“The Gospel of the Kingdom”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
(Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible)
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:1-2).
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel…Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out”
(Mark 1:15, 38).
The gospel is every Christian’s focus and it should be at the center of every church. Likewise, the urgency to preach the gospel ought to be foremost in every church. The once popular Christian bracelet, “What would Jesus do?” would be more edifying if, “What did Jesus do?” was printed on it.
The reason for Jesus’ public ministry as He said was to preach. His message was clear and direct. He preached it as a command. “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Notice both verbs. They are in the imperative mood and present tense. The imperative is the mood of command. The present tense describes current and on-going action. Therefore, both repenting and believing are current and on-going actions commanded by God.
Jesus gave two reasons for obeying His dual command. The first was the “time is fulfilled.” The second, “the kingdom of God is at hand”.
The first referenced Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:25). It was confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:4. This time of fulfillment was in fact the time set in eternity by God for the Messiah’s arrival on earth. After Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-2a in the synagogue, He said He was the one prophesied who would proclaim the “year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-21). In other words, Jesus declared that at His coming God was commanding men and women to call upon Him and be saved. The Apostle Peter boldly told the religious leaders in Jerusalem,” there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The second reason given by Jesus was not separate and distinct from the first. The Kingdom of God, namely the rule of God, was at hand. Jesus the King and Lord, the one who rules all things, was physically in the midst of His hearers. The King who rules all men and has absolute authority (Matthew 28:18) commands repentance and faith in Him!
Repentance is a change of mind, a turning away from sin. Faith is trust in the object who is Jesus. When God converts a sinner into a saint, He gives these two gifts of repentance and faith. The converted man and woman turns away from sin and turns to Jesus. Paul explained the action of a converted sinner in Romans 6:11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Both God-given gifts continue throughout every Christian’s life. We live repenting and believing, turning from our sin and relying upon the perfect righteousness of Christ.
Jesus was very specific in His command. He is the King who commands believing in the gospel. Christians believe in the gospel. Why? The answer is simple and clear. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16b).
I’m sure that you’ve heard that the word “gospel” means good news. So what’s the good news? It is, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is truly good news because we all deserve to go to hell. But God who is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4), chose some for heaven. The only way to heaven is through Jesus as He is offered in the gospel! That is relying upon the only begotten one, Jesus, not born but eternally proceeding from the Father. Those destined for heaven rely upon Jesus’ perfect life and His perfect sacrifice for sins. This reliance is not by our strength and power. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. The gospel is good news because God applies it to those whom He has chosen.
He who has ears to hear the Savior’s command, repent and believe in the gospel! The King has commanded it. There are no options.
“The Gospel of the Kingdom”