We've been hearing stories of God moving across the UK. In Redding, Liverpool and Southampton we've seen many people turn back to God. God is giving His church a renewed confidence in the gospel, our gospel of good news. The gospel is the heart of the Bible - everything in scripture is either preparation, presentation or participation in the gospel. We'll be looking at these messages and metaphors across the Bible, in turn helping us give words to the hope that we profess.
What Is The Gospel?
The gospel is words, works and wonders. The word 'gospel' in the New Testament is the Greek word ‘euvangelion’. This is what a herald would shout when victory won. The gospel has many facets but is still simple. It starts with love, remedies sin, asks us to make a choice, and restores the cosmos.
The Humble King
In the book of Philippians we are introduced to the concept of 'kenosis'. Kenosis refers to the idea of Christ emptying himself or pouring himself out. Kenosis is the nature of God from creation, through incarnation to Revelation. In the world we see marred images of the kingship God originally bless humanity with. Jesus came as the one true, and humble king. Jesus established an upside down kingdom, began his coronation by riding on a donkey, and suffered the humility of the cross.
The Lamb of God
Christ’s death is the ultimate sacrifice. In the Old Testament we are read as the Israelites attempt to use the sacrificial system as a means to access God’s grace. This is a vivid and graphic way to see the impact of sin. Jesus didn’t just come to give us an example on how to live, he came to die. However he chose to do it, voluntarily laying his life down. And then his calls his followers to do the same.
God binds himself to us through covenant commitment and His consent . God participates with us, in humanity, in the cross, by grace, by the Holy Spirit. We too may partner with God; like Mary the mother of Jesus, we consent and make space for Jesus to fill us.
In the book of Leviticus we are introduced to the concept of 'kinsman-redeemer'. The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Old Testament, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew word for kinsman-redeemer means one who delivers or rescues or redeems property or person. The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz. In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ bought us for Himself, out of our destitution; made us His own beloved bride; and blessed us for all generations.
Jesus paid the price for our freedom. Our debt was paid and God himself came to pay it. The cross is the self substitution of God. The Son of God came to give his life as a ransom for many and buy us back from slavery to sin and death.
The Great Physician
Sin is a disease. It corrupts mind, body and soul and it is fatal. Sin is a heart turned in on itself, that chooses pride and says 'my way is best'. For this sickness we need a great physician.
The Glorious Gospel
Christ has defeated death, sin and the powers of hell. The resurrection of Christ presents to us first fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven. The idea of resurrection is central to our faith. Heaven is real, and a day will come when all will be well.