This gospel of the kingdom is powerful. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). This gospel has the power to bring life to all men everywhere. It is the message of deliverance that Jesus is the mighty emancipator, breaking the shackles of sin, and liberating men and women of all cultures and races.
By Ralph V. Reynolds
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
A few years ago I had the privilege of sharing the pulpit at the Ontario camp meeting with Bro. Carl McKellar. I was the morning Bible teacher and he was the evening evangelist. The ministry of Bro. McKellar was outstanding. One evening he ministered on the truth that we are a special people preaching a special message at a special time. If you had been present, you would have heard me shouting, “Amen!”
The church is a body of special people, and we have been commissioned to preach a special message throughout this special church age. Jesus called this special message the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14). This is the only gospel the church is commissioned to preach, and only the church can proclaim it.
This is not the everlasting gospel named in Revelation-14:6. An angel preached the everlasting gospel, but no angel may preach the gospel of the kingdom. Everlasting means it is preached during the eternal ages, both past and future. The gospel of the kingdom was first preached on the Day of Pentecost, and there will be no need for it when the church is raptured. We shall deal with the everlasting gospel in a later chapter. But here we are considering the gospel of the kingdom which is a special message for the church to proclaim.
The word “gospel” actually means “glad tidings, good news”. It is the message of what God has done for us, that He loves us and offers us eternal salvation. The gospel is a proclamation of what God does. If man hears, believes and obeys it, he may be saved. In the gospel message, there is God’s part and man’s part. In the second chapter of Acts, Peter preached the gospel when he preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This is the Apostolic message. The Apostle Peter was a spokesman for the entire church, for when he preached, the eleven stood there with him. The message of the death, burial and resurrection brought conviction upon the hearts of the hearers and a desire that they might receive what the early church had received. They cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” It was then that the Apostle Peter used the keys of the kingdom that Jesus had given to him and opened the doors of the kingdom to a multitude on that day. “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18, 19).
We should understand clearly that Acts 2:38 is not the gospel. The gospel is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:38 is the direction and the instruction that each one of us must receive and obey if we are to obtain that which Jesus has provided and offered to us through His death, burial and resurrection. In other words, the Apostle first preached the gospel of the kingdom, and then he used the keys to open the door to that kingdom which he had preached.