Donning the uncomfortable mask and snorkel, I jumped into the warm Caribbean water with expectancy. But what I discovered took my breath away.
As the coral, plants, and sea life of manifold colors filled my view, I was awestruck at the majesty of it all. Yet I found, the more I stared and beheld the breathtaking beauty, the more it grew in wonder and delight.
The Gospel is quite similar.
When we first encounter Christ, we are filled with awe and wonder at the saving power of the Gospel. Too often, rather than growing in greater amazement and delight as we progress in our spiritual lives, we become callous and indifferent, thinking the Gospel is merely something for when we first got saved.
The Gospel is far more than a collection of truths we share when we evangelize. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation — not just for the salvation of our soul but also the daily salvation we need to live victorious Christian lives. (See Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:1–2.)
The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word euangelion meaning “good news.” This word was originally used by the early church to refer not just to the salvation we receive by faith through the blood of Christ on the Cross, but also the empowering Life of Christ dwelling within us through His Holy Spirit to live out the Christian life. The Gospel is good news indeed! And it is needed every day of our lives.
We are reminded by Paul that the Gospel isn’t merely for unbelievers, but it is still necessary even after we’ve become Christians. In writing to believers who have already experienced the power of the Gospel, Paul says, “…I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (Rom. 1:15 ESV). Though they had heard and experienced the Gospel, Paul thought it needful to keep preaching the Gospel to them. Or, as he told the believers in Corinth, the Gospel is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3 ESV).
The Gospel is just as necessary in our lives. We must continually behold it, dwell upon it, rehearse it, rejoice in it, experience it, and let it affect every aspect of our lives. Rather than something that loses its luster the more we behold it, the Gospel should grow more glorious the longer we gaze upon and experience the power of it.
STUDYING & REHEARSING THE GOSPEL
In the Old Testament, it was common to set up an altar or a pile of stones as a memorial. Whenever someone passed by the pile of stones, it was intended to bring to remembrance the reason behind it — often an event or encounter with God. (See Joshua 4:5–7 or 1 Samuel 7:12.)
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to forget something? We may say, “I’ll never forget this!” only to find our memory growing foggy after a few weeks.
To remember something means to use effort to recall, to keep in mind, or to preserve the memory of. If you want to remember, you can’t be passive. And the Bible tells us to remember over 250 times.
When it comes to the Gospel, we must keep it at the forefront of our minds and lives. Paul spends a considerable amount of his epistles rehearsing and reminding the believers of the Gospel. For example, half of Ephesians and Colossians are given to explaining Gospel truths, while the other half is expounding upon how the Gospel is to be lived out in everyday life. The majority of Romans (chapters 1–11) is all about the Gospel, while the remaining chapters contain the practicals of how to live it out.
Perhaps the single most important reason we are to keep the Gospel at the center of our lives is that Jesus is at the center of the Gospel. When we meditate, study, and proclaim the Gospel to ourselves, we are intentionally turning our gaze toward the life and work of our precious Savior.
There is a powerful truth I was told years ago: Whatever we focus upon grows bigger and stronger in our lives. If we focus on sin, we find it grows bigger and stronger and harder to resist. If we focus on Jesus, we find He becomes bigger and stronger in our lives while our love and affection for Him deepens.
Over the last decade, I’ve found that the more I dwell upon and preach the Gospel to myself, the more I love Jesus, the greater victory I have over sin, and the more my Christian life seems to “work.”
One of my dear friends has been pondering and studying the depths of the Gospel for decades. Now in her sixties, she is quick to declare that the Gospel only becomes more beautiful, life-changing, and powerful the more she studies and dwells upon it.
Like the breathless beauty of a coral reef in the Caribbean, the Gospel should grow more grand and glorious the longer we gaze upon it.
Are you ready for the Gospel to take your breath away?
In this eight-week Bible study guide, I want us to behold and experience the Gospel afresh as we explore a different aspect of the Gospel each week. I invite you to dive deep and join me on this exciting journey of saturating in God’s Word to know Him more. Though this guide may appear simple, it has the potential to radically change your life as you seek to grow in intimacy with Christ through His Word. Know I am praying for you and cheering you on into the endless depths of Jesus and His Word.
