Most of us have been taught something like this:
- We are sinners.
- Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven.
- Believe in him so that you can go to heaven.
The wording and the outline may vary, but basically that's what most of us were taught. And it isn't really wrong. The Bible does talk about all those things (except going ot heaven, but we'll talk about that later), and yet, the more we read the Bible, we see that this outline doesn't seem to capture what the Bible actually says.
For instance, is this the gospel that Jesus preached? Matthew says that Jesus preached the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That doesn't sound like the gospel we know.
Or the Apostles? If you read the evangelistic sermons in the Book of Acts, they never talk about justification by faith, accepting Jesus into your heart, praying a sinners prayer, or any of those familiar phrases.
What is all that about? Is there more to the gospel than we realize? And does it matter?
Over the next 8 weeks, we are going to dive into these questions, because I think there is more to the gospel than just managing our sin, and waiting to go to heaven. There is a "Greater Gospel" that is plainly revealed in the Bible. This Greater Gospel is more complete, more compelling, and more powerful because it goes beyond mere salvation and encompasses the redemption and renewal of all that is. And best of all, it offers us a chance to participate in God's mighty work.
If we are going to think of ourselves as people defined by the good news of Jesus Christ, we ought to be very clear on exactly what we mean by "the Gospel." We will find that as we realize the fullness of the gospel, we will find a corresponding fullness of God's blessing.