I read the Book of Acts recently. The following passage caught my attention. Here Paul made his defence in front of Agrippa. He recalled his experience on the road to Damascus where he met Jesus. The passage is a good summary of the gospel message that the earliest church understood. I think it would help if we take a look and see whether the message we proclaim today is the same as that.
“[Jesus said to Paul] ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified [made holy] by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Act:26:15b–23; NIV; emphasis added)
This message obviously centres around the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah (ie. the Christ). It speaks of the fact that the gospel stems from the Old Testament. The gospel message includes the call to repentance and faith in Jesus, so that believers may receive the forgiveness of sins. Importantly, the gospel is about the defeat of evil through Jesus, and that those who belong to him have been set free from the power of Satan.
What a blessing it is to be recipients of this message, and what a privilege it is to participate in proclaiming and embodying this message in our daily life!