What is the true Gospel? Is it Old Testament or New Testament? Aren't we commanded by Christ to preach the Gospel!
For years as a Christian and preacher of the Gospel I've asked many people the question, "Do you know what the Gospel is?" I've received a variety of answers but only few have ever described what the Bible actually says the Gospel actually is. Of course the Gospel is a good message according to the Greek text, But!
euaggelion (yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on); a good message, i.e. the gospel:
To reveal the Gospel that Christ commanded us to preach it's necessary to use the Old Testament, the four Gospels, and New Testament Epistles to form a better basis.
In Saint Mark's account of Jesus, before the ascension to heaven an instruction from Jesus was given to the disciples to preach the Gospel, Mark 16:16. After the death of Christ the New Testament defines the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation, Romans 1:16. The Apostle Paul said he was separated by the Gospel of God, Romans 1:1 so...Why is the Gospel so important? How does Scripture interpret what the Gospel is? Why did Jesus instruct us to preach the Gospel? Jesus preached the first Gospel sermon to the disciples as recorded by Saint Luke.
Luke 24:44-47...These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name
In the same account only recorded by Saint Mark notice how the Gospel was to be conveyed through preaching, where it was to be carried to, and the power of salvation it offered.
Mark 16:15-16...And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved
Mark declares that the power of the Gospel in Salvation and Baptism are one in the same. The Spirits baptism which comes from receiving the Gospel puts the believer into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. All three members of the Godhead make their spiritual abode within one body which is the body of Christ, the church.
Matt 28:19...Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
1 Cor 12:13...For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentile
Saint Matthew's account of the Gospel is phrased slightly different than Mark and Luke's account. All three accounts focus on how the power of the Gospel (baptizes) or puts man into one body through, repentance, remission of sins, and Salvation by the Divine power of the Godhead. Men are called to God through this Gospel message that Christ commanded us to preach.
2 Thess 2:14...Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel message being what the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms said about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was to go beyond the Jewish nation to the Gentile world. Christ commanded that it go into "all" the world...to Jew's and Gentiles alike. The revelation of Christ concealed in the writings of the Word of God to the Jew first was now revealed to all humanity through preaching. The basis of the Gospel was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning Christ as the Messiah. These prophecies were vaguely recognized by the Jew through the Holy Scriptures and totally unknown to the Gentile world.
Rom 16:25-26...Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Rom 1:16...For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
Records show that men of old that preached the Gospel were Jewish men. The Gospel message recorded in the Holy Scriptures came through the Jewish nation. The Jewish people from whom the Word of God came have always kept perfect records and perfect genealogies concerning the Messianic lineage. Jesus was a Jew, the 12 Apostles were Jewish, and the Word of God was written by, and given to the Jew. This is the reason why the Apostle Paul said the Gospel was to, the Jew first.
Rom 1:16...For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Apostle Paul clarified what the Gospel was in the following verses. As a knowledgeable Jew (a Pharisee) concerning the Law of Moses yet later converted to Christianity, Paul understood how the truth of the Gospel was derived from the Holy Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4...Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
Rom 1:1-5...Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
The above verses point to the prophetic truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ written in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Grace of God was given to man and received by man through faith in Christ. Faith came by hearing the Word of God. The Word of God confirmed the person of Christ through preaching. The Word of God preached by the Apostles was Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms concerning Christ. Remember the New Testament Epistles had not been written yet.
Acts 13:38-39...Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Prophecy reveals and confirms the truth about Christ. Messianic Prophecy goes back to the Garden of Eden where God promised a Savior to the Serpent, after the serpent caused the fall of man, Genesis 3:15. Genesis 3:15 was the first prophetic utterance of the promised Savior. This Prophecy concerning Christ was written in Genesis, the first book of the Law of Moses. It was concealed for centuries but revealed in part when the Messiah actually came. Now, in the Church Age it's revealed more through the power of a Living Savior and the work of the Holy Spirit. Even more is to be revealed after the Rapture of the church, and the second coming of our Lord in the Kingdom Age to restore Israel. Christ with all power and authority over the devil through the ages is the central theme of this verse.
Gen 3:15...And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel
1 John 3:8...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
John 5:46...For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
The Prophet Isaiah recorded one of the most descriptive passages in the Bible concerning Christ as Savior and redeemer, Isaiah 53. The Gospel can be preached endlessly from this passage that distinctly reveals a Savior and redeemer.
Isa 53:4-7...Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:
The Gospel preached from Isaiah 53 reveals the plan of God through the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary. Calvary ministers the power of healing to the body and an Eternal Salvation to the human soul.
In Psalm 22 David prophesies Christ's final hours on the cross at Calvary.
Ps 22:1...My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Ps 22: 16...the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
This prophecy was recorded approx. 950 years before Christ came. Its truth was concealed in the Word of God for centuries but now revealed by the preaching of the Gospel in the Grace Age we live in. Many Old Testament prophecies point to the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary but far more point to His second coming and the restoration of Israel.
The essence of the true Gospel comes from prophecy. The power of the Gospel changes and heals the entire human being. The Gospel message is always a Christ centered message. Why? Jesus said in Saint John 15:26;
John 15:26-27...But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness
The Holy Spirit testifies Christ to the human soul. The Gospel message reveals Christ to the human ear. The written Word of God testified of Christ in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.
Ps 40:7-8...Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God
1 Thess 1:5...For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance;
All the Apostles after the death of Christ preached this same Gospel message. Men of God throughout the Old Testament also preached the Gospel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc.
1 Peter 4:6...For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Heb 4:2...For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
2 Cor 4:3-6...But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
1 Cor 2:4-5...And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God