Sunday January 2 2022

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

What is the Gospel?

  • The word gospel appears throughout the New Testament.
  • The word means “good news.”
  • Did you know that the gospel preached by Jesus before His arrest, crucifixion, death and resurrection was somewhat different from that preached by Paul after these events?
  • Throughout the four gospels Jesus preached a gospel directed towards His people – the Jew – which centered around the coming Messianic Kingdom.
  • This message was meant specifically for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Jewish people.
  • “Only after the religious hierarchy officially rejected Jesus did His message change recipients and focus on His expectant death and resurrection.” 1
  • The gospel since is based upon His death and resurrection and is directed now to “whomsoever.”
  • Paul, speaking after these amazing events sums things up in Romans 1:16 when he states:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

  • The rejection of the “good news” by the organized religious leadership of the nation of Israel has open the door for us all.
  • The root of the word ‘ashamed’ used here carries the meanings of “to diffuse with shame; to disfigure or to dishonour.”
  • We are not to disfigure the gospel by changing its straight-forward message,
  • Nor are we to dishonour the gospel by shrugging if off as nothing.
  • The world does these things and the world as a result is weak, deceived, powerless and lost.

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod of reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother shame.” The gospel gives us direction and wisdom.

In 1 Peter 2:6 Peter says it this way.

“Wherefore also it is contained in Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion, a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him will not be disappointed.”

And then in verse 7-8 Peter continues by saying,

“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.’

And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble being disobedient to the word, to which they were appointed.”

  • The religious leaders drew the people away from Jesus’ straight forward teaching.
  • He taught concerning a future physical kingdom as well as a present spiritual kingdom.
  • But they were disobedient to the very word to which they were appointed keepers.
  • They stumbled in their unbelief over this Rock of offense; picked it up and cast it out of the way.
  • Failing to realize that He, this Jesus, was in fact the “Rock of their salvation.”
  • They chose to cling to their stone tablets while denying the Finger that wrote upon them.
  • They chose to misunderstand the stones of Moses and rejected the Rock of salvation.

As a result they became blinded to the Truth and to the Light, but only for a season.

  • Later in Romans we learn of the removal of their blinders that will allow the glorious light of the gospel to transform them.

And this rejected One has indeed become very precious to we who believe.

 In Paul’s words,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

We see the word “power.”

  • This word comes from the Greek and is “dunamis.”
  • We get our word ‘dynamite’ from this Greek word.
  • So the gospel preached by the New Testament writers is explosive!
  • The gospel of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is a powerful and strong, life-altering message.
  • The gospel is the dynamite of God for salvation.
  • “The gospel proclaims and produces salvation in everyone who believes it.”2
  • As dynamite shatters and breaks down hardened rock so the gospel breaks through and breaks down hearts of stone.
  • And as dynamite renders solid rock into a more useful and pliable form so too the gospel conforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh – hearts now ready for the Master’s touch.

“The gospel has transformed the lives of untold millions for more than 2,000 years and altered the destinies of countless people for eternity.” 3  

Hear the following quote from John Newton age 82, the writer of  Amazing Grace.

“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things:

That I am a great sinner – and that Christ is a great Saviour!”

  • The dunamis power of the gospel.
  • We all have our own experience when we were each confronted with the dunamis power of the gospel.
  • Some, felt this dunamis power in an instant, in a flash-like explosion, while others can testify to its dunamis power over a steadfast movement of the Spirit from our most early days.
  • Our hearts became softened into the clay for the Potter’s hands.

Paul directs our focus to the Source of this gospel – the Person of Jesus Christ.

Listen to 1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4. (NLT)

“Let me now remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News [gospel] I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. I passed onto you what was most important and what had been passed unto me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

  • So there again is the gospel – the Good News.
  • It is all centered upon Jesus – the Word made flesh.
  • He is the Source and the Purveyor of the gospel, and His Spirit is its power-source.

It is important to notice that in these Corinthian verses the phrase as the Scriptures said,” is stated twice.

