The Gospel Message – The Good News

 In Evangelism

By Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum

The Gospel Message

The follow transcript starts at 1:04/33:43

The purpose of this message is to present the gospel, the good news, to explain what one needs to believe in order to be saved. 

The other question is, saved from what? The key element to be saved “what” in the scriptures happens to be saved from hell, saved from the Lake of Fire. And that is the ultimate reason to receive eternal life.  But there is a specific thing that needs to be believed for us to be truly saved. And saved from the eternal damnation for those who choose not to believe.

The other question is, saved from what? The key element  to be saved “what” in the scriptures happens to be saved from hell, saved from the Lake of Fire. And that is the ultimate reason to receive eternal life.  But there is a specific thing that needs to be believed for us to be truly saved. And saved from the eternal damnation for those who choose not to believe.

Let’s begin, then, with salvation.  And the basic meaning of salvation is impartation of eternal life. Therefore, no longer under eternal judgment…  Furthermore, it will lead to assurance of salvation. 

And salvation always comes by grace through faith. And what do we mean by faith is exactly what do we mean to believe?  So to believe… another word could be to trust. To believe or to trust, that is the meaning or the biblical meaning of faith. 

What changes in the course of Biblical history is the content of faith? 

What do you have to believe to be saved?  

And that was not always the same. 

It was based on what God had revealed up to that point of time. 

A basic simplification that one often hears is, “in the Old Testament people looked forward to Messiah’s death and now in New Testament times we look back at His death.”  That sounds good but it is not really biblically accurate because that is reading New Testament knowledge back into the Old Testament and assuming the Old Testament believer had knowledge that he could not possibly have had.  

It is true that the prophecies about the Messiah came rather quickly as early as Genesis chapter 3. However, the fact that the Messiah would die was not revealed until David’s time in Psalm 22.  And while Psalm 22 clearly prophecies Messiah’s death and how He will die it does not tell us why He will die. That will come centuries later in the time of Isaiah the prophet, about three centuries after David. And it will be Isaiah 53 that finally spells out clearly why the Messiah has to die and that He will be the final blood sacrifice for sin.

It is important not to assume biblical knowledge before the Bible presents that knowledge as being possible. So let’s talk about the content of faith at different points of time. In Genesis chapter 3 we have the account of the fall of man to sin. So it would be natural in the same chapter that God will make a promise and the first Messianic promise of the Messiah coming to deal with the promise of sin.

So in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 we read,

“I will put enmity between [you] and the woman, and between [your] seed and her seed, he shall bruise [your] head, and [you] shall bruise His heel.”  

Now this first Messianic prophecy of Genesis 3:15 was not given to Adam or to Eve, but to Satan, directly to Satan. And, now Satan knows that the descendent of the woman that he tempted will someday come to defeat him.  And so therefore he will target the seed of the woman trying to avoid the seed of Messiah from arriving.

As you move to the patriarchal period, what is the content of faith?

Genesis chapter 15 verse 6,

“[and he believed in YHVH] And he believed in Jehovah, and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.” 

And what is it that Abraham had to believe?  That is found right in the first five verses. Abraham had to believe in the promises of God as was revealed to him in what is called the Abrahamic Covenant. And that was the content of Abraham’s faith in that he believed the promises of God would ultimately be fulfilled.

Now when we come to the time of the role of the Mosaic Law, the Torah, the content of faith is spelled out in Isaiah 43 verses 10 through 12.

We read,

“Ye are my witnesses, [says YHVH] Jehovah, and my servant who I have chosen; that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he: before me there is no god formed, neither shall there be after me.” “I, [even I, am YHVH], I even I am Jehovah; and besides me there is no savior.  I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; and there was no strange god among you therefore ye are my witnesses, saith [says] Jehovah, and I am God.” 

And the witnesses here are the people of Israel. 

And he spells out what the content of faith here is. 

Two things, number one, that the God of Israel, is the only God, and if you believe this that rules out polytheism, believing in  many gods, and also rules out idolatry. 

The second thing is that He is the only Savior and therefore that rules out trusting any one’s work, trusting my own works for me to earn salvation. 

