The Greatest Message Ever Given to Mankind
AMBASSADOR CHRISTIAN COLLEGE‐ Dr. Keith Slough
e have seen scientific proof for God’s existence and proof from fulfilled prophecy that the Bible is supernaturally inspired. We have seen historical proof for the life, death and even the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth proving He is the Christ, or Messiah! –thus also proving the inspiration of the New Testament as well!!
Now I want you to get your Bible and look up the Scriptures as I share with you the Greatest Message in the Bible –the Good News that Jesus Christ brought from Heaven! In this article you will see the proof that the true Gospel is not a “social gospel” or some other message men have invented. Nor is the Gospel a doctrine merely about an eventual kingdom that will be set up at His second coming. No, you will see Bible Proof that the greatest message of the Bible –the Gospel –primarily deals with the first coming of Christ! It is important to note that we use First Thessalonians 5:21 as our motto. “Prove all things.” We need to learn not to believe what we are taught by men, rather, we must obey God in proving all things you believe. You prove it (or disprove it) by the Bible. Does the Bible really teach the doctrines you believe to be true? Lastly, another motto we have is that we should, “earnestly contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints,” and not adhere strictly to the traditions of men (Jude 3 and Mark 7:7-9, 13).
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The Greatest Message Ever Given to Mankind
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST What is the Message Jesus Christ brought from Heaven? What is the "Good News" that the apostles continued to preach after Jesus' resurrection? Today we see false doctrines and false gospels being promulgated in the world. Have you been deceived by a false gospel? Now you can see the absolute proof from the pages of your Bible just what is the true Gospel - or Good News - that Jesus brought more than 19 centuries ago to this world! Jesus commands us to repent and to believe HIS Gospel. Have you?
o You KNOW THE TRUE GOSPEL? The Bible warns us of false prophets. We must be on our guard for false doctrine including a false gospel. In this article you will clearly see from the pages of Scripture, just what the true Gospel is. You will never again be in doubt. If after reading what the Bible defines the true Gospel to be, you learn you have been deceived, repent and believe the truth and do not support those who teach a perverted "gospel" (Galatians 1:7). If you do, you bring upon yourself a double curse! (verses 8-9). We must take this seriously! First, what was the Gospel message according to the four Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Let's start with John. What was the message of the true Gospel "according to John"? Let's go to the Gospel of John and read through each chapter to get the answer. The Gospel of John, beginning with Chapter One tells us that Jesus is the "Word" of God and that all things were made by Him that exists. This shows Jesus is the Creator (compare Ephesians 3:9 KJV). In verse 12 John says that those who receive Jesus will have the "power" (Greek: the authority or "right") to become the Sons of God. John tells us in his Gospel message that the Word (the second member of the Godhead) "was made flesh, and dwelt among us"(verse 14). (Compare 1 Timothy 3:16 KJV, where we read that "GOD was manifest in the flesh"!) Thus we see that John is teaching the Deity of Jesus Christ, as the second member of the Godhead. He also calls Jesus the "Son of God" in verse 34. Chapter 2 of the Gospel according to John shows the miracles that Jesus did that brought attention to His office of Messiah (or Christ). Chapter 3 tells us that we must be "born again" (verses 3-8) by believing on Jesus so that we will not perish but can receive everlasting life! (verse 16). "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (verse 36). What is the emphasis so far in John's "Gospel"? It is Jesus! In chapter 4 John tells us that if we ask of Jesus we will receive "living water" and will never thirst again. John is telling us that Jesus is the answer to our problems. That He alone can quench that spiritual "thirst" of the human heart. In chapter 5 John tells us that the hope of the dead is the resurrection back to life and that "all
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that are in the graves shall hear His voice" (verse 28). Those who have "done good," will be raised from the dead in the first resurrection "and they that have done evil" will be raised back to life in the second resurrection or the resurrection of "Judgment" (verse 29). The King James Version is a highly accurate translation compared to modern versions extant today. But no translation is perfect. Here the King James Version speaks of the resurrection to "damnation" but the Greek literally reads "Judgment." They will be judged according to their works. God will judge most of them as having been ignorant having never heard the true Gospel. The majority of the world's population through history never even heard the name of Jesus! The inspired Greek does not say