No intelligent student of the Scriptures believes, or teaches, that there is only one gospel in the Scriptures; but all such students should agree that there is only one gospel by which sinners are saved in this day of grace, the gospel of the grace of God, which is called in Ephesians 1:13, “the gospel of your salvation.” No one has ever been saved except on the grounds of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But now let us compare I Corinthians 15:1 to 4 with two other portions of Scripture, namely, Luke 9:1 to 6 and Luke 18:31 to 34.
I CORINTHIANS 15:1 to 4
“MOREOVER, BRETHREN, I DECLARE UNTO YOU THE GOSPEL WHICH I PREACHED UNTO YOU, WHICH ALSO YE HAVE RECEIVED, AND WHEREIN YE STAND; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, IF YOU KEEP IN MEMORY WHAT 1. PREACHED UNTO YOU, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN. FOR I DELIVERED UNTO YOU FIRST OF ALL THAT WHICH I ALSO RECEIVED, HOW THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.”
LUKE 9:1 to 6
“Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And He said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.”
LUKE 18:31 to 34
“Then He took unto Him the Twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Here we learn that the gospel by which we are saved is the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins, that He was buried and that He was raised again. We learn that all of this was “according to the Scriptures.”
Note how this is stated in Acts 13:29 and 30: “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead.”
This is the gospel by which we are saved. Presently we shall consider Ephesians 6:19 and 20:
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known “THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.’
Here we learn that Paul was in prison at Rome for “THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL.” We know that when Paul mentions “the mystery” he specifically tells us that it is called “the mystery” because the truth was not “according to the Scriptures,” not a spiritual message or program that was in fulfillment of prophecy. At once then we see that there is a difference between, “the gospel by which we are saved,” in I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, and “the mystery of the gospel”. Paul was not in prison for preaching I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, but for. “the mystery” of the gospel.
But now let us look into Luke 18:31 to 34 and Luke 9:1 to 6. We learn in Luke 18 that when the Lord Jesus told the twelve apostles in advance the truth of I Corinthians 15:1 to 4, “the gospel by which we are saved”, they understood none of those things. That truth was hid from them. Peter even said “Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee.” Matthew 16:22. Most assuredly, if this Divine Truth was hid from them and they did not understand,they were not preaching it to others. They were not preaching the gospel by which we are saved. This we can learn by studying every line in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But note Luke 9:6:
“And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing every where.”
For two or three years the Twelve preached the gospel, while they companied together all the time that the Lord Jesus Christ went in and out among them. Acts 1:21. What gospel did they preach? They preached, “Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”; the Kingdom gospel.” Matthew 3:2— Matthew 4:17— Matthew 10:7— Matthew 4:23. Note Matthew 9:35:
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. “
Let us always keep in mind that while the Lord Jesus was on earth, God was carrying on a two-fold program, in that Christ was offering salvation to individual Israelites and presenting the prophesied Kingdom to the Nation Israel. Therefore, in “the gospel of the Kingdom”, the nation Israel was always in view, as was David’s throne.
Now by way of comparison, note Romans 16:25 and 26:
“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to MY GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
To these Romans the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Romans 11:13. When the Lord Jesus told His twelve messengers to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, He specifically instructed them, “go not into the way of the Gentiles;” “go to Israel;” Matthew 10:5 to 8. Paul also wrote to the Romans:
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, So we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and all members one of another.” Romans 12:4 and 5. He wrote in Romans 10:12 and in I Corinthians 12:13 that things had been very much changed since Christ was on earth; that there was now no difference between Israel and the Gentiles, but that all Jews and Gentiles who believed the gospel were baptized into one Body and were joined thus to Christ and to one another. Then in Romans 16:25 and 26 he wrote that these Gentile members of the Body were to be established “ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL”; “according to the revelation of the mystery.” They were not to be established by “the gospel of the Kingdom”, although every member of the Body of Christ should be informed concerning “the gospel of the Kingdom” and know when and how this gospel fits into the plan and program of God.
