What is the gospel?

October 13, 2008

by Pastor Mike Newsom, Lamson Evangelical Free Church, Dassel

Let’s say that a friend of yours invited you out to coffee and asked the question: “What is the gospel?” What would be your answer?

I can’t imagine that there is anything more important than knowing the answer to this question. Jesus preached what is called the gospel of the kingdom. These are just useless words if we fail to understand their meaning.

Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The word translated as “gospel” in the Bible means “good news.” The “good news” He was preaching was the kingdom of God. But what is the kingdom of God, and how important is it?

We usually think of a kingdom as a place, a territory where a king rules. The kingdom of God is located wherever God is king. His territory is not geographical, but spiritual. If God is your king, then you are in the kingdom of God.

Let’s look at the kingdom of man. In the Garden of Eden, Eve and Adam made a terrible decision. They decided that they did not want God to be their king. They thought that they could be their own king. If they had access to the right information, they could make all of their own decisions. This was the beginning of the kingdom of self.

The kingdoms of mankind are in a contest to establish who is the most powerful. Let us change the word kingdom into kingship. The issue is who is going to get to be king.

Because everyone is struggling to be king, there is always conflict. There is the kingship of dad, the kingship of mom, the kingship of the kids, the kingship over the neighborhood, the kingship over a nation and over nations. People fight and war because they are afraid of losing their kingship.

The ambition of a person to be the king is in direct conflict with the kingship of God. These two kingdoms, of self and of God, always are in conflict, so this demands a change. Someone has to change, and it won’t be God.

An important part of the gospel that Jesus preached was His calling us to repent. This means that we have to change the way we think. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as king and kneel before the Lord, acknowledging and submitting to His kingship.

What Jesus preached as the “good news” is that God is King. This is good news because self is a terrible failure as king.

Jesus said, “Good news,” there is another king and another kingdom, where there is a king of love, peace, hope, joy, and power. Then He told us that faith in Him was the only way to this new kingdom.