In Mark 16:15, Jesus commanded His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But what exactly is the gospel? Even believers can’t always give a clear definition for this word. Let’s take a closer look at what this biblical term means.
1. The gospel is good news.
The word for “gospel” in Greek originally meant “reward for doing good.” Eventually it came to mean “good news.”
- How would you define the gospel in your own words?
- Briefly summarize the gospel, according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
2. The gospel also has some bad news.
In order for the gospel to be good news, each person must first realize that there was bad news. The problem is that without Christ, each of us is hopelessly headed for eternal separation from God.
- The prophet Isaiah wrote that “all of us like sheep have gone astray” (Is. 53:6). What characteristics of sheep do you think Isaiah had in mind?
- The price of sin is high. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” What do you think the apostle Paul meant by that phrase?
- In what ways do people reap the “wages of sin”?
3. The gospel expresses God’s grace.
- Thankfully Romans 6:23 doesn’t end with our wrongdoings. What does the rest of this verse say about eternal life?
- Why is it important that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9)?
- What reasons do non-believers give to justify their acceptance into heaven?
- Why aren’t these reasons sufficient (Rom. 3:21-28)?
4. The gospel is for everyone.
God desires that all people accept the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-4).
How do people learn of God’s offer for eternal life? The Lord uses believers to share the gospel with others through relationships, local outreaches to the poor, missions support, or service abroad. Opportunities to spread the good news are limitless.
- In what ways do you currently share the gospel?
- Ask God what He would have you do to take the good news to others this week.
5. The gospel is unique.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” A popular idea today is that every road leads to God. By this, people mean all religions are equally valid paths to heaven. But Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the only way to the Father.
- Why do you think people prefer to believe there are more than one path to God, when the way of the cross is so simple?
Closing: The Father, in His infinite wisdom, has only one requirement for salvation—that we place faith in His Son. In terms of eternal life, it makes no difference how virtuous or sinful a person has been. Humanity’s helpless, hopeless condition has only one answer: trusting in Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross.
Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die so that I could be forgiven of all my sins. Please empower me to share this good news with my family, neighbors, and friends, both near and far. I surrender my will to be used by You, and I look forward to the work You will accomplish through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Adapted from “The Power of the Gospel,” by Charles Stanley. 2003.
- How does the Holy Spirit help me serve?
- What gifts does the Holy Spirit give me for service?
- Why should I share my faith?
- What should I do to help spread God’s good news of salvation?
Once we become Christians, we have a responsibility to share the truth of salvation with others. But oftentimes, we are not bold in sharing our faith because we have questions and doubts about exactly what the gospel is. (Watch The Reason For Our Boldness.)