A Better Gospel: The Gospel According to
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
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
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
“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
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
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.