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Summary: We are letters, written of God for all the world to read; we are the only Bible many will ever read.

THE FIFTH GOSPEL

2 Cor 3:2-3

2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.

3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Cor 4:1-3

1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

THE WORD “GOSPEL” HAS BECOME POPULARIZED IN OUR DAY. In fact, you might say it is used very indiscriminately. We hear of...

• gospel music

• gospel magic

• gospel truth

• gospel literature

• gospel meetings

• old-fashioned gospel

But what exactly is meant by the term, “gospel?” Coming from the Greek word, euggelion, it simply means, “good tidings” or “good news.”

Is there really more than one gospel? Some would say, “Of course not! There’s only one gospel.” And in a sense they are right when they are speaking of a body of truth. The Apostle Paul referred to this in I Corinthians 15:1-4:

1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Perhaps the gospel can best be summed up in the following acrostic:

Glad Tidings that

Offer pardon and

Salvation, with

Peace

Eternal Life and

Lasting Joy

But is this the only “good news” of the Bible? Of course not. The word “gospel” is found 101 times in the New Testament. Here are some examples:

❏ gospel of the kingdom (Matt.4:23)

❏ gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1)

❏ gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24)

❏ gospel of God (Romans 1:1)

❏ gospel according to Paul (Romans 2:16)

❏ gospel of your salvation (Eph.1:13)

❏ gospel of peace (Eph.6:15)

❏ everlasting gospel (Rev.14:6)

❏ another gospel (II Corinthians 11:4)

And then there are the four Gospels that we have in the New Testament, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

Although these four writings differ considerably in detail, they agree on the general outline of Jesus’ career, the supernatural character of His life, and on the high quality of His moral teaching.

The first three (Matthew, Mark, Luke) are called synoptic gospels, which mean, to see the whole together. They present similar views of the life and teachings of Christ, and resemble each other closely in content and style.

The Gospel of John is quite different in structure and style. It doesn’t have any parables and only 7 miracles, 5 of which are not recorded anywhere else. Its called by some, the “theological” gospel as opposed to the “historical” gospels of the other three. It is far more personal than the others and deals with the nature of Christ’s person and with the meaning of faith in Him.

A NEW CONVERT TESTIFIED THAT HE HAD BEEN SAVED BY READING A COPY OF THE FIFTH GOSPEL.

No, it wasn’t Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. It was the Gospel according to Mike the butcher. Mike was an earnest Christian whose godly life and testimony had been used of God to save this man.

This is exactly what Paul is trying to say in the Scripture passage I read at the beginning of the sermon. We are letters which men read every day. There are thousands who never read about Christ in the Bible but see Him only in the lives of men and women like Mike the butcher.

Are you a walking letter for Christ?

HANDWRITING EXPERTS TELL US that they can discern a person’s character by his/her writing. Its called the science of “graphology” (from the Greek grapho, to write.

1. Used to determine vocational aptitude.

2. Used by some banks to determine stability and honesty.

3. Used by psychiatrists to understand one’s mental state with regard to such things as anger and stress.

4. Used by physicians to detect disease.

5. Used by the legal field in matters of counterfeit and identification.

SINCE WE ARE CHRIST’S EPISTLES, this becomes a solemn thing–that the estimate of the character of Christ is made known by us. Jesus is judged and estimated by the kind of lives we live.

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