Summary: What you have to know about Jesus Christ
The Gospel in a nutshell
Text: 2 Timothy 2:8
Today we begin a series of messages on the “the basics we need to know”
Can God be found? The Bible seems to be a rather big book with many pages, is God really in there? There seems to be hundreds of ways to God in our marketplace. So why place our lives in one "narrow" way? Is there really good news or the gospel truth?
If I were a newcomer to the Bible, I think I would be lost. Where do I go to find the basic things I need to know about God? Furthermore, over time it seems things get tend to get a bit more complicated. For instance, pages in 1891 basketball rule book: 2. In current rule book: 114, according to 1991 U.S. News and World Report. There must be more now in 2002.
I wonder at times, if we have made Christianity a bit too difficult and complicated, just as it was when the Bible was out of bounds to anyone who could not read Latin before the time of the Reformation in the 1500’s. As I look at the Bible it seems to me it is quite clear what the good news is all about. Look at the Bible will you, specifically at 2 Timothy 2:8? (NIV)
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel
8Constantly keep in mind Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David, according to the good news (the Gospel) that I preach.
These are incredible words. Because of the author. The Apostle Paul wrote these words. Here we have a man who, at one time in his life, was committed to another religion and keen on destroying the church. He was filled with rage and hatred for Christians. Here is a true skeptic. So look at his testimony -
1 Cor.15:9 (NIV)
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God
13You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion--how I violently persecuted the Christians. I did my best to get rid of them. 14I was one of the most religious Jews of my own age, and I tried as hard as possible to follow all the old traditions of my religion.
Philippians 3:6 (NLT)
6And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.
Yet his life was changed and he died, a changed man, preaching this good news of Jesus and believing it with all his heart. You have to remember he believed and preached and lived out this Christ-centred message in a time when the belief in many gods is fashionable, just like our time, especially with the Mediterranean world of his time. What changed him then, that his whole structure of belief is turned upside down?
As 2 Timothy (4:6-7, NIV) tells us that Paul in end still did not give up the faith:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, I have FINISHED THE RACE, I have KEPT THE FAITH.
So now instead of him persecuting the church, he is the one who got persecuted for being part of the church. He is one who will die for his faith. He could easily denied the Lord Jesus, his God, and explained it was all a big mistake, a misunderstanding and relied on his previous record of persecuting the church to get out of death row. But he “kept the faith” and was beheaded by order of Nero.
And in his dying days, he says to Timothy… “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David”
1. Why did he give up his life for Jesus when he was once a violent persecutor of the church?
“Jesus Christ, raised from the dead”
þ He could not deny the power of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead
14And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless. 15And we apostles would all be lying about God, for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, but that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.
þ He confirmed others who testified the same.
1 Cor.15:5-7 (NLT)
5He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. 6After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. 7Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.