(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).
St. Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
St. Mark 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (KJV).
The word ‘gospel’ simply means ‘good news’. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of God’s salvation for mankind, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the message of how reconciliation of fallen humanity with God was made possible through the sacrificial and substitutionary death of God’s only begotten Son at Calvary. Through Jesus Christ, lost humanity is offered divine pardon from the original sin and its consequences, as well as eternal life in paradise. Thus, the gospel is variously called “the gospel of God”, “the gospel of Jesus Christ”, “the gospel of the kingdom” (of heaven), “the gospel of peace” and “the gospel of salvation”. From all these descriptions of the gospel, the focus of the gospel is clear—-salvation from sin, peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life in God’s kingdom.
The focus of the gospel was made clear by our Lord Jesus Christ in his final command to his original apostles, to whom he committed his gospel. The great commission the Lord entrusted to the apostles (and to those they would disciple later) was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creation, in order to bring salvation to as many as would believe and accept the gospel. The apostles themselves demonstrated a clear understanding of their life mission by focusing exclusively on saving souls and reconciling men and women back to God. Their ministry of reconciliation was the driving force of their lives. They were not ashamed to preach the gospel of peace and save men and women from the wrath of God which awaits all sinners who die without making peace with God.
St. Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
St. Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
St. Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
St. Mark 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
St. Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
St. Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel —not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
Romans 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
Romans 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Unfortunately, the gospel message has taken a different turn in our time. The focus of the gospel in a lot of Christian circles is no longer the salvation of souls, but the enrichment of pockets. The gospel of material prosperity has supplanted the gospel of salvation in many quarters. Ministers of Christ in most pentecostal circles now see their calling as that of making people rich materially, rather than making them rich towards God. The evidence of divine approval now seems to be how rich a Christian is in the things of the world. Ministers of Christ now parade their fat bank accounts, fleets of exotic cars, private jets, multi-million dollar auditoriums, state-of-the-art mansions, etc, as evidence of success in ministry. And those who become materially rich and successful in business (even if dubiously), by following the teachings of these ministers of Christ, are readily paraded for all to see as the testimony of blessed Christianity! Is material prosperity the barometer for measuring success in ministry or in life generally?
The original apostles of the Lord made clear in their writings that material prosperity was not the goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They stressed the fact that an inordinate ambition for riches was actually counterproductive to the gospel message, and at variance with being heavenly-minded. Those who covet riches while following Christ may actually end up making a shipwreck of their faith! The love of money still remains the root of all evil, and those who lust after wealth end up erring from the faith and piercing themselves with many sorrows. The original apostles of the Lord made the fact clear that ministers who make prosperity the crux of their message are earthly minded and are called into ministry by their belly (materials needs), which is also their god. The end of such ministers is destruction! Ministers who place prosperity above salvation of souls are patently false, and should be avoided at all costs! They are nothing but satanic agents masquerading as ministers of Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, who specialise in fleecing God’s flocks and making merchandise of the gospel. These are people who don’t hesitate to sell the anointing to the highest bidder, while imparting their grace only to those who sow the largest financial ‘seeds’ into their lives and ministries. Like the prophet Balaam who was enticed by the wages of unrighteousness to his destruction, a similar fate awaits such modern day merchants behind the pulpit, and all those who follow their destructive ways! Like the Lord Jesus Christ warned his disciples, we should take heed and beware of covetousness, for true success in life is not measured by the abundance of material riches, but in how rich we are towards God.
1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
1 Timothy 6:9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Philippians 3:17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Philippians 3:18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
2 Peter 2:3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
2 Peter 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
2 Peter 2:6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless
2 Peter 2:8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) —
2 Peter 2:9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
2 Peter 2:10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;
2 Peter 2:11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord.
2 Peter 2:12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.
2 Peter 2:13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
2 Peter 2:14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed —an accursed brood!
2 Peter 2:15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.
2 Peter 2:16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey —an animal without speech —who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
Jude 1:4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Jude 1:5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling —these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 1:8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.
Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct —as irrational animals do —will destroy them.
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
Jude 1:12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm —shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted —twice dead.
Jude 1:13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
Jude 1:15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Jude 1:16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
Jude 1:17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
Jude 1:18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”
Jude 1:19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
The Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.
The Acts 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
The Acts 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Acts 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Acts 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money
The Acts 8:19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Acts 8:20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!
The Acts 8:21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.
The Acts 8:22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.
The Acts 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
St. Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
St. Luke 12:14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
St. Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
St. Luke 12:16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.
St. Luke 12:17 He thought to himself, ’What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
St. Luke 12:18 “Then he said, ’This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.
St. Luke 12:19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
St. Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
St. Luke 12:21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
In conclusion, the gospel message was intended to save the souls of men and deliver them from the wrath of God. Therefore, the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of peace and of salvation. The original apostles of the Lord thus made salvation of the soul the primary focus of the gospel they preached, and entry into God’s kingdom the ultimate goal of preaching the gospel. Unfortunately, the focus of the gospel has taken a different turn in our day, with material prosperity now being the focus and goal of the gospel. Most ministers of the gospel are now ministers of prosperity and motivational speakers who inspire people to a life of great material success, while sidelining salvation of the soul. Living in affluence and opulence is now seen as a testimony of the success of the gospel and of divine favour. Thus, the original gospel which sought to make men heavenly-minded has been supplanted by an earthly-minded gospel focused on material riches. Salvation of the soul and righteous living have thus been relegated to the background. It doesn’t matter anymore how a Christian lives; as long the person is enjoying material blessings and paying huge tithes, God must be with such a one. Anointing for prosperity is now available to the highest bidder only. Grace is now only imparted to those who can sow tangible financial ‘seeds’ into the lives of men of God. This type of gospel, and the people who preach and project it, can only end in one way— destruction in hell. The prosperity gospel is a hell-bound gospel which only breeds and spreads covetousness and greed. The love of money still remains the root of all kinds of evil, and servants of God are still enjoined to flee the love of money and lay hold on eternal life, for they that pursue after riches end up making a shipwreck of their faith, as well as piercing themselves with many sorrows. Let’s take heed then and beware of covetousness and greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the material things he possesses. That much was said by the Lord Jesus Christ himself! What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
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