Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What is the Gospel? Can you "live the Gospel"?

The clip is from Voddie Baucham Ministries. I agree with his preaching here. It drives me crazy to hear people say "Live the Gospel." Essentially, people who say that are saying that people will come to repentance for their sins and saving faith in Jesus on the basis of having watched their sparkling personality for a period of time. LOL, NOT! Here is Pastor Baucham on the subject:

"The Gospel is News. The word for Gospel, euangelion, it means announcement, it means News. The gospel is news. By the way, we do not "live the Gospel." We cannot live the Gospel. OK? That's foolishness. You don't live news. For me to say, 'I'm going to live out the gospel, is to say I'm going to live out the front page story in the newspaper yesterday. And if I came to you saying, 'hey, man, I'm going to live out the front page story of the newspaper', wouldn't you say to me, "Actually, that's news that happened yesterday. You can't live it out.'" You don't live the Gospel. And so, somebody walks up to you, know what St. Francis said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words," you look at them and you say, 'he didn't know what the Gospel is.' Obviously. Because nobody who knows what the Gospel is would say such foolishness. You have to use words to preach the Gospel. Whether they're written words or they're spoken words, you have to use words. Why? Because the Gospel is NEWS! That would be like saying, "Give the news at all times, and when necessary, use words." You turn on the television and there are a bunch of people out there living their lives. And you look at it and from that somehow you're supposed to determine what the news is. ... You can live in light of the Gospel. You can live because of the Gospel. But you cannot live the Gospel."  ...

... "You don't need the news about Jesus. Just watch me."  Ouch. There's more on the clip

What IS the Gospel? says, "The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia summarizes the gospel message this way:

"The central truth of the gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it. The gospel is good news because it is a gift of God, not something that must be earned by penance or by self-improvement (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8–11; II Cor 5:14–19; Tit 2:11–14)."

The Gospel in a Nutshell
"In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. Note the four clauses introduced by that in bold type in verses 3-5 below:"

"15:1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…[NET bible]"

"These verses, which were an early Christian confession, give us the heart of the gospel and show the that the resurrection is an integral part of the gospel. Note that Paul described this as “of first importance”—a phrase that stresses priority, not time. The stress is on the centrality of these truths to the gospel message."

"Actually, the central ingredient of the gospel message is a two-fold confession: (1) Christ died for our sins and (2) He was raised on the third day. The reality of these two elements can be verified by the Scriptures (cf. Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53:8-10) and by such awesome historical evidence as the empty tomb and the eye witnesses. Thus, the other two elements mentioned here accomplish two important facts regarding the gospel. The fact that He was buried verified His death, and the fact that He appeared to others verified His resurrection." -------end

So go on out there and live for Jesus, live according to biblical precepts, live in His light, go on with your living. But don't forget to speak the News to those who are dying.


  1. Elizabeth, you are focusing here on a narrow definition of the word "gospel". When I hear someone say "Live the Gospel" I hear them say "Live according to the words of Jesus Christ" or "Live according to the Word of God". Why? Because of The Gospel According to St. Matthew, The Gospel According to St. Mark, The Gospel According to St. Luke and The Gospel According to St. John. Those 4 books contain not only the historical account of what happened, but also the commands Jesus directly gave the His followers - and that is how we are to live. The Good News (Gospel) in the broader sense is not just historical facts about Jesus, but also His teachings, commands, instructions.

    I was thinking of some verses I want to teach my granddaughter and these came to mind: "Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." When I do that - I am living the Good News/Gospel of Jesus Christ as written in the Gospel of St. Matthew. Is it news? Yes! It was news then and it is news now. Jesus said: live this way. I live out that news in my life when I obey Him.

    The author of Hebrews told us: "12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

    Paul told us: Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? (I died with Christ - I am living the Gospel and that is part of what I can share with others!!)

    Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (I was crucified with Christ! Christ now lives in me! This is Good News for me and for those with whom I share the Gospel. When I live my faith in Jesus Christ, I am living the Gospel in front of others.)

    James told us: "2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder."

    Do I live the Gospel? I hope and I pray that I do every day! I live every day dying to sin and living for Christ, not perfectly, that is for sure. It is a process of sanctification - also Good News (He doesn't leave me as I was, He changes me!). If I follow Christ's commands then there is no way I'm going to keep my mouth shut - words, plus actions, will be the way I live the Gospel in front of others.

    The Gospel - Good News - in the broader usage of the term, and I think that when most people hear that phrase "Live the Gospel", that is what they are hearing.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. To some it might seem like splitting hairs, I agree. The definition of Gospel IS "announcement". In itself isn't narrow and it isn't wide. It just is. However, the way we have come to use the all-important word has become broad. This is unacceptable.

      In 1 Corinthians 9:18 Paul said preach the Gospel. He didn't say live the Gospel. If you go to a concordance and look up Gospel, every time it is mentioned the word preach is used. If not preach, then proclaim, profess, speak, or hear. Nowhere does it say live it.

      I think it is best to stick to the narrow. After all, the way is narrow, and every jot or tittle is overseen by Christ until all is fulfilled. Narrow is good. Broad is bad.

      The problem with overlooking how people use that phrase, and the problem with not saying anything is because so many people have abdicated their responsibility to proclaim it. They have sunk down into a belief that all you have to do is "live it." I'm emitting some push-back, and hopefully make people think about how important it is to think about what we say, and how what we say affects us and others.


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