Updated: Dec 6, 2019
It seems that every sports event on television has at least one person holding a large banner saying “John 3:16”. This one passage is the most quoted verse of the Bible and does capture the heart of the Gospel message. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). This certainly is a precious summary of the love of God, but the gospel basics must include a number of truths to reflect the full picture. For in reality, good news can only be appreciated when you know the bad news.
There are five main points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
A. God is the Creator King of the Universe who demands and deserves our loving obedience by virtue of his sovereign power and goodness (Genesis 1:1-2; Isaiah 42:5).
B. Human beings have rebelled against God, rejecting His rule for their own schemes, trying to be their own kings, running their own lives (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 1:18-31).
C. Every aspect of existence has been cursed by our rebellion, which has doomed all of us to a sentence of death and has corrupted human nature with an evil disposition, rendering us wicked, guilty and helpless before God (Romans 3:9-23, 6:23, 8:19-21).
D. Jesus Christ is the Promised King who came to undue our rebellious heart and to acquit us from the death sentence (Mark 10:45). Jesus paid for the penalty of our revolt by suffering death on the cross in our place (Romans 3:24-26). Through his resurrection, Jesus has reconciled us to the Creator God and has promised to return for us when he comes to overcome evil and sin (I Thessalonians 1:9-10, II Thessalonians 1:8-10; John 14:1-3).
E. Everyone is called to surrender to King Jesus. We surrender when we:
1. Repent (turn away from sin) (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 2:38; 20:21).
2. Believe (trust Jesus to forgive our sins) (John 3:16; Matthew 10:33: Romans 10:9).
3. Are baptized as a public declaration of faith in Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:12; Romans 6:3-7).
These five points represent the basic elements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When you understand the whole picture, including the bad news about our sinful condition, you realized the gospel is good news indeed.