Chapter 3

                                CHAPTER THREE

THE MESSAGE

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

  • Write the Key Verses from memory.
    • Define “Gospel of the Kingdom.”
    • Summarize the basic elements of the Gospel.
    • List four ways the Gospel is universal.
    • Explain why the Gospel is powerful.

KEY VERSES:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures;

And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

INTRODUCTION

God has a special plan for reaching the world with the Gospel. Jesus revealed this plan when He told His disciples. . .

. . . Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

This verse reveals several things about God’s plan of evangelism:

-Jesus Christ is the content of the message.

-Disciples are the messengers of the Gospel enabled by the powerful force of the Holy Spirit.

-The whole world is to be the recipient of the message.

In this lesson you will learn about the content of the Gospel message. In Chapter Four you will learn about the messengers of the Gospel who are believers empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Chapter Five explains how the messengers are to communicate the message and Chapter Six concerns the people who are recipients of the message.

THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

Jesus said:

And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)

The message of evangelism is the Gospel of the Kingdom. The word “Gospel” actually means “good news.” When we speak of the Gospel in a Biblical sense, it refers to the good news of the Kingdom of God and salvation through Jesus Christ.

In Romans 1:1 the Gospel is called the “Gospel of God.” In Romans 2:16 it is called “Paul’s Gospel.” In Romans 1:16 it is the “Gospel of Christ.” There is no contradiction in these verses because God is the author of the Gospel, Christ is the theme, and man is the recipient.

THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE GOSPEL

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the basic elements of the Gospel are given by Paul:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures;

And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

The basic Gospel message is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again according to the Scriptures. In its narrowest sense, the Gospel can be summarized in the message of John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

In its widest meaning, it includes all that Jesus taught His disciples:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . . teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you. . .  (Matthew 28:18 and 20)

Men must be told about the Kingdom, challenged to enter it, and trained how to live as Kingdom residents.

The Gospel we preach is not a social gospel to reform society, but the Gospel of God to redeem sinners. The message of the Kingdom must include a call to repent from sin:

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God,

And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye, and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE

The most important word in the Gospel is the word “whosoever.”  It was used by Jesus (John 3:16), Paul (Romans 10:13), and John (Revelation 22:17). The Gospel is for all men of all races, cultures, tribes, and nations. It is a universal message for four reasons:

  1. Sin is universal: Romans 3:23
  2. The offer of salvation is universal: 1 Timothy 2:4
  3. The command to repent is universal: Acts 17:30
  4. The invitation to believe is universal: Romans 10:9-11

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

There is great power in the Gospel message. Paul said:

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be know of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  (Romans 1:16-19)

These verses reveal why the Gospel is powerful. It is powerful because:

-It is the revelation of God’s power to man.

-It brings salvation to all men, regardless of race, color, or creed.

-It reveals that which may be known by men about God.

-It reveals the judgment and wrath of God against sin.

-It reveals the righteousness of God.

-It shows how to be justified (forgiven, restored in right relationship to God) by faith.

-It is the basis of the faith by which we live.

THE DEMONSTRATION OF POWER

The Gospel must be preached and taught, but it must also include the demonstration of the Kingdom of God in action. Jesus told His followers:

. . . as ye go, preach saying, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.  (Matthew 10:7-8)

The message of the Kingdom is not in words only. The demonstration of God’s power must accompany the verbal presentation. This was evident in the example set by Jesus:

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)

And the people, when they knew it, followed Him: and He received them, and spake unto them of the Kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. (Luke 9:11)

The demonstration of power–miracles and healing–is the Kingdom of God in action. It is to be part of the message of evangelism. Paul said:

For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)