As I was meditating on a particular day, the Holy Spirit dropped a phrase and a few thoughts in my heart, I heard in my heart the phrase ‘the two gospels’ as I thought about it some more a few scriptures began to come together to give flesh to this thought.
As ministers of the Lord Jesus it is important to have a proper understanding of some of the things that I am about to share, I am sure that most of us would have been introduced to this thought in one form or the other but I am hope to connect them in such a way as to give a further and deeper meaning to our understanding of the message that we are called to live and to preach.
You must have had people say ‘I am preaching the gospel’ maybe you like me must have said so yourself, which gospel do you mean? For according to scripture there are two ‘gospels’ which are connected yet distinct from each other.
Look at Mark’s gospel
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1)
This refers to the good news or message of Jesus Christ, but look again in the 14th verse, we see another gospel
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God
And saying, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand repent and believe the gospel.
So we see it a bit more clearly, first there is there is a gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus himself began to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God.
I often describe the relationship between the two gospels in this way; The gospel of Jesus is like a trailer head and the gospel of the kingdom like the body of the tractor. One ushers or brings in the other. It is possible to emphasize one to the neglect of the other as we have seen today; God wants both to be preached to bring balance to the body.
If you examine the ministry of the early apostles they understood the difference and emphasized both messages in their ministry to the people. In Acts 8 for example we read that Philip preached the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus. (Verse 12) These two messages are different sides of the same coin.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?
The gospel of Jesus is the good news of the redemptive work of Jesus for the salvation of lost world, this redemptive work culminated in His death, burial and resurrection. It encompasses all the benefits that accrue to mankind through the cross, it includes salvation from sin, sickness, demonic harassment and even poverty, fear and all the works of the devil.
This gospel is God’s solution to all that happened at the fall of man. Paul the apostle said
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone that believes for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
Salvation is what the gospel of Jesus offers humanity; it is the platform for a covenant relationship and son ship and is the only way into the kingdom of God. In other words you cannot by pass the gospel of Jesus on your way into the kingdom. No wonder Jesus said
I am the way, the truth and the life…..
There are many places in the scriptures where this distinction is either clearly mentioned or alluded to, for example in Mathew 11:28 Jesus said,
Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest
This is what the gospel of Jesus offers, rest from all the burden and grief of the enemy, and this is what we often preach in our Churches and crusades, we proclaim Jesus as the anointed one, God’s Christ and truly this is what He is.
Jesus is the Christ
Some people think that Christ is the surname of Jesus but actually it is just a description of an office, title or function that he came to fulfil, The Christ is the Messiah or the deliverer. To understand the concept of the Christ, think about Moses in the Old Testament, he is perhaps the most prominent example of a deliverer in the bible after Jesus.
God sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel from the grip and bondage of Pharaoh, to do this he was anointed and empowered to work great and mighty miracles that overthrew the dominion of Pharaoh over the Children of Israel, what Moses was to the Children of Israel Jesus Christ is to the world and all who will believe in Him
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease amongst the people.
This is the good news of Jesus, the demonstration of God’s love, mercy and grace. We need this today, fortunately the Church has been strong on this, but we also need to balance this with the message of the kingdom and this is what I believe this present apostolic and prophetic restoration is doing, bringing back the message of the kingdom to its place of balance in the ministry and life of the Church. The gospel of Jesus only has full value and meaning when it is aligned to and leads to the message of the kingdom.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM?
The message of the kingdom is the declaration of the re emergence of the dominion and authority of the kingdom of God, it is a call to submit to the authority and lordship of the king of the kingdom, it announces the overthrow of the old satanic kingdom and the emergence of the new divine kingdom in the lives of those that will submit to its authority and power. Where the gospel of Jesus offers salvation the gospel of the kingdom demands obedience and submission.
The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, it is administered by spiritual laws, spiritual principles and divine ordinances like any earthly government, it offers citizenship to all who will meet the conditions for admission, confers rights and privileges like any great earthly dominion, it has its culture, values and economy but it also demands obedience, submission, loyalty and faithfulness to the king.
