In The Sound Of Music, Julie Andrews sang:
Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.
What are a few of your favorite things? Try to think of five.
If what I’m about to mention isn’t on your list, it should be. I’m hoping that after this message, it will be.
One of the things that should be on your list is – the gospel.
What is the gospel?
The word “gospel” means “good news.”
It’s a message full of good news. It’s a message about truth. It’s a message based on facts. It’s a message rooted in history. It’s a message about things that really happened. It’s a message that is completely reliable. It’s a message that is trustworthy.
While it’s a message of good news, it also contains bad news. The bad news must be communicated along with the good news. Why? People will not appreciate the good news if they don’t understand the bad news.
The bad news is that all have sinned and will be judged and condemned. Romans 2:16: A time will come when God judges people’s secrets through Messiah Yeshua, as my gospel declares. Judgment for sin is part of the gospel. People need to know this.
The gospel is a message that is focused on Yeshua. It’s a message about His preexistence before He entered this world; His supernatural entry into this world through the incarnation. The gospel includes the things Yeshua did; the things He said; His teachings; the controversies surrounding Him; all the miracles He did; His perfect life; His rejection by the majority; His sufferings and death; His resurrection; the things He did after His resurrection; His ascension; the giving of His Spirit; the atonement, salvation and eternal life He gives to those who become loyal to Him.
This is the gospel. Do you believe the gospel?
It’s not enough to confess belief in the gospel. Many confess belief in the gospel and later abandon it. We are to believe the gospel and then hold firmly to it. 1 Corinthians 15:2: By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
We are to receive the gospel and then take our stand on it. 1 Corinthians 15:1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
Colossians 1:23: We must not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
The gospel is to be believed and obeyed. 2 Thessalonians 1:8: He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Yeshua.
1 Peter 4:17: For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Are you obeying the gospel?
We are to live in conformity to the truths contained in the gospel. One of the truths of the gospel is all people, Jews and Gentiles, are to end their divisions and be united. Galatians 2:14: When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
We are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel. Philippians 1:27: Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Messiah. The gospel calls us to, encourages us to live according to its high standards. That means that we are to reflect on our lives, and constantly ask ourselves: Does my life reflect the reality of the gospel? Is my life consistent with the gospel? Am I living in a manner worthy of the gospel?
We are to serve the gospel. Serving the Lord is connected to serving the gospel. Listen to Yeshua’s words, connecting our service to Him and our service to the gospel: Mark 8:35: Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. Just as we are to sacrifice our time, talents and treasures to serve the Lord, so we are to sacrifice our time, talents and treasures to serve the gospel. Is that you?
While some teach that there are many gospels, many ways of salvation, there is only one gospel that results in salvation. Rabbi Paul, writing to the Galatians, made this crystal clear. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Messiah and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Messiah. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! Other ways of salvation? Two covenants? Unconscious Christians? Universalism? Ridiculous. Absurd. Heretical. Damnable.
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:6-9).
Great things happen to us when we hear and believe the gospel. Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. The gospel enables people to understand the truth, which, if believed, will save them.
2 Timothy 1:10: The appearing of our Savior, Messiah Yeshua, has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The gospel brings those who believe it life and immortality. They will live forever. They will never die.
The gospel enables people to share in the glory of the Lord Yeshua. 2 Thessalonians 2:14: He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. The Lord Yeshua is more glorious than anything you have ever seen. His gloriousness is beyond human comprehension. The gospel enables us to share in the glory of our Lord Yeshua. I hardly understand what that means – but I understand enough to know it’s amazing.
The gospel enables us to be included in Messiah, and what a great thing that is; and sealed by the Holy Spirit – which guarantees our salvation and a rich and lasting inheritance. Ephesians 1:13: You also were included in Messiah when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.
Ephesians 3:6: Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua. The gospel enables the peoples from the nations to become fellow heirs with the Messianic Jews in all the amazing things God promised to give the redeemed remnant of the Chosen People – things like God being our God and we being His people; that we will live forever with the eternal Three-In-One God; that we will be righteous; that we will receive everlasting praise and honor and glory; that we will live forever in unending happiness in the New Heavens and New Earth and the New Jerusalem with the God who loves us!
Great things happen to us when we hear and believe the gospel. We understand the truth, which saves us. We receive life and immortality. We share in the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. We are included in Messiah and sealed by the Holy Spirit which guarantees our salvation and a rich and lasting inheritance. Jews and Gentiles are united into one great community with us and are heirs with us and share in the amazing things God promised to give the redeemed remnant of the Chosen People.
