There can be no doubt about it—the good news of the kingdom is the central theme of all first-century evangelistic preaching. Take a look at the list of preachers:
John the Baptist
An Unnamed Disciple
When we consider the amount of time the founding church leaders spent teaching and preaching about the kingdom, shouldn’t we expect the same from our evangelists and pastors? Where in the world is the “gospel of the kingdom” being preached today? I am not talking about the future reign of Christ, as important as it is, but the kingdom of God as a present reality? I truly believe that if Jesus and the Apostles walked the earth today, they would not recognize “the gospel” message heralded from most pulpits.
Product counterfeiting is illegal. Dishonest manufacturers and distributors cheat people out of tens of billions of dollars a year. A counterfeit Rolex might look like the Real McCoy at first glance, but it doesn’t work like a Rolex.
Many well intentioned ministers offer people a counterfeit gospel—one that seems genuine, but has no power to save. The matter was so pervasive in among the Galatians that the Apostle Paul excoriated them for “turning away . . . to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). He then pronounces judgment on those perverting the gospel: “If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (vv 7–8). While we might expect a cult to endorse a false gospel, we should not expect our churches and trusted parachurch organizations to distort the gospel.
To my experience, Christians rarely set out to twist the gospel. But they often preach a gospel that is defined more by tradition and culture than the Scriptures.
My book Heaven on Earth is an attempt to get the Christian community to recognize that the gospel is about the kingdom as defined by Jesus. Because it is “good news” in the fullest sense of the term, it has relevance for us here and now on earth. Salvation is less about going to heaven and more about experiencing wholeness of life. From start to finish the good news is about how God’s people of every generation can participate in the kingdom’s benefits and blessing while they are still alive, not only after they die.
[Order your copy of “Heaven on Earth” (Harvest House) today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Abe Books, CBD, Mardels, etc. Available also in a Kindle edition]