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Great Themes of the Bible
Who doesn’t like to have a little good news?
And while we all like to hear some good news, what we can’t stand and even hate are those who say, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news. What do you want to hear first?”
But with all the bad news that’s out there, a little good news is always welcomed. And there’s no better good news than the Gospel message, and that’s because there’s no downside to it.
The Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16a NIV)
It’s the power of God for salvation, hence no downside.
The gospel message of Jesus Christ is that this earth is not our home. This earth filled with violence and tragedy is not our home, but heaven in the presence of God is our home. Talk about great news. But what is the gospel and how does it apply to us.
What is the gospel?
When we talk about the gospel we’re referring to the good news that Jesus Christ died upon the cross to pay the penalty price for our sins, which is death, both physical and spiritual death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV)
But it goes beyond no longer being subject to death’s power, which is quite formidable, and which is some really great news, but there’s more. The good news is also that through what Jesus Christ did for us upon the cross, that all who believe in Him are now children of God and joint heirs with Christ.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:15-17a NKJV)
This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. This is the good news, and this is what Jesus preached. The Bible says,
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” (Matthew 9:35 NIV)
When John the Baptist wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus said,
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5 NIV)
In fact, the coming of Jesus is the good news, which is what the angel said to the Shepherds the night Jesus was born.
“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” (Luke 2:10 NIV)
And so when Jesus came, not only was He the good news, but He came proclaiming the good news.
Look at some of these passages.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
“The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” (Mark 9:31 NKJV)
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:13 NKJV)
“My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18 NKJV)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)
The Gospel message is the truth of God’s salvation as communicated through Jesus Christ and found within the pages of the Bible.
The Gospel message doesn’t come from legends or cunningly devised fables concocted by the disciples concerning the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead it reflects what was recorded for us in the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The Apostle Peter in his second letter verifies this.
“An entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:11, 16 NKJV)
But the Gospel message is not just a New Testament theme, it’s found throughout the Old Testament.
King David spoke of his future hope of heaven through the Messiah’s death and resurrection, and it’s what the Apostle Peter confirmed in his very first sermon, Acts 2:25-27.
King David said, “You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10 NKJV)
King David also spoke of the Messiah’s death by crucifixion saying, “They have pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:16 NKJV)
Even Jonah’s time spent in the belly of the big fish gets into the act as Jesus uses the story to describe His death and resurrection.
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40 NKJV)
After the resurrection Jesus explained that this was indeed what He had said, and what the prophets foretold.
“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47 NKJV)
This was what the Apostle Paul said.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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 NKJV)
The prophet Isaiah gives us this description of this event.
“He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV)
And then Isaiah went on to say,
“For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken … Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin.” (Isaiah 53:8b, 10a NKJV)
And so the central core of the Gospel’s message is that God has provided a way of salvation, a way that sinful humanity can be made righteous before a holy and righteous God.
The Apostle Paul addresses this fact and that no one alive can do this in their own power or by their own righteousness.
“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12 NKJV)
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
There is no one who is righteous before a holy and righteous God and everyone falls short of His holy and righteous standards for life.
God, therefore, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to become the sacrifice for humanity’s sin that’s present in everyone. Jesus died upon the cross shedding His blood as the Lamb of God taking our place and dying the death we all deserve.
John the Baptist pointed this out saying,
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)
Jesus died then for our sins, and on the third day rose from the grave for our salvation.
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NKJV)
Further, this is a free gift, that is, there’s nothing we can do to earn or work our way to heaven. Heaven and salvation is available by grace through faith.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)
As sinful human beings we cannot please God without faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
So it’s by grace that we have been saved through faith in what Jesus Christ did for us there upon the cross, taking our place and dying the death we all deserve, and that He rose from the grave on that third day.
This is the good news
• Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day just as the prophets foretold.
• The good news is that for all those who believe that we can have an abundant life in this world right now, and eternal life in heaven once this life is over.
• The good news is that God loves us so much that He gave Jesus Christ to redeem us from the power of sin and death over our lives.
• And the good news is that Jesus will always abide with us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
And so the good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel message, is that through our belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can be saved with Heaven as our future home as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
But why was all this necessary? It begins with humanity’s fall, which is what we’ll discuss in another message from “Great Themes of the Bible.”
Wednesday Evening Bible Study