Presenting the Gospel and Giving a Clear Gospel Invitation
I) The Gospel. There is only one saving gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that can save the sinner, we want to be as clear as possible in explaining how someone can be restored to a right relationship with God and have eternal life.
A) There are many gospels.
Many false teachers have proclaimed some form of gospel or good news that has wrongly guided or masked the conscience of countless souls going down to hell and the lake of fire. The Scriptures call these lies “another gospel”.
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
They are often a perversion of the true gospel whereby something is added to distort or controvert the message of grace. Grace is unmerited favor and it stands opposed to man’s attempts at righteousness through his own efforts or works.
B) The Gospel of Christ is the good news of God's grace as is manifest in the cross work of Christ.
The apostle Paul clearly defines for us that "good news" that he preached.
1Co 15:1a Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you...1Co 15:3b ...how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
The gospel as Paul defines it can be broken down into four great statements of fact, the first three of which were attested to by the Old Testament scriptures.
Christ died for our sins
Christ was buried
Christ rose again the third day
Christ was seen alive after his death by over 500
Let us examine each one of these four statements of fact.
1) Christ died for our sins.
Christ, God manifest in flesh.
The principle subject of the Gospel is Christ, the anointed one, the promised Messiah that Israel had long waited for. Note: Just as there are false gospels so also there are false Christs. The Christ that Paul refers to here is Jesus of Nazareth. Although Jesus grew up in Nazareth he was born in Bethlehem to a young virgin named Mary who was espoused to a man named Joseph of the tribe of Judah a descendant of King David. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the promised Messiah.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Immanuel means God with us.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
This Jesus is not a mere man like all others. He is the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Triune Godhead, the Word, the Creator of all. At the perfect time, God the Son took on a body of flesh. God himself became a man.
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Christ “was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Php 2:7, 8
Christ is God manifest in human flesh
Died for our sins.
The purpose of God becoming flesh was to provide salvation for his fallen creation. The Creator became a man so that He himself could bear the just punishment due mankind because of man’s rebellion against the Holy God. This rebellion is called sin.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
A just and righteous God must judge sin. He would not be just if justice was not executed. So, God himself came to save sinners by becoming their substitute, taking our punishment and dying for our sins.
1Ti 1:15b ...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Christ took our sins and gave us his righteousness.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
When Jesus, the eternal Son of God, hung on that Roman cross nearly 2000 years ago, God the Father judged Him for the sins of all mankind. His blood was shed (the life of the flesh being in the blood) to satisfy God's justice. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus was the propitiation or payment that satisfied God in relation to our sins.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
2) Christ was buried.
Christ’s burial is evidence of the fact of His death. The details concerning the preparation of His body for burial speak of this certainty. The placing of His body in a tomb sets the stage for the greatest single evidence of His deity, His bodily resurrection. On the third day the stone was rolled away from the opening of the tomb and Christ was gone.
3) Christ rose again the third day.
After three days and three nights the lifeless body of Jesus Christ, the Lord of life, rose from the dead.
Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Mat 28:7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Act 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Act 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Act 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
Act 13:29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
Act 13:30 But God raised him from the dead:
Act 13:31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
4) Christ was seen alive after his death by over 500.
Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them [the Disciples] forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Acts 1:3
2Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
These who saw him after His death were so changed and convinced of who Jesus was that their life of proclaiming the gospel turned the world upside down.
(Acts 17:6) The fervency wrought in the Apostles by witnessing the resurrected Christ is among the most compelling evidences to the veracity of the resurrection.
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
The gospel that was given to the Apostle Paul to preach was in essence: that Jesus Christ, who is God come down from Heaven manifest in human flesh, died as our substitute to pay the penalty of our sins, so that God could redeem his fallen creation while remaining just, and having been buried He rose from the dead, Paul being among many witnesses, so that He could be the justifier of those who believe on Him thereby allowing believers to live blessed eternally.
To be continued