I Cor. 15:1,2; Gal. 1:11
From time to time, it is necessary to re-state in precise and definite terms what the New Testament Gospel really is: what did the apostles preach? What was the foundation on which the first believers stood? By what were they saved?
As it did in the days of Paul, the Gospel may lose its freshness and distinctiveness today; it may be watered down; it may be confused by additions; it may be subverted by distortions; it may be sterilized by traditions and killed by misrepresentation.
I will therefore try to re-state the Gospel as it was in the beginning.
It is inevitable to notice in this consideration that the Gospel of the apostles was an infinitely greater thing than that which is preached today. The word “Gospel” needs to be saved and freed from its present limited meaning.
“Preaching the Gospel” is known nowadays as preaching certain basic features by which the unsaved can be brought to put their trust in Christ as Saviour. It is sometimes also called “the simple Gospel”. The very phrase carries with it fear and precaution. Perhaps here lies the greatest reason why people who become Christians through such preaching, either remain stagnant or eventually turn away.
If we study what the apostles preached, we will notice two important elements:
1) The mighty Spirit of God worked through them; and
2) They had complete dependence and faith in the Spirit’s ability to move the hearers to receive the truth.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, although hard to explain or understand, was the centre of the apostles’ preaching. If you want to know “the Gospel”, read I Cor. 15: Paul introduces his long discourse on resurrection as his “Gospel”. It is not an extra, detached, or advanced teaching. It is not a “logy”, e.g. “Christ-ology”, “Church-ology” or “Theology”; it is the Gospel. It is based on resurrection, beginning with Christ’s and continuing on to that of all believers.
In the New Testament, the resurrection of Christ is shown to proceed along time, touch many issues, and affect situations, conditions, and needs of the individual believer’s life as well as the needs of the Church universal and the local church.
We must recognize that Christ’s resurrection was beyond just an historic fact: it was, and is, permanent and has multi-faceted power and experience. Christianity, the individual Christian, the local group of believers, and the Church universal, all have this one truth as the justification of their existence: that they were brought into existence by the Risen Lord to be the vessels of “the power of His resurrection”. Not the doctrine alone, not the statement of an historic fact as a tenet of creed, but a demonstration of the power that raised Him from the dead.
Our ministry is to preach “the Gospel” and to be and produce the vessel which is to become the testimony of the power of resurrection in all areas and aspects of our lives. We preach the power of resurrection that is to be the experience of every believer in dealing with every form of death that touches the children of God. We preach “the Gospel” that raised the unbelieving dead from their total and complete deadness into the very life of God. The Gospel we preach is what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-7.
May God grant us mercy to continue to preach “the gospel”, the whole counsel of God, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit; and may the same Spirit give an open ear to all who hear the gospel unto eternal life.