Summary: The gospel is powerful to transform people.
A. THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPEL
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel . . . by which also you are saved . . . For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
1. The gospel is good news.
2. The gospel saves people from sin.
3. Christ died for sins that condemned people.
4. Christ arose from the dead to give resurrection life.
B. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation . . . for in it the righteousness of God is revealed, from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
1. The gospel is powerful to transform people.
2. The gospel declares a person right with God.
3. A person must have faith to be saved.
C. THE PERVERSION OF THE GOSPEL
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you . . . to a different gospel, which is not another (gospel), but there are some who . . . pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven preached any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-8).
1. There is a false gospel.
2. It’s hard for some to keep a true gospel focus.
3. There is a constant evil pressure to prevent the gospel.
4. There is judgment for those who preach a false gospel.
D. PERVERTING THE GOSPEL
1. A Liberal Gospel. They have more faith in the world around them than in the gospel revealed in Scripture.
a. Man is basically good, and is the center of the universe.
b. Everyone is going to “heaven” because God is too good to send them to hell. They can take a person out of the slums, but God takes the slums out of a person.
c. Salvation by works, doing the best you can.
d. The problem of inner city poor is lack of money, education, jobs, entitlement.
They get it right that man has great potential and can do exploits for God, but they ignore his sin problem.
2. A Prosperity Gospel. They preach God wants you rich(er).
a. They preach God will give happiness. “Happy Meal gospel.”
b. They preach God is the source of wealth. “Vending Machine gospel.”
c. Faith is giving (money) to God so He can make you rich.
They get it right that God is a loving Father who wants to bless His children, but He also sends discipline to grow us, and the world will persecute us.
3. A Band-Aid Gospel. They preach practical solutions to the problems of people.
a. They give good advice, not the good news, i.e., how to solve problems in marriage, raising children, relationships, work, etc.
b. They deal with surface problems, not sin problems.
They get it right that the ministry of meeting needs to reach people, but tend to forget sin is the root problem of humanity.
4. A Psychotherapy Gospel. They change the thinking of a person to lift him to a better life.
a. Fourfold therapy: (1) symptoms, (2) diagnosis, (3) prescription, (4) treatment.
b. The power of positive thinking, i.e., anger management.
c. The self-willed, obstinate child, i.e., drugs, Valium, Ritalin.
They get it right that healing begins with the mind, but tend to forget Christ can transform thinking and give new desires.
5. The Escapist Gospel. They preach “come out from the world,” be different, be separate.
a. This is the Catholic Monastery, Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, Mennonite, Amish.
b. A passion to escape the corruption of sin, the world, and the new.
c. They forget we are in the world, but not of the world.
They get right the destructive influences of sin, but neglect the Great Commission to embrace lost people to win them to Christ.
6. The Interdenominational Gospel. They disassociate the gospel from the local church, and from the obligation to a biblical local church.
a. Groups perform a narrow ministry that may be overlooked by the church, or a ministry they can do better than a church.
b. They tend to believe in the sufficiency of their ministry, and their superiority over local church ministry.
They get right specific methods in ministry, but neglect the total contribution of a local church and their obligation to it.
7. I don’t have time to deal with the political gospel, the moralistic gospel, the entertainment gospel, the winebibber gospel, the cussing gospel, the syncretism gospel, the television gospel, the Hyper-Calvinist gospel, and the watered down Kool-Aid Gospel.