Intermediate Edition

II. Insights


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Chapter 35  Part II


This section provides insights on the gospel message itself and on why it is so critical that we tell others the gospel. It also teaches us that in all our efforts to do so, we must bear in mind that the effectiveness of the message comes from God – and that people’s responses to it are in his hands, not ours.

Insights on the Gospel Message

The gospel is not made up by men – it is true

[Paul:] Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12For I did not receive it or learn it from any human source; instead I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ.   Galatians 1:11-12 NET

But Paul replied, “I have not lost my mind, most excellent Festus, but am speaking true and rational words. 26For the king knows about these things, and I am speaking freely to him, because I cannot believe that any of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner.   Acts 26:25-26 NET

Verse 26 makes a very important point attesting to the truth of the gospel. The events it is based on were widely known, familiar to the king, as they did not take place in some obscure setting.

The gospel reveals God’s secret plan concerning Jesus Christ

[Paul:] To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, …   Ephesians 3:8b-9 ESV

The gospel is good news

God sent his word to the people of Israel and brought them the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ.   Acts 10:36a GW

Note that the Greek word which is often translated as “gospel” basically means “good news”.

The Need to Spread the Gospel

We are responsible for telling others the gospel

[Paul:] For I have an obligation to all peoples, to the civilized and to the savage, to the educated and to the ignorant. 15So then, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who live in Rome.   Romans 1:14-15 GNT

Like Paul, believers have an obligation or responsibility to tell all people – people of all nations and levels of understanding.

Through believers spreading the gospel others come to believe

[Jesus:] I’m not praying only for them [the disciples]. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message.   John 17:20 GW

But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it.   Acts 4:4a CEV

There are many people ready to respond to the gospel – but they need someone to tell them

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”   Matthew 9:36-38 NET

There are many ready to respond to the gospel – to be “harvested”. But more workers are needed to proclaim the gospel to them.

The gospel brings salvation, saving those who respond to it

[Paul, to the Ephesian believers:] And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation.   Ephesians 1:13a GNT

[Jesus, to his disciples:] Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.   Mark 16:15b-16 NET

God and the Gospel’s Effectiveness

The gospel is the power of God to save – though it may seem foolish to the world

[Paul:] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.   Romans 1:16 NET

[Paul:] For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.   1 Corinthians 1:18 NET

The gospel is not dependent on us and our presentation of it – but on the Holy Spirit and God’s power

[Paul, to the Corinthians:] My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.   1 Corinthians 2:4-5 NET

The effectiveness of Paul’s message was not due to any great display of wisdom on his part, but to the Holy Spirit and God’s power, working through him and in the minds of his listeners.

The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus Christ to people, fostering belief

[Jesus, to his disciples:] When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me, 27and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.   John 15:26-27 NET

The Holy Spirit testifies to non-believers about the reality of Jesus Christ and the truth of the gospel message. He does this often through believers as they tell others the gospel (which Jesus quite possibly alludes to here). This work of the Holy Spirit is crucial to the effectiveness of the gospel’s proclamation (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3).

God and Jesus at times confirm the gospel message by miracles

They [Paul and Barnabas] spoke boldly about the Lord, who confirmed their message about his good will by having them perform miracles and do amazing things.   Acts 14:3 GW

Pray for persecuted Christians