But also notice that the Savior has to be God. This is what the text clearly teaches. 

“besides Me there is no Savior.”

And, therefore the Savior would have to be God Himself.  Now for a Gentile to believe in these two things he would then receive eternal life.  

He would then ask, “Well now how do I live?”.  And the answer is, “You live in accordance with the Adamic and Noahic Covenant”.  If a Jew believed these two things, then he would also receive eternal life. 

And, when he asks, “How do I now live?” For him the answer is “You live in accordance with the Mosaic law, the 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law.  And when there is failure there is a blood sacrifice available to restore the fellowship. So this was the content of faith until the time of Messiah’s death and resurrection. 

Now what is the content of faith in this age?  This is given in 1st Corinthians 15 verses 1-4.

“Now I make know to you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you receive, wherein also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except you believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”.  

Now between the Messiah’s public ministry and His death and resurrection this is not what you have to believe because His death and resurrection had not yet occurred. What you had to believe was that He was the Messianic King. And those who believed Him to be the Messianic King like the apostles and Nicodemus, that was what they needed to believe to receive eternal life.  And in fact at that time the disciples did not even realize Messiah would die and be resurrected. 

But now that those events have occurred the content of what we must now believe are the three things in this passage.  Number one, Messiah died for our sins. And this was in keeping with the Scriptures like Isaiah 53.

Secondly, He was buried, and, that was the evidence of His death. 

And then He was resurrected on the third day, also according to the Scriptures.  That is the third element.  

So what does one have to believe to be saved? Number one, Messiah died for our sins. Secondly, He was buried. And thirdly, He rose again on the third day. That’s the simple gospel. That is all one has to believe to be truly saved and to truly receive eternal life and to be truly saved from any eternal damnation.

Now let’s move on to how the gospel can be corrupted.  The corruption of the gospel.  

Dr. Charles Ryrie in his book, Basic Theology wrote the following. Quote

“Confusion abounds with respect both to the content and presentation of the Gospel of the grace of God.  Some do not present it purely; some do not present it clearly; some do not present it sincerely. But because God is gracious, He will often give light and faith in spite of our imprecise witness”.

Now some of the evidences or elements that corrupt the gospel would be the following. One of those situations is, accept Him as the Lord of your life, meaning this is often referred to as Lordship salvation. Now the term Lord in the New Testament is reflecting the term YHWH, Jehovah of the Hebrew Bible.  

Now to the necessity of believing that He is Lord, that He is God is essential for salvation as we saw in the Isaiah passage, “beside Me there is no Savior.” And therefore, for Yeshua to be the Savior, He must also be God. Otherwise He cannot be the Savior based upon the background of the Hebrew Bible. So no one can deny the deity of the Messiah and really be a true believer in the gospel. 

And what the problem here is that some people teach that you must make Him the Lord of your life in order to be truly saved. But, making Him the Lord of your life is a post salvation experience because before salvation we don’t have the capacity to make Him Lord of our life.  

Often the word “repent” is used and people assume repentance is a necessary element for salvation and what it means is to be sorry for your sins. To be sorry for your sins. But the word repentance simply means to change your mind.  And what you mean to change your mind about what is dependent on the context.

For example, we often read that “and God repented.”  Obviously, God did not repent in the sense of being sorry for His sins.  God is sinless. But it means in the sense of change your mind. For example, He repented upon the creation of humanity, meaning He changed His mind about the act of Creation. 

Sometimes the word repent can be the changing of mind of anything. In connection with salvation is not a separate thing from believing. Believing is the positive side of salvation. This is what we have to believe to be saved.  But in order to make the decision to believe the gospel we have to repent. We have to change our mind about our unbelief.  

So we repent, we change our mind about not believing in Him and now we do believe in Him.  So repentance in a salvation context is simply only one side, the opposite side of believing. It’s part of the same package.

Now another way where corruption of the gospel occurs is where people are encouraged to walk down the aisle or raise your hands or stand up or recite the sinner’s prayer.  And now none of these are actually taught anywhere in the New Testament. A person who walks down the aisle, if he is truly saved was saved before he began to walk down the aisle because he already believed the gospel.  Many people who walk down the aisle never believe. But those who do walk the aisle have already believed because this is truly an act of salvation. 

