The Gospel

The word gospel is evangel - the good news. The word "evangel" (gospel) originally meant the recompense given a messenger bringing good news, or even the good tidings themselves. The concept of gospel has Roman and Hebraic roots. Among the Romans, the word was used to describe the good news about event in the life of the emperor such as his enthronement. These events were thought of as affecting the whole world. The use of the word as in the gospel of Mark shows us that the ministry of Jesus marked the beginning of a new era for the world at large. The Hebraic roots of the term are found in the Old Testament prophetical books, especially Isaiah. There the announcement of the future time of salvation is called the "good news."

By the time the word was used in the time of Jesus it carred the idea of a prophesied time of salvation. Christianity used this term from the first to designate the most precious "good tidings" of all, those announced by Jesus at the beginning of the ministry, when He "came into Galilee, preaching the 'good tidings' of the kingdom of God. The good tidings were essentially this 'The Kingdom of God is at hand'.

Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom. That kingdom is not only to come, it is now - we enter into it now. Although it is a spiritual kingdom, the scriptures given in the New Testament has always been referred to as the gospel, it means good news and the whole Bible is about that good news. The teaching of Jesus is the gospel that came with Holy Ghost power and He is still teaching us, to testify of grace is the gospel. Paul called it his gospel so what he taught is considered gospel teaching, he even mentioned that God had given Abraham the gospel. It is the gospel of peace, good tidings, our report is considered gospel, so is our salvation and the gospel is considered a promise and we are told to have faith in it. We are told not only to believe it but to live it, preach it, stand on it, trust in it, fellowship in it, let it shine, praise it, confirm it, labor in it, further it, defend it. The primary admonition that should give us pause is that we are to be subject to it. Paul wrote "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:" Peter wrote "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"

To preach another gospel is to be under a curse as well as shame. This gospel of the kingdom is to be preached to the whole world until the end. We are nearing that end and since the time of Christ, that gospel has lost something in the propagation of it and the blame rests squarely upon those that have breached the apostolic mandates of church structure. This is time that we restore it to the fullness that it had from the beginning. For the gospel to be preached effectively, it must be taught in the same proper structure that we are discussing here. The restoration of the apostolic and prophetic ministries is foundational, without the foundation, the structure will crumble, that is why we have so many competing voices in the church. The church is in a mess and God has given us the proper foundation to build upon and it is found in the gospel, which I use interchangeably for the Bible. The five-fold structure is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is how He has given it to us through His spirit.

The discussion of evangelists began with the statement that I do not have the gift of evangelism. I had to ask myself, Why not? As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that there is the gift of evangelism, the office of evangelist and the responsibility to evangelize. None on this list actually say that they are an evangelist but it was mentioned that we could, had, and should fulfill the role. From the responses, we know that we have learned from evangelists, we are around people that need to be evangelized and we minister to them, we need the evangelists to go and preach and that evangelism is on the rise. These things are all great, but what of our own responsibility to evangelize?

When we think of evangelists, the mind conjures up the kind of person that preach to thousands of people at once like in a tent revival or a traveling evangelist in the churches. We think of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts or ones that have a big TV or radio ministry or missionaries sent to evangelize other parts of the world. Jesus has told us to go out into the world and preach the gospel. The word gospel comes from the word evangel - the good news. That means to bring the gospel to others is to evangelize. All of us should be bringing the gospel to the nations, especially our own. We are to start in our Jerusalem which is in our own neighborhood and our own city, then unto Samaria, which is the other side of wherever we are at, even if it is those people that we naturally despise, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth. That is our responsibility as Christians - to evangelize. This is what has been commissioned to us.

If Jesus has told us to go - and He has - then it is our responsibility to go. We may or may not have that ministry office of evangelist but if we are told to go out and evangelize, then we should at least be asking for the spiritual power to carry that about. This is perhaps the hardest thing for many of us to do but the time to speak salvation has always been now.

In my own life, I have seen so much hypocrisy in the church, so much backbiting and division, so much hatred and condemnation masquerading as spiritual authority that I can really see what others see as well. I must be able to look into the inner depths of my own soul to be able to recognize what my own problems are before I can come to the point that spiritual boldness takes over what previously can only be described as fear. Others have seen the hypocrisy in the church, they have seen the preachers and evangelists trying to part them from their money, they have seen the church used as a tool of self-righteousness bigotry, prejudice and persecution. My problem is the fear of rejection; I do not want others to see me in the light of what Christianity is perceived to be. I would rather just live out my Christianity and let me see my love for them instead of bringing them the gospel of Jesus Christ and trying to get them saved. I would be hypocritical myself if I would not do what I can to GO before I ask you to. Nevertheless, I would be amiss if I did ask you to do the things that I see is necessary for us to evangelize the world. Go into every part of wherever you are and preach to all people. Go into the world and show them the love of Jesus not only by your actions but also by your words of the testimony of Jesus. There, it is said. I must do what I can to fulfill my part and ask you to do what you can to fulfill yours.

Lord Jesus, give us that gift of evangelism, give us that boldness to preach your gospel to others with your word and with your love. Give us the opportunities to share our testimony and give us the strength and power to make our own opportunities. Make us vessels of your honor and give us the wisdom and knowledge to spread your message in spirit and in truth.
[324, 326, 415, the discussion of the gospel and also evangelism as parts of the five-fold ministry were topics of the latter rain discussion list]

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