I started thinking about how believers are supposed to deliver the gospel. Currently we are studying through the book of Acts, and it is filled with the gospel. Peter, John, Stephen, Philip, Paul among others give gospel presentations to different groups of people. Sometimes it is started with scripture, sometimes with another religion. All of them travel a similar track to one destination, Jesus. These men knew the Gospel.
Today, we talk about the Gospel with many different terms, and approaches. Emphasizing different aspects of the it. While I can say that many, of these are not only true but helpful to believers and unbelievers alike, a comfortability with the gospel, and a knowledge of its implications need to be stated and studied in order to integrate it into our lives as we live on mission. My hope for this series of blogs is to give not only the truth of the gospel, but a help in understanding the gospel, so that we can take it out into our world.
So, what is the Gospel? To boil it down into one or two sentences is helpful, but that is not my aim in this blog series. The aim is to give a more complete picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So let’s start at the beginning. The very beginning. Genesis 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning, God created…” That’s the starting point of any understanding of the gospel. In the beginning of everything, time, space, matter, consciousness, everything. God created in the beginning. That tells us that the very bottom line in any life is that God created us. He has the ultimate authority in all matters in the universe, because it’s His universe. We, the earth, space, animals, the mountains all belong to Him. That is not only an amazing statement, that a being that we cannot, in this life, completely conceive of. His power, His majesty, and creativeness are so far beyond anything our minds can understand. That’s an amazing statement as it is. With huge ramifications. Who is this God? Is He a kind God? What intentions does He for His creation? If all we knew about God was that He created, then we could live in relative fear of who He is. Always looking over our shoulder, and looking up to see if the day might come where God would grow tired of His creation, and end it all.
But that is not God’s last word to us. Not by a long shot. He tells us the order of creation, and the prize of creation, us! Of everything in the universe, all the vast galaxies, all the beautiful green countries, and the vast forests, the amazing mountains, and deep blue seas, we are the height of His creation. Of all the creatures, the cheetahs, the whales, the bears, and the elephants, all do not compare to us in the eyes of God. So, we know that God places an amazing value on each and every one of us. Which should always give us hope, and peace. We are valuable to the God that created the universe and everything in it. Let’s just stop, actually stop reading for a second, and think about that. That we are valuable to the creator of the universe. Let that sink down for a minute….
Now, here’s what God tells us so for. First, He created an amazing universe and everything in it, and calls us His greatest creation. That could be the end of the story, but it’s not. After we read about creation in Genesis 1 and 2, we get to see the catastrophe that is described in Genesis 3, the fall of man. In the fall of man we see three things. A general rejection of God’s authority, the failure of mankind to run our own life, and the cost of sin. In Genesis 3 we see a conversation between Eve and the serpent. In this conversation we need to understand exactly what God was telling Adam and Eve. God gave the couple authority over creation, to multiply, and subdue creation, but do not eat the fruit of one tree. There was nothing special about that tree, it had no magical properties. God was telling them to do something, simply because He asked them to. Don’t eat of that tree simply because I told you to. That’s what He asked. He asked us to obey Him, not because there was reason behind it, but because He said not to. The serpent took that and turned Adam and Eve with the simple suggestion, that we can be our on god. That has always been our problem. We want to be our own gods. We want ultimate authority of our own life, and choices. The problem with that is God build the universe, and we played a role in creation making the entire universe run. Our great problem is that we reject our role as creature, and try to be the creator. When that happened, we were truly lost. Sin entered our hearts, and we rejected God. We rejected a relationship with the all powerful creator of the universe, to be our own gods. When this happened, we lost the greatest, and only good future of our souls, to be with God.
Now that we understand what happened, and have come to a base of understanding our situation, we can start to appreciate, and desire a remedy to it. We may want to put ourselves in God’s place at this point. We have all had someone wrong us. Someone betray us, and our hearts want justice, or revenge on those who hurt us. God’s response is two fold. First He tell us what the natural consequences are for rejecting a relationship with Him. Work will be cursed, childbirth, relationships will be complicated and hard, as well as many other things. The reasons behind everything is sin. Let’s look at our relationships. They are hard, and often cause heartache, because there are two people living together who at their core, want to be their own gods. We are selfish. Two sinners living together will always lead to heartache and tension. Because of sin, we hurt and are hurt. This is heartbreaking, and if that was God’s last word, we would have no hope. It’s not His last word, not even close. This is in the first few chapters in the first book of God’s word, that contains 66 books, in His story. The rest of the book is an execution of God’s plan to rescue us from ourselves. Did you get that. We hurt Him, and He responds with a plan to rescue us. That’s the first display of the character of God, He not only created us, and places high value on us. But in the midst of our rebellion, He wants to rescue us. This is what God says.
Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head, and you will bruise His heel.” The is the first preaching of the gospel. That God is going to send someone to crush sin, the desire for sin, and bring man back into a relationship with Him. Yes, in this same statement God proclaims that we will have hardship and pain, but He cannot help himself from telling us about this. God did not leave us alone in our rebellion, nor did He crush us. He sent someone else to be crushed for us. Jesus is this seed of the woman that crushed the head of the serpent by giving His life for us. The cross is the boot of God, crushing the rebellion sin that we all engage in. Yes, this means that God is just, and will punish rebellion, but He punished our rebellion by punishing His Son. Jesus is the master plan. John tells us that, “He was with Him in the beginning, and without Him, nothing was made that was made.” John 1:2-3. When Eve first pierces the skin of the fruit, Jesus commits to the cross.
The gospel is God’s rescue plan. The gospel is God’s amazing way of showing His love. To all of us. To look at God and still reject Him, is rejecting His authority on your life. There is nothing more important than seeing Jesus as who He is. Our Savior, God, King, and ultimate rescue from ourselves.
As we will continue this series, I hope that this will not be something you will simply take out to give someone that is lost. But, instead open the Bible, read of the rescue plan, discover the love story of the gospel, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the understanding and boldness to love people, and tell them of the greatest rescue that has ever, and will ever happen.