And all these other elements, raising hands, stand up and so on are, may or may not be the  acts of salvation. But usually those who salvation is about, in fact always, they have already believed and already have received eternal life and don’t need to raise their hands and stand up. 

Another very common corruption is to recite the sinner’s prayer.  As you read through the gospels, as you read through the rest of the New Testament what you will never see is anyone reciting a sinner’s prayer.  And here again, one does not recite a sinner’s prayer in order to be saved because he has already believed in the gospel. He is already saved and reciting the sinner’s prayer is of no value so far as attaining salvation.  

So we must be very careful on how the gospel is presented.  And the issue becomes believing those three points I mentioned earlier.

Now another way in which the gospel is corrupted is ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Often based on Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and I will sup with him, and he with me.” The verse is actually addressed to the Laodicean church which was an unbelieving church to begin with. And it is an invitation for individuals in that unbelieving church to change their mind and become believers. 

There is nothing in the Bible about asking Yeshua to come into your heart.  Now once we believe that happens automatically. We don’t have to ask for it.  

So again, once we believe the content of the gospel, Messiah died for our sins, was buried and rose again, then He will come into us. We don’t have to ask for it. We have to believe the gospel. Without believing it nothing will happen.

And then you have a lot of additions to the gospel. People might get the gospel right but then they add the plus.  And once you add the plus, then the gospel has been corrupted. So for example, a common and false addition to the gospel is the gospel plus baptism.  But baptism is not part of the salvation package. It’s not essential at all for salvation. It is essential for discipleship. But discipleship always begins with the post salvation experience. But the act of baptism is adding works to salvation.  And what the New Testament clearly teaches, as well as the Old Testament is that salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing.

Others teach you need to become a member of a certain denomination or a church, a congregation or a church denomination.  But here again this will add works to the salvation package. And this is often taught in certain denominations that claim to be the only true church.  However, membership is something that occurs as a post-salvation experience, not a way to initiate salvation. 

And then we have those who still feel we still have to keep the Law of Moses.  But none of them have the capacity to do so.

And in Galatians 2 verse 21,

“I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the Law, then Messiah died for [nothing].” 

The Law of Moses is intended to be a rule for life for the people of Israel.  That began with Moses and ended with Messiah’s death. But it was a rule of life for those who already were saved, it was not a means of earning salvation. Nor a means of keeping salvation. 

Another fallacy in the gospel message today is the issue of false promises like the prosperity gospel.  You hear those teaching that God wants every believer to be healthy and to be prosperous. And therefore, if you are not receiving prosperity that could mean that you were never saved to begin with or if you are saved you are not filled with the Spirit and not walking in the Spirit. 

That’s a false promise and God never promises to every believer any kind of prosperity. And, that is a major fallacy that corrupts the gospel.  

Now here are the true promises for those who actually believe the simple gospel message.  

In Isaiah chapter 53 verses 5 and 6 we read,

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray we have turned everyone to his own way; and YHVH, Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 

Isaiah the prophet was a Jewish prophet addressing Jewish people.  In this prophetic point he points out the first major key point of the gospel that He would die for our sins.  That He would die more specifically for the sins of Israel. There are other passages in Isaiah that also show that He will also die for the sins of the world. 

Then you have the promise of eternal life. Yeshua said:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and [comes] not into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” 

This is a promise made in John 5:24 and the corollary passage is John chapter 6 verses 47-51.  

At this point when He speaks these words notice He has not died and resurrected.  So, people had to believe that He was the Messianic King. That would be sufficient for them to receive eternal life.  But with the death and resurrection occurring the new content of faith is what we read in 1st Corinthians 15 verses 1 through 4. 

Thirdly He promises assurance.  Yeshua said,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” 

And notice what it means to have eternal life.  It means they shall never perish. It is not eternal life until the next sin or the next big sin or bad sin.  We are given eternal life the moment we believe, the second we believe. And that we shall never perish. And so we are given the promise of assurance of salvation.

