“KERYGMA,” (THE EARLY GOSPEL)

“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” (Romans 10:8-9).

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”   (Romans 1:16)

The Gospel message: What is it and why is it important? The primary reason is because Jesus commands us to go into the world and preach the gospel, (Mark 16:15). Another reason is that due to the recent civil unrest and disasters; Christians are being asked by their friends, peers, and loved ones to share the Gospel. The problem is that studies and polls indicate that a large percentage of Christians do not know what the gospel message is. When asked, they could not even mention any of the primary aspects of the gospel. They made no mention of sin, Christ, or of His death and resurrection. Things that they did mention included; social justice, doing good works, being a good person, or they gave some type of personal testimony. These things can be of value, but they are not the gospel. Things do not get any better when we look at the teaching in many churches. The sermons preached there reflect the items that people are giving as the gospel. Too many pastors are neglecting the true word of God, including the Gospel of Christ, and are instead teaching seeker friendly messages of self-esteem, self-help advice, or wealth and prosperity teachings. These teachings do nothing to bring sinners to salvation. Only the gospel message of Christ saves, anything else presented as the Gospel is misinformation which only brings condemnation.

Paul proclaimed the basic gospel message in Romans 10:8-9, (see the verse at the top of the page). Peter gave the gospel message in his powerful sermon at Pentecost. He proclaimed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, He was crucified and killed by lawless men, then raised up by God, and now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God as both Lord and Christ (Savior). The audience was cut to the heart and asked what they should do. Peter responded with these instructions:

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38).

“Kerygma” is the Greek word which means; “the early gospel message proclaimed by the early church.” The message of the early church members was brief in comparison to modern definitions of the gospel. It contained what was needed for salvation and it was used to expand Christianity throughout the known world. To grasp the concept of the kerygma, it is necessary to understand the gospel as the Apostles and the early followers of Christ would have understood it. The gospel message is the good news concerning the coming of the Messiah, who had been prophesized in the scriptures. He had lived among them and He taught them, then He was murdered, though He was innocent. Then He was resurrected, and He appeared to them and hundreds of other witnesses. His death and resurrection proved that He was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. This is the “good news” that they had to proclaim, and they would proclaim it throughout the known world. All the Apostles would suffer and die for proclaiming this message. Only John would not be killed, but he suffered greatly on the island of Patmos. Just as they had the enthusiasm to proclaim the gospel message, so we should also feel the same enthusiasm because we have been saved to eternal life by the work of Christ.

Remember when you respond to others wanting the gospel message to include the following three-points in your message.

1. All people have sinned.

2. The penalty for sin is death.

3. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

The necessity for the repentance of sins, and the need for belief and faith in Christ including His resurrection are also vitally important in your message. This is only a brief but sufficient message; the full gospel message is the entirety of Scripture.

 In the verse above (Rom. 1:16), Paul explains that the power of God in salvation is in the gospel itself. The power is not in the messenger—-it is not your burden if the message is accepted or rejected. Your task is only to give the gospel message. We are all imperfect messengers, but God’s message is perfect. Jesus of Nazareth was an actual person who lived 2000 years ago, and we are telling others the story of His work of redemption when we present the gospel. The Gospel of Christ is the good news to mankind! Tell others this news of redemption and eternal life in Christ.

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