Lesson 2 - What is the Gospel
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:2)
The Gospel simply means "the good news" because it shows us the right path to salvation from the bondage of sin, and gives us hope to salvation. . The Gospel holds the key to a course of action that a sinner, with newfound faith, must do in order to be saved. The scriptures warn us that God will punish those who do not obey the Gospel. II Thessalonians I:8 .
The power of the Gospel was foretold in the Old Testament as:
○ a set of directions to take so that we may walk the path of the LORD; Isaiah 2:3
○ words on scroll that are so powerful, the deaf can hear and blind can see; Isaiah 29:18
○ so precious that those who proclaim it are praised; Isaiah 52:7
○ the power to free captives and give light from the darkness. Isaiah 61:1
In the New Testament, the scriptures describe the Gospel as:
○ the good news of the Kingdom; Matthew 4:23
○ good news to be preached to everyone; Acts 20:24
○ a matter of such great importance that Paul had to sacrifice anything for it rather than hinder it ; I Corinthians 9:12
○ a secret, veiled from those with hardened hearts; II Corinthians 4:3
○ the good news to be preached and prayed for; Ephesians 6:19
○ a reason for the brethren to conduct themselves worthily of; Philippians 1:27
○ the good news with the power of the Holy Spirit to convict; I Thessalonians 1:5
○ the good news is to be preached to all nations before the end will come. Matthew 24:14
○ the Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:1-4
The accounts of the Gospel as written in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and these things are clearly spoken:
○ Jesus died;
○ Jesus was buried;
○ Jesus was resurrected.
Thus, to obey the Gospel,
1) we must die to our sins;
2) we must repent and be buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of our sins;
3) be resurrected into the newness of life.
Haven't you ever asked yourself, why Jesus had to die for us? Couldn't God have instituted a better plan to save mankind than to send his only begotten son to suffer and die for our sins?
Jesus himself, praying on the Mount of Olives in the garden of Gethsemane, asked his Father to take away the cup of suffering from him. Yet Jesus knew there was no other substitute for the redemption of mankind, except that by the will of the Father; and he was ready to suffer and to die a humiliating death on the cross, even as he grew weaker in anguish while sweat like drops of blood fell to the ground. Luke 22:39-44.
In the Law of Moses, sacrifices in the form of burnt offerings and blood of animals were offered to God for the forgiveness of sins. Exodus 29:18-21. Blood was sprinkled to the people to confirm a covenant. Exodus 24:1-8
In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews, Paul explains why Jesus had to suffer a humiliating death and shed his blood to finish and fulfill the law on sacrifice.
○ A high priest is appointed to offer a sacrifice, but he himself is subject to weakness; he has to offer a sacrifice for his own sins. As Christ is the high priest appointed by God, he is the perfect sacrifice. Hebrews 5:1-10
○ Unlike the other high priests, Jesus did not have to offer sacrifices day after day for his sins and that of other people. Hebrews 7:27-28
○ The blood of Jesus confirms a new covenant with the laws put in the minds and written in the hearts of those who obey; by calling the covenant "new", the first one becomes obsolete. Hebrews 8:8-13.
○ Christ is the unblemished sacrifice to God. Hebrews 9:14.
○ Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of people and he will appear a second time to those who wait for him. Hebrews 9:27- 28.
○ Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. Hebrews 12:24.
○ Because of the blood of Jesus, God will equip us with everything good for doing his will. Hebrews 13:20.
It was foretold in the Old Testament that Jesus Christ will be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 This was fulfilled in the New Testament , Thus
○ A rich man and a follower of Christ, also waiting for the Kingdom of God named Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus, wrapped it and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in a stone. Luke 23:48-56.
○ Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus at night, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes. John 19:38-42
We also learn of the conspiracy of the scheming Pharisees and the chief priests, fearing about the prophecy that Christ will rise on the third day, commanded that the sepulcher be sealed. Matthew 27:62-66.
On the first day of the week Christ was resurrected as foretold in the scriptures. Psalms 16:10. Jesus had time and again told to his disciples about his resurrection, but they never understood.
