The Gospel is more than a history of events, the facts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection Glory. The Gospel is more than the four books labeled to designate the four aspects of His earthly life and ministry. It is that, but much more. One can believe in the historical veracity of the facts and still miss the eternal life of the Message.
The Gospel is an announced arrival of the kingdom of God. It must be preached with spiritual power that demonstrates the power of God. Any presentation of the Gospel that does not include a “this changes everything” dynamic is a limited Gospel.
So, the Gospel is that life and lifestyle which Jesus preached and makes available to those who surrender to His rule. Philippians 1:27, 28: “Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.” We cannot separate the Gospel from the lifestyle of what the Gospel implants into our lives. To receive the Gospel is to live the Gospel, to make our lives Gospel messages. “God has been speaking through many prophets to our ancestors in various ways for a long time. Then He spoke to us directly through His Son.”
The Gospel creates a gathering or assembly of those who through the Gospel life and lifestyle are called together. We cannot separate Gospel from the common covenant of those called together since part of the Message is “called together” strategy of Christ’s kingdom. The Gospel preached creates new life, new lifestyle, and new covenant relationships with Gospel-transformed people. The Gospel is an announcement of kingdom, how to get into kingdom, how to see kingdom, and how to live kingdom culture. Jesus designs the ecclesia to facilitate the fullness of the Gospel, or the Gospel reaching the fullness of its purpose, power, and performance.
The Gospel must be preached everywhere to every man, but the Gospel is also preached to the called together assemblies as well, because the Gospel is not only eternal life but kingdom lifestyle. While there are special messengers of the Gospel with particular announcement assignments, the Gospel is more than a Message that gets people born anew. Kingdom leaders proclaim the Gospel everywhere because the Message is for life, lifestyle, and kingdom culture everywhere.
The Gospel affects individuals, regions, cities, nations, and rulers of darkness [Ephesians 3:7-10] because it announces the victory of the King and establishes His right to rule. So, the Gospel announcement is also warfare and worship. The Gospel confronts the cultures of this world system with the culture of the kingdom. The Gospel affects every part of life because Jesus is Lord of all.
The Gospel must be obeyed. [Romans 10:16.] Certainly the first step of obedience is to believe, confess, repent, receive, and be changed. But the Message received is a beginning point of total, radical life-change that does not stop until the one receiving becomes a message himself, even if he is not separate to preach the Gospel. Note the difference between the call of the Gospel and the life of the Gospel; answering the call to repentance is the first step to living the life of the kingdom.
The Gospel is the Gospel of Christ. He is the Good News. He is the Preacher believed. He is the Lord served. He is the King of kingdom come. His power is demonstrated in Gospel preaching.
The fullness of the Gospel of Christ is the redemption of all: because of Jesus there will be a condition in eternity in which everything will be exactly where it belongs. The Gospel is God’s power; when the Gospel has been fully accomplished, it will redeem everything that obeys the Gospel. Even now, Creation groans for that fullness!
The Gospel can be hindered from reaching its fullness, as it can be hindered from being heard in the first place. But, the Gospel is a force for transformation individual and universal, a force that transforms as far as it is obeyed. Gospel fullness changes everything! The Gospel can be hidden. The Gospel can be perverted. The Gospel can be preached among a lot of contention. The Gospel can be accompanied with power and miracles, signs and wonders [signs and wonders by themselves are not the Gospel].
Gospel preaching is an assignment. Paul often refers to his ministry as “my Gospel” because his message is his ministry. Paul is not saying that he preaches a different Gospel or that there are various true Gospels besides his. He is saying that the Gospel assignment he has received has strategic definition: he is not called to preach everywhere but to release the Gospel where he is assigned. When Paul has been successful, however, his Gospel will win people to the Gospel, and the assignment will be multiplied through spiritual generations. Paul’s assignment would be expanded through other leaders preaching the same Gospel, leaders who inherited the assignment.
There is something particularly significant in Paul’s ascertain that he is a “partaker of the Gospel,” which he discusses in 1 Corinthians 9: “I don’t just preach it, I have a share in its ultimate goal!” Add with that Paul’s assertion that the Church at Philippi have “fellowship in the Gospel,” and we begin to see that the Gospel calls together the assembled saints for the support of the Gospel, the defense of the Gospel, the life of the Gospel, the kingdom of the Gospel, and the fullness of the Gospel. Paul says of himself: “I am a fellow in the Gospel.” John uses the same term to describe himself as “a fellow partaker of the kingdom, persecution, and endurance.”
The Gospel must be obeyed, not only in the sense of entrance into the kingdom, by obediently confessing sins for forgiveness and repenting for life-change, but by obedient living through submission to discipling leadership. Preaching the Gospel successfully creates the need for teaching the life and culture of the kingdom. The Gospel is the action of passionate love, streaming from motivations consistent with the Gospel’s goals, to establish the kingdom of God on earth through the preached Gospel, the lived Gospel, the empowered Gospel, to produce a people of the Gospel.
The Glory of Jesus shines through the Gospel. In this way, the Glory of Jesus is more available right here and now than it was when He walked the earth! When the people of God live in the power of the kingdom of God, they are forever running into the glory of man and the conspiracy against Christ operating in the world, but the people of the Gospel make the Glory of Jesus shine more brightly. They are confronting, therefore, they are contending. They are not seeking ways to make the Gospel acceptable to cultures alien to the God’s cultural principles hoping to merely create the glory of the Gospel. The Gospel reveals the Glory of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel does not hope to create a subculture, protected and ignored, isolated and powerless, but to establish the rule of Jesus on earth wherever Gospel people live. Not by military might, governmental mandate, political will, but by spiritual power, Make no mistake about it, wherever the Gospel is preached, the kingdom of God has arrived!
The Gospel has survived a million efforts to water it down, pervert its content, and weaken its power. In the same way, the called together assembly is present, growing, vital, healthy in history against every effort of hell to destroy it. It is not the survival of the Gospel and the Body that is at risk, however, but the power and authority of the Gospel and the Church. If hell cannot destroy the Gospel and the Church, hell will work to limit the power and effectiveness of the Gospel and the Church. A powerless Gospel is a beautiful story, an historical fact, a religious form. A powerless church is an institution, a philosophical politic, a religious corporation.
Herein lies the better understanding of revival: it is the Life and power of the Gospel revived. It is the authority and power of the preaching revived. When this occurs, the Gospel’s effectiveness is enhanced and the work of the ministry to equip begins to blossom, the ministry of Jesus becomes necessary and center-point again. The need for the apostolic and prophetic foundations becomes evident. True revival is a kingdom reset of the norms Jesus set in place, but it is not a return to Pentecost, the Reformation, or a former move of God. It is a reset of kingdom authority and power here and now, a restoration of where the kingdom should be at this moment in history. That is why we contend for a great harvest of souls, a prophetic generation of leaders, and a brilliant light of Glory before Jesus returns. We aren’t looking for a cave and a bag of beans but a confrontation and band of brothers who love not their lives even unto death.
There is a sense, therefore, that every believer is a Gospel. There is also a sense of special messengers sent to preach the Gospel with power demonstrations. For certain there is an equipping that prepares every Gospel person to do ministry within the called together assembly, prepared to live and serve by the preaching of the Gospel.