(2Co 11:3) “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Have you as a Christian ever asked, What is the message of the Christian Church today? When you listen to sermons presented on TV, radio, or in the pulpit or the printed word, you hear so many different messages – all under the banner of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The conclusion is: the message that is heard of Jesus Christ today is so far from the word “simplicity,” that the message does not resemble the message of the Apostles.
The Apostle Paul presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its simplest definition in (1Co 2:1-2) (1) “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
The Gospel message is the person and ministry of Jesus Christ:
His Person: (“…save Jesus Christ” – But who is Jesus Christ?)
- He was God “in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16); fully God and fully man, yet without sin. God purposed (Eph. 1:4-11; Jn. 1:1-18) to come to earth in a physical body (Heb. 10:1-9), yet without sin (Heb. 4:15); to reveal Himself as Creator of all matter, animate and inanimate, and as the Controller of all His creation, and as the Consummator of all things; as Savior, Lord of lords and King of kings. His coming was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isa. 9:6-7) and was fulfilled in the New Testament (Mt. 1:18-25).
- “… and him crucified.” The apex of the revelation of Himself to His creation is in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6); God in the flesh (Jn. 1:14); as His people’s Sacrifice for sin; and as their Substitute for their sin debt; and as their Savior in redeeming them from the curse of the Law in His Atonement on the Cross of Calvary (this was prophesied in Isa. 53:1-12, but fulfilled in Jesus Christ); as Savior, King, and Lord. On the Cross, Christ revealed that He was the Propitiation (or the place of propitiation – the Mercy Seat – in His own body) for the sin debt of sinners; and the Sacrifice of Himself was that which Propitiated (or satisfied) the Father (or was the Perfect Sacrifice, which satisfied the demand of God) (Rom. 3:24-25) for the sin debt; which satisfaction could only be procured by a Perfect, Pure, without sin Sacrifice. This type of sacrifice could only be God Himself; for He alone is Perfect and Pure, and without sin. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer of His people from the sin debt. He alone reconciled sinners to the Father. He alone justified sinners and declared them righteous in His Atonement on the Cross (Rom 3:24-25; 5:1-2). He alone is the First fruit from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-23). He alone is the Hope of Eternal life (Col. 1:17; 1 Jn. 5:20).
- The Preacher: (Mar 1:14-15) “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (15) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Jesus, as the Preacher, announced the Gospel of the Kingdom of God “is at hand.” The exhortation from Christ was “repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (That is the gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom.) a. Christ proceeded throughout His public ministry explaining the nature of His Kingdom (which is spiritual; Jn. 18:36; Rom. 14:17). And He was very plain in giving the Characteristics of the Kingdom: its law is love; its citizens must be born again, or born from above (a spiritual birth Jn. 3:3-8); its power is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer (or in the one regenerated/converted) (Phil. 4:13); its mandate is to walk in holiness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost by the believer (Heb. 12:14). b. His name, Jesus, revealed His Mission and Purpose (Mt. 1:21; Jn. 10:11-30).
- The Power: This was revealed in the life of Christ; in His miracles of healing the sick; raising the dead; forgiving the sinner; and finally in His resurrection from the dead; even declaring to Martha and Mary (John 11:25-26) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
- The Prophet: (Acts 3:18-26; esp. Acts 3:22-23) The Apostle Peter declared after the healing of the lame man at gate Beautiful, upon the testimony of Moses, that God would raise up The Prophet, who Peter applied to none other than Jesus Christ. This Prophet the Jews crucified (Acts 3:14-15) (Acts 3:15b) “..Whom God raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:21)“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Moses also stated that (Acts 3:23) “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Jesus gave the signs of the end of the temple, its worship system, and of its total destruction; and the destruction of the Jerusalem; and of His return (which is the “times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19, 21) (Mt. 24:1-31).
In closing, the Man, or Person, is God in the Flesh; His Name is Jesus. His message is simple: I Am King Jesus; My Kingdom is Spiritual; and you must be born from above to enter into My Kingdom; and all that love Me will keep My Commandments; I will return and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, ye shall be also. The ministry of Jesus Christ was one of Love, Grace, and Mercy to those that love Him, and one of judgment to His enemies.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple: He is God; and we are sinners (dead in trespass and in sin), in need of the Grace of God to us (to give us eternal life; for life is in Him 1 Jn. 5:20); and this must be done in the experience of regeneration and conversion by the Holy Spirit, which action by the Spirit is based upon God’s purpose in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:4-11; 2:8-9). He redeemed us, reconciled us, and justified us in His Atonement on the Cross, as He was our Sacrifice, Substitute, and Savior (Rom. 3:24-25). When the new birth is an actual experience in one’s spirit, it is performed by the Power of the Spirit of God (Jn. 3:8); this means the sinner has been quickened, or made alive, by Christ (Eph. 2:1; Jn. 6:63); and drawn by Christ (Jn. 6:44-45); given the gift of repentance (Acts 5:31) by God; then, comes confession by the quickened sinner, that Christ died for him (Rom.10:9-10), and the sinner knows that he is a child of God from internal witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14-16) (15b) “…whereby we cry Abba, Father” (16) “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple; for its Origin is God; its gift is from God; and it is performed in the sinner by God; and is sustained in the believer by the Power of the Promises of God Himself. “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9) and not from man. The Apostle John wrote Jesus’ words in (John 6:29) “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God (not of man, but of God), that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Preachers should preach a done salvation in Christ, and in Him alone, for Salvation is the work of God and not man.
Sinners today are left confused by the message of many preachers of the Gospel message because they are told to “believe” from the bottom of their heart, which they cannot find without the power of the work of grace by God in the sinner. But when the preacher proclaims a done salvation in Christ; and the result of the sinner who has been regenerated (or made a new creature in Christ) is to come and confess that Christ died for him, and he knows without a doubt that he is a child of God. Then, the Gospel becomes simple to the regenerated sinner, but remains a mystery to the dead sinner in trespass and sin; for the Apostle Paul said in (1Co 2:9-16) “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Jesus said, (Joh 10:27-30) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (30) I and my Father are one.”
Preachers, give God the glory and not man. Preach “Christ and him crucified” and raised from the grave after the third day for “our justification” (Rom. 4:25); and you will see the conversion of sinners.