Lesson 2: The Gospel
Instructions: Read the lesson. Make sure that you check the Scriptural references (don’t just skip it). Then answer the questions below. Do your best to answer them without looking at the lesson. You can close your eyes while you’re trying to answer the question. This will show whether you have actually understood the lesson or not. If you cannot really answer the question, then go back to the lesson to find the right answer. If you were able to answer, check if it’s correct by going back to the lesson.
According to Acts 2:36-41 and Acts 11:19-26, a person must experience the following in order to get genuinely converted:
- Hear and understand the Gospel
- Respond to it by faith
- Be water baptized
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
So the first step to being saved is hearing and understanding the Gospel.
The Gospel is all about the nearness of the kingdom of God in and through Jesus Christ (Mark 1:14-15). The kingdom of God is the reign or rule of God. This reign or rule has a present and future aspect. God is already reigning/ruling now (Isaiah 43:14-15). But God will also come to reign/rule in the future (Isaiah 24:23). The future aspect of the kingdom of God has three characteristics: it is earthly, it is eschatological, and it is ethical.
First of all, it is “earthly” because it will happen here on earth (Rev 21-22). In other words, the kingdom of God will not be in heaven; it will be here on earth. God will come and reign/rule on earth because He created it (Gen 1:1).
Second, it is “eschatological” because it is about the last days, i.e. the future coming of God in and through Jesus Christ at the end of the age. This will result in both judgment and salvation for all mankind (Rev 20). It will result in judgment for those who are wicked, while it will result in salvation for those who are righteous (1 Thess 5:1-11).
Third, it is also “ethical” because it has to do with the transformation of the human heart, and, consequently, of all human society, so that it will conform to the righteousness of God (Rom 14:17-18). The human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). God will change the human heart so it will submit to God’s rule.
The kingdom of God begins in the here and now (not in the future) by faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:21-26). He is the One who cleanses us from all our unrighteousness by forgiving us of our sins (Rom 6:23). Then He changes our hearts through the Holy Spirit, by writing His laws in our hearts so that we may obey Him in love day by day (Heb 8:10-12; Phil 2:12-13). He continues to work in our lives now and until the very end so that we may become blameless in His sight when He comes (1 Thess 5:23-24). When He returns, He will transform our lowly bodies and will give us new spiritual bodies which will never die (1 Cor 15:20-28). There will be no more sin, and, therefore, there will be no more death, in the kingdom of God (Rev 22).
The good news is that now this kingdom is operating in and through Jesus Christ, because all authority has already been given to Him (Matthew 28:18-20). But one day He will hand over the kingdom to God so that God may reign/rule forever and ever in all creation (1 Cor 15:20-28). The kingdom of God will come on that day, but no one knows the day or the hour. So God wants all men to be saved now through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-7), so that they may take part in His kingdom when it is finally established here on earth (Rev 21-22). This is the good news that we must believe!
- According to Acts 2:36-41, what does a person need to experience in order to be genuinely converted?
- What is the Gospel?
- What are the two aspects of the kingdom of God?
- What are the three characteristics of the future aspect of kingdom of God?
- How do we enter the kingdom of God now?
Click this link (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2665094/BCGC/BCGC%20Lesson%202.pdf) to download a hard copy of this lesson.