And again the time of the context of this passage His death and resurrection had not yet occurred.  But those who were his sheep, those who believed, who claimed that He was the Messianic God-Man will receive eternal life and never perish. 

The fourth promise is help and hope. I am reading now from Romans 8 verses 28 through 32.  

“And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom he foreordained, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  What then shall we to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?”

And after Messiah has died as Paul points out in this quotation, we are given a promise of help and hope.  And he points out that once we believed we have been justified when the process of being sanctified we shall ultimately also be glorified.  These are the three time zones of our salvation. And what has begun with justification will without interruption continue until we are glorified.  

A fifth promise is heaven. Revelation 21 verses 2 through 5 reads

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be [any] mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.  And He that sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He saith, Write: for these words are faithful and true.”

The Jerusalem that he writes here already exists up in the third heaven. But with the creation of the new earth following the Messianic Millennial Kingdom God will create a new earth and then the new Jerusalem will come down upon the new earth. 

There will truly be heaven on earth. And this is a time that every tear will be wiped away and we shall now live in the city with the Triune God and with all the saints from Adam until the end of human history. 

So in conclusion what is it that we have to believe to be saved? Three things: The Messiah Yeshua died for your sins, according to the Scriptures.  Second, He was buried. That is the evidence of His death. And third, that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. This is the content of the gospel.  There is no more to the gospel than these three points. This is the full gospel.

Now some questions that need to be answered. Is that all I need to believe to be saved? The answer is yes.  

And Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 2 verses 4 through 9,

“but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive with Messiah (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Messiah or Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua: for by grace have ye been saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that any man should glory.”

So yes, the three points of the gospel is all you need to be saved. And that is experiencing the eternal grace of God.  

Now to respond to the question, “Is that all I need to believe to be saved?” The answer is yes.  The final words on the cross of Yeshua were,

“It is finished.”

Tetelestai, one word in Greek. What that emphasizes is that His death about to be accomplished on the cross seconds after He says these words.  His death will be the final sacrifice for sin.  

So, for all those animal sacrifices over all those centuries were nothing but installment payments.  Now the final payment for sin is to be paid the moment He dies. Therefore, it is finished. 

Again the question is raised, “Is that I need to believe to be saved?” And again the answer is yes. 

Acts 4:12 says,

“And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.” Peter was making his statement while he was on trial by the Sanhedrin.  And they were telling him he must no longer preach in the Name of Yeshua, the Name of Jesus, where he declares there is no other name. That name is Yeshua, that name is Jesus. No other name under heaven that can bring a person, give them eternal life.

And therefore, this is the gospel they must believe to have eternal life.  

In Matthew 1:21,

“And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name YESHUA, Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.”  

At the time of the pregnancy of Miriam, or Mary, when Joseph was having second thoughts not realizing what is actually happening the angel tells him to believe Miriam or Mary’s story. And Yeshua comes from the Hebrew word, yasha meaning to save. And so there is a word play here. Ye shall call his name Yeshua because He will yoshia, His people from their sins. His people are the Jewish people. 

הִיא יוֹלֶדֶת בֵּן וְאַתָּה תִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ, כִּי הוּא יוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת עַמּוֹ מֵחַטֹּאתֵיהֶם

 Matthew 1:21, HNT

And so, the primary aim of His coming is to save the Jewish people from their sins but again as the Hebrew Bible shows in Isaiah 42 and Isaiah 49 and also as the rest of the New Testament shows He also dies for the sins of all humanity. 

Now let me summarize the three points of the gospel in conclusion.  What is it that we have to believe to be saved? Three simple points. Number one, Messiah died for our sins.  Not that He just merely died. He died specifically for our sins. Secondly, He was buried which was the evidence of His death. And thirdly, He rose again and on the third day, which is the evidence that God will provide salvation to all who believe the gospel and believe it through Him. 

So yes, those three points are all we need to believe to receive eternal life. But then comes the beginnings of discipleship. That is always a post-salvation experience and not a pre-salvation experience. Shalom.

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