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The Ancient Gospel
April 27, 2008
Many of our older preachers used to preach that the apostle Peter, in Acts chapter 2, preached the first gospel sermon "in the name of a risen Lord". Some of our younger preachers and members, as is often done with traditional doctrine, have dropped that part, and merely say that Peter preached the first gospel sermon in Acts chapter 2. There are also denominations that preach that there are two gospels--one for the Jews, and another for the Gentiles. This is not true. There is one gospel for all.
The Ancient Gospel
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to the Load church of Christ 04-27-2008
Many think that the gospel—the good news, the good message—is only 2,000 years old, but it is much older. To understand this, we need to understand that the gospel is not a five step plan of salvation. In fact, the first step of that plan is to “Hear the gospel”.
We find Paul writing that the gospel was preached to Abraham.
Galatians 3:8: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
Abraham is estimated to have lived between 2000 and 1500 BC. That means that the gospel was preached almost 1500 to 2000 years before Christ was born!
Now that we know when the gospel was first preached, what was this gospel? Paul says that it is the prophecy to Abraham that “In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” By this, it was prophesied that not just the direct descendants of Abraham, but all the peoples—nations—of the earth would be blessed through this seed of Abraham.
The Law of Moses was given some 430 years later, according to the Apostle Paul:
Galatians 3:17: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
The prophets under the Law of Moses repeated the promise that was made to Abraham:
Isaiah 42:1: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2: He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3: A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4: He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
5: Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7: To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
The prophet Isaiah was preaching the gospel around 700 years before Christ was born. And then we find John the Baptist preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2: As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3: The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4: John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5: And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6: And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7: And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8: I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
We see by Mark’s description of the beginning of the gospel of Christ that it is the message of the Messiah, or Christ, as Savior. John the Baptizer preached this message.
Next we find Jesus preaching the gospel.
Luke 4:14: “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15: And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17: And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19: To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
After pronouncing Himself as appointed to preach the gospel, Jesus proceeded to do so.
Matthew 4:23: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
There are some religious groups who argue that Jesus preached a “kingdom gospel” to the Jews, while the apostles preached a “salvation gospel” to the Gentiles. This is not true. Jesus said that the gospel—singular—was to be preached to the world, which was the Gentile nations.
Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
He charged His disciples to do that very thing, which they proceeded to do.
Acts 8:25: “And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.”
To preach the pure word of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Some cite the following out of context to say there are two gospels:
Galatians 2:7: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”
The ancient gospel that was preached to Abraham, and by the prophets, which described the coming of Jesus, was preached to the Jews—the circumcision; and the Gentiles—the heathen, or pagans.
Ephesians 2:11: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Ephesians 3:6: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”
The ancient gospel foretells a savior come to save the world—the story of Jesus Christ.
The gospel is often preached incorrectly, as it was in the times of the apostles.
Galatians 1:7: “Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
An example of the true gospel can be found preached by Peter at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter 2:
Acts 2:16: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28: Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30: Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31: He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33: Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34: For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35: Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36: Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43: And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
If you believe that Jesus was that promised savior, and are willing to repent of your sins and let God direct your life, please come and be baptized into that one body today.