Posts tagged The Gospel
The Gospel is for Sharing. - 10/20/19

The Big Idea

The gospel is for sharing.

What does scripture tell us?

Mark 4:1-25
This is a long selection of verses so select the link below to read the full passage.
https://www.esv.org/Mark+4/

What do we know?

We last talked about what is the gospel. For there to be good news there had to be bad news, and what was that? Sin entered the world. But, God promised a way that He would redeem us. That way is Jesus. Through Jesus’ sinless life and sacrifice, He took away the sins of the world. Those who believe in and have faith in Jesus are given the free gift of eternal salvation.

Jesus is the standard God sees when He looks at those of us who call Jesus Lord. This is because Jesus is our salvation, sent from God to redeem us from sin. This is the gospel - the good news.

What do we usually do with good news? We share it, right? When you get an A on a test you thought you would not do well on, you are excited. Your excitement can’t be contained so you have to share it. What if your favorite donut place is giving away free donuts for the day? You want your friends to know about it, and maybe, go and share some time eating free donuts together.

Is the gospel greater news than free donuts? You bet it is!

What the gospel means to you

We are all changed by the gospel but how the gospel changes us looks different from person to person. God didn’t make us like He made other things, nor did He make us all to be just like each other. We are individuals. We celebrate as individuals redeemed by God by celebrating God when we share His gospel.

Sharing the gospel is also an individual experience. When we are changed by the gospel, it is going to mean something to you when you tell others the gospel.

What does the gospel mean to you? When you are talking about the gospel, sharing the truth is important but so is what it means to you. The gospel isn’t just some words you repeat to others and boom they’re saved. The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) that you have heard, believed, and are preparing to share that others may believe.

Does the gospel feel like the greatest gift you ever got? Then that’s what it means to you. Do you feel like you do not deserve the salvation you received? Many of us do and that is why the gospel is so graceful because the God who gives it is full of grace!

How you can share the gospel

Sharing the gospel can be the greatest thing you ever do. It can also be the most nervous you ever get. When we get nervous, or scared, coming up with something to say can be hard. When we prepare to share the gospel it doesn’t have to be an hour speech. What we want to say to people is the truth we know.

So how do we simplify the truth without losing the truth? How can we share the gospel without worrying we will forget something? As in all things we rely upon God through prayer. What we can do is be prepared, as we are told in 1 Peter 3:15, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”.

One way to prepare is by creating a couple tools - a gospel statement and a gospel story. Both of these are brief ways to share the gospel and allow more conversations to happen.

Our gospel statement is a short summary of the gospel that you prepare and memorize. It helps you to get a gospel conversation started. Some examples of a gospel statement are:

  • The gospel is the good news of what God has done in Christ to secure our salvation.

  • The gospel is the good news of what God has done through Jesus to redeem us.

  • The gospel is the truth of God’s desire to be with His creation and sending Jesus to accomplish it.

Do you notice something in each of these examples? Jesus is in all of them. The gospel is not the gospel without the person of Jesus. The one “must” in our gospel statement is that Jesus is in it. It’s Jesus who completes the gospel.

Can you have more than one gospel statement? You sure can. Having more than one gospel statement is a good idea because you can have a statement that benefits the different types of people you will meet. We all want the nice, kind person to walk up and ask “Will you tell me the gospel?” but we would all like to win the lottery too. Sharing the gospel with people comes with recognizing how they feel at that moment. What you say to someone who is sad could be different than someone who is angry. Someone who is skeptical will be different than someone who is interested.

What about the gospel story? We’ve talked about how the gospel is more than Jesus’ time on Earth and that it covers the whole story of redemption God has provided. This could turn into a long story, however we can still be brief by including only these key elements of the gospel: Creation, Sin, Jesus, the Cross, and the Resurrection. This allows us to focus on what is the core of the gospel message we want to tell:

  • Creation - God created all things and called them good. He created humans, Adam and Eve, who were to be over all that God created

  • Sin - Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the tree of good and evil. The fruit of the tree was not sin but ignoring God's instruction was. Since that first sin, all of humanity has been convicted with sin.

  • Jesus - Throughout scripture we are promised a redeemer that would make things new. This is Jesus. Jesus came to Earth with one goal - to make a way for us to be with God. He showed us through His life how we were to

  • Cross - The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross took away our sin. Our sin could not be forgiven by just anyone but only by God the Son.

  • Resurrection - Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling the promise to defeat death once and for all.

What does a gospel story look like put together? Here is an example:

“God created a perfect world. When God created Adam and Eve, he created them in his image. He also gave them the ability to choose. When God gave Adam and Eve their instructions, He gave them the option to obey or not to obey. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree God told them not to eat. By listening to the lies of the serpent, they chose at that point to disobey God. From then on we as humans have received the curse of sin. But God promised one day that He would send a way that sin would be crushed forever. His promise is Jesus.

Through Jesus’ sinless life, He showed us how we are to live out a life that honors Him. When Jesus went to the cross and sacrificed Himself, He did so that we can have our sins taken away. Walking out of the tomb on the third day, which we celebrate as Easter, He showed the world that He was God and we could fully trust all He had taught and proclaimed.”

This is only one example but it shows the key elements.

Now what?

As a follower of Jesus, we have a mission to share the gospel. Our preparation to go and tell the gospel is important because it will help to make the gospel clear to those we tell it to. Even though we will tell the gospel, not everyone will believe it, so be prepared for this. In Mark 4, Jesus tells us a parable how not all the seed we scatter will produce a crop. That seed is the gospel message. Our role is to know it and share it. Jesus will do the rest.

