What is the Gospel? Pt 2

In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, which encompassed the kingdom of God, along with ‘the things concerning himself’ (revealing the Father, providing reconciliation etc).

In this study we will focus on the gospel of the kingdom of God and in a future study concentrate on ‘the things concerning Jesus Christ’.

In order to properly understand the gospel message that Jesus was preaching we need to have some appreciation of the importance and context of certain events in the Hebrew scriptures, which are constantly used as reference points. The people of Jesus’ day knew the import of these and needed no explanation, however in this day and age we need this background context explaining.

As an example, why is Abraham referenced 73 times in the New Testament scriptures by most of the writers, and how is that relevant to us today? For instance Jesus himself said ‘Abraham looked forward to his day’ (John 8:56), Paul said ‘Abraham is father of us all’ (Romans 4:16-17), ‘the gospel was preached to Abraham’ (Galatians 3:8) and also ‘God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you’ (Galatians 3:29).

Did Paul describe the whole ministry of Jesus as a confirmation of “the promises made to the patriarchs” ?

Romans 15:8 ESV
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

So first of all we will get a little background before looking at the gospel message itself.

Did Yahweh start working with Abraham (Abram, before his name change) by instructing him to leave his native land and to go where He would lead him, and He would bless him and make him to be a blessing to the whole population of the earth?

Genesis 12:1-4 WEB
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you, and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him. Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran

Did Yahweh promise by covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants?

Genesis 13: 14-15 WEB
Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.

Genesis 15:18 WEB
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 17:7-8 WEB
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you.8 I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”

Psalms 105:7-15 WEB
He is Yahweh, our God. His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered his covenant forever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which he made with Abraham, His oath to Isaac, 10 And confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance;” 12 When they were but a few men in number, Yes, very few, and sojourners in it. 13 They went about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes, 15 “Don’t touch my anointed ones. Do my prophets no harm.”

Did God reiterate His ongoing covenant promise of the land to Abraham’s descendants long after his death – some six times in Psalms 37

Psalms 37:9 WEB
For evildoers shall be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.

Psalms 37:11 WEB
But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

(Remember Christ’s sermon on the mount “the meek will inherit the land (or earth)” Matthew 5:5)

Psalms 37:18 WEB
Yahweh knows the days of the perfect. Their inheritance shall be forever.

Psalms 37:22 WEB
For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the land. Those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:29 WEB
The righteous shall inherit the land, And live in it forever.

Psalms 37:34 WEB
Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, And he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

In our previous study ‘What kind of Messiah did the people expect?’ we looked into various Messianic scriptures which promised a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, Jacob and David would come as the Messiah, son of Yahweh God, king to rule over the land – even all the nations, the whole earth – ruling on the throne of David, over the kingdom of God on earth. (Please take time to review that study again in ‘Category – Jesus’ and ‘Archive – May 2017’).

When Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the people were familiar with the covenant promises of ‘the land’, the Messiah on the throne of David, and a restoration of the kingdom.However, there were a few things that had to be explained and clarified to fully understand the good news message he was bringing from God. It would be realised properly at his second coming.

Did Paul clarify that the covenant promises made to Abraham were also made to Christ as his offspring/descendent? Christ is the heir!

Galatians 3:16 WEB
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, “To seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “To your seed,” which is Christ.

The good news for us is in verse 29

Galatians 3:29 WEB
If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.

If we are Christ’s we are Abraham’s offspring too – we are heirs too, we inherit according to the promise, with Christ. We inherit the kingdom, the land, the earth.

To recap, what did Jesus come preaching?
Mark 1:14-15 NASB
Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

What did Jesus say the meek would inherit?

Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Did Paul confirm this in his letter to the Romans?

Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Did Paul point out that the saints will judge (rule) the world?

1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

2 Timothy 2:12 NRSV
if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;

Did Jesus say he was to rule the kingdom and his followers would rule with him?

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-30 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

In the book of Revelation, where did John say we would reign? On earth?

Revelation 5:10 NRSV
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Did James also confirm this good news that we can be heirs of the kingdom?

James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

Jesus preached many parables about inheriting the kingdom, for example:

Matthew 25:34 CJB
“Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.

Matthew 21:38 CJB
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’

Jesus was telling the people (and us today) that at his return to earth (his second coming) he will usher in the kingdom of God, and be given rulership over the whole earth, administering Yahweh God’s government. And that his true followers, those who believe him, repent and accept God’s gracious offer, can be forgiven, reconciled to our Father God and share the rule of this earth in righteousness with Jesus Messiah, son of God.

This can be our inheritance along with Jesus, the first born of many brethren (Romans 8:29).

This worldwide Messianic rule is the fulfilment of the covenant promises made by Yahweh to Abraham – who will himself be a part of this Kingdom of God when he is resurrected at Christ’s return (I Thessalonians . 4:13-17, I Corinthians. 15:23, 50-52).

Paul says that Christ confirmed the promises given to the patriarchs:

Romans 15:8 NRSV
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

Does Daniel 7:27 paint a wonderful picture of this kingdom of God on earth?

Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Please review Psalms 2:2-9, Psalms 45:2-7, Psalms 72:9-14, Isaiah 9:6-7 & Isaiah 11:1-16 for further descriptions of the kingdom of God on earth under the rulership of Jesus Messiah.

And yet Jesus made an amazing statement in Mark chapter 4 just after he had told the parable of the sower – quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 – he said that many would not see, hear or understand, for if they did they would repent (turn to God) and He would forgive them:

Mark 4:10-12 NRSV
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ “

In the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-20, Jesus is explaining how important comprehending or not comprehending the ‘word’ (the gospel message) is, and how Satan hates it and will snatch it away if he possibly can:

Mark 4:15 NRSV
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

We saw earlier that Jesus said it was necessary to repent and believe the message regarding the kingdom of God:

Mark 1:14-15 NRSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

So we must pay attention, listen and believe what Jesus taught, if we want to enter into the kingdom at his return.

We have seen that Jesus came preaching the good news message from Yahweh God regarding the setting up of God’s government on earth, under his rulership as Messiah King, at his return. That we who believe and are saved can have a part in this kingdom of God, as co-inheritors with Messiah – this is Yahweh fulfilling His covenant promises to Abraham and the patriarchs from the Hebrew scriptures. This is marvellous news of a wonderful future in a perfect world, according to our Father’s perfect plan.

This isn’t the complete message though, there remains the all important aspects of how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3). These things we will study next time in Part 3.

What is the Gospel? Pt 1

Does it make any difference which gospel we believe?
Paul said it did, and was very adamant about this! Did he pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel to the one he had delivered?

Galatians 1:8-9 RSV
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

Did Paul receive this gospel from men or from Jesus Christ himself?

Galatians 1:11-12 RSV
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So we had better know and understand what this gospel message was.

What were Jesus instructions to his followers before he left them?

Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Carefully note that they were to teach others to observe (to see, to keep, to do) all the things he had commanded them to do. So what was the gospel that Jesus preached?

Notice the first sermon preached to gentiles by Peter at the house of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10:

Acts 10:34-38 RSV
And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

It was God’s gospel (good news) message that He sent by who? By Jesus Christ! Where did it begin? In Galilee! When? After John the Baptist’s preaching and baptising for repentance!

What does Mark tell us in his account about this? Does he identify the beginning of the good news brought by Jesus?

Mark 1:1 RSV
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In Galilee, after John was arrested, did Jesus come preaching ‘the gospel of God’?

Mark 1:14 RSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

Was it the good news about ‘the kingdom of God’? And was the instruction to repent and believe it?

Mark 1:15 RSV
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus’ instruction is to believe ‘the’ gospel, not ‘a’ gospel, not ‘any’ gospel, not ‘another’ gospel but THE (Strong’s 3588 – the, the definite article) gospel that he preached!

And what did our Father God instruct us concerning Jesus?

Mark 9:7 RSV
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Luke 9:35 RSV
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Matthew 17:5 RSV
He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

LISTEN TO HIM! So we must listen to and believe what Jesus preached – the gospel of the kingdom of God. (Other scriptures teach that we must believe in what Jesus has done for us and on Him as the son of God as well, but the scriptures we are looking at here say we must listen to him and believe what he said.)

In the scriptures the gospel of the kingdom of God is sometimes referred to as ‘the gospel’, ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’ (ie the good news that Jesus brought), ‘the gospel of God’ (ie the good news that God sent), even ‘the word’, ‘the gospel of grace’ and ‘the gospel of peace’ – these all refer to the same gospel message.

Was it Jesus routine to preach the kingdom of God?

Matthew 4:23 RSV
And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

Matthew 9:35 RSV
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

Did Jesus speak what the Father sent him to speak?

John 14:24 RSV
He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

John 12:49-50 RSV
For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

Does what Jesus speak from the Father carry with it eternal life? Verse 50 above – serious stuff!

Was the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God that Jesus announced actually a gospel of salvation – about people being saved, receiving eternal life (in God’s kingdom)?

Romans 1:16 CJB
For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.

Ephesians 1:13 WEB
in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, — in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Mark 10:23-26 RSV
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”

Mark 15:31 RSV
So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.

John 3:32-36 RSV
He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony;33 he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; 35 the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

1 Peter 1:10-11 RSV
The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; 11 they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.

Hebrews 2:3 RSV
how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,

Was Jesus sent for the purpose of preaching this gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 4:43 RSV
but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Did Jesus send his disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 9:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Luke 10:1-2, 9 NRSV
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Did Jesus teach his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come?

Where to? – to the earth!

Matthew 6:9-10
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Does Satan hate this gospel of the kingdom and try to snatch it away? Is this to prevent us believing and being saved?

Matthew 13:19 NRSV
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.

Luke 8:12 NRSV
The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Notice what the early church preached – Philip at Samaria:

Acts 8:12 NRSV
But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

He preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul preached the kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ.

Acts 28:30-31 NRSV
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him,31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 19:8 NRSV
He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Are the preaching the gospel of the grace of God and preaching the kingdom part of the same gospel message?

Acts 20:24-25 NRSV
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. 25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again.

In previous studies we have seen who the one true God is, and how Jesus is His son, the Messiah. In this study we see that Jesus came to preach a good news message of salvation from Yahweh God, His Father, all about ‘the kingdom of God’, which Jesus also sent his disciples and apostles to preach throughout all the world.

In the New Testament scriptures we see this being faithfully carried out – they preach the gospel of ‘the kingdom of God’ along with the things concerning Jesus Christ, and warn people not to accept any other gospels.

So it is necessary for us to look more closely at what exactly the teaching of the kingdom of God is, and what are these things concerning Jesus Christ which are tied to it so closely. We will do this in up-coming studies.