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The Gospel In A Nutshell

 

 

 

Albert Einstein said "Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler".

So we endeavor to explain the Gospel -in the most simple of terms.

 

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The Gospel in a Nutshell

J. N. Runner

 

Last update: 3/02/2013

  

Part I - The Definition of the Gospel

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

 

The master theme of the Bible is the story of mankind and his relationship with God, how sin separated him from his creator, as the wages of sin is death, and how he became reconciled again back into the presence of God. The bad news is that sin alienated man from God; the good news is that God made a way through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for man to be reconciled back into the presence of God.

 

The word 'gospel' literally means 'good news'.

 

This story of redemption, the good news, is the Gospel.

 

The first four books of the New Testament are called "The Gospel According to... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John";  that tell the writer's accounts of the birth, life, ministry and death of Jesus. Although the word ‘gospel’ is found (95 times total) only in the New Testament, it is the underlying theme of the entire Bible. This underlying theme is made known in 'types and shadows' in the Old Testament that become much clearer in the New Testament.  For example,

 

1. In Genesis the third chapter, right after judgment was meted out to Adam and Eve for the sin they committed, and just before they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and separated from God, God provided 'coats of skins' to them to replace their fig leaf clothing. This becomes significant; to symbolize that in order to hide their nakedness, something had to die. It was a symbol of something greater that was to come.

 

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

 

2. Cain's offering of the fruit of the ground (he was a farmer or tiller of the ground ), was an imperfect sacrifice next to his brother Abel's sacrifice of the first of his flock (he was a keeper of sheep or a shepherd) further confirms the significance that something had to die, again, a symbol of something far greater that was to come.

 

Genesis 4:1-5 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.

 

3. Abraham was commanded to take his son and offer him as a burnt offering to The Lord. He laid the wood in order and proceeded to fulfill the command of The Lord. But found a ram caught by his horns in the thicket that he offered 'in the stead of his son'.

 

Genesis 22:7  And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

 22:9  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 22:10  And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

22:11  And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

22:12  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

22:13  And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

 

The symbolism grows; it becomes much more pronounced. Here, the sacrifice of Isaac was transferred to another; the ram became the ‘scapegoat’, in the stead of Isaac. Wow… what good news!

 

4. And when Israel became a nation, both in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, the brazen altar (a place of death), the brazen laver (a place of washing), and the holiest of holies (where God dwelt and accepted the sacrifice), was central to their worship and relationship to God.

 

All of this makes sense when we read in the New Testament the teaching of the Apostle Paul:

 

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood is no remission.

 

Putting all of this in plain terms, the Old Testament gave clues -  shadows or patterns of 'good things to come' which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ when he shed his blood for the sins of the world.

 

Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

The Old Testament examples became our 'school master' to bring us to Christ:

 

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 

The 'law' referred to were the commandments given by God to Moses. And the necessity of the death:  we the guilty ones who have committed sins worthy of death – because the penalty of sin is death - is transferred to another.  First it was transferred to an animal sacrificed as a type and shadow of Christ who would later come and fulfill the role as the 'lamb of God' slain for the sins of the world.

 

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

 

This next scripture in the Book of Hebrews clearly shows the connection of Old Testament sacrificial worship and Christ:

 

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

 

[As the sacrifice, Jesus needed only to die once, once and for all, for the whole world! Now THAT is good news!]

 

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

 

So the 'Good News' or Gospel is we don't have to face God in judgment because of our sins: Jesus paid the price of sin for us with His own blood.

 

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

Propitiation means atonement, an expiator: an appeasing, propitiating the means of appeasing. The sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior made the proper appeasement for our sins! What could be better news than that?

 

Thank God for the good news of the kingdom!

 

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.

 

Matthew 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.

 

Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterwards, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.

 

This 'good news' can also be summed up in this phrase: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

 

As the miner takes the raw material in his pan & begins to swill out the dirt looking for the flakes and nuggets of gold, taking all the teaching of the Bible from cover to cover, we unearth three events that clearly define the gospel:

The death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Part II - The Application of the Gospel

 

The fact that Jesus died as our sacrifice for our sins, and was buried and rose again from the dead doesn't do a thing for us unless we respond. The check is filled out,  and signed by Jesus  our Savior but we  but we now must validate this check individually.

 

Act 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

 

Romans 10:14-16 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! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

 

We can have the faith that Jesus did indeed and in fact die to become the propitiation for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead but unless or until we act on this, our faith is passive and not active. What must a person do to activate this faith?