Resources

Sharing the Gospel - In 3 Minutes or less

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Jesus is the standard. And that is the best news ever! - 10/06/19

The Big Idea

Jesus is the standard. And that is the best news ever!

What does scripture tell us?

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 1:16–17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

What do we know?

What is the highest grade you can get on a test? For most tests the highest grade is 100. Then there are tests like the ACT or SAT that have different scoring but have a maximum score. A perfect score. A standard. What happens when you get an answer wrong on any test? You no longer have a perfect score. Bummer. But hey, missing one question isn’t bad.

This is how we see sin, however, this is not how sin works.

What is a standard? It’s a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment; A basis of comparison created by an authority. Who do you think sets the ultimate standard?

What is the gospel? We hear the word gospel a lot but do we clearly know what it is. Have you heard it called “the good news”? That is how the greek word for gospel is translated. We also hear gospel and think of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, since they are called the gospels.

When we talk about “the gospel”, we are talking about God's plan of redemption and salvation. It’s not a moment in time but the fulfillment of a promise from the beginning of time all the way to the end of time. And at the center is Jesus - who He is and what He has done. Jesus is the standard by which we will all be judged, which is why the gospel is such good news.

In this lesson we are going to be covering a lot so you can get the full extent of the gospel.

If the gospel is the good news, what’s the bad news

Since we have the gospel - the good news - is there bad news? Sadly, yes. We will stand before God and be properly judged for what we have done. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Oooh, not looking good for us.

Sin is a challenging thing to talk about. We want to do what we want to do and not have anyone tell us we can’t. We don’t want to feel limited do we? With rules and limitations, there are chances that we can mess up and be wrong. Nobody likes to hear that they are wrong or have done wrong. But with sin we wrong God. We break the standard that He set for us.

Earlier it was called out that we see sin as missing a question on a test and getting a less than perfect score. In James 2:10 we are told, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” It is all or nothing when it comes to God. He wants our whole devotion. He wants our whole heart. Less than whole is less than love.

We humans were created in a way that we could choose to love God or not. He made all of creation. He said, “here are so many great things for you, just avoid this one thing”. Then what? Well that’s easy, sin right? Yes, but follow me here. We can look at the act committed by Adam and Eve and think the sin was just the act. They took the fruit and ate, boom, sin! But go back to what was just said - we could choose to love God or not. By eating the fruit, Adam and Eve chose themselves over God. That’s what made their sin so great.

God as creator did not have to make a way for us to be with Him once we messed up. He could have left it solely up to us to never ever commit a sin. But even if we never committed a sin ourselves we still have original sin from Adam and Eve.

Good thing God made a promise. He would establish a new standard in Jesus.

Jesus is the promise

The first time we see the promise of Jesus is in Genesis 3:15 with God talking to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This is called the Protoevangelium, the first announcement of the gospel. What we see here is that from the beginning, God declared there would be a way for all that was just broken to be fixed.

There are many prophecies about the Messiah that would come and rule forever. These prophecies were revealing who God the Father would send and sit on the eternal throne. These weren’t just predictions, they were promises to come. These were promises that Jesus came and fulfilled.

Jesus tells us how the scriptures, referring to the Old Testament, point to Him. In John 5:39, Jesus is talking to the Jewish authorities when he tells them “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,”. Then in Luke 24:25–27, “And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Some of the prophetic verses in the Old Testament include (1)

  • He would come from the seed/offspring of Abraham and would bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 12:3).

  • He would be a “prophet like Moses” to whom God said we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15).

  • He would be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2).

  • He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

  • He would have a throne, a kingdom and a dynasty, or house, starting with King David, that will last forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

  • He would be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace,” and would possess an everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).

  • He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, righteous and having salvation, coming with gentleness (Zechariah 9:9-10).

  • He would be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).

  • He would die among the wicked ones but be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).

  • He would be resurrected from the grave, for God would not allow His Holy One to suffer decay (Psalm 16:10).

If these promises weren’t fulfilled in Jesus, then He would have just been a man making a false claim. But we know different. We know different because the apostles knew different. Jesus was revealed to them, specifically Peter (Matthew 16:16), and they got to see what the gospel in action was all about.

Jesus is the gospel in action

Jesus’ earthly ministry only lasted 3 years. When we think about Jesus, or are being talked to about Jesus, our minds tend to think of what He did during those 3 years. We hear about the miracles. We hear about the teaching. We can now read and talk about all the things Jesus did and taught. Even though the events happened nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus death and resurrection made the gospel active.

When someone comes to accept Jesus and proclaim Him as Lord and Savior, we usually hear it happens after they hear the gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us the gospel is “the Power of God for salvation”. When we believe the gospel, we believe Jesus takes away our sins and saves us. We repent of our sins and confess to Him that He is our Lord. When Jesus becomes our Lord, He is the standard God sees when He looks at us. He is the only one that can give us this gift and will continue to shape us through the Holy Spirit. We trust in the work of God from the beginning of time until the time when Jesus returns. We don’t know the future but we trust and follow Jesus’ teachings and scripture to grow us. We put our faith fully in Jesus because He is the standard.

Now what?

Jesus’ saving work is in action as we speak. It is a living thing that will continue until He returns. When we know how the gospel saves and we are saved by grace through faith, our life begins to change. Graciousness grows greater in us. Forgiveness finds more ears. All of this comes from a great and good God.

Let’s finish with a quote from the great preacher Charles Spurgeon. “The God of the past has blotted out your sin, the God of the present makes all things work together for your good, the God of the future will never leave you or forsake you.”

Resources

The Bible Project - Word Study: Euangelion - "Gospel"

Footnotes

  1. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “The Promise of the Messiah”, (November 22, 2006), https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/november-2006/the-promise-of-the-messiah/

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