Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Heart of the Gospel

In our first class of our study of the gospel we started by looking at the basic definition of the Greek word "euangelion" (good news) and the English word "gospel" (God's story). As an illustration I used a king whose wife had given him his first son. The king would send out heralds throughout his kingdom to proclaim his "good news".

Next we look at all the descriptor words and phrases I could find in the Bible pertaining to the gospel. Here is what I found:

Of the kingdom , of Jesus Christ Son of God, of Christ, of the glory of Christ, of our Lord Jesus, of His Son, of God, God's, of the blessed God, of the grace of God, of your salvation, of peace, not man's, word , of a great joy, of peace through Jesus Christ, kingdom of God, about Jesus, word of truth, word of life, word of faith, word of the Lord, word of Christ, word of God, message of reconciliation, message of salvation, mystery of Christ, eternal, law of liberty, power of God for salvation, glorious, wisdom of God.
Then we looked at some verses that show what the heart of the gospel is. Here are two of them:

1 Timothy 2:5-6
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (New International Version)
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

From this Paul gives us the most concise basic proclamation we have for the gospel- "Christ died for our sins."

If you look at all the descriptor words and these verses we see that the gospel is about Jesus and what He did. For me Jesus is the heart of the gospel and it includes not only what He did but also what He is doing now and what He will do in the future.

For homework next week I asked them to write out a complete definition of the essence or "heart" of the gospel. Below is mine. I would appreciate any constructive comments.

The essence or “heart” of the gospel is the good news about Jesus and all that He did for us, all that he is doing and all that he will do. By the will of the Father, Jesus became a human being and lived a sinless life which fulfilled the perfect law of God. Then Jesus obediently went to the cross and suffered the wrath of the Father for every sin ever committed. After His death on the cross, Jesus was buried and rose again three days later, proving that Jesus was indeed sinless and that God’s wrath was satisfied for all sins. After 40 days of showing Himself to many people and teaching many things, He ascended to heaven where the Father exalted Him to the highest place and where, at the right hand of the Father, He reigns and intercedes for the church. In the future He will return to set up His kingdom on the earth and eventually He will recreate and restore the heavens and earth to what God had intended from the beginning.

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