The Message of Biblical Evangelism – I Corinthians 15:1-4

What do we call the message that the Biblical Evangelist brings to his unsaved friend? (The Gospel.) What does the original Greek word “gospel” mean? (Good news.) Is the announcement of the birth of a baby good news? Is it the gospel? Is the announcement of a large inheritance good news? Is it the gospel? When the doctor says that the patient is cured is that good news? Is it the gospel? So when Biblical evangelists speak of the gospel, are they talking about something very special? Are there more than one kind of gospel in the Bible? What is the Biblical gospel? (“The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins, according to….”)

If this is the case, why then does the Bible speak about several different gospels? The word “gospel” is found in just about a hundred verses. But if I should ask my computer Bible program to find all the references to these words “the gospel of….” how many references do you think that it would find: under 10, between 10 and 20, between 20 and 30 or over 30? There are 32 references in 31 verses to the “gospel of ……” And how many different words would you guess fill in that blank? (Different forms of 8 words.) In the order of their numbers they are: The gospel of Christ, God, the kingdom, peace, salvation, grace, circumcision and uncircumcision. If I spoke of the gospel of the atonement, would that make another kind of Biblical gospel? What about the gospel of repentance, would that be a different gospel than that the gospel of Christ? What if I talked about the gospel of the New Birth? Despite these different terms, I am still speaking about the same Biblical Gospel. So how many different Biblical gospels are there? (One.)

The message of the Biblical evangelist must be the one the Bible calls the GOSPEL OF GOD.

Romans 1:1 – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” Romans 15:16 – “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” II Corinthians 11:7 – “Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?” I Thessalonians 2:2 – “But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” I Thessalonians 2:8-9 – “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” I Timothy 1:11 – ” According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” I Peter 4:17 – “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

How is it that the gospel is the good news of god? The good news is that from the foundation of the world God chose some to whom to give eternal life (Ephesians 1:4). God then gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), and according to the divine degree that Son died to provide that eternal life. Along with Christ, it is God the Father, who guarantees that salvation and eternal life (John 10:28-29). Clearly, it is God’s salvation which is the message of the good news – the gospel.

The message of the Biblical evangelist is the GOSPEL OF CHRIST.

The book of Mark commences with the words “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Romans 1:9 – “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 15:19 – “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” 15:29 – “I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” I Corinthians 9:12 – “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” 9:18 – “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” II Corinthians 4:4 – “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 9:13 – “Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.” 10:14 – “For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:7 – “There be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27 – “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” I Thessalonians 3:2 – I “sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith.” II Thessalonians 1:8 – “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

How is the gospel the good news of Christ? It is through the death of Christ that salvation was provided for us. He is the Mediator of our salvation, standing between the wrath and law of God and the sinner. He too is a part of the security of our salvation. Then too is the fact that Christ is divine – that Christ and God are almost synonymous terms.

Should we be surprised if we found references in the Bible to the Gospel of the Holy Ghost? Do we?

How is the message of the Biblical evangelist the GOSPEL OF PEACE?

There are two references to the gospel of peace: Romans 10:13-15 – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Ephesians 6:10-15 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

How is the message of the evangelist the good news of peace?

The gospel is the good news of GRACE and SALVATION.

Ephesians 1:11-13 – “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” As Paul was passing by Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem he spoke to the elders of that church and said: “Now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

How is it that the gospel is the good news about salvation? There is no other message of salvation from sin that God has ever authorized. The gospel is the account of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for our sins, according to the scriptures. How is this gospel a message of grace? Certainly, God was in no way obligated to save any of us.

This takes us through all those 31 scriptures to which I referred earlier except for the two most difficult.

The gospel is good news to both the JEW and the GENTILE.

Turn to Galatians 2:1-9 – “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

Is there a different gospel to take to the heathen Jew from that which is to be taken to the heathen Gentile? When Paul refers to the circumcision and uncircumcision, he was only talking about two groups of people. Was the spiritual condition of those two people different from each other? Is the method of God’s salvation different between them? Rather than looking at the source of gospel in either God or Christ; And rather than looking at the effect of gospel in salvation or peace; Here in Galatians Paul was referring to the people to whom that gospel was being sent. But they are all the same gospel.

The last “kind” of gospel referred to in the Bible is that of THE KINGDOM.

Three of the four references to the gospel of the kingdom are found, not surprisingly, in Matthew. 4:23 – “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” 9:35 – “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

To whom was the Book of Matthew primarily directed? (Israel.) What was the national hope of Israel? But notice to whom the gospel of the Kingdom was to be preached according to Matthew 24:14. What is the only way that any sinner, either of Israel or of the Gentiles, can enjoy the kingdom of Christ? Is there any reason to think that this gospel is any different from the other gospels at which we’ve looked? The only other reference to the gospel is a repetition in Mark of what we read in Matthew.

Earlier I read from Paul’s remarks to the elders at Ephesus; let me do that again adding one more verse. Acts 20:22-25 – “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” Paul’s ministry as a Biblical evangelist was to preach the gospel of the grace of God, but in the process of doing that he declared the kingdom of Christ to both the Jews and also to the Greeks. There isn’t a separate gospel of the Kingdom and another of Heaven.

We might also talk about the gospel of REPENTANCE, or the gospel of FAITH, or even others.

What has repentance got to do with the gospel? What has faith to do with the message of the Biblical evangelist? Is it permissible for the evangelist to preach about the atonement? Regeneration? Spiritual adoption? Could we call his message “the gospel of Regeneration?” Does the gospel of Christ say anything about repentance? Does the gospel of God demand faith in Christ?

The gospel can be made into a rather complex subject, but in fact is it? What, again, is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? “How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” What problems might arise if I left out the words “according to the scriptures”? In essence the gospel is a story – a narrative – of the death of Christ.

Are there any false gospels being preached today? Is there anyone preaching the true gospel falsely? The Biblical evangelist needs to be careful that he serves the Lord according to the scriptures with the correct Biblical message.