The Simple New Testament Gospel (Gary Ogden)
Nearly 2,000 years ago, a man of Galilee walked the earth, said many things and by his life and death changed the world forever. He claimed to be more than a mere man; he said he was the son of God and that He was with the Father from the beginning of time. To prove those claims, he performed miracles of healing and showed his power over nature by calming storms and even raised the dead. The ultimate proof of his claims was that he was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
He said he was going to die and be raised again and it happened just as he said. He made many disciples, some of who would die telling the story of the crucifixion of the Savior and his resurrection. The Lord had commanded his apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This gospel was what would save men from the horror of sin; it was the power of God unto salvation.
As these men fulfilled that great commission, those that believed their message responded in a favorable way by being baptized for the remission of their sins: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them’” (Acts 2:37-41).
Then they banded together in accordance with the Lord’s command and became a congregation to worship and work together after God’s ordinances: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They were known simply as the church, or the Lord’s church, the church of Christ. They were followers of Christ and were called simply, Christians: “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
The church of Christ is a congregation established and patterned after the New Testament blueprint. Terms of church membership are taught exactly as they were taught by the apostles 2,000 years ago. The same gospel taught by Paul and Peter and John and all the inspired men are taught in Bible classes and from the pulpit. If the gospel of Christ was the power of God unto salvation 2,000 years ago (“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16), can there be any question that it will still save men and women today?
All need to be made the friends of God because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from the God of the universe and the gospel is God’s remedy for the problem. If we die in our sins, then we must spend an eternity away from the presence of God in flaming fire of hell.
Thanks be to God that he provided a sacrifice for our sins and revealed the terms of pardon in the Bible. It is extremely important for all of us to learn the simple gospel plan of salvation if we want to go to heaven when this life is over. It makes no difference how moral or religious we think we are, we still need to know the truth as revealed in God’s holy word, the Bible.