The True Gospel
Hello everyone. The word gospel is one of the most frequently used words in today’s religious world. Just about everyone having anything to do with religion will use the word gospel over and over again.
But what does that word mean and what is the gospel message? Is it the gospel of salvation? Is it the gospel of grace? Is it the gospel about Jesus Christ? What does the word gospel actually mean?
Well, if you do a little research and it won’t take much, you’ll see that the word actually means good news. But good news about what? Let’s see what the Bible really says about the true gospel message. Don’t believe me. Don’t believe anyone else, just because somebody says it or just because I say it. But go get your Bible and check up on this word and check up on what’s being said about it and let the Bible be the final authority on this subject of the true gospel message.
Is it important to know this? What difference does it actually make anyhow? Well, let’s turn to a scripture in the Bible and see what it has to say about how important it is to know the truth about this subject of the true gospel. Turn with me to Galatians 1:6, notice what Paul said:
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
A different gospel. You’ve been taught the true gospel and now you’ve moved away from that to another gospel, a false gospel, he was saying.
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
And now notice verse 9.
9 As we have said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
So if you read that carefully, the apostle Paul is saying that we must know what the true gospel message is. Because if anyone else preaches another gospel than the true gospel message, a double curse is pronounced on him. That sounds like it’s very important. That sounds like it makes a big difference about the gospel message and a big difference about the true gospel message. As opposed to a false gospel, a perverted gospel, a different gospel than that which the Bible speaks of.
The true gospel of the kingdom of God is the message God sent through the messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ. Let’s read about that over here in Malachi 3:1. God sent this gospel message and He sent it through the messenger of the covenant. And that messenger of the covenant was none other than Jesus Christ Himself.
Notice here in Malachi 3:1.
1 Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:
That’s referring to John the Baptist, who prepared the way before Jesus Christ.
1 And the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, says the Lord of hosts.
That’s referring to Jesus Christ.
1 —the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant,—
So the messenger of the covenant, the messenger was Jesus Christ. And the message was from God. And the message was the true gospel of the kingdom of God.
Let’s just see a little bit more on this subject. Let’s turn over here to Acts 10:36, notice what God’s Word says. Acts10:36
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
Now, get that, isn’t that clear? So the message came from God. It’s His message to the messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ. It’s also His message because He proclaimed it. And where was it first preached? Well, throughout all Judea and it began from Galilee. When? After the baptism which John preached, verse 37.
So it’s not the gospel about the person of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel He preached. It is God’s gospel which He sent by Jesus Christ. And it is also Christ’s gospel He brought from God and proclaimed. That’s what we just read right here in Acts 10:36-37.
And it says it began from Galilee. Well what was that message that began from Galilee by the messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ?
Let’s look over here in Mark 1. The book of Mark 1, and just see what it says. The Bible interprets the Bible. Nobody can interpret the Bible. The Bible must interpret the Bible. And that’s when you’ll get it right. So what does the Bible have to say about this tremendous, inspiring and very important subject, the gospel.
Turn with me over here to Mark 1, and let’s begin reading in verse 1.
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. So this is the beginning of the true gospel message, and it was preached by the messenger, Jesus Christ. And what did He preach when the beginning of the gospel started? Isn’t that what the true gospel message is? The one that Jesus Christ started and preached. Isn’t that the true gospel that we should be preaching today? Isn’t that the true gospel message that all of the apostles and ministers and evangelists of God in the New Testament preached? We’re going to find out.
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
It says in Mark 1:1. And now let’s go over to Mark 1:14. Notice verse 14 of Mark 1.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, —
After John preached the message of repentance and baptism, look what Jesus Christ preached?
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, —
What we read about in Acts 10:36-37. He came into Galilee doing what? Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God.
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
The kingdom of God is near. He represented the kingdom of God and since He was there, He personified the kingdom of God. It was near to them. But He was not preaching about Himself. The gospel message was not about Christ. It was not about salvation. It was not about grace. That’s covered in other areas of the Bible, which we’ll get to at another time. But the true gospel message that Jesus came preaching in Galilee from the very beginning was what?
15 —The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:
And notice verse 14.
