The Gospel

There are four things necessary that we may receive Gospel blessings. These are as follows:-

The facts of the Gospel
- These are what we get in 1 Corinthians 15:3/4 "For I delivered to you, in the first place, what also I had received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he was raised the third day, according to the scriptures". These are what we may call the objective facts of the Gospel and in the case of the death and resurrection of Christ they are said to be according to the Scriptures. If these facts were not facts the Gospel would not be true. That Christ died no one is likely to dispute, but that he was raised from the dead some may dispute, and in Corinth some
clearly did, so that Paul says later on in the chapter: "If Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:17) What we have been speaking of are
events that took place about two thousand years ago. They took place without our knowledge at the time and we only know about them because the events and their meaning are recorded in the Scriptures. Matthew in his Gospel stresses the facts and often points to Old Testament Scriptures to support what he says.

The message of the Gospel
- Unless we have a messenger to bring to us the Gospel it will not benefit us. We would know nothing about it. There must be a preacher (an evangelist). Paul speaks of this side of things in Romans 10: 13/14 "For everyone whosoever, who shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved. How then shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without one who preaches?" There must be the messenger. This may be someone who comes to us in person or it may be one who reaches us through writings. However it is done the message of the Gospel must reach us if we are to believe it. Mark in his Gospel stresses our Lord's ministry as a servant: the one who comes to us from God.

The acceptance of the Gospel
- The facts of the Gospel must not only be true but they must be brought to us if they are to be of benefit to us. However, they must be believed in by us, as we have seen above in Romans 10: 13/14. The Israelites had glad tidings presented to them but they did not believe and did not get the gain of the message as it says in Hebrews 4: 2 " For indeed we have had glad tidings presented to us, even as they also; but the word of the report did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard". This is the subjective side of the Gospel: what is in us. There must be, as is said elsewhere:
"Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). This side of things is what is stressed by Luke in his Gospel.

The originator of the Gospel
- Firstly, God is the originator of the Gospel: "The Father has sent the Son [as] Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). If it had not been for the sending of Christ by his Father there would never have been any Gospel to preach. As to Christ's going to the cross; God was behind it. He was: "given up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). As to his resurrection; God raised him up: "This Jesus has God raised up, whereof all we are witnesses" (Acts 2:32).

Secondly, we know that God is the one that was behind the going forth of the apostles to preach the Gospel. Paul says of himself: "But when God , who set me apart [even] from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, that I may announce him as glad tidings among the nations" (Galatians 1:15/16). Instrumentally Christ called Paul (Acts 26:14-20), but behind all was God's will. He was a "called apostle of Jesus Christ, by God's will" (1 Corinthians 1:1) The same was true of the other apostles. They were sent forth by Christ (John 20:21-23), but they also speak of themselves as God's bondmen (Acts 4:29/30).

Thirdly, behind the reception of the Gospel is God's work: "For ye are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift" (Ephesians 2:8). Again: "It is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to [his] good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Without God's work in us no one would truly believe the Gospel. This does not mean that we are to look within ourselves to see whether God is working in us. We are to look away from ourselves to the one who is outside of ourselves. We are not called upon to believe in something within ourselves, but on one who has been through death and who has been raised and exalted by God. We must call upon Christ, but we could not properly do this if he were a dead person. In order to call upon him we must believe in him and to properly believe in him we must believe he has been raised from the dead. This is the force of the word in Romans 10:9 "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from among [the] dead, thou shalt be saved." There must be what is inward (in thine heart) and then what is outward (with thy mouth). The confession is I believe firstly to God (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:11), but Christ also speaks of confession before men (Matthew 10:32). Paul also shows that "with [the] heart is believed to righteousness; and with [the] mouth confession made to salvation" (Romans 10:10). Christ's work gives us title (righteousness); God's power gives us possession (salvation). Faith and confession bring us into the good of these things.