The Salvation Message

by Pastor Brian Steeves

What is a gospel (or the gospel)?

(1) One of the first four New Testament books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

(2) Something that is claimed to be absolutely true and trustworthy: For example, a used car salesmen's pitch.

(3) BUT, in the Bible, it nearly always means something else: Our English word gospel is a translation of the Greek word evangelion, which means literally good news.

The word gospel is derived from the Old English expression god spel, pronounced gode'spel, meaning good tale. The word evangelion (gospel) occurs more than 75 times in the New Testament.

The gospel is ...

(1) The gospel of God.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.

The phrase of God means from God or belonging to God or about God.

(2) The gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:19 ... From Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

(3) The gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:24 ... The ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

(4) The gospel of peace.

Ephesians 6:15 ... Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

(5) The word of truth.

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ....

(6) The gospel of your salvation.

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ....

(7) The glorious gospel.

1 Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

The word glorious means magnificent or delightful or wonderful.

(8) The gospel of the kingdom.

Matthew 4:23 ... Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

How many gospels are there? Only one? More than one? Many?

2 Corinthians 11:4 ... If he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted ....

Galatians 1:6-9 [6] I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, [7] which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

It seems that there are other gospels in addition to God's gospel. But these are not really gospels - they are distortions or counterfeits of God's true gospel.

From this it follows that the true gospel must have a definite substance and structure - not just any message, but a very special particular message: God's good news.

Mark 16:15 ... [Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel ....

What is the message of God's Gospel?

The word gospel means good news, and this news consists of a message - a package of information from God.

The good news of God's gospel is made up of several important strands, or categories, of information:

Who (or what) is God?

The gospel is a message about God: God is the Creator. He made all things and every one. God is perfect and almighty and good. God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

A random survey of people on the street would likely reveal quite a variety of ideas about God.

But the question is not, What do people think God is like? Rather, What does God Himself tell us He is like?

There is only one true and living God.

Deuteronomy 4:39 NKJV ... Know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

What is He really like?

1. He is a God of absolute perfection - perfect in all His ways, perfect in all His works, perfect in all His attributes.

Acts 17:24,25 [24] God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. [25] Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

2. He is a God of unrivaled sovereignty ruling throughout the universe and in our lives, doing whatever He wills and willing all that He does.

Isaiah 14:24-27 [14] The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, "Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand .... [27] For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?"

3. He is a God of infinite goodness - who cares for all His creation, who has compassion on all His creatures, who displays rich grace and abundant mercy.

Psalm 100:5 ... The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

4. He is a God of mysterious tri-personality one God, but in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - each fully divine, but each a distinct personality.

Matthew 28:19 Go ... and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion: There is only one true and living God, absolutely perfect, sovereign without rival, infinitely good, and consisting of three persons.

From this, it follows that there is only one Saviour to whom men and women may turn for salvation.

Romans 11:36 ... Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

What (or who) are you? What is your fundamental problem?

The gospel is a message about people: Everyone has been made by God. Everyone is born with a bad heart and hates God. Everyone has done many bad things, breaking God's law. Everyone deserves to be punished by God.

1. Every human being is a creature of God, made in His image or likeness.

Genesis 1:27 ... God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

2. The most serious problem facing every human being is his/her sin. The problem breaks down into two parts:

a. Everyone has a bad record.

Psalm 53:3 ... There is none who does good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23 ... All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Because you have a bad record, you do not deserve heaven.

b. Everyone has a bad heart.

Psalm 51:5 ... I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? Because you have a bad heart, you are not fit for heaven. We sin because we are all sinners. Every sinner is spiritually dead, separated from God, and deserving of eternal death.

Romans 6:23 ... The wages of sin is death ....

Who is Jesus? What did He do?

The gospel is a message about Jesus Christ: Jesus is God, but He left heaven and became a man. Jesus obeyed God's law perfectly all His life. Jesus suffered the punishment for His people's sins. Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead. Jesus returned to heaven and now rules the church. Jesus is coming back some day to judge the world.

1. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world.

John 1:14 ... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us ....

2. Jesus kept God's whole law for His people. He lived a life of sinless perfection here on earth.

Hebrews 4:15 ... [Jesus] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Then ...

3. Jesus suffered the punishment due to their sins. He died for them.

Hebrews 9:26 ... [Jesus] has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

1 Corinthians 15:3 ... Christ died for our sins ....

4. Jesus rose from the dead and now rules from heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:4 ... [Christ] was buried, and ...rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Romans 8:34 .... It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Matthew 28:18 ... Jesus came and spoke ..., saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

What must you do?

The gospel tells us what God wants you to do: Repent. Turn away from your sin. Confess your sin to God and ask His forgiveness. Flee from sin; say "no" to temptation; resist the devil. Believe. Trust and obey Jesus. Trust Him for salvation, eternal life, whatever you need. Obey everything He commands you to do.

1. Repent. Turn away from sin; confess sin; hate sin; resolve to sin no more.

Acts 2:37,38 [37] ... "... What shall we do?" [38] ... "Repent ...."

2. Believe. Look to Jesus in faith and trust; resolve to follow Him and to obey His commandments.

Acts 16:30,31 [30] ... "... What must I do to be saved?" [31] ... "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved ...."

What will God then do for you?

The gospel tells what God does for you when you become a Christian: God sends the Holy Spirit to live in your heart, to direct your life. God takes away your bad heart, and gives a new heart. As soon as you believe, God forgives you all your sin. God adopts you into His family. He becomes your Heavenly Father. You become a child of God. Jesus is your "big brother."

Because of Christ's redemptive work (because of His perfect obedience to God, even unto death) ...

1. God justifies us. That is, He forgives our sins and regards us as if we had never sinned. He wipes out our bad record and gives us title to heaven.

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

2. God sanctifies us. That is, He makes us holy in heart and conduct. He sends His Spirit into our hearts to transform us. He changes our bad hearts and makes us fit for heaven.

Philippians 2:13 ... God ... works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.
2 Samuel 22:3