○ Peter was confused when Jesus said that he would be killed but would rise again. Matthew 16:21-23
○ Jesus promised his disciples that after he is risen, he will go with them to Galilee. Matthew 26:32-33
○ The disciples asked one another what the rising from the dead should mean. Mark 9:9
When Jesus was resurrected, he rebuked his disciples because they did not perceive the meaning of the resurrection.
○ Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of their hearts. Mark 16:13-14
○ Jesus had to show Thomas the wound in his hand and on his side to prove that he was resurrected. John 20:27
Without the resurrection of Jesus, we do not have hope for an eternal life. Observe the following passages.
○ We hope that we will be resurrected and be with Jesus. I Thessalonians 4:14
○ Raised up for our justification. Romans 10:9
○ Knowledge of the deity of Christ. Ephesians 1:20
○ Hope by the resurrection. I Peter 1:3 | I Peter 3:18
Warnings to those who do not believe and obey:
○ Many that sleep will be judged. Daniel 12:2
○ All who are in their graves will be judged. John 5:28
○ The good, the evil. John 5:29
○ The just and the unjust. Acts 24:15
If we have faith that Jesus Christ died for us, then we ought to have faith that when our sinful body is crucified with him, we should not serve sin any longer. Observe the following passages:
○ Our old body is crucified with Jesus Christ that the body of sin might be destroyed and henceforth, we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6
○ Jesus, bore our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. I Peter 2:24
○ Being dead into sins, we were forgiven of our sins. Colossians 2:13
Repentance is not merely an act of being sorry for our sins and to ask God for forgiveness. You do not have to confess your sins one by one. God knows them all, and counts them as one. Repentance calls for a change of heart with a firm resolve to turn away from sinfulness. There is no forgiveness without repentance.
○ Unless you repents, you to will perish . Luke 13:3
○ Peter tells sinners to repent and their sins will be blotted out. Acts 3:19
○ God commands all men everywhere to repent. Acts 26:20
Finally: Be buried with Jesus in Baptism
To be dead with Jesus Christ is to repent of one's sins and be buried with Jesus in baptism. Baptism is to be immersed in water, symbolic of being buried with Christ into death. The water symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ washing away one's sins.
○ Those who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Romans 6:3-4
○ Peter calls on every sinner to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.. Acts 2:36-38
Being immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins explains the command that puzzled Nicodemus when Jesus said: "Unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." John 3:5
The following conversions written in the book of Acts culminated in their baptism:
a) Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
"As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water. What hinders me to be baptized?'" Acts 8:26-39
b) Conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
"Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized." Acts 9:1-18
c) Conversion of Lydia.
"When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home." Acts 16:14-15
d) Conversion of the Philippians jailer.
"At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized." Acts 16:33-34
Salvation is culminated by one's baptism into Christ. All conversions during Christ's dispensation ended with baptism. When they started to walk astray, Paul reminded the brethren about the significance of their baptism.
a) Those who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. Romans 6:3-4
b) Christians were raised to the newness of life with Christ in baptism. Colossians 2:12
c) After water baptism, they were joined into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:13
d) Those who were baptized have put on Christ Galatians 3:27
e) Baptism saves. 1 Peter 3:21
My friend, time is running out. Life is short. If Jesus Christ comes now, are you prepared? Is your name written in the book of life? Do not linger; do not delay, Arise and wash away your sins. Acts 22:16
Do not wait for a perfect time. The right time is now. You need not wait until you become righteous from your own efforts, for righteousness is from God. You do not earn your salvation. All you need to do is to obey the Gospel, after which you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who will dwell in you, and his power will help you to resist temptations and comfort you in troubled times. Titus 3:4-7
Your decision determines your destiny. Let your faith confirm your resolve. Let the love of God give comfort to your weary heart. Do not linger; do not delay. If there is a Church in your place, talk to the minister about your decision to become a Christian.
In the absence of a Church or a minister that believes in water baptism through immersion, find a place where there is much water. Look for someone to baptize you. Before you are immersed in the water however, you must not forget: confess with faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God.