The Gospel of Christ

What the Gospel is all about, and why people need to hear it!

Romans 1:16-18

January 15, 2023

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.     Introduction (Romans 1:14-16)


A.   The Book in your Bible called ‘the Letter to the Romans’ is THE Greatest Book in the New Testament!


1.    That doesn’t mean the other books are not great

2.    But that this one book in our Bible is so important to know, and to study, if we want to be strong in faith, and have victory over sin and temptations and the devil!


B.   And this letter to the Romans has one of the Greatest Words in it - Gospel


1.    Romans 1:1  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

2.    The word ‘Gospel’ is found throughout the entire New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation!

3.    Paul calls the gospel GLORIOUS! (2Corinthians 4:3,4)  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

4.    So,


a.     People are very ignorant of “The Gospel”

b.    It is not well understood by most Christians today

c.     And that is a problem!


C.   What is it like for someone to discover the Gospel?


1.    I’ll give you an example…

2.    If I was researching and studying to find the cure to the majority of cancers; and there are many…

3.    And then discovered a cure, it would be world-changing, right?

4.    Well, that is a little bit like discovering the Gospel!

5.    Because the Gospel (not religion) is world changing; it is life-changing, like nothing else!


D.   The Apostle Paul loved “the Gospel”


1.    He LIVED to preach it – to declare it – to tell someone about it


a.     His life was separated to preaching it – dedicated to it alone!

b.    He had the ability to heal people, do miracles, and help people with their problems

c.     But he knew that was NOTHING compared to convincing people to believe the Gospel, and live it!


2.    That’s why he travelled everywhere in the Middle East and Southern Europe – because he just wanted to go find someone else to tell the Gospel story!

3.    At one point, Paul wanted to travel to Rome and meet up with the Christians there, and preach the Gospel to the Romans


E.    But before he travelled there, he wrote this Letter to all the Roman people

F.    And he mentions Three I Am’s – three things that he IS… (Romans 1:14-16)


1.    “I am Debtor” (Romans 1:14)  I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

2.    “I am Ready” (Romans 1:15)  So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

3.    And “I am NOT Ashamed”, but rather excited about the Gospel. (Romans 1:16)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

4.    In simple words, Paul says, I owe a debt to people who have never heard about Jesus, to tell them the Gospel of Christ, no matter where they live – even in Rome!


G.   Let’s Explore Exactly What the Gospel is all about, and why people need to hear it!


II.   Message


A.   The Meaning of The Word ‘Gospel’ (Romans 1:16)


1.    Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2.    Did you know most people, and even Christians cannot answer this simple question!


a.     They will point to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and say, THOSE are the Gospel

b.    Some will say that the Gospel is that God loves the world – that God loves people

c.     Others will say the Gospel is the teachings of Jesus

d.    And still others will say the Gospel is caring about people, and especially caring about the poor – that’s the Gospel to them!


3.    So, What is the Gospel?


a.     It is an old Scandanavian word, GodSpell - Go…spel … Gospel – Good News

b.    It means EXCITING NEWS from God, about Jesus, for sinners!

c.     It is NEWS about the life of Jesus Christ that can GIVE to anyone eternal life!

d.    Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

e.     God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life, through His Son, Jesus Christ!


B.   It is all about Jesus – the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16; 1Corinthians 15:1-4)


1.    Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2.    The Gospel is NOT about us, but about what Jesus did for us


a.     1Corinthians 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

b.    1Corinthians 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

c.     1Corinthians 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

d.    1Corinthians 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


e.     The Gospel is not just a story of a Man in history – it is THE story that made history!


f.     Christ died for our sins - bore our punishment to pay our sin-debt to God!

g.    Christ was buried - He had to die, not just suffer (Romans 6:23a), and be put in a grave as dead!

h.    Christ literally rose to life again the third day - He rose again victorious over death and hell, and is alive right now proving that ALL who trust HIM will live forever too! THAT’S GOOD NEWS!

i.      And THAT is it!

j.      No baptism, no church membership, no stopping sinning, no religious ceremonies could take away our sins…

k.    Just the news about what JESUS did, 2,000 years ago, to take away our sins!


