Where does that journey begin? It begins with meeting Jesus. It begins with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If it begins anywhere else with anyone else, well, you will not be able to follow Jesus. Jesus is not who we want Him to be, He is not the Jesus I think He should be, He is God Almighty, “I Am Who I Am.” (Exodus 3:14). I often hear people say things like, “My god would never have let his son die like that” or “My god doesn’t judge”, “all paths lead to god”, or other statements which talk about a god of personal making rather than the God revealed in the Scriptures of the Word of God. John 1:1-5 reads,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
So today, I want to go over the Gospel. I want to introduce and re-introduce to you who Jesus is. Because all paths do not lead to the One True Living God. Only Jesus does that. In John 14:6-7 Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
If we are to follow Jesus, we ought to know who He is. How can we know the goal of who we are meant to be, if we do not know who He is, what He is like and what His expectations of us are? I recently learned some fancy theology words. One of those words is Kerygma it means teaching, it is the Apostles’ proclamation of Jesus Christ. This is the word used in Luke 4:18-19 when Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah in the Temple.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
It is also the word that Paul used in Romans 10:14, Romans 10:13-17 reads,
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
We are supposed to be proclaiming Jesus Christ, proclaiming the good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty, restoring sight, liberating captives, and proclaiming the Lord’s favor. We have to know it to proclaim it.
This is by no means going to be a deep study of the Kerygma, it is a basics kind of lesson for you. Most of you reading this are Christians and have some sort of foundation for your faith. Some do not know Him. And many of you may not have ever considered what it is you believe or what the Bible says about Jesus. So, let’s dip in and see a little of what the Bible says, let’s look at the Kerygma[i].
- Jesus Christ, the entire Gospel was prophesied beforehand in the form of a New Covenant in which there would be forgiveness of sin and a placing of God’s Spirit within man a part of God’s unfolding plan to bless the families of the earth through the seed of David.
God has had a plan to save people, He would bless all nations, not only Israel “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22: 16-18
Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12:3
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
And the prophecy that Jesus Himself read in the Temple was a well known Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 61 and after He read it, He proclaimed that He was the one referred to.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn; Isaiah 61:1-2
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. Luke 4:21-22
Even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is prophesied
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit. Joel 2:28-29
- The Gospel (God’s plan to reconcile all people to Him as touched on in point 1) was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the seed of David, The King of kings, born of the Holy Spirit, who came in the flesh, lived a sinless life, gave up His life, was buried and resurrected on the third day and is seated on the right hand of the Father.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
- Jesus will come again to judge the earth and establish the Kingdom of God forever. He will abolish all rule and authority and will reign for eternity.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
- Those who hear this message and believe will receive forgiveness of sins, receive the Holy Spirit of God as a deposit and guarantee of their inheritance as they eagerly await the Savior who will return and bring them home.
Do you know who you follow? Is it the Jesus described here? Is it the LORD God Almighty of the Bible? Is it a god of your own making, one who fits your personality, moral code, and perspective of the world? Be warned, people do try and distort the truth and if you do not know it, you may be easily misled to a path other than that of following Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 reads,
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
If you proclaim to believe, if you have called Jesus your Lord, there is more, there is a walk a journey which begins with you calling on the name of the Lord for salvation and which causes you to grow, to change to be born again, renewed, and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It culminates in spending eternity united with Christ. We will talk about that journey together. We will take the steps to learn and grow and let the Holy Spirit in His awesome love and power transform us.
[i] Reed, J. (2003). Teaching the First Principles: First Principles of Leading the First Principles. BILD International.