14 —Jesus came into Galilee, —
Doing what? Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. That’s the true gospel message—the one Jesus Christ preached from the beginning. Now, when you study a little bit about a kingdom, you will find that there are four parts, or four things that constitute a kingdom. First of all, there has to be the territory. Well, what will be the territory of the kingdom of God? Will it be up in heaven? Will it be in the heart of men? Will it be the church? No.
Let’s notice what the Bible says regarding the territory of the kingdom of God. Revelation 5:10. It says in Revelation 5:10.
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
This is talking about resurrected human beings, which are now spirit beings in the family of God, in the kingdom of God. And they will be reigning on this earth. Because you see, the kingdom of God will be on this earth. That’s where it will be. That’s the territory for the kingdom of God, the government of God, the family of God—all put together making up the kingdom of God. It will be on this earth. And those who are resurrected into that kingdom will reign on this earth, because that’s where the kingdom will be. That’s the territory.
The next thing that you will find when you look into what constitutes a kingdom is you’re going to find that there will be the king. Probably the most important single component of a kingdom is the king. It certainly is true when it comes to the kingdom of God. And who will be the King in the kingdom of God?
Let’s turn over here to Revelation 20:6: It says in Revelation 20:6.
6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection:—
Those who were changed from mortal to immortal, those human beings that are resurrected and become spirit beings in the kingdom of God.
6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, —
What we just read about.
6 —and shall reign with him a thousand years.
So He’s going to be the King. And where He will reign in the kingdom of God, and its location—where will that be? It will be on the earth. So territory for the kingdom of God is the earth. And the King of the kingdom of God is Jesus Christ—the most magnificent king in all of history.
Now, the third thing you will find when you study about a kingdom and what constitutes a kingdom is there are subjects, of course. There are citizens of that kingdom. And who will be in the kingdom of God? Who will be the citizens?
Let’s turn to Luke 12 and begin reading in verse 31. Wonderful verse here that Jesus Christ spoke. It says here in Luke 12:31.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
He says to those who are trying to obey God.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
So the subjects, the citizens of the kingdom of God, are going to be those who are resurrected into the kingdom of God at the resurrection.
32 — it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
But in order to be in that kingdom and be subjects and be citizens of that kingdom, a change has to take place from mortal to immortality. And that is the resurrection. Let’s read about it in 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:50
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. There has to be a change. Now, of course, the kingdom of God will be on this earth. And it’ll be here with Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. And there’ll be a millennial reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years. And then after that there’ll be a period of time when the kingdom of God will still be on this earth and Jesus Christ will be reigning. There’ll be a time after the thousand–year period when the second resurrection takes place—which we’ll cover at another time.
But first there’ll be the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and the citizens of that kingdom will be those who are resurrected into the kingdom. But in that millennial reign of Jesus Christ, there’ll be human beings that will be on the earth and governed by that kingdom and taught God’s way and given choices regarding which way they’re going to go. Are they going to obey God or not obey God?
But back to the subjects of the kingdom.
50 — this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
And that change is simply talking about the resurrection into the kingdom of God, as members, subjects and citizens of that kingdom.
The fourth thing you’ll find that the kingdom always has, is that it has government, it has laws. Well, what will be the laws and government of the kingdom of God.
Let’s turn over to Isaiah 2 and we’ll begin reading in verse 2 about a tremendous change that takes place because of the kingdom of God and the laws and the king on this earth, and the tremendous difference that it makes for the earth and for all who live on this earth. And it’s a change for the better for sure.
Notice here in Isaiah 2:2.
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Eternal from Jerusalem.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
And why is that going to take place? A change from war to peace, a change from miserable, horrible, wretched lives and poverty and hatred and crime to prosperity and peace and happiness and joy and health. Right here in verse 3 it tells us.
3 And many people—
See, there’ll be people on the earth at that time.
