The Revolutionary Message of the Gospel

The Revolutionary Message of the Gospel

Paul writes to the Christians in the city of Rome

The political center of power in the vast Roman Empire 

Romans 1:16 NET “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is Godʼs power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

MSG: “It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!”

TPT “I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere!”

This verse is just about as famous and as powerful as John 3:16

NET “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

As I read and reflected on Romans 1:16 this past week – I really felt the Holy Spirit speak to me to do just that – to focus on this one verse

      • I had so many thoughts and feelings
      • I had new insights into the verse
      • I realized that, at times, I neglect the Gospel and don’t share it
        • Maybe that means I am ashamed of it
      • I came to a deeper and revolutionary understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom

There is so much I would like to share … let’s start with the basics

John the Baptist prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus:

Matthew 3:1 NET “In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Jesus came preaching and healing:

Matthew 4:23 NET  “Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people.”

Jesus told us that this Gospel would need to reach every corner of the world

Matthew 24:14 NET “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

The basic Gospel of the Kingdom

Romans 3:23 NET “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23a NET “For the payoff of sin is death…”

Romans 5:8 NET “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

Romans 6:23b NET “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you share this message with someone and then pray the Sinner’s Prayer (not a biblical prayer) and tell them they are born again or saved you will have lied and deceived them

This is simply information that they might believe because you shared it clearly and accurately

But it is just that – information in the head that has not touched their heart

James 2:19 NET “You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.”

I would call this the gospel of salvation – which is an incomplete gospel and so not the gospel at all

There is so much more to the Gospel of the Kingdom

The Gospel of the Kingdom

Shares the basic, true information that the book of Romans sets out for us

But it goes much further

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NASB “For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

After you share the information of the Gospel with someone you need to wait and watch what the Holy Spirit is doing

If He moves in their heart regarding their current standing as an enemy of God then you will see:

            • Conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment  (John 16:8-11)
            • Godly sorrow – not worldly sorrow
            • Repentance – a true decision to turn from their olds ways and embrace Jesus’ way 
            • Prayer from the heart to receive forgiveness 

This is the true Gospel – the Gospel of the Kingdom

It is this powerful Gospel that must be preached, taught, shared, and prayed about …

On the first day of the Church – Peter preached His first sermon and share the basic Gospel message

As he preached and shared the Gospel the Spirit of God began to move in the hearts and lives of those listening…

Acts 2:37-38 ESV “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

They were convicted, expressed godly sorrow, and then Peter tells them they need to repent and ask for forgiveness

The Gospel of the Kingdom

This Gospel is so powerful that it is totally life changing 

      • Changes your values
      • Alters your morals
      • Gives you a totally new perspective – a Kingdom perspective
      • Removes spiritual darkness and takes you into the light
      • Frees your heart from sin so that you can worship God
      • Gives you a new purpose for living
      • Allows you to grab hold of God’s plan for your life and thus live with a sense of destiny
      • It allows you to experience true peace and happiness
      • You can walk with Jesus as your best friend
      • You can know the heart of God the Father
      • You can share real fellowship with other believers – new friends
      • And on the list can go

This Gospel takes you from the kingdom (domain) of darkness and transfers you into the Kingdom of God

Colossians 1:13 NET “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves”

Paul writes in Ephesians, Chapter One … that each of us when we receive and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom, we have been:

      • Blessed with every spiritual blessing (1:3)
      • Chosen (1:4) 
      • Made holy and blameless (1:4)
      • Adopted as His children (1:5)
      • Received His grace (1:6)
      • Redeemed – purchased from the devil (1:7)
      • Totally forgiven (1:7)
      • Received wisdom (1:8)
      • Have new spiritual insights (1:8)
      • Know His will for us and for the world (1:9)
      • Have a future inheritance (1:11)
      • Live in hope (1:12)
      • Know the truth (1:13)
      • Sealed (protected) by the Holy Spirit (1:13)

Wow! The powerful Gospel of the Kingdom – the true and only real Gospel

More than bowing your head and repeating a prayer after someone else – powerfully more

Powerfully blows the hell right out of you!

              • Beliefs are changed
              • Bodies are healed
              • Priorities are adjusted
              • Demons are cast out
              • Sinful lives are forgiven
              • Relationships are restored
              • Eternities are altered

This is such a radical and revolutionary Gospel..

It is the Gospel OF THE KINGDOM

Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NET “When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God. For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.”

Jesus came to establish a Kingdom – God’s Kingdom – upon the earth

      • Jesus was born King of the Kingdom (Matthew 2:2)
      • John the Baptist prepared people for the Kingdom (Matthew 3:1)
      • Jesus preached the Kingdom was here and now (Matthew 4:17)
      • Jesus spoke of the Kingdom lifestyle (the Beatitudes – Matthew 5)
      • Jesus taught us to pray about the Kingdom (Matthew 6:10)
      • We are to seek first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33)
      • Jesus told us who would enter the Kingdom (Matthew 7:21)
      • Jesus told us to tell others that the Kingdom was here-now (Matthew 10:7)
      • Only the aggressive will enter the Kingdom (Matthew 11:12)
      • The Kingdom of God is like … 10+ different parables (Matthew 13)
      • Need to be like little children to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 18:3-4)

And on the list could go – within Matthew’s Gospel and, of course, in every New Testament book.

