THE OBJECT OF THE GOSPEL
By Rick Rapanos
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”
The text before us displays in simple terms, the object and purpose of the Gospel. The Son of
man accomplished the fulfilment of God’s complete scheme of redemption. He fulfilled ALL. Not some or part, because
without total fulfilment we then have a limited forgiveness, a limited grace, a limited atonement, and most of all a limited
Salvation. Read Matthew 5:17.
The Son of man is the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does this term, “Son of man” mean? It
is a Messianic title that Jesus applied to Himself. Though He is man, He is also God. Jesus is the God-man. Fully God and
fully man. His manhood being very unique in comparison to other men in the fact that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore not part of Joseph or Mary. Yes Mary was the carrier of the baby Jesus but not a part of her as it says in Hebrews
10:5 that God PREPARED a body for the second person of the triune God, “ .......a body hast thou prepared for Me.”
God did not use supernatural sperm and the human egg of Mary. If God used the egg of Mary then Jesus would have been part
of Mary and therefore born with a sin nature. Mary herself acknowledges herself in need of a saviour. You cannot acknowledge
yourself in need of a saviour unless you need to be saved from something, namely sin. Mary says in Luke 1:47, “ And
my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Jesus was born without sin and lived a sinless life. See Hebrews 4:15,
1 Peter 2:22, and 1 John 3:5.
The title, “Son of man” is used 32 times in the Gospel of Matthew, much more than
the other Gospels. Matthew was written primarily to Jews, to prove that Jesus was the Messiah they have long waited for, and
that He was the fulfilment of all the Old Testament prophecies. This title also qualifies Jesus to be the Judge of all mankind.
For Jesus says of Himself in John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”
Also by this title He is described in His voluntary humiliation for man’s redemption.
Another interesting phrase describing Jesus is, “The Son of David.” This title is
also Messianic. In the very first verse of Matthew 1:1 He is called, “The Son of David.” Matthew clearly wants
to show his Jewish readers who Jesus is. In Matthew chapter 21 you have Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The
crowds yelled in verse 9, “.... Hosanna to the Son of David ! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord ! Hosanna
in the highest!”
Even the children could see who the Messiah was as we read in verse 15, “.... and the
children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David...” Isn’t it interesting that the scribes
and chief priests and rulers of Israel could not , or would not, see who their own Messiah is, but children could? It is clear
that the Jews knew what the term, “Son of David” meant because they were very indignant and wanted Jesus to rebuke
them. Some critics say that others called Jesus the Messiah but He never called Himself the Messiah. That is totally wrong
as we see in Revelation 22:16, Jesus is speaking and says, “.... I am the Root and the Offspring of David....”
This is clearly a Messianic title that Jesus applies to Himself, which no scholar would refute. See Isaiah 11:1-5 ans Psalm
The word, “Gospel” means “glad tidings” or “ good news.”
Jesus is our good news . He is the whole Gospel. In Luke chapter 2:9-10 we read of an angel appearing before shepherds
to give them the good news, “ And lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about
them, and they were very afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy, which shall be to all people.”
The disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden resulted in sin entering the world. The
consequence was that now no one could be saved. All who died under the law became captives of Satan, because the Law was impossible
to keep. They were all held in a place called Hades, separated from the presence of God forever......unless God could make
a way of REDEMPTION. Webster’s Dictionary classifies “Redeem” this way: ‘To buy back; To discharge
or fulfil ( a pledge, etc) To make amends for ( some fault )To obtain the release of, as by paying a ransom; To set
free, or save ( as a sinner).’ Redemption was one of the first objects to be fulfilled. God, because of His Grace and
Mercy did find a way to redeem mankind. The Son of man would give His life for mankind. He would shed His precious blood as
an sacrifice to pay for the sin of mankind. This shed blood was a ransom price paid to Satan for the full pardon of all spirits.
We read in Hosea 6:1-2, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for He hath torn us, and He will heal us. He hath smitten,
and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us, in the third day He will raise us up, and we will live in His sight.”
This has been fulfilled. It is truly a sad thing to see people wilfully reject what God has done for them.
We see God’s plan of redemption put in motion way back in Genesis 3:15 where God tells
Satan he is already a defeated foe: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her
seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heal.” The words in this verse, ‘bruise thy head,’
meant a mortal death blow to Satan’s plan to destroy mankind. He would be the one destroyed by the Resurrection
of the Son of man, and the captives held by Satan would be set free. Set free because Satan no longer has any power over death.
We read this in Hebrews 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise
took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver
them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Satan was, and is to this day powerless,
because he has been thrown into the lake of fire as we read in Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was
cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night
forever and ever.” These verses in Hebrews as well as Revelation has been fulfilled. Those who reject God and die in
their evil state will not even be a memory to God as we see in Isaiah 26:14, “They are dead, they shall not live. They
are deceased, they shall not rise; Therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.”
The redeemed of God however, the righteous, will live as we see further down in Isaiah 26:19, “Your dead shall live,
together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and
the earth shall cast out the dead.”
The accomplishment of this event, as well as Hosea 6:1-2, is described in Matthew 27:51-53,
which resulted in a partial resurrection. Partial because those of Revelation 14:1-5 were the first.
The Son of God came from being in fellowship with the Father and Spirit, to become man. He came
from Heaven to earth. From the most exalted personal Glory, to the deepest personal humiliation and distress. From the possession
of perfect bliss, to the laying down of His life as a sacrifice for sin, and redemption. He gave Himself, the just for the
unjust, a ransom paid to Satan for His own rebellious creatures. The Father spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him
up for the guilty man.