3.    It is a story about how my sins can be forgiven, at the expense of the death of Jesus Christ in our place!


a.     The Gospel is ONLY about the salvation of sinners – it is NOT about money, or wealth, or popularity – but only paying for SIN

b.    John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

c.     Acts 13:38,39  Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [JESUS] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

d.    1John 2:1,2  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. PAID IN FULL!


4.    Look at Romans 1:16 again, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

5.    The Gospel is open to all – “to every one” - evidently all of us need it - no distinction

6.    The Gospel’s only requirement is FAITH - “that believeth” - on our part

7.    That is GOOD NEWS!


C.   The Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) – this news is powerful!


1.    Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2.    How Powerful is the Gospel?


a.     Powerful enough to humble grown men and women


1)    When they hear the simple story

2)    When they hear the full story

3)    When they realise just how much God has done for sinful people!


b.    Powerful enough to save the most righteous, AND the most sinful – BOTH need to be saved by the way


1)    “There is none righteous, no not one”

2)    “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief!”


c.     Powerful enough to replace all the sorrow, darkness, guilt, and the fear of death


1)    Isaiah 61:1-3  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

2)    Isaiah 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.


d.    Only the Gospel is Powerful Enough to Save Sinful People


1)    That is why nothing I can do works – I am not powerful enough

2)    That is why BAPTISM has nothing to do with the Gospel – it is not powerful!

3)    Only what Jesus Christ did is!


3.    The Gospel Only Needs to be Believed


a.     Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

b.    Everyone can meet this single requirement of faith.


1)    Not everyone can be baptized.

2)    Not everyone can pray a perfect prayer.

3)    Not everyone can join a church, or stop a bad habit.

4)    But ALL can believe that what Jesus did is enough to forgive them and save them from the wrath to come!


c.     The POWER of the Gospel is Activated simply by Believing IT!


1)    Like when someone boards an airplane, and trusts the designers and engineers and the pilot – that’s when they get transported thousands of miles without doing a thing – except relaxing and enjoying the ride

2)    Like when being rolled into a surgical theatre, and you trust the doctors and the nurses, and all their training, and you take a few deep breaths and let them work away, and repair what is wrong with you as you drift off to sleep – they do all the work!

3)    The same is true with the Gospel


a)    Jesus did all the work needed to save your soul. THAT is power!

b)    All you have to do is trust Him to personally carry you all the way home to heaven, from this moment on!

c)    I remember bowing my head in worried prayer, the night of June 15, 1980, and believing that Jesus died FOR ME, and rose again FOR ME, and that He wanted ME to be with Him in heaven, so I asked Him to just go ahead and save ME!

d)    And that moment, I knew that something happened – that I was saved.

e)    THAT is the power of the Gospel!


D.   The Righteousness of the Gospel (Romans 1:17)


1.    Romans 1:17  For therein [IN THE GOSPEL] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

2.    We are sinful people

3.    Our own righteousness stinks (Isaiah 64:6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

4.    God does not excuse sin in anyone – not if He is to be a righteous judge (He is not like US)

5.    So, how can God forgive sinful people, and still be a righteous God?


E.   A Perfect Substitution


1.    Well, He became a Man, and did everything we could NOT do, perfectly for us!


a.     Jesus fulfilled all the righteous expectations of God as listed in His Law – all 613 commandments (not just ten). Every last one of them were kept by Jesus! He was the perfect Jew!

b.    The entire life of the Messiah was perfect – righteous – in every way

c.     Matthew 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.


2.    And then took the punishment that we all deserve, and allowed sinful men to cruelly murder Him


a.     Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death... So Christ died in MY place!

b.    1Peter 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit


3.    Woohoo! What a Saviour! Such good news!


F.    The Righteousness of God is enjoyed simply by FAITH, not by perfection! (Romans 1:17)


1.    Romans 1:17  For therein [IN THE GOSPEL] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

2.    Anything More, and the Gospel is Ruined

3.    There is only one Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)


a.     Not the Baptist one, or the Catholic one, or the Hindu one, etc…

b.    Galatians 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

c.     Galatians 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.



f.     Galatians 1:8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

g.    Galatians 1:9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

h.    It doesn’t matter if Saints peter and Paul both preach another Gospel that what is written here, or if an angel in the sky announces it… they are DAMNED!

i.      They are to be absolutely rejected


1)    Joseph Smith’s false Gospel of wearing holy underwear

2)    Ellen G. White’s false Gospel of keeping the Sabbath to get inbto heaven

3)    Joel Olsteen’s false Jesus who is so nice he would never mention hell

4)    And Joyce Meyer’s false prosperity gospel

5)    And any 1,000 more who “make merchandise” off of people!


