Our message is a simple one – Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ, was crucified for our sins, was buried, and raised to life again.
It is a message that reflects the teachings of the Apostles during the first century. That being the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
We see this message being proclaimed shortly after Jesus ascended into Heaven, Acts 1:9-11, when the apostles began to preach to those in Jerusalem about the Son of God, Jesus, and how He had died according to the Old Testament prophecies.
Peter explained to those gathered there on that day the good news that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah, Savior. He went on to teach that God had raised Him from the dead. And being raised to life again, God had;
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” – Acts 2:36
Many of those who were there that day began to understand, believe and act upon their belief.
It is this same message that we see reflected time and again throughout the book of Acts and the whole of the New Testament scriptures. It is the same message that remains as our message today, which we seek to share with others.
The Gospel Message
The Apostle Paul stated this simple gospel message in his letter to the church located in Corinth reminding them of the gospel which he first preached to them.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 Corinthians 15:1–4
From this message both from Peter, Paul, and all of the apostles we see that the gospel message contains 3 facts.
1. Christ Died for Man’s Sin
Throughout the scriptures from the very beginning we can read that God had planned a way for man to be redeemed from the sin that separates him from God. We see this plan in action through the birth, life, and death of His only begotten son, John 3:16.
While the gospel is good news, it comes at a cost. God sent his son to earth, to be a sacrifice for the people. And that sacrifice came with Jesus, the Christ, our Savior, dying on a cross. In essence, God sent Jesus to bear the guilt, the iniquities of us all; Isaiah 53:11; Romans 3:26, in order to make intercession on our behalf, and justify us before the Living God.
The Death of Jesus, the Christ
Jesus’ death is an event that changed history. It is pivotal to the fulfillment of the old testament law and prophecies, Matthew 5:17. It is the foundation for the kingdom which would be an established that would become an everlasting kingdom; Daniel 7:27, 1 Peter 1:11.
Jesus’ Death revealed in the New Testament
- Jesus was betrayed and arrested, Matthew 26:47–56.
- He was tried by the Jewish council, Matthew 26:57–75.
- This entire trial by Jewish council went against their own laws. It was held during the night. He was slapped, spit on, and struck. They Jesus was taunted, spit on, slapped, and struck. They brought in false witnesses to declare lies about him, and even then they couldn’t get two witnesses to agree ; Matthew 26:67–68, John 18:22.
- They convicted him of blasphemy, which under Jewish law was punishable by death, because he declared that,
“Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” – Matthew 26:64
- Hew was sent to be tried by Roman officials because the Jews had no authority under Roman rule to execute anyone. These trials were before the Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor, and Herod Antipas the Tetrarch of Galilee. He was condemned, the Jews accused him of rebellion against Caesar because he said he would establish a kingdom; Matthew 27:1–25, Luke 23:7–11.
- It was commanded that he be scourged. A method of Roman punishment using a whip to mercilessly beat a prisoner; Matthew 27:26, John 19:1.
- He was ridiculed by Roman soldiers. He was stripped, clothed with a purple robe, and a crown of thorns was put on His head before being hit on the head with a reed. They mocked him as a king. They struck him with their hands and spit upon him, Matthew 27:27–31.
- Before his execution, they paraded him to the place, Calvary, by forcing him to carry his own cross, John 19:17.
- They Crucified Him. His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, and He was suspended on it for six hours—from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. (the 3rd hour to the ninth hour), Matthew 27:35–56, Mark 15:25–37.
- At the time of his death, the Jews were concerned about the celebration of the Passover and the Sabbath day, the Roman soldiers began breaking the legs of the criminals to hasten death and end the execution which otherwise could have continued for days. When they came to Jesus, they found he has already died, John 19:33. Perhaps in an attempt to ensure he had, in fact, died a soldier pierced his side with a spear that was shoved into His side, likely under His ribs, that ruptured the pericardial sack, resulting in a flow of both blood and water. But, this flow of both blood and water is spiritually significant. In the flow of blood is redemption found, Hebrews 9:22, and in the flow of water is cleansing found, Ephesians 5:26.
2: The Burial of Jesus, the Christ
In Jewish law, when one died they were to be buried before sundown of the same day. This was especially true during the time that Jesus died because they were in the Holy Week of Passover and the next day was the Sabbath. To not bury a dead body, they would have been unclean and not able to participate in the Passover.
While he had been executed as if he were the worst kind of criminal, he was buried as if he were the wealthiest of citizens. The prophet Isaiah foretold that this is how it would happen.
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” – Isaiah 53:9
- Following his death upon the cross a rich man named Joseph from Arimathaea, asked for permission to bury the body of Jesus, Matthew 27:57–58.
- Nicodemus, a Pharisee and Jewish ruler, aided him by bringing about a hundred pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes which they used to prepare the body for burial, John 19:39.
- He was wrapped in clean linen cloth, Matthew 27:59
- Joseph laid him in his own new tomb, which he had been hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, Matthew 27:60.
- Pilate commanded that the tomb be made secure. They sealed the stone and guards were placed at the entrance. Matthew 27:62-66.
3: The Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ
Knowing that Jesus died is only a portion of what we need to understand. Without death, there can be no new covenant. But, if we only believe in his death our faith would be in vain.