they will be raised to "damnation" but to judgment which may also include certain punishment to those who knew the truth and knew the commandments of God but refused to repent and obey God! (see Peter 2:9). But again we see John glorifying Jesus in chapter 5. We read that John the Baptist witnessed of Jesus, the works He did testified of Him, the Father bears witness of Jesus, and the scriptures bear witness of Jesus (verses 33-39). In chapter 6, we read that Jesus is the Bread of life! (verse 22-35). Also John adds that if we believe on Jesus we will have everlasting life (verse 40). What then is the emphasis in chapter 6? It is Jesus! Chapter 7 tells us that even the Jewish leaders suspected that Jesus truly was the Christ (the Messiah) in verse 26. Then in verse 38 we are told that if we believe on Jesus we will have "living water" flowing from us which we learn is the Holy Spirit indwelling us (verse 39) and which comes only through believing on Jesus. Again what is John's emphasis so far in his Gospel message? Is it a futuristic world-ruling government? Is it merely a "social gospel"? -or is it the good news about the person of Jesus Christ? The answer is obvious. In chapter 8 we see that Jesus existed even before Abraham lived, thus again showing His Deity (verse 58). Chapter 9 shows that Jesus did miracles operating under the anointing of God (verses 4-7). And we read that Jesus did indeed call Himself the "Son of God" (verse 35). Chapter 10 tells us that Jesus is the "Door" to God (verse 7) and that He is the "Good Shepherd" (verse 11) and that He would give His life for His "sheep" - those who would believe on Him as Lord. Jesus said He would lay down His life for the sheep and would be raised back to life (verse 18). Thus what is the Gospel Message "according to John"? It is that Jesus is the way to God, the Good Shepherd who would die for us and be raised again from the dead. In verse 36 Jesus is once again quoted as saying He is the Son of God. In chapter 11 of the Gospel according to John we read that Jesus did indeed have the power to raise the dead for He raised up his friend Lazarus who had died (verses 25-44). The chief priests marveled that Jesus did so many miracles (verse 47). Again we read about the coming vicarious death of Christ in verse 51. So far, what is the "Gospel according to John"? It is Jesus! It is that He is the Bread of life;
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He is the Door to God, He is the Good Shepherd, He is the Son of God, and that He would die for us and be raised again from the dead! This is the Gospel message John preached!! In chapter 12 we read how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and how Jerusalem officially accepted Him as the Messiah - the "Christ" - just prior to the Passover (verses 12-19). In chapter 13, Jesus is shown as a loving servant to His disciples by stooping down to wash their feet (verses 2-17). Chapter 14 tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no man can come to God except through Him! (verse 6). Again, ask yourself, what is the emphasis of John's Gospel? It is about the Person of Jesus Christ and who He is and what He did for us. That is the True Gospel! Any other message preached that goes under the name "gospel" is a counterfeit, a false gospel which brings a double curse on those who preach it! (Galatians 1:8-9). Chapter 15 tells us that Jesus is the "true vine" and we are the branches that must remain connected to Him in order to bear fruit in our lives (verses 1-6) Chapter 16 tells us that through Jesus we will receive God's Spirit (verse 13). Chapter 17 is a record of Jesus' prayer to the Father where He prayed for the church. Chapter 18 deals with His arrest and that He was condemned to die as the vicarious sacrifice for mankind. Chapter 19 deals with the crucifixion and His entombment. Chapter 20 tells us that true to Jesus' prophecies God raised Him from the dead. So chapters 18 through 20 deal with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This was John's "Gospel." Now notice verses 30-31 which tells us why John wrote his Gospel message. John wrote, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, THAT ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name"! Notice John wrote his Gospel message for the express purpose of getting people to believe on Jesus, thus fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples for Christ! In the epilogue to his Gospel, chapter 21, John tells how Jesus Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection and how He gave them final instructions at that time. Thus the whole "Gospel according to John" deals with the PERSON of Jesus Christ, contrary to how some in our day have defined the Gospel. The Gospel is not a "social gospel" nor is it a mere "announcement" about peace in our time from a "strong hand from some place" as some have termed it. This latter "gospel" reduces the "Good News" to a mere announcement of a future kingdom that some day will come. While Jesus will return and set up a literal kingdom on this earth, that is not the heart and core of the true Gospel. Rather the emphasis we see in the New Testament is on the first coming of Christ - not the second.
