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!
“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.