What is the gospel? The gospel is purely the good news concerning Jesus the Christ the Son of God; His righteous life, His sacrificial death for the sins of men, His burial, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into Heaven. So when the Lord said to His disciples; “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) He was telling them, “go tell the world about Me, go tell them what I have done.” Why is this important to understand, because we can easily get caught up in so many different things, but the gospel alone is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
I have three questions for you while keeping the gospel in mind:
1) Did you witness these things?
2) Who did witness these things?
3) Who then are the witnesses for Christ Jesus?
I'm going to teach you about something you may not have heard before, at least in this way, but it's not new, the reformers referred to it as “Sola Scriptura”. Now “Sola Scriptura” referrers to all of scripture, both the New and Old Testaments, but what I would like to talk about today is the gospel. We are the redeemed in Christ; what that means is we have been saved from the wrath of God for our sins; by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in the Jesus Christ alone. We are the redeemed in Christ, but make no mistake, brethren; you and I are not His witnesses. Yes, you heard me correctly, we are not His witnesses. The apostles chosen by Jesus Himself are His witnesses: both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. They are the ones who witnessed His righteous life, His sacrificial death for the sins of men, His burial, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into Heaven. When you and I preach the gospel in this world, we are not giving witness of the things we have seen and heard; we are simply reporting the news given to us by those who did. When you come to understand this, it will revolutionize the way you preach the gospel, and talk to people about Jesus. You will also have understanding with regards to what really should be said, and the reason why. What I have to say today is in no way exhaustive on the subject; it is just a beginning, scratching the surface on a subject that covers the entirety of the gospel accounts and Epistles. Pay close attention to the personal pronouns when you are reading both the gospel accounts and Acts; this will really bring this subject to light. I’ve included in this post four short passages of scripture as examples of this.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NASB)
I used this passage because it is a good quick synopsis of the gospel. As you can see from the passage, Christ appeared to the apostles after His resurrection, they were witnesses of His resurrection. Paul received the news of Christ death for the sins of believers and Christ subsequent resurrection from the dead the third day, the same way all of us have; by the testimony of those who witnessed the events. Paul then passed this news along to others so that they may also believe and be saved. Paul did see the risen Savior and was sent by Him, making Him an apostle, so therefore he himself could give witness to the resurrection.
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)
As you can see from this passage, all the personal pronouns in reference to being a witness are of the apostles, His chosen witnesses, and in the greater passage of Acts 1:1-11 the Lord’s dialog is with the apostles, His chosen witnesses. The very ones He had chosen early on during His earthly ministry to be His witnesses.
"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17: 20,21 NASB)
In this, the High Priestly Prayer Jesus is praying on behalf of the church, all those who will come to faith in Him. Take note as to how they come to faith in Him, through the word given by His chosen witnesses, His apostles.
"Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30, 31 NASB)
In this passage the apostle John states the purpose for his writing this account. In this passage the signs Jesus performed where done in the presence of His disciples and they were not all written down. What has been written; has been written so that you, I, and a multitude of others would believe and be saved, to fulfill the commission that the Lord gave them, to be His “witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
As I stated earlier, this is in no way exhaustive on the subject, I try to keep these blogs brief, but I hope it does bring some understanding to something you may not have considered before. Remember what the gospel is; the good news concerning Jesus the Christ the Son of God; His righteous life, His sacrificial death for the sins of men, His burial, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into Heaven. Remember that you were not a witness of these things, Jesus chosen apostles were the witness of these things. So when you share the gospel with others, weather that be one on one, or by preaching, take out of your presentation what does not belong there, and report what the apostles of Christ Jesus witnessed. Remember we can easily get caught up in so many things; we have a tendency to make the gospel about ourselves or the people of the world. Let us report what we have received from the apostles witness, worshiping our Lord by telling the world what He has done, remember; it is the gospel alone that is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
“So many things have to be done to attract a crowd and to keep that crowd they have attracted why is that? Is it because the Gospel no longer has power? Or is it because we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are preachers of the Gospel? Paul said the Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone, and that is true because power is demanded.” ~Paul Washer
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