  • We are to guard against any fraudulent additions or omissions to this gospel.
  • We are not to disfigure nor dishonour this gospel with personal opinion.
  • The gospel must be accepted and disseminated in un-altered form.

That, Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

We must be alert to any attempt at subverting the true gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:6-9 gives us the following warning against those who would attempt to alter the gospel of Christ.

“I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But thou we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed. As we said before say we now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which you have received, let him be accursed.”

  • We live in a world system that is bent upon perverting the gospel.
  • The world is determined to water down the gospel of Christ.
  • The world religious leadership, for the most part, is intoxicated with “inclusion for all religions.”
  • The preaching of the gospel has become an offense, and the cross of Christ an archaic barbarous symbol.
  • The cross of Christ is being pulled down in every sector of world society.
  • And our minds are being inundated with a myriad of “other gospels.”

But, Colossians gives us hope. Colossians 1: 5 and 23 reads as follows.

“Because of the hope that is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of truth of the gospel . . .if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven . . .”

  • We are to hope in the truth of the gospel.
  • We are to remain grounded and steadfast in the gospel – to not be moved away from our hope in the gospel.

The ABC of our accepting this wonderful gospel.

  1. Acknowledge
  • Acknowledge and repent of your sin, realizing sin separates us from a holy and righteous God.
  1. Believe
  • Believe in your heart that Jesus died in your place, taking the punishment you deserve, and that His death and resurrection can deliver you from the penalty of your sin. Our good works cannot deliver us. 4

 

  1. Confess
  • Confess that Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, is your Saviour.

Romans 10:9-10

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

How then should we live under the power of the gospel?

  • We are to preach – teach – this gospel.

Matthew 28:18-20.

“All power [dunamis power] is given unto me [Jesus] in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”

  • We are to depend upon the dunamis power of Jesus as our source of this same dunamis power contained within the gospel.
  • The gospel will do the heavy lifting.
  • We need not work anything up – the gospel has the power to transform lives, not us.
  • We are to speak the gospel and watch in wonder as it does its thing.
  • And this gospel-power is with us, as is Jesus, unto the very end of the age.

We are to live the gospel.

  • Our life must reflect the life of the gospel in us.
  • This means exhibiting steadfastness and groundedness.
  • We are to walk totally dependent upon the Spirit who distributes the dunamis power into our every day lives.

And we are to be ready to give a reason for our hope.

1 Peter 3:15.

“and be ready always, to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear;”

  • And what better answer than to state the gospel to the seeker?
  • Let us speak the gospel as we live the gospel and expect the dunamis power to shatter hardened hearts.

In conclusion let me quote Romans 16:25-27.

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever, Amen.”

  • Jesus possess the power to establish us according to His gospel.
  • A gospel that was kept as a mystery – as a secret – until He came.
  • And that this gospel and its resident power is available to all people of all nations.
  • Everlasting gospel!

All nations and all people will hear the gospel! For God is not willing that any need perish. 7  even at the peak of this world’s rebellion, God’s gospel will be heard.

Revelation 14:6.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

1  Tom Simcox  Israel My Glory May/June 2021 page 30

2  New Defender’s Study Bible Notes, Romans 1:16

3  Tom Simcox  Israel My Glory May/June 2021 page 31

4  Isaiah 64:6

5  Tom Simcox  Israel My Glory May/June 2021 page 32

6  1 Peter 3:15

7  2 Peter 3:9

COMMUNION SERVICE

Prayer:

LORD we thank you for the power of the gospel that changed our lives. We thank you for the power of the name of Jesus to fulfill all of our need in Christ Jesus. And we thank you for the power of the blood of the cross that overcomes all weapons and all words fashioned against us.

This New Year let us determine to take this gospel into our neighbourhood.

We thank you for the bread that symbolizes Your broken body given for us.

On the night He was betrayed . . .  Let us eat together and remember.

We thank you for the cup that symbolizes Your blood shed for our sins.

In the same manner He took the cup . . . Let us drink together and remember.

BENEDICTION

As you have received the bread and wine and are alive in the power of the gospel may you walk worthily of your calling as you face the challenges of this world.

“Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Go in peace Amen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *