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What is the Gospel? How would you summarize it? I’m afraid the way we typically define and summarize the Gospel is far different than the apostles. Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you what I believe is the biblical summary of the Gospel. Today, I simply want to give a brief introduction to the Gospel.

Seven (Not Three) Point Outline

Most of my life I have heard people say, “The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.” We typically point to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 as proof that these three points make up the essential points of the Gospel story. However, I recently finished Scot McKnight’s book, The King Jesus Gospel. McKnight helped me realize 1 Corinthians 15 is a great chapter to help us outline the Gospel, but it’s a mistake to stop at verse 4.

If we want a true outline of the Gospel, we probably need to keep reading to at least verse 28. After reading through 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 with a fresh perspective, I believe there are at least seven important points for summarizing the Gospel.

Today I simply want to introduce you to these seven points, but over the next few weeks we will explore and discuss why each of these points needs to be part of our understanding of what we mean when we say, “Gospel.”

It’s Good News!

Before we get to the seven points, we need to establish a basic truth, the Gospel is “news.” It’s a story about something that happened. The Gospel is not a set of instructions. The Gospel is not a blueprint for how to go to heaven when you die. 

The Gospel is good news about the past, the present, and the future of the world. The Gospel is the story of events that happened, are happening, and will happen. So when you use the word “Gospel,” make sure you mean a story of events, not a list of rules or instructions. 

Outline of the Gospel Story

Let me encourage you to read each of these points slowly. Think deeply about each one. Consider whether or not you’ve included each point as being an essential part of the Gospel story.

  1. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
  2. He was buried.
  3. He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
  4. In Adam we all die, but in Christ we will all be made alive: Jesus is the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to him.
  5. At his coming he will deliver the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
  6. He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
  7. When all things are subjected to the Father, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him, that God may be all in all.

Believing and Obeying the Gospel

My whole life I have heard, and have used the phrase, when someone is baptized, “He obeyed the Gospel.” I’ve written before about how it is a serious mistake to reduce “obeying the Gospel” to being baptized.

The Gospel is the epic, world-changing story about what God has done, is doing, and will do in and through Jesus. You may have entered into this story at baptism, but you’re never finished obeying it.

For those who have become a part of this story, I want to spend the next few weeks reminding you “of the Gospel [that was] preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

I love you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams