What is your picture of the gospel? If we are to fully embrace all that it means to be a new creation, we need a clear and compelling vision of the gospel.
In the previous class we explored the fact that the gospel is good news, as well as the way Jesus defined the good news, and how we can cultivate a healthy view of the gospel.
Today is part 2 of two classes designed to refresh and expand our view of what the gospel is, and what it means for us today.
A skinny gospel of forgiveness and going to heaven needs fleshing out into the full picture of what Jesus was teaching, demonstrating and offering.
Before we get into the main points, just a reminder that the gospel (new good news) is the coming of the kingdom.
Mark 1.14-15

“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.””

What are some of the implications of the arrival of the Kingdom for you and me?

  1. Gospel Mission
    Accepting Jesus means a personal, global and cosmic impact:
    ”The gospel is personal but never private.” Trevor Hudson
    Joining up with Jesus means joining him in his mission. Have a look at Luke 4:16-21. What was his mission? Among other things, it was—and is—justice for the poor, healing for the sick, liberation for the oppressed. We are called into this mission. You are a portal for God’s justice, mercy and liberation.
    Jesus said this about his mission:
    Luke 4.43

“But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.””

He was a proclaimer of the the good news, and we, as his followers have the same privilege,
Romans 10.15

“And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””

What does it mean to be ‘sent’? What does it mean to go and ‘bring good news’ to people?
In your group, discuss the various ways we are sent and bring the good news. Explore different contexts such as family, neighbours and workplace. What difference does it make to be a bringer of good news in these situations? How do we recognise when we are being called to bring good news in those places?
Is there a place for cold-contact evangelism? This situation in Acts looks very like it,
Acts 8.4

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

The word ‘preached’ is the ‘euaggelizo’ word meaning ‘to proclaim good news’.

  1. Gospel Life
    In John’s gospel the word ‘kingdom’ is used less than the other gospels. Instead he uses the word ‘life’ (‘zoe’ in Greek) as a rough equivalent.
    John 17.3

““This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The good news (kingdom reality) we enjoy is a new life (eternal life).
This fullness of life containing eternity starts now – not in heaven. The gospel is knowing God, not simply going to be with God.
As Richard Foster put it, “The goal of the Christian life is not simply to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.”
You might like to read all the references to ‘zoe’ in John’s gospel and see what you learn about this new creation life we have – right now: John 1:4; 3:15-16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 29, 39-40; 6:27, 33, 35, 40, 47-48, 51, 53-54, 63, 68; 8:12; 10:10, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2-3; 20:31.
If the good news (gospel) is our new life, what does that mean for the way we think about ourselves, our faith community and our relationship with God?

Conclusion: Cultivating a Healthy view of the Gospel

Questions and suggestions for reflection and discussion

How does Jesus embody the gospel mission and the gospel life?
How could you and your local group grow in the gospel mission?
How could you and your local group grow in the gospel life?
Read one of the gospels and make notes on anything you notice that reveals the gospel mission and the gospel life

I hope you found these thoughts helpful. Drop me a line if you have any questions or feedback:

Next time we will explore another aspect of living as a new creation.

God bless, Malcolm