The gospel is the good news that God has made a way to reconnect us with him. It teaches us that God sent Jesus Christ to save us and bring us back to him. In the Bible Paul says "...I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16).
God gives salvation to everyone who believes in him through the gospel.
Salvation = saving us from the consequences of our sins (doing wrong) and welcoming us into a love relationship with him.
Believes = accepting Jesus as the only way to God and completely trusting him to guide you to live your life God's way.
God brings us into love relationship with him by opening our eyes to see we need to trust him. When we embrace the gospel we begin to look at life according to God's design and in that we find true happiness.
There are 4 basic parts of the gospel's message. We describe theses as:
1. Creation 2. Rebellion 3. Reconciliation 4. Restoration
Take some time to read and think about each of the sections below for a more complete understanding.
God is the one and only creator, owner, ruler and sustainer of everything that exists. He's the only true God who reveals himself to us as 3 persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), so we call him a Trinity (Tri = 3, unity or 1). God is 1 of a kind and completely unlike anyone or anything else that exists.
Long ago God created the universe. Then he created the human race as his special creation to live in true peace and love with him and each other. Humans were made to reflect God's love, intellect and values on earth. God gave us every thing that we could possibly need to live full, satisfying lives...the most important of these was a love relationship with him. Like a lamp is designed to run on electricity, we were designed to run on a love relationship with God. When we have him, we have complete peace. Without him we are restlessly looking for unattainable satisfaction.
When we look at the world we live in everyone can agree that it isn't the way it should be. It's broken, tainted and corrupted. The reason for this is that humankind has rebelled against God's way of living. Rather than run on relationship with God, we tried to replace him and his way. He wanted us to experience true peace and love with each other out of loyalty to him, but we tried to do it our own way.
The Bible teaches us that Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were the first humans to rebel against God. Adam was the representative of the human race. By rebelling they began the rejection of God's way of living that we see continuing today. The consequence of rejecting relationship with God and his way is spiritual separation from him, what the Bible calls death (Romans 6:23). The problem is that since we were made to run on relationship with him, nothing in life can be like its supposed to be as long as we're separated from him.
God is just, holy, righteous and good. He requires evil and corruption to be punished because he's too morally good not to right every wrong. Since all of us have done some wrong, all of us deserve some punishment. But God still loves each of us. When he made humans in his image he gave us built in value that we can never lose. Since we're so precious to him he made a way to bring us back to him, despite our wrongs, so that we can live the full, happy lives full of joy and satisfaction that he's always wanted for us. That way is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the second person of the Trinity (remember the Trinity = the 1 God revealed in 3 persons). To carry out God's plan of reconciliation Jesus voluntarily was born as a man so that he could pay for our sins. Remember the consequence for sin (rejecting God's way of living) is death (spiritual separation from God). Jesus lived a real human life but never sinned and always focused on helping others to live according to God's plan for Creation. Jesus came to be the representative of the entire human race, to die in our place and bring us back into relationship with God. John taught us in John 3:16, God loved the world in this way, that he gave his only son, so that whoever trusted in him wouldn't die (separation from God) but have everlasting life (loving union with God forever).
Now all anyone has to do to know God is accept that Jesus paid for his/her sins and fully dedicate themselves to pursuing a love relationship with God through our perfect representative Jesus Christ.
At the end of all of this, Jesus will return to finally judge all evil and to bring his people, who have loved and trusted him, to live with him forever. At that point God's way of living will be embraced by us all and corruption, evil, suffering and sorrow will be gone forever. What a day that will be!
Too many people allow their pride to stop them from giving their lives to Christ. The key is to realize that we all fall short and need help to be what God tells us to be. We all need God to intervene to get us on the right path. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us that we are to trust in God with all of our hearts and not to simply depend on ourselves. It tells us to acknowledge him in everything that we do and he will direct us on the right path. Turn to Jesus and commit to living his way.
Turn from living for yourself to living for him.
God didn’t design life to be lived alone. He intended for humankind to live together in loving peaceful communities. God has called the church to be a shining example of his original design for the world. We live to love others out of loyalty to God. We worship together with other believers, we encourage each other to continue to trust God, and we help each other whenever there's a need.
The goal is to live life together with your church family. Don't let them be people that you JUST go to service with every week. Experience life together. Celebrate triumphs and support each other in hard times. Jesus taught us in John 13:34-35 that we’re supposed to love each other in the same way that he loves us. That way everyone else who sees us will know that we’re a part of God’s family. (See also John 15:12-13, John 17:11, 20-23, Matthew 25:31-40, Galatians 6:9-10) The unity that we see in the church tells the rest of the world that Jesus is really the way to God.
To be everything that God wants you to be and really get to know him, decide to join a church family, like St. John, where you can unite with other Christians and help the world see the love of God. As you do it be sure to tell those you help that you're helping on behalf of Jesus Christ who loves them. Nothing would make us happier than to have you join us at St. John!
God's people love others simply because we were all created by God. When asked how to love people Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan who selflessly gave his time, efforts and money to help a stranger in need. Paul tells us to never get tired of helping people but to take every opportunity to do good to everyone, especially other Christians. God's people, love people. Decide today that you're going to live to love people on behalf of Jesus.
The Bible is the primary tool that God uses to reveal his plans and desires to us. It helps us to understand what to do, what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe. The more you read and absorb its Scriptures, the more tools God will have to guide you in life. So start reading Matthew and work your way through the New Testament, then move to the Old Testament (unless your mentor gives you a different reading schedule).
If you join St. John you'll find lots of people willing to help you with this.
Tip: The more you talk about what you're reading with others, the more you'll remember it. So start talking to people today!
Call or meet with one of our leaders and we'll be sure to walk with you, answer every question we can and help you to move forward in your relationship with God.