Jesus did not come to “save us” so we could go to Heaven when we die

Jesus did not save us so we could go up and away in the Rapture when Jesus returns

Jesus came to establish His Kingdom upon the earth – He was born King (Matthew 2:2) and when we are born again we are recruited to continue the work of expanding the Kingdom

We become labourers in the Kingdom because the harvest is ready (John 4:35)

The gospel of salvation … stresses the need to be saved (born again) so you can go to Heaven when you die

The Gospel of the Kingdom invites you to help Jesus spread the Gospel here and now upon the earth and does not stress the afterlife … 

Yes, you go to Heaven BUT just as important we have Kingdom work to do here and now

This means the Kingdom is our focus and not life-after-death

“Seek first the Kingdom…” (Matthew 6:33)

We are to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom person-to-person, nation-to-nation until Jesus returns or we die

This Gospel is a dangerous message that is contrary to all other worldly governments and kingdoms

      • It is radical
      • It is revolutionary
      • It is dangerous
      • It could be called “extreme”
      • It is violent
      • It is drastic
      • It is unprecedented 
      • It is unorthodox
      • It is anti-religious

PAUL AND CAESAR

It’s fascinating to read the epistles of Paul with an eye to seeing his intense focus on the gospel of the kingdom.

The book of 1 Thessalonians is a classic example.

In Acts 17, Luke rehearses the story of how the Church in Thessalonica was born.

Paul was banished from the city because he was preaching a rival king – a different Kingdom than the Roman Empire.

“They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, named Jesus!”

Acts 17:7

In essence, Paul was proclaiming that Jesus was the true King, the real Emperor, and the authentic Saviour and Caesar was not.

He, Silas, and those who followed them were defying the loyalty oath given to Caesar, and such acts of disloyalty were to be reported and the violators hunted down.

The claim that there was another king was both outrageous and seditious. And if Paul were caught by the authorities (which he wasn’t since he escaped the city in time), the penalty was death.

It’s not surprising, then, that Paul’s first and second letters to the Thessalonians are peppered with imperial language, all demonstrating that the Roman Empire and its emperor are counterfeits.

Here are some examples:

Gospel (good news) – this is the word used for Caesar’s message to the empire.

Salvation – the Roman Empire bragged about bringing salvation to all of its citizens.

Saviour – every Caesar since Augustus carried this title as well as “deliverer.”

Son of God – Augustus was regarded to be God’s son, and all Caesars were regarded to be divine.

Lord – another common title for Caesar. Paul declares that Jesus is the actual reigning Lord.

Grace – the inhabitants of the Roman Empire were granted grace (or favour) by their beloved benefactor, Caesar.

The coming of the Lord – when Paul speaks about the coming of Jesus, He uses the word parousia. This term and adventus in Latin were used for the arrival of Caesar when he visited a place.

Meet the Lord in the air – the word translated “meet” was reserved for the civic welcome of a king or dignitary. The people in a given city would go out to meet the dignitary and then escort him into their city.

The brightness of His coming – the word translated “brightness” or “splendour” is where we get the terms “epiphany” and “manifest.” Caesar was honoured as “the god manifest.”

Peace and security – this was Rome’s slogan, shorthand for the Pax Romana. But Paul declares that Rome promises a false security and peace, and it will be followed by destruction. Only Jesus, the true Lord of the world, brings peace and security. (In this regard, Jesus trumps Caesar — no pun intended – on his own chess board.)

There’s more… but understanding the gospel of the kingdom sheds fresh light on Paul’s writings as well as the rest of the New Testament.

Throughout his epistles, Paul regularly transfers the honorific titles and conventions for Caesar to Jesus.

To contextualize this … 

Whenever people put their trust in and give their loyalty to a particular country (nationalism), a corporate world government, a political party, a certain politician or a political/social philosophy (capitalism, socialism, communism), or a specific cause (like the Trucker’s Convey) they are out of step with the Gospel of the Kingdom, in spite of what they might say and believe

For those who call themselves believers and disciples (followers) of Jesus the Gospel of the Kingdom should be front and center at all times and in all places

We have a revolutionary message – a radical message to share with the world

One that totally flies in the face of all other ways of life, philosophies, religions, andcurrent forms of government 

So, let’s go back to  Paul’s verse:

Romans 1:16 NET “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is Godʼs power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

MSG: “It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!”

TPT “I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere!”

Paul is very clear about seven things:

1> He was not ashamed of the Gospel

2> The Gospel is the power of God

3> The Gospel brings salvation (for people and the creation)

4> This is for everyone who believes and receives

5> The Gospel is for all people everywhere – no one is outside of the power of the Gospel to change lives and destinies

6> The Gospel is establishing an alternative way of life 

7> There is a new and powerful Kingdom that is expanding throughout the world wherever and whenever someone proclaims the Good News of that Kingdom

And, we need to be reminded that we are the ones called to share the Gospel of the Kingdom with those we know and meet as we go about our daily lives – and that the King is there with us when we do…

Matthew 28:19-20 MSG “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

AMP “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”