4.    Watch out for popular Gospels, and popular Jesus’ (2Corinthians 11:3,4)


a.     2Corinthians 11:3,4  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

b.    Fancy modern preaching, teaching like showmen

c.     Presenting a different Jesus, more modern, more understanding, more relevant

d.    A different spirit than the Holy Spirit

e.     Another gospel altogether

f.     All are appealing to people, even to modern “Christians” and are followed instead of the one laid out clearly in the Scriptures

g.    And none of them can save anybody!

h.    Because, you can’t change the simplicity of the Gospel without ruining it


G.   There are So many False Gospels – Examples include…


1.    Jewish Circumcision

2.    Sabbath keeping

3.    Prosperity and wealth

4.    Health, no sickness

5.    Joseph Smith (Mormons)

6.    The eucharist

7.    All the sacraments

8.    Prayers for the dead

9.    No hell

10. Just do your best, and be sincere

11. All the above MIX something in with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – you cannot do that without ruining the Gospel, and damning the hearer!


H.   Warning! The Wrath of God is Coming (Romans 1:18; Matthew 10:28)


1.    Every sinner is in trouble with God – there are no exceptions!

2.    Romans 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness…

3.    We all love to learn about the love of God, the grace of God, the Son of God

4.    But this generation has no clue about the wrath of God

5.    Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


III.         Conclusion - Summary


A.   What does GOSPEL mean?


1.    Good News

2.    That God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life, through His Son, Jesus Christ!

3.    The Gospel is the wonderful story of the life of Jesus, His tragic death and burial, and His miraculous resurrection three days later, so that sinful people could be saved


B.   Why is it So important to Believe?


1.    Because we are in trouble with God because of sin – that is the back story


a.     Not because He doesn’t like us

b.    Or because He is just a mean and cruel God

c.     But because of sin in us – because WE all sin!


1)    No one should have to be convinced that they are sinful and break God’s laws

2)    We have sinned most of our lives!

3)    We break even our own laws, even the expectations we set for ourselves!


d.    No matter how religious we try to be, or no matter how good we think we are, we break GOD’S laws and sin

e.     And God sees it – records it – will expect us to answer for every one of our sins!


2.    Our sin must be paid for – tragedy, cliff-hanger, judgment is coming


a.     Every time you purchase something, you owe a payment for it

b.    When you do not pay, the debt grows, and the consequences increase

c.     The longer we live, the more commandments we break


3.    God became a substitute payment for us, as Jesus – that is the climax – the best part


a.     A perfect substitute, that lived perfectly

b.    And died willingly – as a lamb

c.     And universally – not just for some select group of people, but for all people


4.    We need to accept that payment before it is too late, or we will have to pay! That is the invitation!


a.     By repenting of our own efforts – giving up

b.    And by just Believing Jesus has done everything needed to forgive you and me


5.    But it does no one any good if it is not believed


a.     It must be believed to be effective – to work – to save YOU, and change your life

b.    And believe me, it will change you!


C.   Believers need to open their mouths and declare it – preach it – explain it


1.    The biggest problem with the world today is not its sin – it is the silence of us Christians!

2.    Preach the Gospel! Our mouths and declare it – preach it – explain it to everyone we meet, everyone we know


a.     Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

b.    Ephesians 6:19 And [PRAY] for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

c.     1Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!


3.    Don’t worry about performance (1Corinthians 2:1-5) – just preach it, live it!


a.     And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

b.    For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

c.     And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

d.    And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

e.     That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.


D.   Otherwise, people will face God’s judgment for ever!


1.    1Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

2.    That is no threat! Judgment is coming!