 

This is easily understood by knowing the pattern of the Old Testament and seeing what was commanded by Jesus and acted upon by the apostles in the New Testament.

 

The priest would take the sacrificial animal and lead it to the place of death which was the brazen altar. As we have already pointed out, Jesus became that sacrifice. We become identified with his death by repenting of our sins. Repentance is a type of 'death' of our will to accept the will of God.

 

As the priest left the brazen altar he washed at the brazen laver. After Jesus died, He was buried. We become buried or 'planted' with him when we are baptized!

 

Romans 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection

 

Colossians 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

 

But did Jesus stay in the tomb? Did the priest stay at the brazen laver? No! The priest went to offer the blood inside the holy place. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  And the believer, with his sins forgiven and buried in the watery grave of baptism, rises in newness of life when filled with the Holy Ghost which is promised to all believers!

 

John 7:37  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

7:38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

7:39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

 

Jesus first had to die and conquer sin before he could pour out his Spirit, making the three fold gospel – the death, the burial, the resurrection - complete!

 

John the Baptist also foretold about being 'baptized with the Holy Ghost in his stirring message:

 

Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

3:4  And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

 

In these scriptures, it is easy to see the theme - repentance, water baptism and... the baptism of the Holy Ghost!

Death, burial, resurrection: Identified in our lives as repentance, water baptism & the gift of the Holy Ghost!

 

After the crucifixion of Jesus, he appeared to his disciples to give them ‘last minute instructions’. To understand the application of the gospel, it is important that we see what these instructions are:

 

Luke 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

24:46  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

24:47  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

24:48  And ye are witnesses of these things.

24:49  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

It’s important to see that ‘repentance and remission (or removal) of sins should be preached IN HIS NAME among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'. What was instructed to take place in Jerusalem was to be a pattern or template for the entire world, then as well as now. So what exactly happened in Jerusalem?

 

We were just reading part of the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke.  Luke was a physician who also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. Let’s now read the first part of the Acts of the Apostles and see how this is linked together:

 

Acts 1:1  The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus,

 

[referring to the Gospel of Luke]

 

of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

1:2  Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

1:3  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

1:4  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

 

[we just read that in the Gospel of Luke!]

 

1:5  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

[remember what John the Baptist said!]

1:6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

 

[ah, just like people today, the apostles wanted to get political and overthrow the Romans!]

 

1:7  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

1:10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

1:11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

1:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

 

And finally in Acts the second chapter, we see the fulfillment of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost just like Jesus had predicted:

 

Pentecost – a Jewish feast which is fifty days after Passover

 

Acts 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

2:5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

2:6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

2:7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

2:8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

2:9  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

2:10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

2:11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

2:12  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

2:13  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

 

[always a mocker in the crowd!]

 

2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice,

 

[in other studies, we show clearly how that the Apostle Peter had been pre-selected by Jesus to become the spokesman in this sermon on the Day of Pentecost!]

 

and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

2:15  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

2:16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

 

[and Peter proceeded to show his Jewish audience how the scriptures fit what they were witnessing!]

 

2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

2:18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

2:19  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

2:20  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

[We have a separate study called ‘The Significance of Calling Upon the Name of the Lord’ to fully explain what this means!]

 

2:22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

 

[had Jesus been a fake, this would have been a great time for someone to step forward and remonstrate him as such!]

 

2:23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

2:24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

2:25  For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.

2:26  Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

2:27  Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

2:28  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

2:29  Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Act 2:30  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

2:31  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

2:32  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

2:33  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

2:34  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

2:35  Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

 

[THAT is good news!]

 

2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

 

Here we have it in its completion – the whole gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and the fulfillment of it in the lives of the believers:

 

Remember the command given by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke:

 

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

We see how this was obeyed to the letter!!!!!

 

For review, let’s read again:

 

Acts 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

***

1 Peter 1:24  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

1:25  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

The End

The Gospel in a Nutshell is presented to you by Christ-ianity ‘You’niversity, a ministry of the Fortress of Truth in Visalia, California. If you live in or around the Visalia area, you are welcome to visit any of our services. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise IS for you, and your children and ALL that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. If you live outside of the Tulare County area and wish to find a body of believers that teach the original message of Acts 2:38, contact us and we will help you find people of like precious faith! Either way, near or far, we hope to hear from you! May God bless you richly, in Jesus’ Name, amen!!

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