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A Better Gospel: The Gospel According to Jesus
by Territorial Envoy Craig Stephens

I wonder if all of the 2.5 billion professing Jesus-followers on the earth had the same gospel (good news) that Jesus carried, whether the whole world would be saved by Christmas.

I was reading the Bible on my ipad a while back and something struck me as I read the gospel of Mark. The small subheading read, “The gospel according to Jesus.”

As an evangelist, that captured my attention. I know the gospel according to: The Salvation Army – 7 gospel shots on our crest; I know the gospel according to: Matthias Media – 2 ways to live; I know the gospel according to: Dr. James Kennedy – evangelism explosion; I know the gospel according to: Nicky Gumbel – Alpha; I know the gospel according: Campus Crusade for Christ – 4 spiritual laws; I know the gospel according to: The Willow Creek Association – contagious Christianity; I know the gospel according to: C. Peter Wagner- power evangelism; BUT, what was the gospel according to Jesus?

As I read on, I was captivated. The gospel according to Jesus was, “The Kingdom of God has come, repent and believe.” So simple. Sooo good!

As I began to announce this gospel to friends, neighbours and family over the ensuing years, it seemed to be good news to them as well. The amazing thing about Jesus’ gospel is that it is relevant to every human being… always, no matter the circumstance they face.

For the pre-Christians in our world, they aren’t keen to hear how God forgives their sin – they quite like their sin thank you very much! Actually, today more than ever the pre-Christian identifies as their sin, often pridefully, and often wholeheartedly. It’s time the church caught on to the fact that the pre-Christian world is not concerned with forgiveness of sin (although that is extremely good news), nor are pre-Christians concerned about whether God created the world (which we know through Scripture that He did), or whether Jesus was born of a virgin, or even if there was a God whether He needed to send a Saviour in the first place (which we know He did through personal experience – Hallelujah).

The pre-Christian world I interact with has little concern for any of these matters, yet it has been inherently these elements of a poor gospel which we the church have attempted to evangelise with – and it wasn’t even Jesus’ Gospel!!

The Kingdom of God is everywhere throughout Scripture. Jesus teaches the Kingdom constantly and there’s 72 New Testament references alone to the Kingdom of God. What struck me as I contextualised the gospel of the Kingdom within the meta-narrative of Scripture, was the Great rescue story of Scripture: Death to life, slavery to freedom, darkness to light, deliverance from oppression and cursing to blessing – God’s great rescue story.

In the western world we are plagued by stories on the kingdom of this world. They come in the form of anxiety, stress, fear, depression, shame and guilt. These stories are most familiar to us. Our neighbours and communities know these stories inside and out and back to front, and they’re crying out for help.

“How can I love a better story than the one I have?”

THAT IS THE QUESTION THEY’RE ASKING!! And, Jesus has given us His glorious gospel to answer it. For every story of anxiety the kingdom of this world offers, Jesus’ Gospel announces: PEACE. Do you know a pre-Christian who is anxious and in need of peace? I thought so.

For every story of stress the kingdom of this world offers, Jesus’ Gospel announces: PERMANENT UNENDING REST. Do you know a pre-Christian who is stressed and in need of rest? I thought so.

For every story of fear the kingdom of this world offers, Jesus’ Gospel announces: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Do you know a pre-Christian who is fearful and in need of love that drives out fear? I thought so.

For every story of shame the kingdom of this world offers, Jesus’ Gospel announces: COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS. Do you know a pre-Christian who is loving a story of shame and in need of acceptance? I thought so.

The Gospel Jesus announced truly was GOOD news for pre-Christians. It’s time for Christians to evangelise with a better gospel, the gospel according to Jesus.

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

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