I was listening to a sermon by Voddie Baucham of Grace Family Church down in Houston and he pointed out four areas that people make when it comes to the gospel. They were so good I had to incorporate them into my sermon this past Sunday. Here they are:
- People think the gospel is the plan of salvation – People think the gospel is a plan or steps we take to become saved, such as the four-spiritual laws. But that is not the gospel and by saying that it is it leads to two errors. The first is that it truncates the gospel leading to the belief that the gospel gets us saved… and then we need to do the rest. No, the gospel saves us, sanctifies us and glorifies us. The second error is that it leads to the belief that the gospel is something that we do. The gospel isn’t something we do, it is what Jesus has done.
- Secondly, people think the gospel is the Greatest Commandment – these people boil the gospel down to love God/ love people. On the surface, this sounds great but what they fail to realize is that the Greatest Commandment is an an encapsulation of the Law. In Matthew 22:34-39, Jesus is saying that the first commandment is a summary of commands 1-4, and the second commandment is a summary of commands 5-10. The Law does not lead to salvation, faith in Christ does. By saying the gospel is the Law, we are binding people’s consciences to do what they are incapable of doing. This is why knowing the Gospel of Christ is so important. It’s not more Law, it grace. Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. The gospel empowers us to do these things, but we are not saved by doing them: Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.
- People think the gospel is the Great Commission – This groups believes the gospel is actually doing the Great Commission and teaching people to do whatsoever I’ve commanded you. Again, sounds good, but this is just another form of the Law. The gospel is not teaching people to do everything that Jesus told us to do. The gospel is not moral teachings or proclamations, but the proclamation of the good news that He was the One who did do these things.
- People think the gospel is our personal testimony — Just look at how many evangelism programs teach people to share their testimonies. What they fail to realize is that we are no in the process of becoming the gospel ourselves. In other words, we are replacing His story, with our story. We are not the gospel, Jesus is. This is just a variation of St. Francis of Assisi’s statement: “Preach the gospel at all times, use words when necessary.” It sounds good, but again, we are not the gospel, Jesus is. Read my post on St. Francis state here.
What is the gospel?
The gospel is an announcement of the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the fact that He died on the cross and was raised again on the third day. It is that He was sinless and took on our sin and satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf. The gospel is not the Law, but the fact that Jesus satisfied the Law, earning righteousness in a way that we cannot earn righteousness. When we believe in Jesus for our salvation, all the benefits of His ministry are given to us. We no longer rest in our failed works of the Law, but rest in His perfect satisfaction of the LAW. God no longer looks at us as sees us as children of wrath, but He sees the righteousness of His Son, and sees us as His children. This is the gospel.
You can hear the full sermon that contained this intro here.