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14
You see our hope lies not in death. Our hope lies in eternal life. An everlasting life that continues on through eternity. Therefore if Jesus, the Christ only died, our hope would lie in death.
But, he died and rose to life again.
“God raised him from the dead.” -Acts 13:30
We invite you to read the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus in the following passages:
- Matthew 28:1-10
- Mark 16:1-14
- Luke 24:1-44
- John 20:1-29
We see evidence of this from the testimony of those who were witnesses to his resurrection.
- Mary Magdalene, John 20:16–18
- A group of women, Luke 24:22–24
- Two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13–35
- Disciples, John 20:19–20, 24
- The Disciple Thomas, John 20:26–28
- Simon Peter, Luke 24:34
- Seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee, John 21:1–23
- Eleven apostles, Matthew 28:16–17
- Apostles, Acts 1
- Stephen, Acts 7:55,56
- More than five hundred persons at once, 1 Corinthians 15:6
- James, 1 Corinthians 15:7
- Saul known as Paul; Acts 9:3–6, 1 Corinthians 15:8
- John on the Isle of Patmos, Revelation 1:1–20
Today, if we were to present evidence in a trial, eye witness testimony would be key in determining the facts. The same is true for laying out the facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. With many witnesses to his resurrection we can be assured that it did happen, and through the witness of both Stephen and John we can know that he has been seated at the right hand of God.
Obeying the Gospel Command
Having an understanding of the facts presented concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. We must also understand that Jesus wants those who believe in this gospel to act in accordance with his will.
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
The New Testament scriptures teach us that we must be obeying the gospel; Romans 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 1:8. This would indicate that within the gospel message are contained commands which we are to obey.
Anyone coming to understand the gospel message of Jesus, the Christ, might ask, What are the commands? And, have a great desire to obey them.
For us to know what those commands are, we must look to the message that was spoken by the apostles of Jesus as they proclaimed the good news to those who lived in the period following Jesus’ resurrection.
Gospel Commands We Must Obey In order to be Saved
We Must Hear the Word of God
We are told that we must hear the word of God in order to come to understanding, and faith.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” -Romans 10:17
- Matthew 7:24
- Romans 10:17
Without hearing the word of God one can’t come to understand the truth of the gospel. Belief isn’t just a feeling in the heart, but must be coupled with understanding. When one hears, understands, and believes what they’ve heard they will respond with doing what is taught.
If you’ve read the message above, you’ve had opportunity to hear the gospel message. And Jesus asks you to do them,
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock”- Matthew 7:24.
We Must Believe that Jesus is the Son of God
The jailer, a Roman with no knowledge of Jesus, was told to
believe in Christ (Acts 16:30–31). Then Paul taught him “the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (16:32), for faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17; cf. Acts 2:36–37). This resulted in repentance (he washed their stripes) and baptism (the same hour, 16:33). Then he rejoiced as a saved man (16:34; Mark 16:15–16; Hebrews 5:9).
We Are Told to Repent of Our Sins
To repent means to turn back, to turn away from a life of sin, and to choose to live a life of obedience to God.
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:3
This message is what was preached to those on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38 and we see that it is a command preached for all men, Acts 17:30. If we want to be saved we must obey God by living a life of repentance.
We Are Told to Confess that Jesus is the Son of God
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” -Romans 10:9–10
We Must be Baptized in Order to Obey His Commands
What Jesus said was – “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” – Mark 16:16
And we see that this is what Peter told those on the day of Pentecost who were convinced that Jesus was God’s Son. He told them to repent of their sins, and be baptized for the remission of sins, Acts 2:37–38
Throughout the books of Acts and the New Testament we see example after example of those who believed following through with obedience by being baptized for the remission of their sins.
- Philip baptized the first Ethiopian convert to Christ, Acts 8:37
- The Samaritans, Acts 8:12,13
- Lydia and the Jailer, Acts 16
- Saul of Tarsus believed in and confessed Christ on the Damascus road; Acts 9:6, Acts 22:16,
Since God is impartial, Acts 10:34–35, He requires the same things for all to be saved. If baptism was required of those in the first century in order to be saved, the same is true for us today.
The Apostle Paul explains this baptism in regards to how it serves as a reflection of Christ’s gospel.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:1-4
When we repent of our sin, we die to a sinful life, as Christ died for our sins. When we are baptized we are buried in water for cleansing, just as Christ was buried in death. It is there where our metaphysical spirit comes into contact with the blood and water that Jesus shed on the cross, and in that God cleanses us from our sin. When we rise from baptism we walk in a new life, free from sin, just as Christ was raised from death to life.
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
This act of obedience coupled with our belief, our confession of Christ, our repentance from sins saves us from eternal destruction.
“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 3:21
Living an Obedient, Faithful Life
Knowing that we are freed from sin, allows us the blessing of peace. From that point forward we live the new life we’ve been given in Christ. Our lives should reflect His. We become one with Him.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” – Romans 6:5-15
Our aim is obedience. Our goal is living faithful. Our reward for doing this is eternal life, and a crown of glory that fades not, 1 Peter 5:4.
“…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10