WEEK ONE: See Your Sin
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I have chosen to live in selfishness, pride, and sin — living my own way and breaking the law of God. In my arrogance, I sought to exalt myself above Him. The punishment for my rebellion is death, eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. Being awakened to see my sin is a gift from God which arouses a desperation to find a Savior (i.e. Jesus) from my sinful condition.
Read the following verses and answer the question below:
Isaiah 64:6; Romans 1:18–2:2; 3:10–12; 3:19–20; 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; 8:8; Galatians 5:19–21; Ephesians 2:1–3; Colossians 3:5; 1 John 1:8; Revelation 20:14–15
The word “flesh” is often used in the New Testament to refer to our sinful nature. It is important to remember that in these cases it is not referring to your physical flesh but the selfish, carnal, sinful nature of our “old man.” (See Ephesians 4:22.)
What does Scripture say about the problem and penalty of sin?
WEEK TWO: See Your Savior
There is only one means of salvation — Jesus. While I lived in rebellion and sin, Christ died for me. (See Romans 5:6–8.) God loved me so much that He sent His Son to take my punishment and sin so that I might receive His forgiveness and experience salvation when I believe in Christ, placing my faith and trust in Him, making Him the Lord of my life.
Read the following verses and answer the question below:
Psalm 103:1–12; Isaiah 45:22; John 3:16; 14:6; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:8; 8:3; 8:32; 10:9; 10:13–14; 2 Corinthians 5:17–18; 5:21; Colossians 2:13–14; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 4:15
Why is it important to see Jesus as our sole source of salvation?
WEEK THREE: Faith and Repentance
To experience the salvation and forgiveness of Jesus as your Savior, you must repent and believe. (See Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; 16:30–31; and Romans 10:9–13.) In the New Testament, the words “faith” (noun) and “believe” (verb) are the same in Greek. When you do the action of believing we call it faith. The word “believe” is more than head knowledge or information. The demons believe but are not saved. (See James 2:19.) A good illustration to understand the word “believe,” especially in John’s Gospel, is a parachute. If you were falling out of a plane and saw a parachute falling near you, having the mental understanding of a parachute doesn’t help you. Rather, you must put on and trust the parachute to experience its saving work. So, too, you must put on the Lord Jesus Christ and cling to Him for your salvation and life. (See Romans 13:14.) But to put on the parachute (the new man, Jesus), you need to repent — to take off the bulky backpack you are currently wearing (the old man, self) full of all your bad habits, selfish behaviors, and self-centered ideas. As long as you keep this old backpack on, you cannot truly apprehend the benefit of the parachute. So, put off the old backpack. Give it up. Forsake it. Let it go, so that you might truly gain the virtue of the parachute that God is currently holding out to you in the Person of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of John uses the word “believe” over 100 times, which is nearly as many as the rest of the New Testament combined.
Read the following verses from John and consider the importance of faith/belief:
John 1:7; 1:12; 2:11; 3:15–18; 3:36; 5:24; 5:46; 6:29; 6:35; 6:40; 6:47; 7:38–39; 8:24; 11:25–27; 11:40; 12:36; 12:44–46; 14:1; 14:10–12; 16:27; 16:31; 17:20–21; 19:35; 20:25–31
Examine your own life. Have you truly repented of your sins, asked for Jesus’ forgiveness, and now live by faith (belief)? There is a reason we are called “believers” — we are always doing the action of believing (faith). Also consider what Hebrews 11:6 says about faith.
WEEK FOUR: The Precious Blood of Christ
Peter calls the blood of Christ “precious.” (See 1 Peter 1:19.) Throughout Scripture we find that it is efficacious — meaning it is powerful and effective to produce an intended result. When we repent and believe (refer to week three of this study), we experience the efficacy of Christ’s blood on our behalf.
Read the following verses and make a list of what Scripture says the life and blood of Christ is for:
Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; John 6:53–56; Acts 20:28; Romans 3:22; 3:25; 5:9; 5:11; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:14, 20; Hebrews 2:14; 9:7; 9:12; 9:14; 9:22; 10:19; 10:29; 13:12; 13:20; 1 Peter 1:17–19; 2:24; 1 John 1:7; 1:9; Revelation 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11
Is there anything from the list that you are not experiencing or doubt is for you? Consider spending time with Jesus in prayer and reckon the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ yours through faith. (See Romans 6:11.)
WEEK FIVE: In Christ
You must know your new position and life as a believer. As a Christian, your position is “in Christ.” Like a new piece of clothing that you put on, you are to find yourself in Jesus, having removed the old garment of sin and self-centeredness. (See Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:22–24; and Colossians 3:9.)
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, consider the following verses about being “in Christ” (often stated as “in Him,” “in Whom,” “with Him,” etc.) and the new position you are now to walk in. Consider making a list of these benefits and honestly ask yourself which ones are not evident in your life.
John 14:6; 15:5; Romans 6:1–14; 8:1–2; 8:38–39; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 1:20–21; 2:14; 3:14; 5:17; 11:3; 13:4; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 4:3–7; Ephesians 1:3–14; 1:19–20; 2:6–10; 2:13; 2:19–22; 3:4-6; 3:12; Philippians 3:3; 3:14; Colossians 1:12–14; 1:19; 1:28; 2:3; 2:6–7; 2:9–15; 2 Timothy 1:1; 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; Hebrews 4:14–16; 10:19–22; 1 John 1:5; 2:5; 2:28; 3:3; 3:6; 5:14; 5:20
WEEK SIX: Christ in You
Paul describes the Christian life in two parts — you in Christ and Christ in you (through His indwelling Holy Spirit). Both are essential. To live out the purity and holiness of the Christian life is impossible in your own strength, wisdom, or ability — it is not something you can do without God’s enabling power. But this enabling power has been given to you IN Christ and His Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father given to you. The Holy Spirit is not a feeling or a force; He is a Person. He bears witness of the Life of Jesus Christ and forms that Life within you. You have been entrusted with the Life of God as your present-tense Enabler, Helper, Teacher, and Grace-supplier for everything you will ever face from this day forward.
Read the following verses and reflect upon what it means for Christ to be in you through His indwelling Holy Spirit:
John 14:12; 14:16–17; 14:26; 15:1–5; 15:26; 16:7–15; Acts 1:8; 2:1–4; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 4:16; Colossians 1:26–27; 2 Peter 1:2–4
Living an abiding, surrendered, and dependent life in Christ does not mean you become passive or complacent; rather, it is the idea of a change of source or “engine” to your life. Rather than striving to live your life for God, you now allow His Spirit to live His life in and through you. You can live the impossible Christian life — not through your own effort or ability but by His life residing within you through His Spirit.
WEEK SEVEN: Walk in Newness of Life
When you are in Christ and His Spirit is in you, it radically changes the way you think, talk, and live. You are indeed a “new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). Old habits and addictions are replaced with godly behavior. And you find yourself walking in newness of life. (See Romans 6:4.)
Many of Paul’s epistles are divided in half where he talks about your position in Christ in the first half, but then describes what this “newness of life” looks like practically lived out in the second half. Read the following passages and reflect upon what your life should look like now that you are in Christ and Christ is in you. Romans 12–13; Ephesians 4–6; Colossians 3–4; also see Matthew 28:18–20 and 2 Peter 1:2–9.
Does your life, thinking, and speech reflect the life and character of Christ? Now that you are in Christ, can someone look at your life and see a noticeable difference in the way you live?
WEEK EIGHT: Gazing Upon the Grand & Glorious Gospel
The richness and depth of the Gospel should grow more glorious the longer you gaze upon it. Consider reviewing the studies on the previous pages and put the Gospel into a creative expression that will remind you to dwell and reflect upon it often — whether it be poetry, art, creative writing, etc. Review and rehearse these grand and glorious truths to yourself daily and continually experience the power of the Gospel in your life.
To take your understanding of the Gospel even deeper, consider these resources:
Watch Eric Ludy’s powerful short film entitled, “The Gospel.” You can search YouTube for “Eric Ludy The Gospel” or go to this direct link.
Read Milton Vincent’s book, A Gospel Primer.
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