Jaquelle Crowe – How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years

A Life Transformed

The gospel changes everything. To live a life transformed by the gospel means that everything in life changes.

The first thing is our identity; who we are as people. We’re no longer teenagers defined by the world’s standards. We’re no longer defined by sin, by what we once wanted to do, but we are defined by the gospel, by God—our identity as children of God in Christ. That means the entire narrative of our lives is changed, so we are part now of the greatest, biggest story ever told. We’re actually a part of the story of the gospel, and of God’s people. We get to live in this story, which means everything in our lives and our circumstances changes.

It also changes our community, who we spend time with. It changes our love for God’s people, and makes us want to be a part of a local community of God’s people. It changes how we act, what we find funny, what we post on social media, what we read. Prior to the gospel, we thought a certain way, we acted a certain way, we had this ideology that directed us, and the gospel just flips it on its head and revolutionizes everything.

It means that our entire lives are now about the gospel and about Jesus — not about us, not about what we want to do, but about Jesus and what would honor and glorify him. How can I act today and tomorrow, and how can I plan my future, with the gospel in mind? How can I go to school, how can I read, how can I watch TV in a way that brings honor to Jesus, instead of me?

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Terry Mortenson – Adam, Morality, the Gospel, and the Authority of Scripture


In the preceding chapters several important propositions have been thoroughly established.

1. Genesis 1–11 clearly teaches, and the rest of the Bible confirms, that God supernaturally created Adam from dust and Eve from his rib (not from any pre-existing living creature) on the sixth literal 24-hour day of history a little over 6,000 years ago.

2. All humans are uniquely made in the image of God and all humans who have ever lived are descended from Adam and Eve, regardless of their language, skin color, eye shape, etc. There is only one race — Adam’s race.

3. Until the 20th century, this was the universal belief of Bible-believing Christians about Adam (except for some in the late 19th century who after denying any chronological value to the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 pushed back the date of Adam’s creation several tens of thousands of years).

4. The fossil evidence does not support the idea of human evolution, but rather confirms Genesis. Controlled by a naturalistic (i.e., atheistic) worldview, the evolutionists have misinterpreted the evidence. The public has been deceived by imaginative art and relentless dogmatic claims that do not survive careful scrutiny.

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J. C. Ryle – 5 Ways to Spoil the Gospel


There are many ways in which the faith of Christ may be marred and spoiled, without being positively denied. And here we venture to think is the very reason that so much religion called Christian, is not truly Evangelical. The Gospel in fact is a most curiously and delicately compounded medicine, and a medicine that is very easily spoiled.

You may spoil the Gospel by substitution . You have only to withdraw from the eyes of the sinner the grand object which the Bible proposes to faith — Jesus Christ; and to substitute another object in His place — the Church, the Ministry, the Confessional, Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, and the mischief is done. Substitute anything for Christ, and the Gospel is totally spoiled! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

You may spoil the Gospel by addition . You have only to add to Christ, the grand object of faith, some other objects as equally worthy of honour, and the mischief is done. Add anything to Christ, and the Gospel ceases to be a pure Gospel! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

You may spoil the Gospel by interposition . You have only to push something between Christ and the eye of the soul, to draw away the sinner’s attention from the Saviour, and the mischief is done. Interpose anything between man and Christ, and man will neglect Christ for the thing interposed! Do this, either directly or indirectly, and your religion ceases to be Evangelical.

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Daniel Hyde – Continually Washed by the Gospel


Right after you were born, the blood and vernix on your body was washed off by a nurse or even your mom or dad. Have you taken a bath or shower since the day you were born? Of course you have. Our bodies continually become dirtied, requiring new cleansing. It is the same way with us spiritually. Even after we are born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:1–8), we continue to sin. We have to be washed for the first time by Jesus, but He also continues to wash us of our sins.

The Lord said to Moses, “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.” (Exodus 30:17-21)

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Greg Gilbert – What Is the Gospel?


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.
Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
What is our problem?
What is God’s solution to our problem?
How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

We are accountable to God.
Our problem is our sin against him.
God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

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William Varner – Seed of Promise in Genesis 3:15


The gospel is not something God hid until Jesus came in the flesh. After Adam’s Fall, God shared the seeds of a plan He had already worked out before time began.

Private conversations between individuals have often turned the tide of history. Think of just one example: the secret meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill, settling the Allies’ war aims before the United States’ entry into World War II. We’d all be surprised if we knew how much our everyday lives are affected by conversations among powerful individuals at the highest levels of government and society. Yet the combination of all those conversations pales in comparison to a brief, tragic conversation that took place in a beautiful garden six thousand years ago.

