Friday, November 21, 2008

The Apostolic Gospel


1) Heidelberg Catechism

22 Q. What then must a Christian believe?

A. Everything God promises us in the gospel. That gospel is summarized for us in the
articles of our Christian faith---a creed beyond doubt, and confessed throughout the world.

23 Q. What are these articles?

A. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the
forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

2) Scripture

Ephesians 2:19-22: So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.


It is hard to overemphasize how important the gospel is! The gospel is the key that opens the door to our salvation. Romans 1:16 tells us that the gospel is the power for salvation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Without the gospel we cannot be saved! 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 teaches us that it’s by continuing to believe the gospel until the end of our lives that we possess salvation: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”

The gospel is apostolic. In other words, the gospel is the message that was preached and taught by the apostles. At the heart of the apostolic message or gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this sense, the gospel is a very narrow message. However, radiating out from this central message of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection are truths about the nature of God, the nature of man, the nature of the church, and the nature of the future! It is entirely appropriate that the central section of the Apostles Creed is about Jesus, for from him flows our understanding of God, man, the church, the future, and the Lord’s ways with human beings!

How does a church continue to stay apostolic? The Roman Catholics would say that staying apostolic comes about by loyalty to the pope, who is in the line of apostolic succession going back to Peter as bishop of Rome. We would say that remaining apostolic is a matter of staying true to the gospel that the apostles taught for the eternal comfort and salvation of sinners.

How important it is to get the gospel right! If you lose the keys you can’t enter the house! In a similar way, we can’t get into God’s kingdom or house without believing the apostolic gospel!

Discussion: Why is the gospel so important? How does a church stay true to the gospel? Is it important to go to a church that truly understands and teaches the apostolic gospel?

Prayer Starter: Thank the Lord if you go to a church that is true to the apostolic gospel. Pray for the gospel’s spread throughout the world.

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