This is Gospel Coaching Session 1. To become true disciples in the gospel of Christ, gospel truth must be central in our lives. Paul says he was separated unto the gospel of God, which is the power of God (Rom 1:17), and we must be too (Rom 1:1). This is what produces an abundant life. It unleashes the process of God -- the power of God in us.
The whole Old Testament was focused on 2 things:
(1) a coming King
(2) his coming Kingdom.
Jesus came as the King, and he brought his Kingdom with him, saying it was now in the midst of us. What the entire Old Testament had waited centuries for was now ours. I Peter 1:8-10 describes this.
Paul refers to this as the better New Covenant (Heb 11:39:40). He says it totally replaced the Old Covenant (Heb 9:9-10, 10:9). The Old vanishes away in light of the new (Heb 8:13, II Cor 3:6-13).
THE GOSPEL IS THE CONSTITUTION OF GOD'S KINGDOM
The Constitution of the United States defines the U.S. and shows us how it is meant to function. The Gospel is similarly like this. It is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. It is what describes this New Covenant of the Kingdom. It shows us who God is in us, who we are in him, and how this all works in us.
HEAR THE VERY FIRST WORDS OF JESUS
Hear the very first words out of Jesus' mouth after 40 days in the wilderness with Satan: "Repent (of all other beliefs) and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Jesus was not saying repent of sin. This had been the message for 2,000 years; it was still the message of John the Baptizer (Mark 1:4).
Jesus brought a new message! It amazed all the people because it was so different from everything that had ever been said before. It was a message of gospel truth that imparted the power of God to us.
It was a message of gospel salvation, not sin. Jesus knew he'd come to do away with sin and become sin for us (Heb 9:26, II Cor 5:21). Jesus knew that sin was not the root of the problem, but the fruit. He knew if we changed our beliefs, we would be overcomers over most of our sin problems.
THE GOSPEL SHOULD CHANGE OUR BELIEFS
It is given to us to straighten out our thinking (Rom 12:1-2). It gives us the thoughts of God himself (Isa 55:8-9). Often, this is contrasted against the preaching we hear: what Paul calls 'the enticing words of man's wisdom' (Col 2:4, I Cor 2:4). Too many preach things they do not understand, but they sound very confident in preaching them and so we believe them (I Tim 1:7).
John Kennedy said, "We find solace in our human opinions, and those of others, not taking the trouble of truly thinking or seeking out the facts." Jesus said, "I am come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive" (John 5:43). The truth is we don't like being told what we have to believe! We like to invent it!
THE GOSPEL MUST BECOME OUR LIFE
The gospel is not simply meant to be part of our theology, or our belief system. It is meant to be our entire belief system, lock, stock and barrel. It must not be combined, mixed or married with anything else. It is a 'stand alone.'
The gospel is of course about salvation, but as important as salvation is, it is only 'entry level Christianity.' The gospel is so very much more. It not only commences all spiritual life, all spiritual life continues in the gospel only. It is meant to permeate all of life. It is Christ's abundant life (John 10:10).
Too many MIX the gospel with other things. Jesus said, "Don't pour new wine into old bottles." He was cautioning against mixing the gospel with anything else. Don't mix animal blood with the blood of Jesus!!
New Testament letters, especially Paul's, focus totally on the gospel, which is the ministry of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). This was Paul's life-long work. And he dealt with problems that exist when we don't apply gospel truth -- and how applying gospel truth reduces problems and creates solutions.
He even said the gospel is what fulfills the word of God in our lives (Col 1:23-25). Chew on this a lot!
THE GOSPEL IS GOD'S ANSWER TO ALL THINGS
I know this sounds like something only "The Gospel Coach" would say! But it's true!
The proclamation and revelation of gospel truth was the purpose for which Jesus came to earth (John 18:37). It was the first declaration out of his mouth. He says it must be preached in all the world before the end will come (Matt 24:14). It's so important even angels preach it from heaven (Rev 14:6).
Paul says the gospel is the power of God (Rom 1:16). For the gospel to truly have total impact and power in your life you must (1) SEPARATE yourself to it like Paul (Rom 1:1), you must (2) CONTINUE in it in all aspects of life (Col 1:23), and you must (3) REPENT of all other beliefs that contradict it (Mark 1:15).
To live in the gospel's power you must view it as a 'stand alone.' It is what Jesus came to give us. The gospel is life itself -- the power of God that produces abundant life of Christ. What else should we long for? What else is worth living for?