What Is The Gospel?
Today, we’re going to answer the question: What is the gospel?
The gospel. Did you know that the word ‘gospel’ literally means good news? So when you’re saying, “What is the gospel?” You’re saying, “What is the good news?” So the next question you’re going to ask yourself is, “Good news about what?” What is it that you want news about? What is the good news that you’re proclaiming?
Now, if you think about Jesus, he specifically said, “The good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the earth.” So, the good news, the gospel is good news about a kingdom. Whose kingdom is it that we want to be proclaiming? Whose kingdom is it that something happened that was so good the world needs to know about it? It’s the kingdom of God, right? It’s the kingdom of heaven.
Now, I traveled around the world for many years and preached in front of hundreds of thousands of people, and I started to pay attention to the gospel that my friends and I were preaching and asking the question: Is this good news of the kingdom? What I realized is, most of the time, what we were preaching, we never even mentioned the kingdom. We mentioned that you’re a sinner and that because you’re a sinner, there’s going to be consequences for your sin. And if you don’t ask God for forgiveness, you’re going to be damn to help. That is a part of the gospel. That’s a part of the good news, of the keynotes or this bad news. But man, I said, “Where’s the kingdom? Where’s the kingdom in our message? Where is the good news about a King and a kingdom?” Because, what we were doing, we were giving people advice on how to get to heaven when they die.
If you do a word search in the Bible and type in, ‘go to heaven’ or ‘go to heaven when you die’, guess what? You won’t find it. That term is not in the Bible anywhere, ‘go to heaven when you die’ is not in the Bible anywhere. Jesus says, “When you’re praying, you need to pray like this: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So, we’ve been trying to get people to heaven when Jesus is trying to get heaven to earth. We’ve been trying to get people up when Jesus is trying to get something to come down.
So, what is the gospel? The gospel is good news about a King and a kingdom. The nature of news is, news is not advice. News is about something that happened, and this news just happened to change the world. It happened to change everything. It changed the course of history. I mean, that’s how good news this news is.
Now, my best friend, he grew up in Holland. And one day, he started to talk to me about the good things of Holland. Holland is a kingdom. And at the time when he was telling me this, it was run by a queen. The kingdom of Holland was run by a queen. And so he says, “You know what’s so good about Holland? He says, “Our queen, she pays for all of our education.” So if you want to go to school, our queen will pay for it. He says “You know what else is good about Holland?” He says, “If you lose your job, our queen will pay 60% of your wages until you can get a job again.” He says, “You know what else is so good about our queen? She pays for your health care to make sure that you’re healthy.” He’s named off a number of things that he said made Holland great.
Now, what is he preaching? He’s preaching the good news of the kingdom of Holland. Now, are there any benefits to being a citizen of the kingdom of God? I’d say, yes, there is. We need to be sharing news with others about what’s so good about the kingdom of heaven. What’s so good? Are there any benefits? They need to know that something happened that changed everything and you could be a citizen of this kingdom. You just have to bow down before the King of this kingdom and say He is Lord and believe that Jesus is raised from the dead.
Now, second thing, I was reading a story about Julius Caesar. So, some people rose up and Julius Caesar’s [06:26 inaudible] and they killed him. Et tu, Brute? I just remembered that from history in school. But a couple of guys rose up, Octavian and Mark Anthony, and they wanted to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. And so they went and they took out the guys who assassinated Julius Caesar.
Now, the only problem is, then Octavian and Mark Anthony, they began to fight amongst each other. They wanted to see who’s going to be in charge. They wanted to know who’s going to be the man, who is going to be in charge of everything, who’s going to take over this kingdom. For 13 years, there was a civil war, a fighting between Octavian and Mark Anthony.
If you were in the political arena and you were back in the capital Rome, the Roman Empire, everyone was jockeying for position. Everyone’s trying to be in the right team, on the right side. The fighting was happening way far away, but everyone knew that whoever wins this is going to rule the empire. So everyone is messing around, trying to get jockeying for power and everything.
