Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Gospel 21

posted by xscot mcknight

Acts is a rich source for “gospel” and we turn today to Acts 14:

Acts 14:1 The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers.

Here we see Paul and Barnabas “gospeling” and the result is that many — both Jews and Greeks — become believers. The goal of gospeling is believers. This preaching led to opposition.

14:3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders to be done through them.

Gospeling involves bold speech (parresiazomenoi) about the Lord and Luke tells us that the Lord responded to this preaching of the “word of his grace” (a definition of gospeling) with signs and wonders. This, too, led to opposition and they moved on to Lystra and Derbe “and there they conintued ‘gospeling'” (14:7).
In Lystra Paul was used by God to speak a word of healing (not far from the word of grace) and the crowds overdid it, thinking Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul’s response:

15 ?Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; 17 yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good?giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.? 18 Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul’s gospeling: the good news that they should turn from idols to the living God. Again a narrative arc to explain it all follows. Nature reveals this good God. Opposition again and Paul was stoned, apparently to death. Disciples nurtured him to health evidently and he and Barnabas moved on to Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. 22 There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ?It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.? 23 And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.



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Taylor

posted October 27, 2008 at 8:12 am


It strikes me that believers can turn almost anything into an idol; even the minister or ministry itself. It is often God’s greatest gifts that we do this with. May God help us to recognize this and turn from it when it happens.



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Rebeccat

posted October 27, 2008 at 9:31 am


I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed this series. It’s been very helpful for me. Thanks!



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T

posted October 27, 2008 at 12:24 pm


Ditto to Rebeccat.
One of the things that strikes me in these passages is what results from this “gospeling”: believers/disciples. Believers in Jesus are disciples of Jesus, and vice-versa. Becoming Jesus’ disciple–learning to practice his teachings–was what this ‘gospel’ invited one to do.
Willard, if I recall, asks a great question on this front: Is the gospel we’re announcing naturally leading those who accept it to become apprentices of Jesus–learning to do everything Jesus commanded? If not, there’s an important difference between our ‘gospel’ and that in the NT.



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Daniel C

posted October 27, 2008 at 2:19 pm


Seems like Paul could have appealed to the culture a bit more so that he didn’t face so much opposition. :-)
That being said, the fact that Paul is fulfilling Christ’s command to “go and make disciples” is a very noteworthy example. Christ was the foundation of Paul’s work and ultimately the author of Paul’s writings to us.



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