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Gospel 101 – An Apostolic Introduction, Part 7: A Gospel of First Importance

January 3, 2008

hc541.jpg(The following is completely and accurately excerpted from HeartCry Missionary Society’s Magazine, Issue 54 pgs. 8-13)

The fact that the Gospel is of “first importance” should be at the forefront of every Christian’s heart. I say heart and not mind because it involves more than just thinking about it being of “first importance” but feeling the weight of what it means to be of “first importance”. Feeling it will produce a lifestyle of living the Gospel “as of first importance”. The Gospel takes precedence and preeminence in all doctrine, method, thought, belief, and action. This why the Gospel should be kept central, functional, and sufficient for all of life, because it is of “first importance”.

——————the following is excerpted from HeartCry’s 54th Edition———-

A Gospel of First Importance

…as of first importance…
I Corinthians 15:3

There is no word or truth of greater importance than the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are full of many messages. The least
among them is more valuable than the combined wealth of the world
and more important than the greatest thoughts ever formed in the
mind of man. If then, the very dust of Scripture is more precious
than gold,26 how can we calculate the worth or importance of the
Gospel?
Even within the Scripture itself, the Gospel message has no
equal. The story of creation, though lined with splendor, bows before
the message of the cross. The Law of Moses and the words of
the prophets point away from themselves to this singular message
of redemption. Even the Second Coming, though full of wonder,
stands in the shadows of this one word. It is not an exaggeration
to say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one great and essential
message, the acropolis27 of the Christian faith, and the foundation
of the believer’s hope. There is nothing more important, nothing
more useful, and nothing more necessary for the promotion of the
glory and kingdom of God!

This being true, it should be our magnificent obsession to
comprehend the Gospel. It is an impossible task, but worth every
ounce of effort spent, for all the riches of God and every true joy
for the believer are found there. It is worth shutting ourselves away
from every lesser endeavor and inferior pleasure so that we might
sound the depths of God’s grace revealed in this one message. A
beautiful illustration of such a passion is found in Job 28:1-9:

Surely there is a mine for silver and a place where they
refine gold. Iron is taken from the dust, and copper is
smelted from rock. Man puts an end to darkness, and to the
farthest limit, he searches out the rock in gloom and deep
shadow. He sinks a shaft far from habitation, forgotten
by the foot; they hang and swing to and fro far from men.
The earth, from it comes food, and underneath it is turned
up as fire. Its rocks are the source of sapphires, and its
dust contains gold. The path no bird of prey knows, nor
has the falcon’s eye caught sight of it. The proud beasts
have not trodden it, nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
He puts his hand on the flint; he overturns the mountains
at the base.

Even in the ancient world of Job, there were men who were
willing to push themselves to the farthest limit, to deprive themselves
of surface life, to burrow through solid rock in gloom and
deep shadow, to risk life and limb, and to leave no stone unturned in
their search for the treasures of this earth. How much more should
we who have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and tasted the
good Word of God and the powers of the age to come,28 be willing
to leave off the things of lesser glory to pursue the glories of God
in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why then, is a true passion for the Gospel so scarce among
God’s people? First, it is because the Gospel most often preached
today is a terribly reduced or truncated version of the original.
The Gospel of God cannot be contained in a tract, or summed up in
a few spiritual laws. It is good to understand that God has a plan,
that we are sinners, and that Christ died and rose again that we might
be saved by faith, but it is only the beginning. It is when we search
the Scriptures, and discover the meaning of these things that we
realize that we are on a journey that will last beyond our lifetime
and into a thousand eternities. With each new truth discovered
we are more and more captured by the Glory of the Gospel until it consumes our thoughts and governs our will. This exploration into the Gospel is necessary if
we are ever to be passionate about it.

A second reason for a lack of passion is that the Gospel is
seen by many to be Christianity 101, or the baby step into the faith
that is quickly mastered and left behind for deeper things. Nothing
could be further from the truth! The Gospel is the “deep thing”
of Christianity! Eschatology and the book of Revelation will be
mastered at the second coming, but our pursuit of the knowledge
of the Gospel will continue on throughout eternity. The greatest of
Christians will never master the Gospel, but every true Christian
will be mastered by it!

26 Job 28:6
27 “Acropolis”: From the Greek word akro meaning “high” and
the Greek word polis meaning “city”. It is the high point or
citadel of the Christian faith, or its fortified city.
28 Hebrews 6:4-5

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