The Gospel

There are many of you who miss what we do on Wednesday evenings during our Bible Study and prayer time. Here’s what you miss. Bible study. The kind of Bible study you won’t find at other times when we gather.  Other gatherings are good. Connection groups, Sunday night groups at home. Both are outstanding and serve a real purpose. Wednesday night is just, well, different. Ask one of the people who attend whether in person or on Zoom. On Wednesday we are learning together. We are gaining new perspectives. We’re learning to read and study the Bible in a way that is rooted in history, an old way of reading and understanding, and much more focus on what the Bible meant in its original context. Reading the Bible this way helps unravel the meaning of many difficult-to-understand passages and even entire books. Too often we read, only to discover “what it means to me.” When we put that aside, at least for a while, and let the Bible mean what it meant to its original readers the Bible comes alive with greater power and we find it actually does mean more to us than it did before. Over the last year or more we’ve gone in-depth on such subjects as how to study the Bible, the mysterious book of Leviticus, the even more mysterious book of Revelation, Hebrews, and a serious look at the meaning of the Gospel itself. I am passionate about “getting it right.” More than anything I want to know the truth, know it well and bring you along with me in deeper understanding. And what could be more important to know well, to get right, than the gospel?

What is the gospel? Is it the idea that you, if you do certain things or believe certain things, can go to heaven when you die? The gospel includes that but the gospel is bigger. It is bigger than you or me, so much so. The gospel encompasses the whole cosmos, even what we cannot see. The gospel is about heaven and earth, the spiritual and the physical. It is Jesus saying after he has died and has been raised “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The gospel is God’s plan to “bring all things in heaven and earth together under one head, Christ Jesus.” All authority. One head. Messiah, King, Christ.

There are several places in the Bible that define the word “gospel.” The shortest reference is II Timothy 2:8. “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel.” This is my gospel. Jesus is the victor over death. Jesus is the Son of David who inherited his throne and reigns. This is Paul’s gospel. And it’s the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It’s the story they tell in those books called gospels.

There is a short, simple, compelling way to say this. This: Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the gospel and that is the message we have to tell. And this is why we are told “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” The saving gospel is the reality that Jesus is the living, reigning Lord not just of my life but of all heaven and earth. Believe it and be saved.