The Gospel accounts are very clear about the focus of Christ’s message. Yet the gospel of the Kingdom of God is nearly absent from Christianity today.
By Erik Jones
The myriad of churches that make up Christianity profess that their religion is based on Jesus Christ. Nearly all claim Him as their founder and say that their teachings are based on what He said and did 2,000 years ago. But, sadly, there are many doctrines where mainstream Christianity ignores or actually rejects the teachings of Jesus Christ.
This month’s column makes a bold assertion: Mainstream Christianity does not teach the same message that Jesus Christ brought when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago.
Jesus had a central message that formed the basis for His entire ministry and teachings.
He pinpointed this central message in the heart of His most famous sermon—the Sermon on the Mount. He made a statement about what should be the highest priority for His followers: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, emphasis added).
Jesus Christ’s words are clear—the Kingdom of God is to be the No. 1 focus and emphasis in the lives of His followers. In fact, it was the core of His gospel message.
Christ’s gospel was not just about Himself
Gospel is a common word in the Christian world. Some think of it in connection with a genre of religious music, but most understand that it describes a message. It literally means a message of good news. Most churches include the word gospel in their mission statements. Typically, the gospel is described as the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is seen as the message of His life, death and resurrection. (You can see this by doing a Google search of the mission statements of different denominations of Christianity.)
But was this the central message that Jesus actually taught? Was His message only about Himself?
A study of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s life pinpoints exactly what His message—His gospel—was all about!
Notice Mark 1:14: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” That statement is pretty plain—Jesus preached the gospel about the Kingdom of God!
There are many scriptures that reinforce this fact. For example, Matthew 9:35 says, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.”
At one point in His ministry, Jesus was about to leave an area where He had been preaching for some time. The people of that area tried to persuade Him not to go (Luke 4:42). Jesus’ response was, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (verse 43).
Let that sink in.
Jesus Christ said that one of His primary purposes for coming to earth was to preach about the Kingdom of God! That was His gospel. That was His message. That was His purpose. That is what drove Him.
When we understand that the thrust of Christ’s message centered on the Kingdom of God, we understand better why He made the statement in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God.” He tells us to seek first the Kingdom because the Kingdom of God was His primary message.
This message is about the literal establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth at the second coming of Jesus Christ. See our infographic on page 29 to learn more details about what the Kingdom of God is.
But where is that message in mainstream Christianity today?