Then one day, Octavian beats Anthony. Anthony and Cleopatra, they go back. They end up committing suicide. News begins to travel around through the empire, “Octavian won.” It began to be called good news. There was good news that Octavian had won the battle, and now we have a new King.
Now, the battle happened way far away. Let’s say, you’re a citizen and you were on the side of Octavian, and you can wait for him to get back because you know that when he gets back, he’s going to reward you for being on his side. Now, the supporters of Mark Anthony, they had something totally different that they were thinking, because Octavian who became Caesar Augustus, he’s going to come back and he’s going to clean up shop. He’s going to reward the people who were on his side, but he’s going to punish the people that supported his opponent. And that’s the nature of news. Something happened. So news begins to spread. The good news that Octavian had won spreads through the empire, the kingdom. It happened. It took him two years to get from the last final battle. It took him two years to finally get back to the capital city and officially set up his kingdom.
But if you’re a citizen in Rome, you know that everything has changed. Something happened in the past that once you finally get back here, it’ll change everything in the future. And so you live a different life now according to what happened in the past because you know what will happen in the future.
The people who supported his opponent, for example, Herod. Herod was a supporter of Mark Anthony. And so he started to say, “Oh man, what is going to happen once he comes back? I need to do something about this.” And so he concocted this story where once Octavian got back, he went and he said, “Man, I know I supported Mark Anthony, but don’t ask yourself who I was supporting.” He said, “Ask yourself how loyal of a friend I was because that’s what I’m going to be here.” That’s basically what he said. And so Octavian reinstated him as the King of the Jewish people. That’s why he was a ruler whenever Jesus came along. It was because he had to go and fall at the mercy of Octavian, and Octavian rose him up and let him be the leader.
So what does this have to do with the gospel of the kingdom? People weren’t going around Rome saying, “I’m going to ask you three questions to see if you were a supporter of Octavian or not. And if you’re not, you’re going to be punished once he gets here. If you were his supporter, you’ll be rewarded later. In fact, you can go and live in his castle.” That’s not what the good news was like. The good news of Octavian winning was the message. Octavian has won. I know there’s been a 13-year civil war. It’s done. Octavian has won. Everything has changed. We got a new King and he’s going to change everything and it’s going to be glorious.
So, the kingdom, the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God is like that. It’s news. It’s not just advice on how you can go and live in God’s castle. It’s news that Jesus has won the cosmic battle and he is the King of the world. He’s the King of the universe. He showed this because he loved us enough to die in our place. He won the battle by becoming a laid down servant. He took a penalty on the cross. He laid down his life to show us what love was like. And they said, “Jesus, why should we follow you and not follow other people? How do we really know that you are the King? You really are the Messiah.” He said, “Look, Jonah went into the belly of the fish. In the same way, kill me. I’ll come back three days later.” And he said, “That’s how you’ll know that I am who I said I am. That’s how you’ll know that I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
And so, Jesus went into this cosmic battle where he laid down his life, but not even God’s greatest enemy, which was death could hold him down. He rose from the dead and he won the battle that has changed everything. And because of that, we need to lay down our lives and fall at the mercy of God and say, “God, I am on your side. I will be a loyal friend, a loyal servant. I lay down my life. You are Lord. You’re King of my life. You’re King of my family’s life. You’re King of everything. And I submit my life to you. You’re alive and I believe in You and Your kingdom, and I want to be a part of it.” That’s what the gospel is.
Now, these are concepts. So, whenever I’m training people to share the gospel, I do it in a framework I called Good, Bad, Give, Go. I teach a framework that you can learn from using these three circles with Good, Bad, Give, Go. Again, if you go over to storyevangelism.com, I go into depth and I give you the words and the frameworks so you can share the gospel real quickly. It just takes you less than a minute to share the good news of what Jesus has done and how people can be a part of his family that’s going to go and make the world right again.
So, if you want to learn practical steps on how to do it, storyevangelism.com will show you the framework and will give you the little details to make our work.
So again, the gospel is a good news of the kingdom. We have a King who laid down his life. He rose from the dead. He sent us his spirit so we could do exactly the things that he called us to do. Live like Him, demonstrate how great His kingdom is.