The followers of Messiah have been commanded by our Lord to preach the gospel to everyone in the world. Mark 16:15: Yeshua said: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Are you doing that? Or, you think this doesn’t apply to you?
However, when we preach the gospel to all creation, most won’t understand it. 2 Corinthians 4:3: Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The gospel is like a man wearing a veil which prevents him from being identified.
One of the reasons why people can’t understand it is because Satan and the demons are working to prevent them from understanding it. 2 Corinthians 4:4: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God.
The gospel is not acceptable to a world which is satanically controlled and in rebellion against God and the truth. Therefore the gospel, and those who proclaim it, will be rejected by the world. Therefore, those who proclaim the gospel must be willing to suffer for it. Yeshua suffered for the gospel. So did His first great Messianic Jewish disciples. So must we.
2 Timothy 1:8: Paul to Timothy: So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. We will suffer for the gospel, but we are assured that with God’s power, we can endure the suffering that results from proclaiming the gospel.
Be encouraged knowing that those who suffer for the gospel will be rewarded in this present age and in the age to come. Mark 10:29-30: “Truly I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel – again, notice that the gospel is connected to the Lord Yeshua. Just as we are to sacrifice our time, talent and treasure to serve the Lord, so we are to sacrifice our time, talent and treasures to serve the gospel
no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.
Be encouraged knowing that even though we know that the gospel will be opposed, opposition advances the gospel. Every knock is a boost. Philippians 1:12-14: Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel … Because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
The Bible doesn’t mention “sharing” the Gospel. We are instructed to preach the gospel. We are to proclaim the gospel. There’s a big difference between sharing and preaching and proclaiming. Sharing implies developing a relationship with someone and being nice. Think of a little girl sharing her milk and cookies with her friend. Preaching implies declaring the gospel with boldness, with authority, and fearlessly. Ephesians 6:19: Rabbi Paul ask this of the Ephesians: Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. We need to do more preaching the gospel and fearlessly making it known, and less sharing the gospel.
The gospel is work. Work takes time, effort, thought, preparation, diligence. Philippians 2:22: Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. We need to devote time, thought and effort in proclaiming the gospel. We need to prepare ourselves to proclaim the gospel. We need to be diligent in preaching the gospel.
We serve God when we preach the gospel. Romans 1:9: God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel. Preaching the gospel is a very important way of serving God – and we are to be God’s servants. We are to serve God
Just as we are to serve God, we are to serve the gospel. Ephesians 3:7: I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 2 Corinthians 8:18: We are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. Are you a servant of the gospel?
Priests serve God. Priests bring God and His blessings closer to people, and bring people closer to God. When we proclaim the gospel, we serve God like priest. Romans 15:16: He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Do you understand yourself to be like a priest, with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel?
Some of us are held back because we’re afraid we don’t know enough to spread the gospel. The truth is that we don’t need to know a lot. The gospel is simple and clear and sufficient. It doesn’t need to be adorned with fancy arguments or eloquence to make it more acceptable. In fact, efforts to adorn it take away from its stark power. 1 Corinthians 1:17: Messiah did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Messiah be emptied of its power.
We are to preach the gospel to those around us, to those in our sphere of influence, to those the Lord brings across our path. And we can expand our gospel influence by working with, and giving money to and praying for others who are preaching the gospel.
Paul thanked God and prayed for the Philippians with joy because of their partnership in the gospel (1:5). How cool to be able to become partners in the gospel with great men of God like Paul.
There is a priority to the Church’s proclamation of the gospel. It is to be proclaimed first to the Jewish people. Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. It saddens me that most of the Church has lost sight of this gospel priority to the Jewish people. I pray that the Church regains this gospel priority.
It’s God’s will that before Yeshua returns, the whole world will have an opportunity to hear the gospel. Matthew 24:14: This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells
And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things.
The gospel needs to be one of our favorite things. It was to Yeshua. Yeshua was all about the gospel. God the Father wants to transform us into little Yeshuas, little messiahs, little christs. Yeshua was all about the gospel. We must be all about the gospel.
Know the gospel. Believe the gospel. Live according to the gospel. Live in a manner worthy of the gospel. Proclaim the gospel. Suffer, with the power of God, for the gospel. Partner with those who are giving themselves to proclaiming the gospel. Then enjoy the rewards that will be given to those who love the gospel.
Each morning, start your day by reading the Word of God. Pray to your Heavenly Father to fill you with His Spirit. Pray that you will be able to walk with Him through the day; that He would help you be aware of the people around you and their need for the gospel and give you the wisdom and grace to make known the gospel to them.