this gospel because it rescues a person from the clutches and dominion of his kingdom. The Devil absolutely hates the Gospel and will do everything in his power to silence it from our mouths and our lives.
II Corinthians 4:1-6 (NIV): 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
The devil blinds people from seeing the light of the gospel. But God can remove this blindness and veil to all those who choose to believe.
John 14:12 (Amplified Bible)
12I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.
The Gospel is doing the works of Jesus Christ and even greater works because He lives within us. What an amazing scripture. Are we doing the works of Jesus Christ in our lives as we rescue those out of their prison cells? Are we doing greater works by leading people to the new birth?
Bonnke: If you take the truth of Jesus and preach it with the power of the Spirit, you are using God’s formula. Such a formula produces results. When the Holy Spirit and Gospel preaching come together, there is an explosion of power. Divine energy is released. Paul used the word “energemata,” which is outworking energy. When such an explosion occurs, the Gospel is then news…We are not called to deliver sermons, but to deliver people. People are His concern. He came to set the captive free, not to renovate prison cells or to make them more comfortable, with nice beds and color television. He wants people out. The Gospel is not renovation, decoration nor reformation, but LiBERATION!
Bonnke: Without fire there is no gospel. The New Testament begins with fire. Jesus Christ baptized with the holy spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11). The Gospel burns up the chaff in our lives with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12). The Gospel is a fire lighter. The Holy Spirit was not given to help you preach eloquent sermons. He is to put a flame into human hearts. Unless Christ sets you alight, you can bring no fire upon the earth…Whatever the Christ of Pentecost touches catches fire. When he preached on the road to Emmaus, their hearts burned within them. When they received the power from on high, the Spirit revealed itself as tongues of flame on each of the twelve. Fire is the ensign of the Gospel. Only Jesus baptizes in fire. The prophet Elijah made the same point-“The God who answers by fire, He is God.” (I Kings 18:24). What does your spiritual thermometer read? Does it even register? Is it chilled? Jesus melts the ice. Everything to do with Him and the gospel should be characterized by fire. It should burn. The Gospel is a hot Gospel no matter how the silly world smiles at it. The Gospel is to be on fire. In human experience, fire translates into passion, the type of passion we saw in Jesus. The fires in his soul were evident in the way he walked. Psalm 69:9, “The zeal of your house has eaten me up.” …The Lord sends us out with live coals from the altar, as witnesses to His Resurrection, to testify that we have met the God of Pentecost. I have heard sermons that are like lectures on embalming the dead. Would such a talk remind anyone of the Living Jesus? The fire of the Holy Spirit is real. It must flow through the Church of Jesus Christ like blood through the veins. God’s people on fire and the church on fire, will win our lost generation for Him.
Jeremiah 23:29-Is not my word like a fire
Luke 24:31-Did not our heart burn within us
Hebrews 1:7=His ministers a flame of fire
Romans 1:15 Amplified: So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome (Amplified Bible)
Bonnke: Suppose it was your last hour! What would you be doing? What a flurry of anxious preparations there would be! But let me tell you, it is the last hour. “Little children, it is the last hour….” (I John 2:18)…For the message of the Gospel it is always the last hour. The Gospel is eternal, but we don’t have an eternity to preach it…To make sure the prodigal son was welcomed home, the father RAN! Ran! I have wanted to run too since the Holy Spirit charged my soul with this realization-“It is the last hour.” God Himself is driven by the peril in which human beings stand without Christ.Calvary was His imperative. We only have today. In the most intense meaning of the word it is the last hour.
Lives are at stake, eternity is at stake, we must preach the gospel with a sense of urgency of the last hour. I Corinthians 7:29-This I say brethren the time is short.
Eager (prothumos from pró = before + thumós = passion) denotes a willingness, a predisposition, a readiness, or an inclination. It means to be eager (and prompt) to be of service. Prothumos is a strong word. It means something like “ready, willing and able.” It also can include the idea of passionate.
Stedman comments on Paul’s eagerness paraphrasing it…
“Not only are my emotions moved by love for the Lord Jesus,” says Paul, “but my will is engaged as well. I am not only drawn, I am ready to act.” I love this, because it emphasizes a time to stop talking and start doing.
Paul was so eager to come to Romethat he couldn’t wait to get there. Life had but one value for Paul: to do God’s work. He was consumed by an eager desire to serve God by giving his all in preaching the gospel. Each one of us as a Christian has a duty to go and to preach.
A.W. Tozer: The faith of Paul and Luther was a revolutionizing thing. It upset the whole life of the individual and made him into another person altogether. It laid hold on the life and brought it under obedience to Christ. It took up its cross and followed along after Jesus with no intention of going back. It said goodbye to its old friends as certainly as Elijah when he stepped into the fiery chariot and went away in the whirlwind. It had a finality about it. It snapped shut on a man’s heart like a trap; it captured the man and made him from that moment forward a happy love-servant of his lord. It turned earth into a desert and drew heaven within sight of the believing soul. It realigned all life’s actions and brought them into accord with the will of God. It set its possessor on a pinnacle of truth from which spiritual vantage point he viewed everything that came into his field of experience. It made him little and God big and Christ unspeakably dear. All this and more happened to a man when he received the faith that justifies… People must be told that the Christian religion is not something they can trifle with. The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him. The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. His faith has resulted in an everlasting and irrevocable committal, and however strongly he may be tempted he always replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
Heart of the gospel: I Thessalonians 1:2-10 2) We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly) mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son) from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
The gospel inspires Christians to turn to God from idols and serve the living and true God and wait for His Son from heaven. It inspires the work of faith, the labor of the love and the patience of hope. It inspires Christians to sound out the gospel to the ends of the earth. Paul not only preached the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit but He lived it. He was like Jesus Christ to these beloved believers and they imitated him and sounded out the gospel to all that would hear.
Let us go and proclaim this extraordinary message every day we breathe upon the earth. Let our lives be a reflection of the gospel. Let us have the passion, zeal and fire of the gospel fueled by the Spirit of God and go out and proclaim liberty to all the captives and do mighty signs and wonders for our awesome God. Nothing on earth is like the gospel in its life-changing power and its mighty message of truth. We all should be honored to carry this message for our God.
I Thessalonians 2:4 (NLT): For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News (Gospel). Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
You have been entrusted with the Gospel. What are you going to do with it?