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The Gospel of God! What is the Gospel?

Paul, a servant[a] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[b] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, (Romans 1:1-6) In the very first verse we we meet the words, “the gospel of God”. What is the gospel? It’s good to know what the gospel is. The gospel is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. I dare say if you don’t know what the gospel it’s probably pretty difficult to be a Christian. At the heart of the gospel which is at the heart of being a Christian is this one simple truth. That Jesus Christ came to save sinners. We are sinners. You are a sinner. Every single one of you are. And to be saved. That is to experience the good news: the gospel. You need to acknowledge your sinfulness, you need to ask forgiveness for your sin and you need to trust in what Jesus did on the cross as full payment for your sin and and as your only basis of acceptance before a holy God. In other words. You’re a sinner. But what Jesus did on the cross was pay the penalty for your sins. And simply by trusting in him you can be saved. Implied in trusting in him is a not trusting in yourself. Which is what repentance is. We are all born trusting in ourselves. Self trust, self seeking, self glorifying, self pleasure, self centered, self wants, self focus —- it’s all about us. And it’s so easy to see this. What does a baby act like when it doesn’t get it’s way. It pouts, it throws a fit, it cries and screams. So we are all born with a self focus bent with sinful desires. And when God works in us in such a way that we want to be saved, that we have a godly sorrow for our sin. We turn from trusting in ourselves to trusting in Jesus so that we can be saved from our sin and have a right relationship with God. Many times I hear people say that being a Christian is about having a relationship with God. And it is. But what many people don’t understand is everyone has a relationship with God. It’s just that without having Jesus Christ as your savior what you have is a bad relationship with God. A relationship that put’s you at odds with God. A relationship that is defined by being his enemy and the Bible goes so far as to say you are under God’s wrath because of his hatred towards sin. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven, be restored, be made new and have a right relationship with God. Having said all this, sometimes I even think God might show his mercy and grace to some in special and unique ways to unique people. Maybe people who are among God’s elect that are disabled or elderly or infants - whose faculties do not function quite the same as everyone else’s. I am not sure. I know I’ve read in the Bible, in Luke 5 —- the story of a paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus. We can turn their quick These people brought their friend to Jesus. They wanted him to be physically healed. He was paralyzed. They had to climb up on the roof of the house that Jesus was in to lower him down because the crowds were so great their was no way else to get close to Jesus. But what happens is miraculous. Jesus doesn’t first and foremost heal this man of his physical ailments. He first and foremost heals him of his spiritual ailment. That really is our greatest need you know. Look, at what Jesus says to him in vs. “your sins our forgiven” But look at what else it says. It says that Jesus saw the faith of his friends and then forgave the paralyzed man’s sin. There is no account of the paralyzed man saying anything. He didn’t ask to be forgiven. We have no mention of him even saying anything. All we have put on display is the interceding of the friends, the scoffing of the Pharisees and miraculous mercy and grace of Jesus. So sometimes I think there unique ways in which God saves his people. Not a normal pattern. For we are told to go out into the world and preach the gospel to every single creature for a reason. But I also know this, every single person that Jesus Christ died on the cross for is going to be saved. The cross of Christ is what saves. Our words, our repentance, our faith doesn’t give the cross power. The cross is actually what saves. Our words are either proof that the cross is working in us or proof that it is not. So I also want to say this. If you understand and hear what I am saying, that means you are accountable for what you know and hear and understand. The Bible says “that he who is given much is required much” If you have heard and been given the gospel. Your responsible for what you do with it. You can ignore it. You can not care about it. You can hate it. But one thing you can’t do is not be responsible for what you do with it. Do you repent of your sin and trust in Jesus or do you stay in your sin as an enemy of God. I remember when I became a member of a church once. And in order to do so, my wife and I were interviewed by a couple of the elders or Pastors. Whatever you want to call them. And we both had to answer 2 questions. We had to answer the question, what is the gospel? And we had to answer the question of how we came to experience the gospel personally. Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It is good to take the gospel seriously in our churches. And people who are Christians should know the gospel. I always remember when Nevaeh was younger, and I used to ask her. What is the gospel? And she would say, it is good news. And I would say, and what is the good news? And she would say, the gospel is good news. Well, in these first 5 verses Paul summarizes the entire gospel, in a most beautiful way, with Jesus Christ as the very center. I see 5 things that makes Paul’s summarization here so full and wonderful First, the source - the gospel comes from God vs. 1-2 Next, the preparation - the gospel is promised in the OT by the prophets vs. 2 Third, the Center - The gospel is about the son, descended from David and declared to be the Son of God vs 3-4 Fourth, the messengers - The gospel is proclaimed in the NT by the apostles vs. 5 Fifth, the recipients. All nations vs. 5 … The gospel is not a maybe, if, or hopefully. It’s a for sure thing. It will be obeyed by all nations. Colossians 1:19 says, “ For in him (that is Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things (all things, not just to be people’s personal saviors but to reconcile all things), whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Do you really believe this? And finally, the purpose, the why of the Gospel. For the sake of his name. For the sake of his name, among all the nations vs. 5 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite books, “Let the Nations be Glad” by John Piper goes like this: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.” The gospel is all about God. The powerful summary of the gospel in verses 1-6 at the beginning of the book of Romans we could spend a lifetime unpacking. The gospel begins with God. He is the source. It continues with Christ. He is the means. And ends with God. His fame is the goal! We could never out mine or out plumb the depths of the gospel. In that one word. Gospel. Is all the riches of the whole Bible contained. The Bible is the story of God. More specifically, its the story of redemption that comes from God. It’s the story of a great king, that comes to rescue his bride. It’s the story of God’s mission to Without the gospel, the Bible is just a series of random stories, that seemingly don’t connect and in all actuality have no point. The gospel is the central theme of the Bible. Every central theme. Every central, most important message and concept of the Bible converge in the gospel. The glory of God converges in the gospel. The covenantal love of God for his chosen people converges in the gospel.The kingdom of God converges in the gospel. It all does. God and all that he is doing and all that he is is most clearly seen and he is most ultimately glorified, in the gospel. This is God’s mission and purpose, and central driving force, from the beginning of time. Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. The glue that holds the hold Bible together is God’s plan that he made amongst himself to save a people for himself. In Acts chapter 2 vs. 23, the King James, it’s called the determinate counsel. In Christianese we call the covenant of redemption. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - the Eternal Father, never was a time when he was not the Father, and the Eternal Son, never was a time when he was not the Son and the Eternal Spirit, never was there a time when he was not the Spirit - made an agreement - an eternal covenant to save a people as their very own possession. You can see it in the Bible so clearly laid out. It is the Father who chooses. It is the son who dies for and purchases. It is the Spirit who calls and seals. All three members of the Godhead working together as one - in one accord. With one purpose. One plan. One mission. What a glorious the gospel is! For times sake, let's skip on down to verse 16, "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.

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