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What is The Great Commission? When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He met with His disciples once again gave them "the Great Commission" to fulfill. What is that "Great Commission"? Some Christians have not understood it and therefore have not been obeying it. It's time you understood the Great Commission that Jesus Christ gave to His Church. Notice Mark 16:15. "And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..."! Notice what Jesus commanded His church to do. They were to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Later we read in Romans 1: 16 that the Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation." So through the message of the Gospel, people become believers in Jesus, resulting in their salvation. Obviously then the true Gospel is much more than a mere announcement that someday a kingdom will be set up by Christ. Rather it is the message we read in the Gospel "according to John" -the message about the Messiah's first coming and how He died for our sins and was raised from the dead. This was the Gospel that John preached! Now we come to the Great Commission and discover that we are to preach the Gospel so that people will become believers in Jesus and thus become saved (verse 16). When we read the Gospel "according to Mark" we read about the miracles that Jesus did, thus glorifying the Person of Jesus Christ. This was Mark's "Gospel message" -a message about the Person of Christ and how He did great works. Does your church or denomination preach a different gospel message than Mark or John? And then we read Luke's "Gospel." What was the Gospel according to Luke? Luke begins his account with a biographical, beginning with the birth of Jesus Christ and continuing on with the miracles that He did, etc. Again, Luke's version of the Gospel is a message that glorifies the Person of Jesus!!! Remember Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came that He would be glorified! (John 16: 14). If you read the entire book of Luke's Gospel you will see plainly what the true Gospel is. It is a message about the Person of Jesus Christ! Though some in our day have denied that to be the Gospel! -believe it or not! Luke then reports that Christ died for our sins upon the cross, was buried, and three days later was resurrected from the dead. We then read Luke's account of the Great Commission. Notice Luke 24:46-47. Jesus said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem"! There you have the Great Commission. We are to preach repentance from sin and do it in His Name among all nations! Therefore we are to preach the Gospel to get people to believe in Christ so that they will then repent and have their sins forgiven (remission of sins) in order that they might be saved. The Holy Spirit led John, Mark and now Luke to glorify Jesus Christ in the miracles He did, what He said, and in reporting His vicarious death on the cross for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection from the dead.