3 —shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth—
3 —the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
The ten commandments. That will be the basis for all law and government in the kingdom of God. No wonder the true gospel is good news about the kingdom of God and all that it will bring to mankind and bring to this earth and eventually bring to the whole universe. Yes, that is good news. That’s going to be the solution to all the problems that we face today. So many insurmountable and growing problems. The problems of disease and AIDS, the problem of starvation and poverty and filth and squalor. The problems of war and many, many destructive, horrendous, horrible spinoffs that take place from war. The problems with crime and hatred and racism and all kinds of horrible, hideous things that mankind does to one another. The problems with catastrophic weather such as tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and floods. And all kinds of horrible pests and diseases among plants and fruit trees and crops. The problem with pollution of water and air. And the horrible problems of injustice and brutality among nations and inside nations from despots and tyrants and people who misuse authority and power and government. And I could go on. All of that is going to be changed and reversed and replaced with the restoration of justice and joy and peace and prosperity and health and abundance. And wonderful weather and wonderful air to breathe and wonderful water to drink and wonderful food to eat and wonderful neighbors loving one another—and all serving God, walking with God and obeying God.
That’s the good news of the kingdom of God. That’s the message of the gospel in the kingdom of God. And that’s what should be preached to the whole world. That’s what Christ preached. That’s what the apostles preached. That’s what the ministers in the New Testament times preached. And that’s what must be preached now.
Let’s just get a couple of examples of this. Let’s turn to Acts 8:12. It says here in Acts 8:12, regarding Philip, who eventually became an evangelist, who was a strong servant of God, who went out and served in any and every way he possibly could. It says here in Acts 8:12, when they believed Philip preaching what? What did he preach? And this wasn’t long after the time of Jesus Christ, and he was trained by the apostles that Jesus Christ trained. What did he preach?
12 — and when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
That’s right, we are to preach the truth about Jesus Christ, having to do with salvation and we’ll talk about that another time. But the gospel message and the one that Philip preached right here was about the kingdom of God and the good news about the kingdom of God, and also about salvation to those who responded and who believed and who wanted to repent and be baptized. And that’s what we’re to do today as well. It’s what Paul did as well.
Let’s turn over here to Acts 28. He preached this also, Acts 28:30.
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all that came in unto him,
Verse 31. And what did Paul preach? The apostle who wrote 14 books of the Bible was personally taught by Jesus Christ for 3 years in Arabia. Here’s what he preached.
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, —
The good news of the kingdom of God, the gospel message. What did Paul preach?
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
And, yes, he taught the wonderful things concerning Jesus Christ and salvation and grace. And we are to as well. And that’s exactly the commission that Jesus Christ gave to His church. And it was a two-fold commission. And it involved preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world and teaching the truth about that way of life called Christianity—that way of life that gives salvation through Jesus Christ. But that’s the two-fold commission. And the first commission is preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world. And the second commission is feeding the flock that God draws out of this world and prepares to be kings and priests in the kingdom of God—a very small number.
So therefore the gospel message is not the good news of salvation. It is not the good news of grace—and that is good news. But the gospel message is actually the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news of salvation, the good news of grace—that is taught to those that God calls out of the world early, and eventually will be taught to everyone. But now the message that is to be taught to the whole world is the gospel of the kingdom of God, the good news of the kingdom of God.
Let’s read about that right over here in Matthew 24:14. This is the message of the kingdom that the apostles taught. This is the message of the kingdom that Jesus Christ taught. And this is the message of the kingdom—the true gospel message—that we are to take to the whole world.
God is not trying to save the whole world at this time. That’ll come later. But He is warning the whole world at this time. So that’s the true gospel message. And He is giving hope to this world for those who will listen, and that’s the true gospel message.
It says here in Matthew 24:14, here’s what Christ said.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
So this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come. What is the gospel message? It’s the good news of the kingdom of God. And it shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.
They may not believe it. They may not do anything about it. It might not make any difference whatsoever in the lives of all that many people in the world. Some will respond and some will repent. And some will be baptized and then they’ll be granted salvation at the coming of Jesus Christ. That’s the good news of salvation. But most will not. They will only hear the witness. And you know what? If we preach the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world and nobody responds to it, they merely hear it as a witness, we’ve fulfilled that part of the commission that God has given us to do.
Thankfully, there will be some who will respond, however, and who will want to change and who will want to repent and believe and be baptized and therefore then will be offered salvation early. But the message is to go out through every door that God opens—as a witness. That’s a big part of the great commission to be carried out today by God’s true ministers.