The conversation is recorded for us in Genesis 3. It was a dark episode in human history—involving a serpent, a woman, a man, and God. Yet from this scene shines forth the greatest beacon of hope the lost world has ever known.

That beacon is found in fifteen simple but profound Hebrew words of verse 15. Theologians have called them the protoevangelium, that is, the first (proto-) announcement of the good news of the gospel (evangelium). God addressed these sober words to the satanic power behind the serpent: “And 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.”

For centuries, Christians have argued that this verse proves God established His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ from the very beginning (Ephesians 1:4). Because these words were written thousands of years before His death on the Cross, they prove the Lord oversaw every word of Scripture — and every incident of history — to unfold His sovereign, eternal plan. In recent days, however, this interpretation has come under attack by skeptics, Jews, and even some evangelicals. Let’s take a closer look at the account to see if this verse really is prophetic.

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Mike Leake – The Ear-Ticklers Carousel


My daughter could hardly contain the smile on her face. She was getting to do what I’m confident she’d dreamed of doing for most of her life—ride a unicorn. Or maybe it was a rhino. Maybe a lion. I really can’t remember because I was too bored to pay much attention. Don’t get me wrong I was pretending to enjoy the ride, and getting a bit of joy from my daughter’s exuberant joy. But if it hadn’t been for her, I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have been riding that carousel.

My eight-year old son was a bit petulant at the thought of being seen bouncing up and down on a plastic bear. And I’m sure that given three or four more years my daughter will develop that same sour look on her face at the idea of being caught dead on this rotating circle of shame. That’s the law of diminishing return with us humans. What captivated us at 4 no longer captivates us at 14, or even at 8.

This is always why churches and preachers are foolish developing ministries centered upon the tickled ear. The human ear will eventually move on from what once tickled it. This is why Paul told Timothy that those who refuse to put up with sound doctrine will eventually wander into all sorts of endless and silly myths. Such a carousel is the only landing spot for those of the itching ear. A rotating circle of nothingness is the only option for those who reject being grounded by truth.

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D. A. Carson – The Power of the Gospel


We tend to overlook how often the gospel of Christ crucified is described as “power.”

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, he declares, “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Writing to the Corinthians, Paul insists that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). He takes painstaking care not to corrupt the gospel with cheap tricks like manipulative rhetoric, what he dismissively sets aside as “words of human wisdom”—“lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1:17). The “incomparably great power” that is working in those who believe is tied to the exercise of God’s mighty strength when He raised Jesus from the dead (Eph 1:19–20).

There is superb irony in all this, of course. When Jesus was executed in the first century, the cross had no positive religious overtones. The Romans had three methods of capital punishment, and crucifixion was the most painful and the most shameful. Yet here were the Christians, their leader executed as a damned malefactor, talking about Him with gleeful irony as if He were reigning from the cross.

So central was the cross in Paul’s estimation that he could write, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor 2:2–5).

But this stance, of course, is not exclusively Paul’s. Martin Hengel and others have shown that in the first century, the four canonical books we refer to as “Gospels” did not use the word “gospel” as if it were a literary genre. In the first century, no one spoke of “the Gospel of Matthew” or “the Gospel of Mark” or the like. Rather, each of the four relevant books was “the gospel according to Matthew,” “the gospel according to Mark,” and so forth. In other words, there was only one gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the kingdom, with multiple witnesses.

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Michael Boling – The Gospel: A Message of Redemption and Restoration

quotescover-JPG-56 The word gospel has experienced a bit of a resurgence of late. All one has to do is take a walk down the aisle of their favorite Christian bookstore or go to their favorite bloggers website to see this term utilized in seemingly every book or blog post title. We are encouraged to be “Gospel-Centered”, “Gospel-Driven”, “Gospel-Focused”, to “preach the gospel”, “love the gospel”, and to “not be ashamed of the gospel”. Trust me. Those are just a small snippet of the many ways gospel is used in titles and conversation.

I have no qualms with any of that as the gospel is truly the focus of the faith. But what exactly is the gospel that everyone is talking about in these books and blogs. On many occasions the word is used in almost a buzzword type approach with no real explanation of just what this thing called the gospel is all about for which we are supposed to be centered, focused, in love with, and declaring. In order to be in love with something, to be focused upon that something, to be centered on that something, or to be capable of properly declaring the message of that something, one has to be well versed in what that something is all about and why it matters.