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Next, look at Matthew's version of the Gospel message. Again we see that Matthew's version of the true Gospel is about the person of Jesus Christ! It includes what He said, the miracles He did, and the fact that He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again the third day. This then is the Gospel message according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Next we come to Matthew's account of "the Great Commission." The King James Version unfortunately mistranslates this verse when giving us Christ's commission to the church. Notice Matthew 28:19 where Jesus is quoted as saying: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." Check the Greek text here (or almost any modern translation) and you will see that what Jesus actually said to them in Greek was, "Go ye therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES..." The Jamieson, Fausett, and Brown Commentary also show this to be the proper translation. While the King James Version has been demonstrated recently to be the most accurate translation in the English language it is not perfect. No translation is. For example, the New International Version reads, "Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES…" The Revised Standard Version reads, "Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES " The New American Standard Bible reads, "Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES " The Amplified Bible reads: "Go then and MAKE DISCIPLES " La Sainte Bible, the French translation, in my opinion, is a highly accurate translation. It reads: "Allez, faitesde toutes les nations des disciples " - the translation being, "Go, MAKE of all the nations some DISCIPLES ........ " The word Allez literally means "Go you" or "you go" just as we read in the King James Version. In this one unfortunate example, in this particular verse, the King James translation is not translated the best. This has led some to believe that as long as we are "teaching" among the nations we have fulfilled the Great Commission. But that is incorrect. The Great Commission that Jesus Christ gave His true Church is to: Go into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES from among all nations, "baptizing them in [Greek: into] the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you"! (Matthew 28: 19-20 see also Concordant Literal New Testament). The Great Commission therefore is for God's Church to go into all the world, preaching the Gospel of repentance and remission of sins (Luke 24:46-47) in His Name so that people will believe on Jesus (Mark 16:16) in order to "MAKE DISCIPLES" whom we can teach to observe all things Jesus commanded His original disciples to observe in the first century church. There are FEW churches that are truly carrying out this Great Commission. While many understand they must "make disciples" they are not then teaching them to observe ALL things that Jesus Christ commanded His original disciples to observe, which includes the command to keep the 10 Commandments (Matthew 19:17) and to live by every Word of God (Luke 4:4 KJV) because His coming and death on the cross did not in any way "do away," "abolish," "make void," or "destroy" the Law of Moses! Not one jot or title from the Law has ever passed away and will remain in force and effect until the last prophecy has been "fulfilled" (Greek: ginomai: "come to pass"). The last prophecy in the Book of Revelation is that this present heaven and earth as we
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know it shall pass away and God will create new heavens and a new earth (see Revelation 21:1 and Matthew 5:17-19). Yet most churches teach the Law of Moses has been "done away," or "is no longer in force," or "made void." The Apostle Paul taught just the opposite. He wrote to Gentiles about the Law of Moses. Notice: After saying that we are not under the Law where receiving our Salvation is concerned, he states that nevertheless the Law has not been "made void" or "done away" and therefore must still be kept, must still be obeyed! "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we ESTABLISH the law" said Paul to the Gentiles (Romans 3:31). The Amplified Bible "amplifies" the words in the Greek text in this verse and reads: "Do we then by this faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it, or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and UPHOLD THE LAW"! (same verse). From the book of Acts we see that Paul believed in all things that were written in the Law and the prophets (the Old Testament) (Acts 24:14). Again the Amplified Bible reads in this verse that Paul was "still persuaded of the truth of and believing and placing full confidence in everything laid down in THE Law of Moses or written' in the prophets"! Amazing! Yet most churches tell us the Law of Moses was done away at the cross. Yet this was approximately 30 years after the cross that the apostle Paul is still embracing, obeying, believing in and “placing full confidence in everything laid down in the Law of Moses”!! So the Great Commission is to make disciples, baptize them, and then teach them to observe all things Jesus commanded us, which includes obedience to the Law. I want to stress heavily the Bible teaches that under the New Covenant we are not "under" the Law to "earn" our salvation. Having kept all the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Law that is, living by every Word of God -IS NOT REQUIRED, when we ask for the free gift of Salvation. Rather the Gospel is the "good news" that Salvation is a free, gift to those who believe on and confess the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9 KJV, Amplified Bible and others). But once we are saved we are required by Jesus to "keep the commandments" (see Matthew 19:17-18 where Jesus quotes from Exodus 20). If you would like to know all the 10 Commandments that we are required today to keep, read Exodus the 20th chapter thoroughly. Remember until heaven and earth pass away, not a single ''jot or title" will pass from the Law! Heaven and earth has not passed away yet. Therefore every single "jot and title" -every single "dot" over an "i" in other words, and therefore every single letter of every single word of every single commandment is still in force and effect! And you and I are required to be in obedience to the Law of Moses! Anyone who teaches a different doctrine is teaching contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ!!! The Great Commission then is twofold. We are to preach the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24) the good news of the offer of repentance and remission from sin which 'produces the free gift of Salvation (which is free without the "works of the Law") and then we are to teach all nations to obey whatever Christ has commanded us to obey through the Scriptures. We see throughout the New Testament that Jesus did not "do away" with the Law of Moses but rather MAGNIFIED the
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Law (Isaiah 42:21 and see Matthew 5:21-22 and 27-28 as examples).