I want to read what Mr. Herbert Armstrong said or some of the things he said, he said a lot more than this, but we don’t have time to read all of that. But I just want to read quickly some of the things he said about the good news or gospel of the kingdom of God in the book, Mystery of the Ages, page 295:
Jesus went everywhere preaching the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD. He taught in parables about the KINGDOM OF GOD. He sent out seventy men preaching, and commanded them to preach THE KINGDOM OF GOD—
That’s found in Luke 10:9.
He sent the apostles, on whom the Church of God was founded, to preach only THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Luke 9:l-2). After the resurrection, before ascending to heaven, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
Isn’t it amazing that the world has LOST the knowledge of what it is?
The apostle Paul preached THE KINGDOM OF GOD —
We’ve already seen that.
And God Almighty, through Paul, pronounced a double curse on man or angel that would DARE preach any other gospel!
We’ve seen that verse.
Why, then, do so many DARE to preach so many other gospels? The good news of THE KINGDOM OF GOD is something you must understand, and BELIEVE, in order to be saved! Jesus Christ said so! YOU had better be finding out what it is!
That gospel—the kingdom of God—is the subject of this chapter. It follows the chapter on the mystery of the Church, because the kingdom of God follows the Church. The purpose of the Church, remember, is to prepare “called–out–ones’’ to teach and to rule in the kingdom of God.
So that’s on page 295 and 296. Mr. Armstrong makes it very plain concerning this subject of the true gospel message.
Well, I want to conclude by turning to Matthew 6:10. You know the disciples came to Jesus Christ and they asked Him to teach them how to pray. And that’s something that we ought to ask God to do as well. People get a little frustrated when they realize that they need to pray to God on a regular basis and they find that we are to walk with God in prayer. And in most cases nobody has been taught how to really pray to Almighty God. Once again, all kinds of wrong concepts and error are taught on this subject. Some people are taught to go around strings of beads. Others are taught to just pray the same rote prayers over and over and over and over and over and over again. Now I lay me down to sleep and so on. Others are taught to pray in a way that is supposed to get God to do what they want Him to do, instead of coming before God in awe and to worship Him in prayer, and to ask Him for guidance and direction, and thank Him for the blessings He gives. And there are other things that we can learn as we go along regarding praying to Almighty God. But what was wonderful here is the disciples came to Jesus Christ early on and wanted Him to teach them how to pray.
Notice what they said here. This is in Matthew 6. He goes into how not to pray in verse 5. And then He goes into some things to consider when you pray in verse 6 and verse 7 and verse 8. And then they had come to Him, and this is mentioned in other verses, please teach us how to pray. And He said here in verse 9, this is the general approach, this is the general outline. You pray about many other things. You find that in other parts of the Bible.
But notice what He said here in terms of a general outline and approach to prayer. He says here in Matthew 6:9.
9 After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: —
—Or the evil one.
13 — For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever—
So He talks about the kingdom in verse 13. But notice what He says in verse 10. Pray this, He said. And we need to pray this as well. And why wouldn’t we pray this when we understand the true gospel message about the kingdom of God and the glorious, wonderful time for everyone to experience who is alive during that time. The kingdom of God will usher in an era of time for 1,000 years, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth before. A time of wonderful, happy, glorious, peaceful, abundant living.
So why wouldn’t we do what Jesus Christ says here regarding the kingdom of God. He says here, do this when you pray to God.
9 After this manner therefore pray you:—
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
So when the kingdom is brought to this earth by Jesus Christ, the will of God will be done on this earth just like it’s being done in heaven right now. And it’s being done in heaven perfectly. And with that kingdom comes the King and comes God’s way of life that brings every good thing that men could possibly want and many things he doesn’t even know about that he’ll be able to enjoy.
So that is good news. And that is the message that is to be preached to the whole world. It is the good news of the kingdom of God. That is the true gospel message that God’s Word tells us we should listen to and that God’s ministers should be preaching today—just as they’ve always done in the past, if they’re God’s true ministers.
Well, until next time, this Charles Bryce with the Enduring Church of God.