The whole subject of the Gospel is the coming of the Son of God, to be the Son of man, to seek
and to save that which was lost. It is interesting that you hear all the time from people:
“I found Christ,” or “I came to Christ.” Well, this is not an accurate
statement, because we do not FIND Christ, He FINDS us. We do not seek after God because we cannot. Our sinful nature will
not allow us to do so. The Bible says in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, there is non righteous, no, not one. There
is non that understandeth, there is non that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
useless. There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” See also Psalm14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, and Ecclesiastes 7:20. It
is our Heavenly Father that draws us to the living Christ, as we see in the Gospel of John 6:44,
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draws him, and I will raise
him up at the last day.”
If the lost could only see the mercy that God has bestowed upon them. All through the Old Testament
Christ is talked about; The hope and salvation, which is the glad tidings of good things to mankind who would perish without
His mercy that He so freely gives us. See Isaiah 52:3-9, and Isaiah chapter 53. This Christ has become a propitiation for
us, which means that Christ willingly gave up His sinless life to be that sacrifice that brings us back to God. Christ destroyed
the power of sin that had kept man from being reconciled to God.
Now, as believers in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah, we can come before the Throne
of God and have fellowship with Him. Read Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:15, 1John 2:2, and 1John 4:10 .
Do you truly believe in Christ alone for your salvation? Then you must lay aside all of mans
traditions, rules, and ideas that add to what Christ has already done. No man can save you, no organization, no rule or ceremony.
In 1 Timothy 2:15 it says, “Be diligent to show thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth.” We must study the word of God, so we can know truth from error when it comes upon us. In
this study we are acceptable to God, because we then realize, if we have a true heart for God, that it is not tradition or
legalism that saves us. If you have to add to your salvation, then you make a mockery of the word of God and are guilty of
blasphemy. In this case you can call yourself a Christian all you want, but I would have to question your salvation. There
will be some that object to what I just said saying,” You cannot judge me, and say I am not saved !” Well, you
are correct. I can only judge you with a RIGHTEOUS judgment, that is, according to the word of God. So therefore it is God
who is judging you, not me. I am just pointing it out to you. Look at John 7:24, “ Judge not according to the appearance,
but judge ye the righteous judgement.”
Do you say that you love Jesus? Well then, if you do then you will keep His commandments. Read
it in John 15:10. Do you know that there are over 600 commandments that God has given in the Bible including the Ten Commandments?
You may ask, “What commandments is Jesus talking about.” If you keep just two commandments that Jesus gave
in the New Testament, then in reality you have kept them all. What two commandments? They are found in Matthew 22:37-40, “
Jesus said unto him, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength
and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, Thou shall love thy neighbour
as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This is the glorious intelligence of the Gospel.
The Gospel also reveals man’s depraved mind. We cannot save ourselves. We are brought
into a sinful world with a sinful nature. Every hour of man’s life is spent in unbelief and rebellion against the God
who created all things and is therefore a record of man’s condemnation by God. But Christ Jesus has abolished sin by
His suffering. He has suffered more than any man, so that He is able to aid us in our own suffering and temptation. See Hebrews
2:18, 1 Peter 2:21-24.
Salvation does not come through man’s tradition, or man’s interpretation of what
God has said in His written word. Salvation comes through belief, and that belief comes through God’s written word revealed
by the Holy Spirit. God’s word is complete and fulfilled in this age, and man’s interpretation is clearly prohibited,
as we read in 2 Peter 2:20-21, “ For if after they have escaped the pollution’s of the world through the knowledge
of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than
the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known, to
turn from the Holy commandment delivered unto them.”
Jesus Christ has borne the guilt of our sins. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel for it has the
power to save the lost as we read what Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “ For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for
it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Do not forsake
this salvation that is found in the Gospel of Christ, or He in turn will forsake, and be ashamed of you. See Luke 9:26 which
say’s, “ For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall
come in His own Glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
See also Mark 8:38. Although Jesus was speaking to the Jews of the day in these verses, this
also, we must take to heart in this time and space.
These are sad times we live in where we come to church to be entertained. Were we are constantly
looking at our watches to make sure the sermon does not go over the required 30 minutes because we have to go to lunch or
we have better things to do. Look around the congregation next time you are in church. See how many people come to church
minus their Bibles. Do you go to work without your shoes? If you are a salesman, do you leave your briefcase at home? Why
do you come to church without your Bible? Look around again and see how many people are on their Blackberries checking their
messages. Today the hearts of those in church are like Pharaoh’s -like stone. We are looking for the church to do something
for us instead of us doing something for the church of Christ. Do we really want to see the Gospel preached? Or are we just
there to “show up.” The churches with the most shallow teaching in the pulpit today are the churches that are
filled to capacity.
The Gospel finds man in a fallen state, under a load of intolerable guilt, and extreme un-holiness,
and unable to restore his own soul to the image of God. To persuade mankind to this view of personal guilt is a difficult
one to preach. The pride of man rebels against it.
Turn now to Christ, the only one who can save you. Do not continue to crucify the Lord of Glory.
Do not continue to rebel against the word of God. For Christ came to save you. Don’t reject this free gift. For every
other purpose which the Gospel purposes, finds it’s place behind this one verse in Luke 19:10, “The Son
of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”