What Are The Essential Elements of the Gospel Message?
We live in a time where true Biblical Christianity is no longer popular. Instead a counterfeit Christianity has been on the rise due to the consistent preaching of various false gospels and heretical preaching by many popular but false teachers within the church today.
Even within the early Christian Church, there were many false teachings which had crept into the Church in order to distort the true gospel message.
Many of the letters written by the apostles such as Paul, Peter or John were written in order to counter or correct false gospels and false teachings which had crept into the early Christian church.
For example, Paul wrote the following:
Galatians 1:6-9 says: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
So what is the true gospel of Christ that Paul mentions and how do we differentiate between the true gospel and the false gospels that have been so prevalent within the church today?
The True Gospel As Defined By The Scriptures
The true gospel is defined in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and these scriptures clearly define the essential elements of the gospel message.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 says: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Paul’s reminder regarding the essence of the true gospel message is that
1. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (verse 3)
2. He was buried & on the third day He resurrected in accordance with the Scriptures (verse 4)
3. This gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the one by which we are being saved or will lead us to genuine salvation (verse 2)
4. This gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the one which we must hold fast or remain committed to. In other words, there is no other gospel except this gospel of Jesus Christ (verse 2)
What the Gospel Means
The word gospel means “good news”. Therefore the gospel is the good news that God is able to save sinners doomed for hell and save them from eternal punishment because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
The gospel is essentially God’s love story to man. It’s the story that man needs to repent and be saved by Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for our sins.
The gospel is the good news that God is able to reconcile with sinful man and that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the debt of sin that mankind could not pay (Mark 10:45).
Man is by nature sinful and therefore spiritually separated from God because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).
Man cannot reconcile with God through his own efforts or his own ability. Man can only be reconciled to God by grace through exercising faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Therefore the gospel is the good news regarding the gift of salvation which God graciously offers to anyone, who would by faith turn to Christ and recognize Jesus Christ alone, as the only way that a person can have an eternal relationship with God (John 14:1-6).
Romans 10:14-16 (NLT) says: “But how are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
According to Romans 10:14-16, people cannot believe in Jesus Christ unless the gospel or good news has been preached to them. The preaching and understanding of the gospel of Christ is very essential to a person becoming a genuine Christian.
Therefore, the gospel is the message that all of humanity needs to hear. People need to hear the good news that God offers salvation as a free gift and that Jesus Christ died that we may have everlasting life.
Without Jesus Christ in our lives, we would be doomed to hell because of sin. Fortunately God offers us the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).
It’s therefore important to note that the true gospel is the good news that God offers redemption and salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
The Gospel Is The Power of God for Salvation
Romans 1:16-17 says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
There are 2 essential things that we can learn about the gospel from Romans 1:16-17.
Firstly the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Secondly the gospel reveals the righteousness of God.
Romans 1:16 says “the gospel… is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” in Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
What does it mean that the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes? It means the gospel of Christ is God’s message of repentance which has the supernatural ability to convert people to Christ. This is done by the power of the Holy Spirit who uses the word of God to convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8).
Part of becoming a genuine Christian is understanding the meaning and purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For one to become a Christian, it is imperative to hear and believe the true gospel.
The preaching of the gospel is what brings people to the realization that they are depraved and need to repent so that they become followers of Christ. The gospel itself is the power and the message that leads to true salvation.
THE KEY COMPONENTS OF UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE GOSPEL MESSAGE
1. What is sin?
All unrighteousness is sin. Sin is willful rebellion against God and His revealed will. Sin is the transgression of God’s perfect law.
All of mankind inherited sin because of Adam who sinned in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12).
Therefore we are all born sinners. Romans 3:23 says: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We all are born with an inherited sinful nature because of the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12). Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness (1 John 3:4). The practice of wilfully violating God’s law is lawlessness.
2. What is the Consequence of Sin?
a) Death is a consequence of sin which began with Adam. Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
b) Sin causes a spiritual separation from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). We cannot relate with God when sin rules and controls our life.
c) Eternal hell punishment (Matthew 5:29; Matthew 25:41)
3. Why Does Man Need Salvation? Why Did Christ Come?
1) We are all sinners and have broken God’s laws and commandments (Romans 3:23)
2) Man’s righteousness are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)
3) Man cannot save himself (Acts 4:12)
4) Man cannot have a relationship with God without Christ (John 1:12)
5) Man will perish in hell without salvation through Christ (Romans 6:23; John 3:16)
6) Man cannot have eternal life without salvation (1 John 5:12-13)
7) Without Christ we are condemned (John 3:18)
4. The Good News / The Gospel
a) Whilst we were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
b) Jesus paid for our sins (1 John 2:2; Mark 10:45)
c) There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1)
d) We have eternal life and a relationship with God through Christ (John 14:2-6; Colossians 1:21-22)
e) Salvation is a gift; we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)
f) I can become a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus (John 1:12)
g) Jesus Christ is our salvation (John 14:6)
h) The resurrection of Christ is guarantee that we have a living Saviour and that all believers will have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:19-23; 1 Peter 1:3)
The true gospel leads people to the Cross. The true gospel glorifies Jesus Christ and the work He did for mankind by dying for the sins of the world (Romans 5:8). The true gospel is about leading people to salvation through Jesus Christ and informing all mankind that we all need to abide in Christ (John 15:1-17).
Galatians 2:20 says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The true gospel reminds us of the fact that our life is no longer about us – but our life is about Christ. We die to ourselves and we pick up our cross daily to follow Christ (Luke 9:23).
The true gospel is not about glorifying the abilities of man but it is about glorifying God because without Christ man cannot enter into an eternal relationship with God (John 14:2-6).
The true gospel is not about attempting to gain material riches, but it is about glorifying God who became flesh so that we may have eternal life through Christ (John 1:14).
The true gospel does not magnify man’s accomplishments but instead the gospel magnifies Christ’s finished work on the Cross and compels us to repent of sin and live for Christ.
There are also many false gospels that exist in the world and some of these false gospels are mentioned in the Bible such as the prosperity gospel, hyper grace / antinomianism, universalism, salvation by works and various Word of Faith theology and New Apostolic Reformation teachings.
These false gospels can create false believers and a counterfeit Christianity because they do not focus on Christ or His finished work on the Cross and they distort and pervert the true gospel of Christ.
The apostle Paul warns us against receiving false or counterfeit gospels in Galatians 1:6-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:4.
2 Corinthians 11:4 says: For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
False doctrines or false gospels do not lead to a genuine relationship with God. According to 2 Corinthians 11:4, the followers of false gospels eventually follow a “different Jesus”, a “different spirit” simply because they have heard a “different gospel”. In other words, false gospels lead to a counterfeit Christianity or a counterfeit religion.
The true gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings people to a true understanding of salvation and what it means to be a genuine Christian. When we believe that we are sinners who need a Saviour; When we believe what Jesus did for us on the Cross by sacrificing Himself for our sins; When we believe that without Christ we cannot be saved and when we believe that we are saved by grace and not by our own personal effort – it is through such faith that we can live our life as authentic Christians.
In 1 Corinthians 2:2 it says: For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
This scripture alone reveals the importance of why the true gospel message is all about Christ and the work that He did on the cross for the sins of mankind.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to change your mind about sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That 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” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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