Lesson 15 | Sabbath, 12 October 2019
“Paul had ever exalted the divine law. He had shown that in the law there is no power to save men from the penalty of disobedience. Wrongdoers must repent of their sins and humble themselves before God, whose just wrath they have incurred by breaking His law, and they must also exercise faith in the blood of Christ as their only means of pardon. The Son of God had died as their sacrifice and had ascended to heaven to stand before the Father as their Advocate. By repentance and faith they might be freed from the condemnation of sin and through the grace of Christ be enabled henceforth to render obedience to the law of God.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 393.
1. What was the good news that Jesus proclaimed at the very beginning and all during His ministry?
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.
Mark 1:14, 15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
“Jesus Christ … came from heaven to awaken a desire and to give the bread of life to all who hunger for spiritual knowledge. Inspiration declared that His mission was to preach the gospel to the poor, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 221.
“Christ … chose … to take the gospel to the poor. He went from place to place, that those in the highways and byways might catch the words of the gospel of truth. He labored in the way in which He desires His workers to labor today. By the sea, on the mountainside, in the streets of the city, His voice was heard explaining the Old Testament Scriptures…. With clearness and power He proclaimed the gospel message.” –Evangelism, p. 54.
“He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, and preached the gospel to the poor. His words were simple and direct…. A child could comprehend His teaching. And as He did His work, so are we to do ours, following His example.” –Signs of the Times, July 8, 1889.
The gospel of Jesus Christ
2. In their preaching, with whom did the apostles always connect the gospel?
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Romans 1:9; 15:29 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;…
5:29And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
“‘With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.’ Acts 4:33. Under their labors were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of truth, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that filled their hearts with peace and joy…. The Lord spoke through them, and as they went from place to place, the poor had the gospel preached to them, and miracles of divine grace were wrought….
“While Jerusalem was filled with these strangers, the apostles preached Christ with unflinching courage, though they knew that in so doing they were placing their lives in constant jeopardy. The Spirit of God set its seal upon their labors; many converts to the faith were made….
“Wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 48, 165, 106.
3. What responsibility did the Lord entrust to Paul when He called him to be His apostle?
Galatians 1:15, 16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.
Romans 1:1-5 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.
“… In Thessalonica, in Corinth, in Ephesus, and in other important centers, Paul and his companions in labor preached the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 174.
“Paul regarded the occasion of his formal ordination as marking the beginning of a new and important epoch in his lifework. It was from the time of this solemn ceremony, when, just before he was to depart on his first missionary journey, he was ‘separated unto the gospel of God,’ that he afterward dated the beginning of his apostleship in the Christian church.” –(Review and Herald, May 11, 1911) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1067.
“All should learn their lesson from this, that they are individually amenable to God. When they love God with all their hearts, they will be wise unto salvation…. The solemn work rests upon every soul to consider that he is a servant of Jesus Christ, solemnly pledged by his baptismal vows to clothe himself with the righteousness of Christ.” –This Day with God, p. 128.
The gospel is the power of God
4. How did the apostle define the gospel of Jesus Christ? What did the Lord include in His gospel?
Romans 1:16, 17 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. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
“The Son of God alone can do the great work of illuminating the soul. No wonder Paul exclaims, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’ Romans 1:16.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 66.
“The apostle regarded himself as ‘debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians,’ as well as to the Jews; but he never lost sight of the decided advantages possessed by the Jews over others, ‘chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.’ ‘The gospel, he declared, is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.’ It is of this gospel of Christ, equally efficacious for Jew and Gentile, that Paul in his epistle to the Romans declared he was not ashamed.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 380.
5. List other concepts included in the “gospel of Jesus Christ.” According to the gospel, only in whom are justification and salvation found?
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
Acts 13:39; 4:12 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses…. 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
“The only remedy for the sins and sorrows of men is Christ. The gospel of His grace alone can cure the evils that curse society. The injustice of the rich toward the poor, the hatred of the poor toward the rich, alike have their root in selfishness, and this can be eradicated only through submission to Christ. He alone, for the selfish heart of sin, gives the new heart of love. Let the servants of Christ preach the gospel with the Spirit sent down from heaven and work as He did for the benefit of men. Then such results will be manifest in the blessing and uplifting of mankind as are wholly impossible of accomplishment by human power.” –Christ’s Object Lessons (1900), p. 254.
6. Therefore, what is the great message that we have to preach in all world?
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
“In order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our power, through cooperation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ Matthew 24:14.
“‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15), is Christ’s command to His followers. Not that all are called to be ministers or missionaries in the ordinary sense of the term; but all may be workers with Him in giving the ‘glad tidings’ to their fellow men. To all, great or small, learned or ignorant, old or young, the command is given.” –Education, pp. 263, 264.
Relationship between the gospel and the law
7. While Jesus preached the gospel on one hand, what did He clearly teach about the law? Therefore, how closely connected are the law and the gospel in the teachings of Jesus and His apostles?
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
“… Concerning the law of Ten Commandments the psalmist declares, ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ Psalm 119:89. And Christ Himself says, ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law…. Verily I say unto you’–making the assertion as emphatic as possible–‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ Matthew 5:17, 18. Here He teaches … that these claims should hold as long as the heavens and the earth remain. The law of God is as immutable as His throne. It will maintain its claims upon mankind in all ages.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 365.
“The grace of Christ and the law of God are inseparable. In Jesus mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 349.
“The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. ‘Believe, believe,’ is their cry; ‘only believe in Christ, and you will be saved. It is all you have to do.’ While true faith trusts wholly in Christ for salvation, it will lead to perfect conformity to the law of God.” –The Faith I Live by, p. 93.
For additional study
“… While Christ saves the sinner, He does not do away with the law which condemns the sinner…. The law shows us our sins,…” –Reflecting Christ, p. 55.“The law reveals to man his sin…. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 20.
“It is not the province of law to save, but to condemn; not to pardon, but to convict…. The law cannot save those whom it condemns; it cannot rescue the perishing….” –Signs of the Times, November 10, 1890.
“He [Christ] saves men, not in sin, but from sin.” –Review and Herald, July 14, 1910.
“The gospel … the very gospel … saves our own souls.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 51, 52.
“The theme of redemption will bear the most concentrated study, and its depth will never be fully explored. You need not fear that you will exhaust this wonderful theme. Drink deep of the well of salvation. Go to the fountain for yourself, that you may be filled with refreshment, that Jesus may be in you a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life…. ‘Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.’ And what a price! Not ‘with corruptible things, as silver and gold,… but with the precious blood of Christ.’ When man was lost, the Son of God said, I will redeem him, I will become his surety and substitute. He laid aside His royal robes, clothed His divinity with humanity, stepped down from the royal throne, that He might reach the very depth of human woe and temptation, lift up our fallen natures, and make it possible for us to be overcomers, the sons of God, the heirs of the eternal kingdom.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 127.