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June Newsletter-What Is The Gospel?

What is the Gospel? I’m going to simplify the answer to that question and then turn around and expand it. I’ve narrowed the answer down to one word: Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. In the New Testament the Greek word expressed for Gospel is euangelion. It’s a noun and means simply Good News. The Greek word euangelio is a verb referring to ‘announcing the Good News.’ Paraphrased, either word means declaring a victory with joy. That’s Jesus’ story.

What did the disciples preach that got all of them but John killed? They preached Jesus, they preached the Kingdom of God present after the Cross/Resurrection. Jesus present in our hearts. Jesus Christ is the subject of the whole Bible. Indirectly or directly, all the biblical text is about Him. We know that all things are held by Him and apart from Him nothing exists. (Col. 15:17) We also know that without Christ’s messages to us, the Word of God could never have been understood. With Him all the ‘mysteries’ of the Gospel are revealed. Jesus went so far as to express: If you perceive me you can perceive the Father. (John 14:9)

In Genesis, the Creator was the only true God. He was to be worshiped and we’re to have no gods other than Him. He was the only Righteous One and He was, and is, and will be, the final ‘Kingdom’. That’s a promise we need to keep our eyes on today. To Abraham and his seed came the Good News and the promise of a Kingdom where all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:1) In Gen. 15:4, a promise of a Messiah was given to establish the Kingdom, a holy place, ‘Immanuel’s Land’ (literally Jesus’ Land, the name used of God’s Son, Isa. 8:8) In time, the Messiah came and the angels declared ‘Behold, I bring ‘good news’ of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord.’ (John 1:1) It was also prophesied that people would not receive Him; that they would actually reject Him and announced that they would kill Messiah. (Isa 53) However, the murder of Messiah would have no effect on the establishment of the Messiah’s Kingdom. Actually, what it really did was create it. (Luke 24:26) John the Baptist proclaimed it. In Act 3:18; 17:3 we learn these terrible things were to happen; Messiah had to suffer those things, in order for Him to enter into His Glory (Kingdom). In Acts, some believers were imprisoned (Acts chapters 4,5,8,9,12,21), Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:59), another was killed by the sword (Acts 12:1) I list all that because those were rough times, but not the end of HIStory.

Following Acts 28, the next ‘text message’ we get is from Paul and the book of Romans. Saul (Paul) was separated to teach it. (Rom. 1:1) In the Roman letter Paul quotes previously written scriptures but begins to reveal what has never been written before. Paul was instructed by God to bring and reveal some of the ‘mystery’ of God that had never before been expressed. Paul wrote most of those revelations while in prison, penning Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Paul made clear that in killing the Messiah they were (and this is still true today) rejecting more than a system of ethics or morality, more than rejecting right and wrong found in the Law. They were rejecting Christ’s Kingdom. That Kingdom was one Jesus came specifically to establish with Grace, Peace, and Love.

The Gospel has always seen seasons of rejection, moments of assumed defeat, and yet it’s always ‘raised again’. Rough and tough times are not by definition the end. Resurrections have always been the common characteristic of God’s Word. Today, in spite of what I’m hearing, what I’m seeing, and sometimes what I’m even experiencing, the Good News will not be defeated any more than it ever has. The Kingdom of God that Christ brought to us, or perhaps a future Kingdom, will not be destroyed. Either His Kingdom will rise again in the earth or we will rise again from the earth.

What was declared in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 that a ‘seed of woman’ was coming to establish a victory, is matched in reality in Revelation 21 and 22. Genesis predicts it, (4 Gospels prophesy it), and Revelation describes it. Everything predicted to take place in Genesis and expressed in Revelation are facts of the Kingdom as originally declared by Moses and finally manifested in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. When prophecies and the realities in the Book of Revelation begin, no one will be snickering ‘myths’. As we see those things happening, rather than discouraging our Faith, they should inspire our Faith. Simply, as we see God’s Word become manifested in our lives, become even more obvious for being true, they should confirm our future hope not destroy it.

The Gospel contained within Genesis expresses a Kingdom to come with the presence of Messiah and also sets us up to be aware of the final defeat of Satan (the crushing of his head). If you take a wide look at scripture, back out far enough to get past the current news, secular spins, stress and heartbrokenness of the current day, I think we can characterize the moment we live in as ‘globally significant’. There have always been cultures, regions, peoples that have had many of the same stresses we face each day, but probably never before on such a global scale.

Christ established a Kingdom not of this world. It’s present in the world because of one reason only, He is present. Kingdom, in the spiritual sense, refers to sovereignty not territory. In His Kingdom the only requirement is His presence. It’s described as a Kingdom we should seek first. (Luke 12:21) Mark 9:1 indicates it comes with power. Mark 10 tells us, if we are to experience it, we will have to come as a child. Luke also shares that it will come without observation (not physically seeing it, or pointing a finger at it on a map). We know from Paul’s writing that it is not meat or drink but Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Spirit. Grace was preached in the O.T. through the practice of the Day of Atonement, through the Year of Jubilee, and through the feasts of the Jewish tradition. At the Cross all those atonements became available 365 days a year. Now, Jubilee is not just the 49th year but every year. Scripture says we now have a better covenant. ‘But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.’ (Heb. 8-6)

Today, I think we can easily miss the uniqueness of the moment. We can live it up ‘as in the days of Noah’, however, the decisions we make today, the consequences of our attitudes today, are going to be magnified in our lives in the future like never before. There’s an old expression, ‘separation for clarification.’ (Timothy might suggest it as rightly dividing the Word of Truth: 2Tim 2:15) The Word of God is like a sword and able to separate, for our clarification, what gives Life and what produces death. Today the choice is becoming clearer, more obvious, than ever before. Our choices today make huge statements as to what we believe. What we choose to do, what we choose to focus on, what we choose to observe, is intensified in our world, our country, community, family, in you and me.

If I were to summarize what seems to be true today I’d probably say it like this: As the days grow ever closer to the fulfillment of Genesis’ promises, as we see a greater opportunity for the experiences found in Revelation to be real, the spirit of anti-Christ is on an adrenaline rush. Evil is attempting to blind the eyes of people all around the globe. He doesn’t want anyone to believe in prophecies of his ultimate defeat predicted in Genesis 3:15 and to be seen in Rev. 21; 21. He’s in a frenzy to hide the Good News from people. Christian persecution is an attempt by evil to shut the book on the Wisdom and Peace of the Gospel. I’ve always believed that just as Jesus was crucified physically at Calvary, the pre-tribulation mode will be to crucify the Spirit of Christ that’s been placed here as a witness.

Believer’s role, and becoming more so each day, is to share the Gospel, the Good News: a Savior was born. This whole thing we call Gospel is Jesus and his Kingdom. The end of HIStory is this: someday all enmity toward God spoken of in Genesis will come to an end. (Gen. 3:15) In that moment described in Genesis 3 there is the first mention of the Grace of God. Adam and Eve were present when God, after the ‘fall’ expressed His eventual restoration of mankind. The seed of a woman would bruise evil’s head once and for all. In that moment Adam and Eve became aware that God was not abandoning His creation. They learned, and we know as well, mankind would not be shunned and should not be fearful of His presence. In his book published in 1879, Thomas Erskine stated it like this: ‘As the work of the serpent was to draw them away from the love of God, so the undoing of that work was to draw them back to the love of God; as the serpent’s work had been to introduce sin and its consequences into the world, so the undoing of that work was to destroy sin and its consequences. Someday in the future His Kingdom, both the spiritual Kingdom and physical Kingdom, will be united as One. That’s our blessed Hope.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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