Romans 116 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,..
If we want to share the Good News of Jesus with other people, we need to be sure that we know what that Good News is. So we are going to think this morning about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people get confused because the same word Gospel (usually written with a capital G) is used to refer to the four books about the life of Jesus written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But that sense of the word is not found in the New Testament. What we do find more than 75 time is the word gospel meaning simply “the message of good news”. The good news about Jesus. The message of good news which leads men and women to all the blessings of salvation as we receive and believe that message.
Salvation is an umbrella word for all wonderful things God gives to His chosen people. In the Old Testament it meant rescue from slavery in Egypt in the Exodus, deliverance from evil and redemption from captivity. In the New Testament salvation embraces forgiveness of sins, wholeness, freedom from sin, escape from Judgment, and God’s free gift of life in all its fullness, eternal life which not even death can take away.
The old question, “are you saved” sounds dated. But it is still perhaps the most important question for anybody to answer. We still all need to be saved! D.L.Moody once said, “If we can get a man to think for just 5 minutes about his soul, he is almost certain to be converted.” The gospel is God’s power bringing salvation to all who believe – to everyone who puts their trust in Jesus. A simple straightforward message which can transform lives. The Good News is God’s power, God’s dynamo and God’s dynamite to save people!
The Good News comes from God It is The gospel of God
And The Bible contains the Good News
promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
The gospel was the culmination of God’s masterplan of salvation which unfolded over thousands of years. We find this Good News in the Scriptures, God’s word, the Bible. In the Old Testament the story of the Exodus tells us how God rescued his people out of slavery in Egypt across the red sea and eventually to the promised land. This gives us a picture of the salvation God had prepared since before the Creation of the World. When the time was right the promises God made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and through the Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah would all be fulfilled in Jesus. So we find the gospel itself revealed in the second half of the Bible, the New Testament. This Good News which is all wrapped up in the life and death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Son of God – The message of Christmas
regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David
Jesus was a man, fully human, descended from David the greatest King Israel ever knew.
But Jesus was also the Son of God, fully God but born as an ordinary human being.
Our memory verse from last week. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus is alive – the message of Easter
declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead:
Jesus was dead – and now He is alive again! The resurrection is God’s proof that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Jesus was more than a human being. He was also the Son of God. And the proof we have that Jesus was indeed the Son of God is that God raised his Son Jesus from the dead. The resurrection is God’s proof to everybody of who Jesus really is.
Before we go on, there is one important part of the Easter story and the gospel message which isn’t mentioned at the beginning of Romans but is many times elsewhere. That is the death of Jesus on the cross.
Our memory verse this week. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus died in our place so that we can be forgiven. The resurrection shows us that Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross has indeed paid the price for our sin.
So Jesus is the Son of God – His resurrection from the dead proves that. The Message translation puts it this way: His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master.
And this points us to The core of the Gospel – Jesus is Lord
That is the Good News. Jesus Christ our Lord
Christians believe Jesus is Lord because of who He is in Himself – the Son of God. But Jesus is not just Lord because of who He is but also because of what He has done in the act of creating everything that exists. Everything was created BY Him and FOR Him. Somebody has said, “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not declare, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’”
And then one event in history reveals to the world just how important Jesus is. That was His resurrection from the dead. We know that Jesus is Lord because God raised Him from the dead. The resurrection is God’s demonstration to the whole universe that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
In the New Testament the simple declaration that “Jesus is Lord” is what demonstrated that a person was a actually a believer. A true Christian is somebody who recognises and declares that Jesus Christ is Lord. Now is may seem to us that saying “Jesus is Lord” is no big deal. But in the days of the Roman Empire, particularly in the times of Emperors like Nero, refusing to say “Caesar is Lord” and insisting that the only Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ, that really was a very big deal. Proclaiming “Jesus is Lord” is like declaring war! It’s a cry of revolution! It would be like standing up in Nazi Germany and saying, “Hitler is not Fuhrer, Jesus is in charge. In the universe of Star Wars it would be like saying, “Emperor Palpatine is not in charge, Luke Skywalker is!”
