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A Gospel by Brother Norm DuVal

The Real Gospel

What is the Gospel?

The word "gospel" means "good news," but that's just a definition. You want to know: What is the good news, and who, when, and where does it come from?

Some say the gospel is the story about Jesus, as written by the New Testament writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These stories are often called the four gospels, for example, "The Gospel according to Luke." Others say the good news, the gospel, is that God sent His son to earth as a sacrifice, to die and rise again, to atone for the sins of mankind. Still others say the good news is that Jesus' death on the cross was a ransom paid by God to redeem mankind from the Devil. And so on.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus and the apostles went from city to city, preaching "the gospel of the kingdom" and "the glad tidings of the kingdom of God" to the multitude.

"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." (Matthew 9:35)

"And it came to pass...that Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him..." (Luke 8:1) (Also see Matthew 4:23, Mark 1:14, and Luke 4:43.)

From these verses we can see that the gospel was something that Jesus actually preached and taught during his appearances before large crowds in many cities, and long before his death. Thus, the questions of who, when, and where the gospel comes from are answered. The gospel comes from Jesus, the Son of God.

But what exactly was Jesus telling the people? What was the message? And has the essence of his message, the "good news" and "glad tidings" from and of Jesus, been partly lost to us today, been "made of no effect through tradition" (Mark 7:13) and replaced by another message, the gospel about Jesus?

On these teaching and preaching tours, Jesus gave the people very important new information (the good news!), positive and powerful information focused on a few specific ideas. The gospel that Jesus taught was that information which would satisfy our deepest spiritual hopes, needs, and desires: to better know our Father in heaven and our relationship with mankind, to be of the Spirit and to show the fruits of the Spirit, and to have eternal life with God.

Have you heard the expression; "I got it straight from the horse's mouth?" When people say this they mean they got some information right from the source, and therefore it is true. It is like a gold miner who finds the mother lode. The actual teachings of Jesus are from the true source, the mother lode, from God Himself, as personified by His son.

Here then are the high spiritual teachings of Jesus, the Son of God; the information he was giving to the people, - the real gospel.

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Jesus teaches us about doing the Father's will and entering the kingdom of heaven.

"Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

Doing the Father's will is key to entering the kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus. And what is the Father's will? It is simply loving God, and loving and serving our brothers and sisters on earth, our brothers and sisters in God's family, as Jesus clearly validates at Luke 10:25-28.

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Jesus tells us how we can have eternal life.

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tested him, saying, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? how do you read it?" And he answered saying, "Thou shall love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." And Jesus said to him, "Thou has answered right: this do, and thou shall live." (Luke 10:25-28)

Do this and you will have eternal life, the Son of God says! Love God, and love your neighbor. Could it be any clearer or simpler than that? Jesus knows that loving all of our fellow humans is not be easy for many of us, but he expects trend and effort.

To justify other views not from the Son of God concerning what one must do to be saved (have eternal life with God), it has been said that Jesus' answer to the lawyer, "Thou has answered right: this do, and thou shall live," was "lacking." But how can that be? How could anything said by the Son of God be lacking? Such ideas are blasphemous.

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Jesus tells us why he came to earth.

And he said unto them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore was I sent." (Luke 4:43)

Many have differing views as to the purpose of Jesus' incarnation on earth. Here, Jesus himself tells us that he came to earth to preach the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God, the information that will insure your eternal life with God if you follow it, and that information is to: "love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."

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Jesus teaches a new and very personal idea about the kingdom of God.

When he was asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus answered, "The kingdom of God will come not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)

Imagine! The kingdom of God is within you. This is a stunning teaching of Jesus. There are several aspects of the kingdom of God. One is spiritual; the kingdom is not a material realm. Another is the outward kingdom; the Father and His angels far off in heaven somewhere. And there is the kingdom within. Jesus is talking about this inner kingdom when he says that the kingdom of God is within you, actually a part of the Father himself, sharing your life, going through your ups and downs with you, and if you desire it, guiding you like a compass back to Him. This is not a nebulous spirituality wafting through you, as might be imagined for a spirit being, and as might be the case in some situations, but rather a definite focalization of the Father, in you. Many have misunderstood this teaching, arguing that the verse really means, "among you" or "around you," but the truth of the matter is that it means just what it says in the King James and other versions of the Bible. It means, The kingdom of God is within you.

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If we have become separated from God, Jesus tells us what the Father requires in order for us to come home to Him, to rejoin His family, our spiritual family.

See "The Parable of the Prodigal Son," (Luke 15:11-32)

Many people do not give much thought to the parables that Jesus taught. They are often quoted but seldom explained or understood. Parables are simple stories with a single, clear message. You don't have to be a theologian or have a college degree to understand them. In this parable, Jesus says that our spiritual Father will welcome us home just as soon as we sincerely want to return to Him. Even though the repentant son in the story was still a long way off, the moment his father saw him coming down the road he ran to him to greet him in love and welcome him back into the family. This is how our Father in heaven responds to us, His children, always with an attitude of love and forgiveness. No matter how far down the road away from the Father you think you are, if you want to return home, the door is open and the welcome mat is out. Our Father always leaves the light on.

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Jesus tells how we can have our sins forgiven.

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
(Matthew 6:14)

Forgiving others is a difficult thing for us to do. In reality, the Father's forgiveness is ever available to us. By forgiving others, we tap into that forgiveness, we open the door to it.

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In a conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus teaches us about being "born again".

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [physical birth], and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

God is spirit. When we love God and desire to do His will, we are born again, born of the Spirit. It's that simple.

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Jesus tells us to be perfect.

"Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Nobody is perfect, as the saying goes. Perfection is not our condition, but it is our goal. Our Father knows that we have been created with a human nature, He created us. It will take effort on our part to become more perfect, more spiritual, more like God. God knows that too. Spiritual progress, like all progress, takes time. And there is no time like the present to start the adventure of perfection attainment. In the words of Lao-tzu, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

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Jesus tells us about God's family.

Jesus says, "Our Father..." (Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2)

When Jesus uses the term Father, he is talking about his Father and our Father. Above all else God is a loving Father and we are his children. If we know we are a son or a daughter of God, we will naturally want to act like one.

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Jesus tells us that God knows what we need.

"...for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8)

God knows our real needs. His kingdom is a spiritual one and our real needs are mostly spiritual in nature. When we pray, we should not pray overmuch for material things, but should pray for spiritual insight, pray for others, and pray for help to know and do the Father's will. When Jesus says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you..." (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9), he is talking about spiritual gifts, spiritual truths, and spiritual doors.

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Jesus teaches us about tolerance, one of the fruits of the Spirit, and beyond mere tolerance, even love for other people and groups which may be different from our own.

"For if you only love those who love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans do the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you do more than others? do not even the publicans do so?" (Matthew 5:46-47, Luke 6:32-33)

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Jesus talks about sharing the good news - his teachings about how we can attain eternal life with God.

"...freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

The good news is not something to be hidden under a rock. It should be shared with everyone in God's family.

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Many religions are complex, but the real gospel of Jesus, even what we may call the "religion of Jesus," is simple: Love God your Father, and love your fellow man. If you do this you will be doing the Father's will, and you will have an eternal life of love and service with God. This real gospel of Jesus will also be acceptable to all of God's children on earth who love Him, whether they be Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu.

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And finally, as would be expected from the Son of a loving God, comforting words from Jesus to all of us.

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

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All Bible quotations excerpted or adapted from the King James Version.

Prepared by:
Norm Du Val


Copyright (c) 1994

Please copy as needed.
Rev. 7-02

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