Was Paul presumptuous or conceited or. deluded when he called the gospel “MY GOSPEL?” Romans 16:25— Romans 2:16—II Timothy 2:8. Why did he not call it “our gospel?” Perhaps Galatians 2:6 and 7 will help us to answer this question. We quote Galatians 2:7:
“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel OF the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel OF the circumcision was unto Peter.”
Then note I Timothy 1:11:
“The glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to MY TRUST.” Then note again II Timothy 1:9 to 11:
“ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: WHEREUNTO I AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. “
This grace was given in Christ before Adam was created and made efficacious by the death and resurrection of Christ. Then Paul adds:
“WHEREUNTO I (PAUL) AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE, AND A TEACHER OF THE GENTILES.” (II Timothy 1:11.)
The Greek word translated “gospel” means “good news”. There are different aspects of the gospel. We have quoted from I Corinthians 15:1 to 4 the good news by which believing, sinners are saved from the penalty of sin, from the wrath to come. Surely every unsaved person should. hurry with all speed to Calvary, receive Christ, the forgiveness of sins. Divine righteousness and eternal life, and be at peace with God.
Then when we learn that more than ninety per cent of the instructions in the Epistles of Peter, John, James and Paul, instruct the saints how to appreciate the blessings of the Lord, how to enjoy salvation, and how to live to please the Lord, we should know that all of these messages contain the gospel, or good news, for the saints. Note Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ.” The redeemed sinner is blessed with all spiritual blessings. Every single spiritual blessing and benefit that is available in Christ for the believer in Christ, is a part of the gospel. So let us not be foolish enough to say that there is only one gospel and only one aspect of that gospel.
Now note Paul’s words in II Timothy 2:8 and 9 and in II Timothy 1:8:
“REMEMBER THAT JESUS CHRIST OF THE SEED OF DAVID WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL: WHEREIN I SUFFER TROUBLE, AS AN EVIL DOER, EVEN UNTO BONDS; BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND.”
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor, of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
Read Ephesians 6:19 and 20:
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, For which I am an ambassador in bonds; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Note Colossians 4:3 and 4:
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
Why did Paul suffer as an evildoer? For the gospel. For what gospel? He said, “MY GOSPEL”. All of the apostles were preaching I Corinthians 15:1 to 4.Paul was not referring to that. When Paul wrote Timothy to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, he was not referring to “the gospel of the kingdom”, or merely to the gospel of salvation of Ephesians 1:13. No, Paul was referring to the Divine truth designated “the mystery.” This truth was not revealed by Christ to the twelve apostles. What they knew of the mystery they first learned from Paul.
If you will refer to the Greek in II Timothy 1:12, you will learn that Paul called it “MY DEPOSIT.” God had kept this glorious secret hid from all of Israel’s servants and prophets. Christ had kept it hid from the Twelve. But later on He revealed it to Paul to complete the Word of God. Note Colossians 1:24 to 26:
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake, which is the Church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, TO FULFIL THE WORD OF GOD: Even THE MYSTERY WHICH HATH BEEN HID FROM AGES AND FROM GENERATIONS, but now is made manifest to His saints.”
Always keep in mind that “the mystery” is peculiarly Gentilish truth.
From the Roman jail Paul urged his fellow Body-members to pray for an open mouth and for open doors for the proclamation of this glorious truth. The Lord is still waiting for open mouths and open doors. How about your mouth? “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.” “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:9, 17 and 18.
God also wants us to pray that saints may receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation to understand the mystery of His will: “And to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.” “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:9 and 11.
Let us remember that the truth of Ephesians and Colossians concerning members of the Joint-Body (Ephesians 3:6) seated and blessed in the heavenlies, is truth that was predestinated, given us in Christ before the foundation of the world, truth which God held as His own secret and that it is therefore called, “God’s eternal purpose”, “the dispensation of the, Mystery”, “the Secret of His will. “
Now read carefully the prayers of Ephesians 1:17 to 23 and Ephesians 3:14 to 21.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.