Our latest edition of Changing London unpacks what the gospel is and so we thought it would also be a good idea to also look at what it isn’t. Here’s an exclusive training bible study from one of our training managers, Felix Aremo.
This topic is one of many we offer on our Practical Evangelism Training Days and one we can offer to London churches. Perfect for a small group setting or in your own personal Bible time.
1) PAUL WRITES TO THE GALATIAN CHURCH THE FOLLOWING:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:6-9
WHAT IS PAUL’S WARNING TO THOSE PREACHING FALSE GOSPELS? WHO DOES HE INCLUDE IN THAT WARNING? WHY DO YOU THINK HIS WARNING IS SO STRONG?
2) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
PERSONAL TESTIMONIES ARE POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT! SO WHY DO WE NEED TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE GOSPEL AND OUR TESTIMONIES?
3) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... THE FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 4:32-5:2
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE GOSPEL AND CHRISTIAN LIVING? WHEN IS IT TEMPTING TO PREACH GOSPEL FRUIT INSTEAD OF THE GOSPEL?
4) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... THE MORALITY ‘GOSPEL’
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT WE ARE TRUSTING IN OUR MORALITY INSTEAD OF THE GOSPEL?
5) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... THE IMMORALITY ‘GOSPEL’
“These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity – for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’ If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” 2 Peter 2:17-20 ‘
JESUS DIED FOR MY SINS SO IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW I LIVE.’ WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS STATEMENT? (SEE ROMANS 14:7-9 AND 2 CORINTHIANS 5:15)
6) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... THE SOCIAL ‘GOSPEL’
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:12-15
THE SOCIAL ‘GOSPEL’ VIEWS HISTORY IN AN OPTIMISTIC LIGHT, THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL COME GRADUALLY THROUGH HUMAN ACTIVITY, SIN AS EMBEDDED IN THE STRUCTURES OF SOCIETY, SALVATION AS SOCIAL RENEWAL IN THE PRESENT, AND MISSION AS TRANSFORMING SOCIETY THROUGH EDUCATION AND SOCIAL PROGRAMMES. HOW DOES THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL DIFFER IN DEFINING THESE FOUR IDEAS?
7) THE GOSPEL IS NOT... THE HEALTH, WEALTH AND PROSPERITY NOW ‘GOSPEL’
“You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:2-4