For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
As we talk about getting the Gospel to every home, it is important that we understand what the gospel is. I know that sounds like a funny statement but there are lots of people in churches who cannot give a biblical explanation of what the gospel is. The gospel (euangelion) is the good news of salvation that is available through Jesus. What are the components of the gospel and what must we proclaim in order that people might be saved? Allow me to share the major components of the gospel.
1) The Gospel is a message about God and His holiness. If we are going to share the gospel, we need to tell people who God is and what He is like (can’t love someone if you know nothing about them). God is our Creator and we are His creation. We are totally dependent upon Him and He has absolute claim upon us (as His creation). When we think about characteristics of God, love is often the first characteristic that comes to mind. God is surely love and He defines love. God is also holy, righteous and just. Psalm 99:9 says, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!” People need to know that God is holy (separated from sin) and does not just wink at our sin.
2) The Gospel is a message about man and his sinfulness. God created man (Adam and Eve), placed them in the garden, supplied all their needs, and walked amongst them. God gave them one prohibition (do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). We know the serpent (Satan) came and enticed them to eat of the forbidden fruit. Sin entered the world. Romans 3:23 specifies that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our sin has consequences: separates us from God and leads to death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
The fact that God is holy and man is sinful is terrible news. Where is the good news? 3) The Gospel is a message about Jesus and His forgiveness. First, we want people to know who Jesus is. He is the eternal Son of God incarnate (John 1:1, Colossian 1:15, 1 John 5:20). Jesus was the promised Messiah (Revelation 22:16). Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus is the perfect Savior and risen Lord. Jesus was not just a good man but He was the God-man. Second, we want people to know what Jesus has done. Jesus came to the earth (Philippians 2:7), Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus died for our sin (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Corinthians 15:3), and Jesus arose from the grave in victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:4).
Some people have questions about why Jesus had to die. We are able to answer that question by looking back at the holiness of God and pointing out the fact that in His righteousness, God “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God towards our sin (1 John 4:9) and paid the penalty (ransom) for our sin so that we could be made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). The good news of the gospel is that God invites us to exchange our sin for Jesus’ forgiveness and righteousness (Romans 4:25).
Not only do we want to know the components of the gospel, we also want to share the call of the gospel (knowing the facts is not good news unless we provide an opportunity to respond). I think it is appropriate to share three calls associated with the gospel. First, there is a call to repentance (turn from our sin and turn to Jesus). Jesus said (Mark 1:15), “the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Second, there is a call to faith (John 6:28-29). Saving faith is trusting in Jesus alone for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life. It is a personal trust in Jesus (not just knowledge of facts about Jesus). Finally, there is a call to abide in Jesus (John 8:31, 2 John 9).
Yes, the gospel is good news but it is only good news if you have responded to the invitation of the gospel. As believers, we want to be familiar with the components of the gospel and we want to pray for opportunities to share the gospel. When we share the gospel, we want to courageously invite people to respond to this good news and be saved. Church, let us be gospel people!