Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Exactly Is ‘The Gospel’?

Recently during a religious radio broadcast, a listener called in and asked, “What exactly do you mean by ‘The Gospel’?” That’s a good question, and I bet many people, including regular church-goers, would answer by saying, “The word ‘gospel’ means those four books in the Bible, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Well, yes, those biblical books are called “gospels,” and the word “gospel” means “good news.” But the radio caller was asking about the meaning of the word ‘gospel’ when used as a description of the overall theme of Christianity. For example, Jesus said this: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and He obviously was not referring to the books describing His life, which hadn’t been written yet.

If you had to summarize the Gospel message in a few basic bullet points, could you? If not, here’s a simple outline from a book titled, “The Life in the Spirit Seminars – Catholic Edition.” The seminar presents the “basic message of Jesus” in a four-point summary called “The Four Basic Truths” of the Gospel.

Truth number 1: “God loves you and wants you to live a full, happy life.”

It was out of love that God created you. He wants to share His love with you. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

God wants you to know Him and experience His love, and live together in a community of love with all people. But most people don’t experience this love because …

Truth number 2: “Mankind is sinful and separated from God.”

As a result, you cannot know God’s love and share in God’s life with others. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Mankind’s separation from God results in mankind’s separation from one another. People cannot live together in love and peace unless there is first a spiritual change in them that only God can produce. How does this spiritual change take place?

Truth number 3: “Jesus Christ is the only one who can give you the power to live this abundant life.”

Through Jesus you can know God’s love and share in God’s life with others. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”

In Jesus, God became man and entered into the world to overcome the separation between God and mankind. He was able to bridge that huge gulf. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ made it possible for you to experience this abundant life. But more is needed than just knowing these facts about Jesus. Which brings us to …

Truth number 4: “You must accept Jesus Christ into your own life as Lord and Savior.”

When you do this, you can experience the power to live a new life. John 1:12 says, “To those who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God.” Accepting Christ means entering into a personal relationship with Him in which you receive His love and give your life to Him.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter in…” So, you need to invite Jesus into your heart and make Him the center of your life.

That’s the basic outline of the Gospel message. It’s not very complicated. It’s short, it’s sweet, and best of all, it’s TRUE. Through the Church, the sacraments, and personal prayer, you truly can enter into a relationship with Christ.

If you’ve never contemplated “The Four Basic Truths” of the Gospel, now would be a great time. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

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