Many suggest the gospel is about being saved from going to hell and in turn going to heaven. While one’s eternal destination is certainly part of the gospel equation, the message of the gospel contains something even more valuable that simply avoiding the fires of hell or experiencing the joys of eternity with God. Again, those are part of the gospel but only a part.

To have any chance at understanding what the gospel is about, we have to start the conversation way back in Genesis. In the first two chapters of Genesis, we are told that God created everything and He created everything perfect. There was no sin and there was no death in the original creation. Man experienced perfect harmony with nature and more importantly, man (meaning Adam and Eve) knew God both physically and spiritually. There was no separation of Creator and His creation. We are told that God made a habit of walking in the Garden with man. As long as man was obedient to God’s command, this wonderful existence of complete perfection was designed to extend into eternity with man having dominion over creation and their progeny filling the earth.

Something happened to impact this perfect existence. That something was sin. Once man sinned, the perfect relationship between Creator and His creation experienced a tragic separation. God being without sin would no longer dwell with man who had sinned. Furthermore, all creation began to groan under the weight and impact of that sinful deed. Yet despite this horrific separation from God and the resulting process of death, both physical and spiritual death, beginning to ensue, hope was provided. Genesis 3:15 is often called the protoevangelium or the first gospel message. In this passage, God declared:

“And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

This passage notes there will be a battle that will ensue between two seeds: the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The seed of the serpent represents the enemy and his progeny (the wicked) and the seed of the woman represents the people of God, specifically the Messiah. The enemy would inflict a wound on the Messiah, but in the end, the serpent would be crushed forevermore.

Thus the message of the gospel involves the Messiah, the Promised One sent by the Father to pay the penalty for our sin. This is the message of salvation. But yet the question remains as to salvation from what? Salvation from hell? Again it is in part salvation from hell and eternity with God, but as we noted earlier, that is merely the tip of the iceberg. You see prior to sin coming into the picture, there was no need for salvation. Everything was in perfect order and man’s relationship with God and with nature was the essence of beauty. They were in the very presence of God because He dwelled with them in the Garden. When they sinned, man was removed from the Garden with the promise given that redemption would take place through the Messiah.

This presents another question. Redemption to what? We are often told that we are redeemed from sin and death by the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Very true indeed. Christ did buy us back through that sacrifice. In fact, the word redemption has as its meaning the action of “buying back” or more specifically in this case, “buying or purchasing back that which was lost”. But what was lost and where was it lost? We must remember that what was lost was relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. When sin came into the picture, man lost a great many things to include the beauty of physical interaction with God in a place, with that place being the Garden, a place of existence on earth.

Why is this even important and what does it have to do with the gospel? God promised to redeem His people back to Him so that which was lost would one day be restored. Since that which was lost was not only the beauty of physical relationship and the absence of sin but also a perfect existence in the Garden on a perfect earth in a universe without death and decay, we have to state that the gospel includes all of these things under the umbrella of redemption. We lost our heritage in the Garden, that perfect existence with God for which we were created and the movement of history is a return to that heritage for those who are the children of God. We are looking forward to that day when all things are restored and we live for eternity in the presence of God in this restored “Garden”.

The banishment from the Garden will be lifted and we will once again live in the presence of God in a place that functions in all elements of perfection. Sin and death will be destroyed for all eternity and the heritage that was once promised will be restored. The joy of relationship will be a joy everlasting. This is truly what the gospel is all about. It is far more than just getting your ticket punched to escape hell and make it to heaven. Embracing the gospel will of course involve escaping the torment of hell. There is no question about that, but in biblical terms, the story presented is one of redemption and that redemption is the restoration of relationship.

When we look at the bookends of Scripture we find perfection and perfection. We find God dwelling with His people. In the middle is the battle between the two seeds. However, in the beginning man is in the Garden with dominion given to him by God with man walking with God. In the end, man is again in the Garden of God with dominion given yet again to him by God with man walking with God. Perfection given, sin impacting everything, redemption promised, redemption fulfilled. That is the pattern of the gospel message in Scripture – the return to the Heritage of the Garden.

So as we become “gospel-centered”, “gospel-focused”, “gospel-driven”, etc. let us not forget what the message of the gospel is all about. It is more than not going to hell. It is all about redemption of relationship. When we understand the gospel in those terms, we will in turn grasp what God is doing and revealing in His word and what all of history is moving towards. Furthermore, we will better understand the importance of growing in relationship with God as we await that glorious day when that which was lost is restored for all eternity. Certainly saved from eternal destruction, but most importantly, saved to restoration of relationship.

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