Wow, it is getting cold here in the mountains of Southeast New Mexico! Yes, I can hear you folks in the colder climes of our great nation saying, “Listen to Pastor Zach! Moaning and groaning because he has a little frozen frost on the windshield at 4 o’clock in the morning!”
Yep, I can just hear the comments, “He needs to try a real winter sometime!” I know you are right. However, from my perspective, after the temperature gets to 40 – it’s COLD-D-D!
Weather. There is only one thing that is certain about the weather. It is always changing. Regardless of where you are in the world, the certainty about where you are is the changes in the weather.
So what does this have to do with all Christianity? Simply this. When it comes to the Gospel of Christ – unlike the weather – it does not change! Ever!
Paul’s preaching of the gospel (the good news) was the same as the other apostles. In today’s church, the terms used to define theological views are not always clear. The importance? “The gospel of Christ is offensive to all unbelievers”
There are three very important things necessary to understand about the gospel message as preached by the early church that differs from what is seen preached by the many different denominations separating the body of Christ today.
1. The gospel that Peter preached and the gospel that Paul preached were the same. They each presented it to the listener with their individual personality involvement but it was the identical gospel message that was delivered.
Let’s look at the following Scripture:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16).
It says the gospel, not a gospel, right? This indicates that there is only one gospel, not one presented by Paul and one presented by another apostle. They were all in agreement on what the gospel consisted of.
The apostles would never concede that there are different versions or flavors of the gospel. They would hold that there can only be one, true gospel and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ as related in Scripture.
The reason for the statement above is that different denominations in the church today present a variation of the gospel from each other.
2. Paul’s gospel was the same regardless of the culture he was preaching it to. He preached the same gospel message to the Jew as he preached to the Gentile. He never once adopted his preaching of the true gospel to fit in with different cultural beliefs or mores.
Paul never preached the gospel to cater to or to be offensive to any culture. The gospel of Christ is offensive to all unbelievers – Jew and Gentile alike – regardless of the cultural differences because it condemns them.
Paul would never understand today’s worries about offending from a cultural perspective and the constant striving to approach each culture from adapting the gospel to fit them.
Paul preached the same message to every culture because they had one, common problem: sin. He preached the one, true gospel to all because the one, common problem suffers the wages of the problem: the wages of sin is death.
3. Paul’s gospel message didn’t have components to it that changed based on what century it was preached. The Roman Empire changed even during the life of Paul. He never changed his message to fit the differences in culture due to the passage of time.
Quite the contrary. Paul’s message, which was the same as what Jesus taught, not only fit into each culture it was preached in, but in every time period that it has been preached in since the beginning.
Today’s evangelicals have the conviction that each generation of people need the gospel adopted to fit their needs. The true gospel needs no adaptation. Unlike the weather, the gospel never needs changing. In fact, changing the gospel to fit cultural differences is to pollute the true gospel making it a false gospel.
Preach the gospel of Paul as instructed in the New Testament which is the same gospel as taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
QUESTION: What is the gospel message to you?