Jesus is the prince of the kingdom, in the kingdom of God Jesus is Lord, in the gospel of Jesus He is the Christ or saviour but in the kingdom of God he is the sovereign or the Lord and MUST be obeyed.
In Luke 5:13 Jesus said to some ‘why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?
This is why for many years I have encouraged believers to make the teachings of Jesus Christ the foundation of their walk with God, it was what the apostles taught and what they explained or applied in their epistles. Jesus is to the Church of God what Moses was to the Children of Israel.
There are multitudes all over the world who have experienced through faith the blessings of the gospel of Christ but have not submitted to the gospel of the Kingdom, but it is in the gospel of the kingdom that the greater blessing is. It is dangerous and highly deceptive to live in this place, a place where Jesus is Christ but not Lord.
Woe unto you Chorazin, woe unto you Bethsaida, for if the mighty works that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented a great while ago sitting in sack clothes and ashes.
These people were like so many today; they experienced the miracles but missed the greatest prize of all, a place in the kingdom.
In the Old Testament, the story of the people of Israel gives us interesting insight into these truths, under the mighty hand of God through Moses Israel experienced a great deliverance, God broke the power of Egypt, humbled their gods and led Israel out of their captivity ( Exodus 12) but God still brought Israel to a place where they had to accept his dominion over their lives and come under the yoke of His covenant.
In his own words,
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
Ex 20:2-3 NKJV
This was why they were delivered, so they could become God’s own people and He could be their God. Moses was to the people of Israel both a Christ and a lawgiver.
In the same way Jesus the Christ was both saviour (Christ) and Prince (Lord).
The kingdom of God was the chief purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, all he did through the gospel of Jesus was to prepare men for a place in the kingdom and to break the dominion of the kingdom of darkness off humanity.
You remember what Adam had and lost in the garden was the kingdom that he was entrusted with; he was God’s representative in the garden, when he fell, Satan received the authority to establish his dominion or kingdom over fallen man. What Adam lost in the garden Jesus came to restore.
In Mathew 11:28 we see the principle of the gospel of the kingdom revealed, In verse 28 Jesus is the saviour offering rest but in verse 29 he is the lord demanding submission. Look at it
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me: for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest for your souls.
This is the kingdom principle, the yoke was a symbol of submission, he that was under yoke was subject to him that was the master, the yoke bound him to another and made him subject to the direction and guidance of the master. An animal under a yoke could only go where he was led to go.
We have known Jesus as Saviour now we must know him as Lord. As Lord only he can unveil the rich truths and treasuries of the kingdom to us, without this understanding we will never know the measure of the grace, power, supply and ability of God available to us.
Jesus said something very frightening
“Not everyone who says to Me,’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matt 7:21-23 NKJV
Those who have known Jesus as Christ have touched the borders of grace but those who know Him as Lord will drink from the deep fountains of His grace.
We can receive healing through faith by the ministry of the Christ but we can experience another dimension of grace where through the understanding of the life of the kingdom we can walk in dominion over sickness and disease and minister that grace unto others. The walk of faith and love is the walk of the kingdom citizen; it is not just faith to receive a new car but an abiding walk of faith whereby you access the rich treasury of grace in the kingdom on a daily basis.
Jesus taught about the kingdom and its life, we must rediscover this theme in our churches and more importantly we must be so conscious of our heavenly citizenship that it will affect everything about our earthly walk.
The disciples of Jesus were men schooled in the kingdom of God and its ways, they lived on earth but their ways were from above, they knew that had power with God because the heavenly kingdom is greater than all and they were in that kingdom. They had seen the glory and the beauty of the kingdom and they were willing to forsake all to possess it, those who have tasted of the heavenly riches lose their taste for the earthly.
Understanding and living in this truth will change ‘church’ the way we know it, it will revolutionize our lives, will cause such a witness for Jesus to shine forth in our communities, this I believe is what the Lord is seeking to do today and as many as embrace this will be like new wine in new wineskins.
Have you experienced the power of the gospel of Jesus? It is time to experience the power of the gospel of the kingdom.