By Tyson Thorne

Nov 19, 2013


In all our talk about what the gospel isn’t, it is important to understand what it is. The gospel is both a proclamation and a person. It is the Word that we proclaim, and it is this same Word, the person of Jesus Christ, whom we follow. The gospel is the message and also the Messiah. People follow the teachings of Buddha, Mohammed and Darwin, but we follow Jesus. What does this mean? Romans 10 tells us:  

Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news.”

Here is the meaning: Christ-followers proclaim the message “Jesus is Lord” and someone then trusts not only that the message about Jesus is true but also that Jesus himself is true. The proclamation introduces one to the person, and the one becomes reborn.  

Just as there are people who want to add to the gospel, there are those who want to take away from the gospel. Saint Francis of Assisi is noted as saying, “preach the gospel always, and if necessary use words.” As well intentioned as he might have been, many have come to think they can preach the gospel through “lifestyle evangelism”. Why go into all the world as Jesus commanded? Why risk uncomfortable moments with friends and coworkers by talking about Jesus? I’ll live a good life and be a silent testimony. Paul’s question in verse 14 is for them, “how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  

The question isn’t Paul’s alone, it’s God’s question. Paul is quoting from Isaiah 52. Yes, Isaiah the prophet, who was God’s voice in Israel.  

Donald Miller in his book Searching for God Knows What explains a truth that is found on most every page of the Bible but which you rarely hear from the pulpit. It is rare because it doesn’t fit in a bullet list and doesn’t fall under the “self-help” category. He writes:

“Jesus was always, and I mean always, talking about love, talking about people, about relationship, and he never once broke anything into steps or formulas. What if, because we were constantly trying to dissect His message, we were missing a blatant invitation? I began to wonder if becoming a Christian did not work more like falling in love than agreeing with a list of true principles.”

Read Romans again not thinking about the theology, read it instead as if it’s written by someone who is in love with God. What if instead of dry teaching he is gushing with the thrill that comes from being so close to someone so remarkable?  

It’s Paul’s love for God and others that drives him to be so emphatic, explaining to them in different ways the singular gospel message. “Believe”, “confess”, “trust in”, “call on his name". It is the same truth, the same gospel, over and over. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus alone. Do you believe it?  

I want to go a little southern Baptist here, so I'm going to ask you again, “Do you believe it?”  

You believe it.

So whom have you told?

God’s word is clear, no one can call on the name of Jesus without having heard it. Who has heard the name Jesus from you? It doesn't matter if you have told hundreds of thousands of people like Billy Graham or you have never told a single soul, today you are being sent to proclaim Jesus is Lord. Living a good life, obeying the Ten Commandments, following a 12 step program won’t save anyone! Only the Word saves your friends and family from eternal separation from Godl. Only the Word, the Word that was “in the beginning”; the Word, Jesus.

Do you trust him? Then proclaim him.

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