What is the gospel according to you? We all—religious or not—build our lives on some gospel, some “good news” that we believe can redeem our existence. Maybe it’s money or success or reputation or health or marriage. Everybody has a gospel.
This is Jesus’ gospel: God is present here and now. God is acting. You can revise your plans for living around this cosmic opportunity to daily experience God’s favor and power.
Some people teach that the only real reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross. But death on the cross was only one part of his mission. His overall mission was to be the Kingdom bringer.
His one gospel was the gospel of the availability of the Kingdom.
His one purpose was to model the reality of that Kingdom in his life, death, and resurrection.
His one command was to pursue the Kingdom.
His one plan was for his people to extend the Kingdom.
He invites you, as a gracious gift, to become an agent of the Kingdom—to experience God’s reign in your own life, body, and will and then to become a conduit of God’s power, joy, and love to bruised and bleeding humanity all around you.
Jesus himself had a gospel to proclaim, and unless we begin with that gospel and take it as our central framework, clarified and deepened by the Crucifixion and Resurrection, we are apt to distort the gospel into a backstage, all-access pass to heaven. If we do not start with the gospel Jesus taught, we will end up with a gospel he did not teach. The gospel of Jesus’ Kingdom offers the salvation of despairing individuals and the healing of systemic injustice. It is the hope of the world.
Yet millions of people who claim his name could not tell you what the Kingdom is.
We don’t use the word Kingdom often anymore. So let’s start there.
John Ortberg, Eternity Is Now in Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught about Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2018).
I have just completed a series of lessons on the theme of Eternity Is Now In Session. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year.