So what does it mean to say Jesus is Lord? Let’s think about some other titles we could use instead of Lord to make the meaning clear. Slaves had their Master. In the world of WORK we could talk about the Boss, the Manager, the Supervisor, the Director, the Controller. The person who tells you what to do. The MILITARY uses labels like Chief, Leader, even Supreme Commander. Even more than at work, in the military the commanding officer gives instructions and you obey. The world of POLITICS has a whole range of titles for the person in ultimate charge. Emperor; Ruler; Sovereign; Monarch; King; Tsar; President; Premier.
With all of these people, you do what they say! They are in charge. They lead, you follow. They tell you what to do and they tell you what not to do. And you don’t argue. You obey. And that’s like what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is our Master. So much more important than any political or military leader. So much more important than any boss. We do what Jesus says. We go where He goes. We follow Jesus without reservation, without qualification, without hesitation. Because Jesus is Lord. This simple statement is the core of the gospel.
Let me just make one thing completely clear. Jesus isn’t Lord because people let Him be Lord. Jesus isn’t Lord because people have voted for Him to be Lord. Jesus is Lord because God has said so! It’s a fact and the different opinions people might have about that fact don’t change anything. Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Fact!
It doesn’t make any difference if a person believes Jesus is Lord or chooses not to believe Jesus is Lord or even if they don’t know that Jesus is Lord. The Lordship of Christ is like gravity. It is a fact. Gravity isn’t affected by whether we believe in it or not. If we are sensible we will recognise that gravity exists and has a claim on our lives. From time to time some people try to live as if gravity doesn’t exist. They jump out of planes and for a few seconds pretend they are completely free of any pull gravity might have on them. But gravity has a way of bringing everybody down to earth with a bump sooner or later. And sooner or later, everybody is going to realise that Jesus is Lord whether they have chosen to accept Him or whether they have devoted their lives to rejecting Him. Jesus is Lord. Fact!
And, with all its implications we have just talked about, that simple statement is the heart of the Good News. That is the core of the gospel. That is the message of Good News we have to proclaim. We can sum up the gospel in these three words. “Jesus is Lord!”
The gospel is an announcement. But at the same time it is not just information. It is also an invitation. And a challenge. Somebody has defined evangelism as “the process of communicating the most crucial piece of knowledge possible about real life in such a way that the recipient has the maximum opportunity to understand and act upon it.”
So How should people respond to the Good News?
to the obedience that comes from faith.
Jesus’s message to his first disciples was simply this. “Believe the Good News.” What is means is that our faith is the channel by which God’s blessing comes to us. It is not saying that we earn our salvation by trusting God. Faith is not some kind of good work we have to do to deserve God’s love. We never could earn or deserve God’s peace. But we receive God’s free gift of righteousness and salvation simply by believing God’s promises and accepting them for ourselves. Faith is not about intellectual assent to a series of statements. Faith is a commitment to trusting God which affects our whole lives.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Our faith leads us on to obedience – living our lives to please God.
The Message: Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ!
The Blessings of Salvation
We Belong to Jesus
We are Loved by God
We are Called to be holy ones
God gives us the amazing gifts of His Grace and His Peace and His Righteousness.
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes …. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.
In this sense righteousness is that gift of forgiveness and new life which changes us from God’s enemies into God’s children, no longer condemned as sinners but accepted as precious sons and daughters. By his grace, God puts us back in a right relationship with Himself on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection. The gospel offers us that righteousness and all the blessings of salvation.
So this is the Good News of Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible
Jesus is the Son of God. He died on the Cross and is alive again, risen from the dead.
Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
And God promises all the blessings of salvation when we believe that simple message.
This gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
The Message translation puts it this way. It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him