Sharing the gospel is a top priority to many Evangelical Christians. They feel a deep urgency to share the good news message with others, with the hopes that some will accept the gospel. Of course this is a good thing. We should all go out into the world and share the good news of Jesus with others.
But could we pause for a moment and take a look at Jesus.
Did Jesus preach the gospel?
Do we think Jesus frequently preached a gospel message like this?
- You are a sinner
- God is holy and can not have sin in His presence
- Jesus paid the debt for your sins
- Just believe and you will go to heaven when you die
Do we think his disciples preached this from town to town?
Do we think the early church preached this from town to town?
My apologies if I've missed or misquoted the gospel message you are familiar with. Everyone seems to have a slightly different version. One problem I see with this type of gospel presentation is that it requires a fair bit of proof-texting. I suspect if this was the gospel presentation made by anyone in the early church, we would find the whole presentation in a number of passages. We would not have to cut and paste verses from different books, mixed together with our own summary, to give the gospel presentation.
What we do find is Jesus preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
You can not read the gospels without noticing how often the topic of the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven is on the lips of Jesus. Matt 4:23, Matt 9:35, Matt 24:14, Luke 4:43, Luke 16:16 are a few that link the word 'gospel' with this kingdom message. We also find his disciples were sent out preaching the same message (Matt 10:5-8, Luke 9:1-2, Luke 10:9) . We have 4 books call the 'gospels' that have a lot to say about the good news message Jesus and His disciples preached. Paul and the other New Testament writers continued with the same message and themes.
Following are some links to my attempt to piece together what the gospel was according to Jesus, starting with what is recorded in the gospels. I'd encourage you to do your own study too. I welcome any feedback. I'm certain I don't have it all figured out, but I'm on a journey of changing my way of thinking, that the reign of God is near (Mark 1:15):