Galatians 1:8. I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Over time many have felt the need to adapt the Gospel to a particular time and place as a strategy for outreach and church growth. Let us be clear as to why the Gospel you preach must be pure and true.
John 16:7 & 8. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
An evangelical presentation of the Gospel may prove effective for “winning souls”, but will only fail to gather those chosen by the Lord absent the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
John 16:9. Conviction of sin, because they believe not on me.
True conviction of sin does not occur by preaching against sin. Someone may feel ashamed if they feel called out for their behavior. They may want to be a better person, spouse, and citizen.
There is only one Holy conviction: Jesus Christ, crucified for sin.
1 Corinthians 2:2. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Therefore, the first element of the Gospel is WHO Jesus is, not what He has become to the world. He may be our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King, but first and foremost, He is the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (most beloved verse).
John 20:31. But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life through his name.
The most prevalent adaptation to the Gospel is the “die and go to heaven” message. This evolved out of the myth that “good people” go to heaven when they die. This is easily debunked with the familiar verses from Paul:
Romans 3:23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
However, the message of: accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite Him into your heart, and when you die you will go straight to heaven, is based on the fear of death, and is not the Gospel preached in the New Testament. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never presented as a ‘die and go to heaven’ message, but a ‘live in holiness and righteousness in the sight of God’.
Luke 1:74, 75. To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear. In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
The Righteous Judge
The consistent apostolic message, and that of Jesus Christ himself, is that of a coming resurrection of the dead and the righteous judgment of God, to which He is appointed the only Potentate.
1 Timothy 6:15. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
John 5:26-30. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
The Apostolic Message
Acts 4:1, 2. And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 10:42. And He commanded us to proclaim to the people and to testify that He is the One ordained by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
Acts 17:30, 31. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
Overcome the World
1 John 5:4&5. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world by our faith. Who overcomes the world? The one who confesses and believes that Jesus is the Son of God!
When the Lord visited John on Patmos, He delivered messages for seven churches in Asia, which included a promise to each one that we may contemplate.
These promises are not offered to those who believe, but to those who overcome.
Revelation 2:7. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
Revelation 2:11. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
Revelation 2:17. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives.
Revelation 2:26-28. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels, as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
Revelation 3:5. The one who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and His angels.
Revelation 3:12. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
Revelation 3:21, 22. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Finally, at the close of the Message, we have this precious promise.
Revelation 21:7. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
John 16:33. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Victory Found In His Presence
By the covenant promise made to David and abiding in the Holy Spirit provides the discipline and correction that gives life. To live in righteousness and stand worthy at the Judgment. We overcome by the One who overcame the world, abiding in His Presence by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:29-34. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb, but God raised Him from the dead. And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: I will give you My steadfast love for David.
Hebrews 12:7-11. It is for discipline that you endure. God is treating you as sons, for what son does a father not discipline? But if you are without discipline, something all have come to share, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Besides, we are used to having human fathers as instructors and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? Indeed, for a short time they disciplined us as seemed best to them; but He does so for our benefit, so that we may share in His holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the moment, not joyful. But later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
1 Corinthians 11:31, 32. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
1 Timothy 5:24,25. Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.
Valedictory Victory Address
2 Timothy 4:1-8.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His Presence.