RECOVERY OF THE GOSPEL IS FOUNDATIONAL
for society’s revival and reformation. Every church and church leader needs to be continually renewed by the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand. This is Jesus’ central theme, mentioned 82 times in the four gospels. The apostle Paul carries the theme forward in the book of Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans, 1:16, NIV).
The gospel has implications of ultimate significance for every woman, man, and child. It carries the power of God, our almighty Creator and Savior, in verbal form into our earthly context. According to the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13), the gospel message of the kingdom has exponential potential.
If we truly desire relevant, enduring, powerful life changes within the ministries and marketplace around us, we must re- discover the gospel in its full depth and breadth as the height and width of the love of God.
THE 6 HINGES OF HISTORY
Six “hinges of history”—the six chief elements of the gospel story—are listed below, along with their implications for ministry. They are hinges for all people in all places. Picture them as six doorways in the “Grand Gospel Hallway,” with treasures behind each door.
+ 1.THE LIFE OF JESUS: ACCREDITED (ACTS 2:22)
Jesus’ incarnation preceded his ministry to the crowds, and this is the pattern for our incarnational ministry as well. Ordinary people are apprenticed in kingdom proclamation and demonstration for healing, deliverance, and empowered ministry, follow- ing Jesus’ example (Matthew 10:7-8). Leaders engage in strategies for church growth, including church planting, and stewardship of all things under Christ as continuing high priorities of kingdom ministry.
+ 2.THE DEATH OF JESUS: ATONEMENT (ACTS 2:23)
Christ’s death and resurrection established ultimate triumph over evil powers and principalities (Colossians 1:13; 2:15). When we accept Christ’s atonement, God washes away our sins. Forgiveness of sins is necessary for all people, along with new birth (John 3:3, 16-17; Acts 2:38). Reconciliation of humanity in Christ takes place across all barriers and divisions (Colossians 1:20, 2:13; Ephesians 2:14-15).
+ 3.RESURRECTION OF JESUS: AUTHENTICATION (ACTS 2:24-32)
This ultimate miracle confirms that the gospel is true (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).It is the first fruits of our own future bodily transformation (1 Corinthians 15:20-21). Christ is alive, which is evidence for the truth and supremacy of the gospel over man-made world religions, whose founders are de- ceased.
+ 4.THE ASCENSION OF JESUS: AUTHORITY (ACTS 2:30, 33-34)
Our humanity is represented permanently in heaven by Jesus on the throne. In spiritual warfare, victory is ensured (Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 1:16-18). Following his ascension, Jesus calls and sends to the church “equipping leaders” (Ephesians 4:10-14).
+ 5.THE OUTPOURING OF HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH JESUS: ABILITY (ACTS 2:33-34)
The saving presence of God is in the world now, through the third person of the Trinity, in the born-again saints, to counteract the absence of God (sin) (John 14:16). The fruit and gifts of the Spirit for ministry formation (sanctification) continue and over- flow today (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The authority of Scripture rests in the agency of the third person of the Trinity (2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 1:16-21).
+ 6.THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS: ACCOUNTABILITY (ACTS 2:34-35; ROMANS 2:16)
There will be a final judgment of all humanity by Jesus, with reward for the redeemed and justice for the unrepentant sinner; the devil and his angels will be cast into the lake of fire (Acts 17:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 10:27; Revelation 14:9-11). There will be resurrection for all the saints and eternal condemnation of all the wicked (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). There will be a new heaven and a new earth; all things will be restored (Acts 3:21; Revelation 21-22; 2 Peter 3:13).