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Friday, January 1, 2021

The Unwritten Gospel

By Bill Brandstatter

    We know that the word “gospel” comes from a Greek word meaning, “good news.” The word “gospel” can apply to any and all messages from the Bible. The gospel is a report or something stated. (Isa. 53:1; Rom. 10:12) In the New Testament the emphasis is on the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). Some in those days were following a “different” gospel. (Gal. 1:6-9) Throughout the history of God’s people and even today some may be following an unwritten gospel. In other words, they are receiving a message from some source that they consider to be good news and therefore follow it. Let us look at some unwritten gospels that some are following:
    THE GOSPEL OF TRADITION. Jesus said they had taken the commandments of men and taught or proclaimed them as “doctrine.” (Matt.15:9) Some today will say something and then state, “That’s the gospel truth.” Most, if not all of us are raised under this unwritten gospel. Tradition merely means something handed down. This can be good if it is apostolic or New Testament tradition; but if it is something non-Biblical, great caution must be taken. In our text, they were taking men’s commandments and teaching them as fact. This happens today. This may even be in the churches of Christ if caution and discretion are not used. The number of songs we sing or how many prayers we say during our worship usually go according to the tradition of each congregation. There is a caution here. Just because we feel uncomfortable about something doesn’t mean it is unscriptural; however, if it is unscriptural, we should feel uncomfortable.
    THE GOSPEL OF HUMAN OPINION. Statements that indicate this view are: “One church is just as good as another” and “I don’t believe in any organized religion.” This may also be the area of majority rule. Human opinion and majority rule crucified Christ. Jesus asked a question about human opinion and got a variety of answers in Matt. 16:13-18. Human-opinion is subject to each individual. The standard is self. (Judges. 21:25)
    THE GOSPEL OF PREACHER FOLLOWERS. Some may follow a certain preacher because he is a big name, written a lot of books, is on television, or preaches for a big church. In Acts 5:36, 37, we read of two men, Theudas and Judas whom people followed. Theudas claimed to be somebody (Acts 5:36). Four hundred followed him. Judas “drew away many people after him.” (Acts 5:37) The church at Corinth also had this problem. (1 Cor. 1:12-14) At one time a statistic indicated that 80% of people who believed something did so because the preacher said it was so. We are to believe something because the Bible says it is so. If the preacher says the same thing, that is great.
    THE GOSPEL OF NEWNESS. In Acts 17:20 we read of how people in Athens spent their time in hearing or seeing some new thing. This may be a reference to religion since the city was overtaken in idols. A new church building is built somewhere and people flock to it. We live in an age where newness is in. The old is discarded or counted as obsolete. Many churches now have “traditional” and “contemporary” services. Entertainment plays a big part in the gospel of newness.
    THE GOSPEL OF FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. We are all part of some group of people. We sometimes spend more time away from home than we do at home. Cor. 15:33 says evil companionships corrupt good morals. Ex. 23:2 cautions us not to follow the crowd to do evil. John warns, “Love not the world or the things of this world.” (1 Jn. 2:15)
    THE GOSPEL OF FAMILY. All of us were here at one point in time. The Samaritan woman was there. Saul of Tarsus was there. Jews in Matthew chapter 3 were there. This gospel is one that is very important to us. “If it was good enough for Dad and Mom, it is good enough for me.” The message from our family and friends is often the "gospel" we follow.
    All of these gospels have an impact on the life of the believer. The one gospel that will affect us eternally is the gospel of Christ. Christ wants his gospel to be preached (Mark 16:16); obeyed (Rom. 6:17); and followed. (Matt. 28:19)
    Will you do that today?
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/


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