In the book of Romans, Paul makes a really incredible statement. He says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
Paul is telling us that if there is one truth that He will never be silent about, it is the Gospel. He continues to say that the Gospel also has the power to bring men salvation. It’s funny because if there is one thing all of mankind would like to have the power to do it would probably be to live forever. If someone unlocked the secret to eternal youth, they would bottle it, sell it, and become very rich from it.
That’s what Paul the Apostle is getting at in this scripture. He is yelling it from the rooftops. He is declaring loud and clear that he has the secret of eternal life. Paul is telling us that the Gospel is the key to eternal life, and he carries on to say that it is for Jews and Gentiles.
It sounds really exciting until we get to the Jews and Gentiles part. We all know who the Jews are, but who on earth are the Gentiles? You might not believe me, but if you are not Jewish, you are in fact a Gentile. Back in Paul's day, anyone, whether they were a Roman or a Philistine, would have fallen into the bracket of Gentile. Anyone that was not a Jew was a Gentile. So when Paul says the Gospel has the power to give eternal life to both the Jew and the Gentile, it’s actually just a fancy way to say that the Gospel can save everyone. (Everyone includes you, just in case you were wondering.)
This begs for us to ask the question, what exactly is the Gospel?
I was watching a movie the other day and one man told the other man that all lawyers are crooks and the other man responded by saying, "Ain’t that just the Gospel truth”. Clearly both these men have had some bad dealings with their legal advisors, but more then that, the men essentially identified the Gospel as being any statement that is true. I think in our society, truth or knowledge, or even “your truth” (whatever that actually means), has become our salvation.
We have gotten to the place where knowledge is not only seen as power, but it has become many peoples salvation. Now, as much as the statement, “truth has the power to bring men salvation” sounds really great, that's not really what Paul is saying here.
Even though the Gospel is truth, not all truth is the Gospel. So when Paul says he is not ashamed of the Gospel, he is being very specific. Paul goes on to clarify that the Gospel is: Jesus living a perfect life, Jesus dying for our sins, Jesus being raised from the dead, Jesus now at the right hand of the Father.
You cannot have the Gospel without Jesus. The Gospel is the good news of what Jesus has done for us. Over the next couple of weeks we want to take a long hard look at the goodness of the Gospel. I firmly believed that as we look at the Gospel, we will unlock a power that brings the dead back to life.
As we examine the Gospel, we will be looking at Jesus specifically. We have four Gospels in the Bible and they are actually one story. When we talk about the four Gospels we are really looking at four different eye witness accounts of the life, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. That is the reason the four Gospels are called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; It’s their eye witness accounts of the life of Jesus.
Sunday April 22nd: MATTHEW
As we look at the four Gospels we are going to see the four faces of Jesus. In the book of Matthew we are going to see Jesus as the Lion. If you ever listened to stories about the jungle as a kid, you will know that there is only one position for the Lion. Yes, you got it! He is the King of the jungle. In the book of Matthew Jesus is seen as the King.
We will be looking at Jesus as our King. I believe that many Christians trust in Christ as the Lord of their eternal salvation, but I don’t know how many Christians really trust in Jesus as their authority in this life. When Jesus takes His rightful place as the King of your life, you will experience tremendous breakthrough.
Sunday April 29th: MARK
As we move on to the book of Mark we see Jesus as the Ox. We are living in a time where we have many machines that do much of the heavy lifting for us, but back in Jesus’ day the ox was a vital component to getting the heavy lifting done. The ox would be used to plow the field where all good things would grow and flourish. The ox was the ultimate servant. What is very interesting about the book of Mark is that many scholars believe Peter was actually the author, and Mark was just the one putting the pen to paper. It would come as no surprise to learn that one of the most used words in the book of Mark is "immediately"; Jesus is always on the move.
We will be looking at Jesus as the servant. He has come and lifted the curse of the law that we could never lift ourselves. This week we will be looking at what it looks like to lean on Jesus and trust in His finished work. When we lean on the finished work of the Cross, we have the ability to not only make an everlasting difference, but we can do it without getting burnt out on religion.
Sunday May 6: LUKE
The next Gospel we will be looking at will be Luke. It’s in this Gospel that we see Jesus in His total humanity. Jesus was the perfect man. He had to step out of eternity and into time and space so that His blood could be shed for our transgressions.
We will be taking a closer look at the fact that we don’t have a God that is distant and angry, but we have a God who is close to the broken hearted and sympathizes with our weaknesses. When we start to understand that we are never alone, and that we can always run to God because he cares for us, our lives will be changed forever.
Sunday May 13th: JOHN
Last but not least we come to the amazing Gospel of John. It is in this Gospel that we see Jesus as the Eagle. He is the Eagle that soars way above anything this world could ever produce. It is in the Gospel of John where we see Jesus as God. When we think about some of the fundamentals of our faith, we think about the truth of the Trinity. The Gospel of John gives us some of our most compelling truths to establish our belief in the trinity. It is in the beginning of the Gospel of John where we see that Jesus was with God before anything was created.
We will be looking at the fact that Jesus is the God of all creation. All life and restoration are found in the Creator. There are times in life when we desperately try and get ourselves out of trouble by thinking creatively. Let us draw our inspiration from the One who put everything together and possesses the ability to put anything back together again!
The next four weeks are going to be life changing at theCross. They wont be life changing because of well communicated messages, but rather they will be life changing because Jesus will be lifted on high. Come and join us as we stare at Jesus!
In Christ, Campus Pastor Mark