The Gospel is a subject that is spoken of a lot these days. In recent years, there as been sort of a revival of the term ‘Gospel.’ You will hear preachers talk about being Gospel centered or Gospel focused. Many books and teaching materials have the word ‘Gospel’ somewhere in its title. This is a good thing. We need to be made more aware of the Gospel. We need to study the Gospel. We need to engross ourselves in the Gospel. We need to live out the Gospel.
The word ‘Gospel’ basically means ‘Good News.’ Therefore, when we talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are referring to the good news concerning Jesus. The Gospel is not just the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel is the whole counsel of God’s Word. The Gospel is recorded in Genesis all the way through Revelation. The Gospel is not just a one-time thing. We don’t just believe the Gospel for salvation but, you must also live out the Gospel. You must practice Gospel-living. The Gospel is powerful. It changes everything. It does not just change what we believe but, it also changes how we live. The Gospel transforms our lives and conforms us to the image of Christ. Therefore, we never graduate from the Gospel. Instead, we must go deeper into the Gospel.
In our text in Acts 8, we see three things that we must know about the Gospel. Understanding these simple truths will enhance our understanding of the Gospel and its power.
The Gospel cannot be stopped (v. 1-7). After the stoning of Stephen, the persecution of the church enhanced. Verse one describes it as a time of great persecution against the church. Up until this time, the church stayed amongst themselves. They stayed in Jerusalem and enjoyed their sweet fellowship. However, this is not what God intended. He gave them the Great Commission and told them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. They had been in Jerusalem for too long. They were focused on themselves and their own people for too long. Therefore, God allowed persecution to come upon the church in order scatter them around the world. This reminds me of what Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good….” God has a way of taking a bad situation and turning it around for good. Some may look at the persecution of the church and say, “how terrible!” I look at the persecution of the church and say, “how wonderful!” It is when the church is persecuted that it is at its best. As the church in Jerusalem is persecuted, they scatter and as they scattered, they went everywhere preaching the Word. Child of God, we must understand that no matter what comes against the church, the Gospel will prevail. It cannot be stopped. It is too powerful to contain. It is too wonderful to keep to ourselves. The light of the Gospel is too bright, it cannot be put out. The more man tries to stop it. The more man tries to put it a lid on it, the louder and more powerful it is preached.
The Gospel brings great joy (v. 8). As the saints spread across the region, Philip goes to Samaria to preach the Gospel. There, the Gospel does its thing yet again. Lives are changed and many miraculous things were done. As a result, the scripture says that, “there was great joy in the city.” My friend, the Gospel changes everything. Everywhere that the Gospel is preached, good things are bound to happen. When we start to truly live out the Gospel, we will have a positive impact on our community. As we reach children with the Gospel and they come to faith in Jesus, their attitudes will change, their behavior will improve, and even their grades will increase. As we infiltrate the community with the Gospel, the hungry will be fed, the naked will be clothed, and the homeless will find shelter. As the community is saturated by the Gospel, business will apply Biblical principles and they will prosper. As a result, more jobs will be offered and even the lost will benefit. As we engage our local government with the Gospel, the right people will be elected and Godly policies will be enacted. You want the world to be a better place? Preach the Gospel. You want your community to flourish? Preach the Gospel. You want your neighborhood to be safer? Preach the Gospel. You want your schools to provide a better education? Preach the Gospel. You want your business to be successful and to prosper? Preach the Gospel. The Gospel brings great joy in the city. They Gospel changes everything!
The Gospel cannot be bought (v. 9-25). Simon thought he could buy the power that the Apostles had with money. My friend, the Gospel cannot be bought. I have seen people try to use their money and their influence in order to buy the grace of God. My friend, it cannot be done. I have seen people attempt to do special things for the preacher as if they would get some special favor from God out of it. My friend, it cannot be done. The Gospel cannot be bought. Why can’t the Gospel be bought? Because it is free! The Gospel is freely given and it is freely received. You don’t have to do anything to earn God’s favor. You cannot ever be good enough. The Gospel is here, it is available, it is free. All you must do is accept it. Believe it. Receive it.