Not Many Wise -

Faith and spirituality in a modern world

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What should the Gospel message be?

Our task is to present the gospel message correctly.
So here are some thoughts on this, bearing in mind first that salvation is the work of God.
An example of God working salvation in someone’s life is:

The Lord opened her (Lydia’s) heart to respond to Paul’s message”
Acts 16:14

Nativity scene with wooden characters, what should the Gospel message be?
Nativity scene with wooden characters, what should the Gospel message be?

In the Bible there are various examples of gospel messages being preached.

So when we look at them we need to ask: “Who is being spoken to?”

a) The Gospel message to people who have no Bible knowledge.

When Paul was speaking at Athens to men who had no grounding in the Scriptures, he told them what God was like :

God who made the world…Lord of heaven and earth … gives all men life and breath and everything else … made every nation … He determined the times … so that men would seek Him … ” etc.
Acts 17:24

Paul was laying a foundation from which to launch his call to action:

Now and only now, Paul gives a call to action, because they now know what their situation is:

b) The Gospel message to people who are religious, who know the Bible but who are not saved.

A Pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus. (John 3:1-21)
Jesus could see that Nicodemus needed to be moved away from self-confidence and towards trusting in God.
Also Jesus needed to stress about faith being a relationship with God.

c) The Gospel message, what should it be?

Many may give an answer like this:

This may have worked in many situations, but from reading our Bibles we can see that there is no set formula.
In fact, we could say that the whole of the Bible is ‘Gospel’:

and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 3:15

And let’s remind ourselves of the very next verses:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness …”
2 Timothy 3:16

When we look at how Jesus spoke to people it was in different ways – there was no formula.
He tailored it to His hearers, but more than that, He spoke the words that God the Father was telling Him to speak:

For I (Jesus) did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.”
John 12:49

That makes ‘the Gospel’ a whole lot bigger and more exciting!

Peter Reason

September 2012

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  • This is so good. i get frustrated with folks who boil the gospel down to a formula (though it is so tempting, and I am sure i do it myself at times) you point is so strong. There is no set way. We have to begin where ever the person is and take it from there. I use the example of the Ethiopian eunuch often and think Isaiah 53 was easy, but could we take him from anywhere in the book, and get him baptized?

    Using the Holy Spirit as our instructor we sure could.

    Hey – thanks this is a great post.

    Ben Nelson

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