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The Gospel in the New Testament, part 1

September 15, 2014

Grace to ya’ll. This week we look at the gospel in the New Testament. We’ve seen that the gospel is the heart of the bible’s message. From the beginning of the bible, through the Old Testament, and now throughout the New Testament, the glorious gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is on every page of scripture! (Luke 24:25-27)

It is easy to see the good news of Jesus in the 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We see His birth, life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection in those historical accounts. But what many don’t see is the gospel in the rest of the New Testament especially in the motivation that drives the ethics and behaviors of Scripture. Let’s review what the gospel is: it is all that God has said and done for us in Jesus Christ, especially as it reaches its goal in His death and resurrection. In short, Christ became a substitute for sinners at Calvary. How does this relate to how we are to live out the Christian life?

First we need to briefly discuss wrong ways of doing right things. Often preaching talks about doing right things ‘just because.’ Scripture, however, is more grace focused and cross centered. ‘Picking yourself up by your bootstraps’ and trying harder is NOT the path to Christian growth. Pounding the pulpit about ‘living right’ isn’t biblical either. None of these lead to the ethical and gospel change that God is after. A person can do the right thing motivated by shaming, legalism, etc. But God motivates by the gospel of His Son. Think deeply about this verse: “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

The theme of this passage? Christ’s love controls us! His love is what motivates us to live for Him. (1 John 4:19) His love is not some generic idea, but is expressed to us in the cross of His beloved Son. (John 3:16) We love and respond to the Lord because Christ has laid down His life for us. This is the overall message of Scripture and the message of 2 Corinthians 5:14. Why do we do what we do? Because Christ died for me. Why did He die for me? So that I would no longer live for myself but rather for Him. Again, I love Him in obedience because He loved me in His life, death, and resurrection. (John 14:15) He gave Himself for me and so now I will live for Him. This gospel theme of motivation is embedded in all of the bible’s ethical commands. We will see some examples of this next week!

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

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