What was the Gospel Paul Preached to the Gentiles? When Paul raised up the Church of God in the Gentile city of Corinth among the Greeks, he preached just one message at the beginning. Later after a three year absence from Corinth, Paul writes a lengthy letter (or "epistle") to this congregation from the city of Ephesus where he was now residing. He reminds them of his teaching. Notice at the beginning of this epistle in only the second chapter (as men divided up this letter into chapters and verses to make it easier to find things in the text) we read what Paul preached to these Greeks. He wrote: "For I determined not to know anything among you, save [except] Jesus Christ and Him crucified"! Notice: This is the only thing Paul "knew" among them. That is, no matter what they asked him, he always brought the discussion back to the central theme of his teaching and that concerns the Person of Jesus Christ and His vicarious death on the cross for our sins! But was this message the Gospel? Some preach a so-called "social gospel." Some say that the Gospel is a mere announcement of a future kingdom to be set up when the Messiah returns the second time. Others have perhaps found other definitions for the Gospel. But what was Paul's Gospel? Think! If the only thing Paul preached to them was the same message Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John preached - the good news that the Messiah has indeed come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and then told them about His vicarious death on the cross for our sins, and then he preached the Gospel! This is the very message Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John preached. To say that the preaching of Christ and Him crucified is not preaching the true Gospel is to then assume Paul did NOT preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in Corinth! For this message was the ONLY message he "knew" when he was with them! Is this message then the Gospel? Did Paul consider this message about the Person of Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection to be the true Gospel? Yes he did! Notice what Paul later wrote in this same epistle near the end of First Corinthians in chapter 15. Paul told them in this same letter that he was about to once again declare to them the Gospel! Notice: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the GOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received"! Did you catch that? Paul said he was getting ready to once again declare the Gospel to them, which he had preached to them before. So they had received the Gospel message. What was the Gospel? Paul said it was what he had already preached to them. We know from First Corinthians 2:2 that the only thing Paul preached -indeed the only thing he "knew" among them -was the Person of CHRIST! -and, Him crucified! Paul preached CHRIST! Preaching Christ therefore must be preaching the Gospel!
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On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached CHRIST to the Jews and 3000 people became believers that day (Acts 2:22-41). What did others in the New Testament preach? Notice Acts 8: "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached CHRIST unto them"! (verse 5). He did the same thing with the Ethiopian (verse 35). Peter preached CHRIST to Cornelius and as a result Cornelius and his household were converted that same day (Acts 10:42-44). We see that Paul raised up whole congregations of Believers by preaching only Christ and he crucified! Is this then the true Gospel? Look again at First Corinthians 15:1-4. "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel... HOW THAT Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures"! This is the same message Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John preached!! There can be no doubt! The true Gospel is the message about Christ and the fact that He died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected back to life! This is the true Gospel! And notice also that Paul said he had preached this message to them before! He could not have preached to them by radio or television. He must have done it when he was with them. Yet he says when he was with them the only thing he even allowed himself to "know" among them was Christ and Him crucified! Therefore that message is declared to be the true Gospel! Just prior to his martyrdom, Paul wrote a letter to Timothy, his last. There he reminds Timothy of the true Gospel - the Gospel he preached to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Paul wrote, "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was RAISED FROM THE DEAD according to my Gospel"! (II Timothy 2:6). According to Paul's Gospel Christ was raised from the dead after having died for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3). What is the penalty for preaching a different "gospel" -a