Exploring Jesus’ message – his life, death and resurrection – is the journey of a lifetime. BUT at its core, the Gospel, or Good News, of Jesus can be explained from just three verses that are found in the New Testament:
I. WHAT THE GOSPEL IS..
“The Gospel..is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Apostle Paul, Rom 1:16
Far from being just another philosophy or religious viewpoint to be considered, the Bible tells us that the Gospel is God’s power to save us. Whoever we are, whatever our past or present, our successes or failures, it is through the message of the Gospel that God brings us into new relationship with Him, freeing us from the hold and consequences of sin in our lives.
2. WHAT THE GOSPEL SAYS..
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Many of us grow up believing that if God exists at all, he is distant from us and angry at us. But it is affection, not judgement, that sent Jesus to die on the Cross. We are, Jesus tells us, loved by the one who created us. Yes, we are in great trouble as human beings because of the impact of sin in our lives. Yes, it is true that we have been cut off from God’s presence and separated from Him as a result. The Bible makes this clear. But nonetheless, we are wondrously loved by our Maker. It is because of that love that Jesus came to live and to die on our behalf. Through His sacrifice on the Cross, God has now provided a way for us to know His forgiveness. Jesus has paid the price that was ours to pay and now, if we will place our faith in Him, God forgives us and restores us to the life we were always made for.
3. WHAT RECEIVING THE GOSPEL INVOLVES..
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
This verse from the Apostle Peter’s great sermon on the day of Pentecost points us to what receiving the gospel involves:
• To be rescued by Jesus, firstly, we acknowledge our need of his forgiveness. Repentance is the ‘turning back’ of our hearts and lives to God. To repent, we confess that we have not given God His place in our lives. We confess our rebellion and sin. We then look not to ourselves for forgiveness but to Jesus, and ask God to cleanse us, to restore us, to bring us into new relationship with Him through what His Son has accomplished on the Cross.
• Secondly, through baptism, if we are not already baptized, we mark this new beginning, and our incorporation into Jesus’ body – the church, in a public confession of our faith. Following Jesus is not something we do alone or privately. He has called us not only to Him but also to community with one another. And, He has called us not only to be His children but also to be His witnesses so that everyone can have an opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus.
• And finally, we receive. As we put our trust in Jesus, and pray that God would forgive us, through His grace we receive HIs forgiveness and pardon, knowing that His word is eternally sure. When this happens we also receive the gift of his Holy Spirit, who comes to live in us, and who then leads us in this new adventure of being Jesus’ disciples.
If you are just exploring Christianity for the first time, we would really encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. If you don’t have a copy, we would love to give you the gift of one so please just ask or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do have a Bible then the Gospel of John is a great place to start. You could also come along to one of our Alpha Courses, a very popular eight week introduction to Jesus’ message. They are a great place to ask any of your questions and find out more about the life and love Jesus invites us to know.
If you have already explored the Gospel and know that you would like to become a follower of Jesus, then why not do so right now? Your heavenly Father is only a prayer away!