“Just because someone shows up to a church building on a Sunday morning, and has done so for the past twenty years, does not mean they have experienced the gospel,” the Holy Spirit shared with me as I put together a message for our Great Awakening series. In order to feel compelled to share the gospel, the Good News of Jesus, people must first experience the gospel.
How do people experience the gospel? By being set free! As shared in a previous article, the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus released a new power in the world, the power to remake what was broken, to heal what was diseased, and to restore what was lost.
The gospel is so much more than Jesus coming for the forgiveness of our sins so that we one day don’t go to hell. The gospel is the Good News that God’s Kingdom broke into the world with Jesus. His Kingdom is where He rules and reigns, where Satan is defeated.
Wherever Satan’s rule still exists in our world, we bear the responsibility to bring the rule and reign of God into that realm.
We go announcing, in word and action, that Jesus has come and defeated sin, death and the devil. This is the gospel: that Jesus broke into the world so that we can be set free from the effects of evil in our lives (Romans 6:18). We can experience peace and joy and know that the very Spirit of Jesus is at work in us.
We know this, while at the same time recognize there are three important words that describe our salvation experience. The first is justification. The idea that as we believe in the finished work of Jesus and respond in faith, we are saved. We are saved in a moment. The result is immediate.
The second term is sanctification, which is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. We are becoming that which we already are in Jesus. We’re not there yet, we’re all in process.
The last term is glorification. When Jesus comes again, we will be “fully” saved, we will be fully glorified. The work that has begun in us will be complete in us. When a person makes a decision to follow Jesus they are saved, they are being saved and they will be saved.
In a similar way, the gospel of the kingdom came, is coming and will come.
Jesus came, is coming and will come to defeat sin, death and the devil. This is Good News worth sharing.
The word “gospel” is actually a Greek military term. The idea was that when a king or a ruler took over a certain land, a town, or place, the king or ruler would send the “evangelist” into that area and make the announcement (in Greek, the euangelion – the gospel), that there’s a new king, a new ruler and his name is Alexander the Great or his name is Julius Caesar.
This new king was supposed to make things better. He was supposed to liberate the people, in some way. This was not necessarily true for people who experienced the rule of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and others, but this was the idea.
Jesus and the disciples pick up on this term and they use the word “gospel” to make this announcement. Difference is, Jesus is a good King, who sacrificed Himself to set people free. His promises are true, they are sure.
Wherever there is darkness, injustice, pain or captivity, we’re meant to go into that environment or territory, making the announcement that there’s a new king, a new ruler and this is Good News because people can be freed from their oppression and captivity. They no longer have to be bound by evil.
The Good News is that Jesus can set us free from things like: fear, anxiety, depression and life controlling issues. When people say they are struggling in life, if you have experienced freedom, you can say, “I was struggling too, but here’s how I was set free. Here’s some Good News!”
But why is there still sickness, trouble and the effects of evil in our world today? If Jesus is on the throne and He has given His followers authority to spread His Good News, why is there still so much pain in the world?
Because, as stated before, the kingdom of God has come, is coming and will come. When we pray for the sick, sometimes the kingdom comes immediately. The kingdom of God has broken into that situation and we can say praise God, the kingdom is here!
When one of the couples from our church planting team in Jerusalem could not have children, we prayed, and that night the kingdom came. We didn’t know it at the time, but within a few months we did. The wife became pregnant and the next year, the fruit of those prayers and the coming of God’s kingdom was evident in the presence of a healthy baby boy.
But sometimes, we pray and God’s kingdom is still coming into that situation. It’s not immediate, but it’s still coming. That’s why we persistently pray (Luke 18:1), because God’s kingdom is coming.
There are other times, when the kingdom finally comes. A person receives their ultimate healing, goes to heaven, and we can still praise God, because the kingdom came in its fullness.
But what about the ongoing battle with evil in our lives and in the world? Why has death not fully been defeated? We’ll take a look at that question next week as we discuss the kingdom of God.
At the same time, it’s important to know that you can be set free and you can be part of setting others free as well. For a brief video about the gospel, visit: The Bible Project.
You must experience the gospel, to live in the gospel and share the gospel as part of your life story.
Let’s awaken to the Gospel, live free and set others free in your area and around the world!
We’d Love to hear from you!
In what ways has Jesus set you free? Share your comments below.