perverted gospel? In Galatians 1:6 Paul refers to the Gospel as the message of Grace. Then in verses 8 and 9 Paul states twice that anyone who preaches any other "gospel" than what he and his fellow apostles taught, will be accursed. He said "let him be accursed"! Saying this twice is like putting a double curse on anyone who would do such a thing! I know of a church that had much truth. Yet they began to preach a different gospel message emphasizing that it was nothing more than a mere announcement that Christ would establish a future kingdom at His return. Preaching a futuristic kingdom does not get people converted. While a kingdom will indeed be set up, the true Gospel is about Christ having died for our sins and that He was raised again to life to be our living Saviour. This is why people accept Him as Lord and Saviour. This is why the true Gospel is a message "unto Salvation" (Romans 1:16). Then what is the "Gospel of the Kingdom of God"? Jesus said the kingdom He preached was not a physical kingdom only. Rather Jesus preached about a spiritual kingdom one that is within us (Luke 17:21). The word "kingdom" in Greek means "government" and as the Holy Spirit writes God's Laws in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) then His government is therefore "within" us -in our hearts or spirits! But this comes when we receive the Holy Spirit!
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The church that I mentioned above grew worldwide for a time but then when Jesus became de-emphasized and the Gospel perverted, the church completely fell apart. Only a fragment of the membership remains from the original large number it once boasted. Today it is under a terrible curse! We should learn a lesson from that church never to preach a different Gospel than the one preached by Paul and the original apostles. Paul wrote: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be SAVED"! (Romans 10:1). The only way they can be saved is to believe the Gospel of Christ, just as we all must. The Good News is that Jesus the Messiah died for you, that He was resurrected back to life for you, and that if you will believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and will confess Him as Lord of your life, willing to surrender in obedience to Him as the Lord of your life from this day forward, then "thou shalt be SAVED"! (Romans 10:9). Have you made your peace with God? Are you sure? Do you have positive, absolute assurance that you have been born again? Being a member of a church does not automatically mean you have been saved from the second death. You must believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead. We proved that in the last issue of this publication! Then you must REPENT of sin which is the breaking of the Law (I John 3:4) and then confess Jesus as Lord of your life. This means you acknowledge Him as Lord. Secondly we are commanded to BE BAPTIZED (Greek: immersed) (See Acts 2:38 and 22:16). Baptism pictures a burial of ''the old man" -the old nature (Romans 6:3-8), which is the New Testament method of making our public confession of Christ which Jesus commanded us to do (Matthew 10:32-33). True, baptism itself saves no one. But Jesus nevertheless commanded us to be baptized. And if you have accepted Him as Lord, you will then obey Him! Third, we must receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) without which we do not belong to Christ and therefore are not a truly born again Christian (See Romans 8:9 last part). It is the Holy Spirit which converts us into the Family of God as a born again child of God (Romans 8:14). How do we receive the Holy Spirit? The Bible shows that when Paul laid his hands on those who had repented and apparently prayed for them to receive this gift, that the Holy Spirit did come on the believers (Acts 19:5-6). In some cases the believers would speak in tongues; in other cases they prophesied. In other cases they did both. In many cases they did neither, but they did receive the Holy Spirit. For it is not a specific gift of the Spirit that insures we have now received the Holy Spirit, rather "Faith" is the evidence (Hebrews 11:1). We are not to look for any single manifestation that one may or may not have at the time of the laying on of hands. Have you repented of your sins which are the transgressions of the Law of God? Have you been scripturally baptized by immersion? Have you had the laying on of hands to insure you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit which puts you into the Body of Christ - the real Church? (I Corinthians 12:13). If you are lacking in any of these areas, call today or write right away for free counseling in this matter. You now know the true Gospel according to the New Testament. Jesus said, "Repent ye and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).
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