Our pastor preached a sermon today, “Formed By the Gospel,” that resonates deeply, one we all need to hear often. We often hear the word gospel, but do we know what it means?
In its simplest form, gospel is good news. Presently, we have catastrophic news of Hamas attacking Israel. We know and have evidence that hundreds are dead, captured, and wounded. We know this is happening because of eyewitnesses and news reports. So what was the first-century news … this gospel?
- Angels proclaimed the good news at Jesus’s birth (Luke 2:8-14).
- The gospel writers record Jesus preaching the good news.
- From Matthew, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23).
- Mark writes, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news‘” (Mark 1:14-15).
- Luke reports that Jesus himself preached the good news of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy — saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
- Later, the Apostle Paul shared the good news, establishing churches worldwide.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,Luke 4:18-19
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Second, gospel is mystery revealed. First, God called out a people to be his own. Then, he rescued them, formed them into a nation, and bound himself to them in a covenant relationship. The Old Testament tells the story of God’s pursuit and the Israelites’ cycle of worship and disobedience. The mystery is how God would use Israel as the light to all the nations. God planned to graft the Gentiles into his family.
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—Romans 16:25-26
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 3:6
Gospel is power. The gospel is power, the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. Certainly, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead also makes us alive in Him as we are called to salvation. We put our faith in the risen Lord; He is our King, and we are His servants. Significantly, this power saves, keeps, sanctifies, and grows us up in Christ, maturing us. The gospel changes us as we realize there is nothing we can do that will make Him love us less, nor is there anything we can do that will make Him love us more. His presence is all we need for life and godliness. Without the gospel, we are lost. It is our identity and our sustenance. The gospel is the fuel in our walk with God.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that2 Corinthians 4:7
this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
The gospel is disruptive, invasive, pervasive. It is all-encompassing. The Psalmist prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Because no corner of our lives is hidden from God, we can gratefully surrender all to this power, this gospel. Rest is our reward.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.Matthew 11:28-29
Father, you who wrote the grand story, Who came to
Establish your kingdom, you who
Announced good news from the heavens, and bind yourself
To us in love, continue to grow the gospel in
Each of us. Disrupt our lives, invade the shadowy
Corners that we might be fully formed in you. Amen.
Here is a link to a previous post on “gospel.”