One of the sessions from our Gospel Mission Conference (audio here) dealt with the fact that the nature of the gospel requires it to be announced or proclaimed, because at its core it is “news”. It is a message, a word, that is intended to be spread to all nations and through which God is gathering redeemed people together into the one body of Christ.
That this is the case is evident in part from the word itself. The Greek word which we translate as “gospel” is literally “good news.” That’s what the word gospel means.
Secondly, this is evident by the way the word is used. The gospel is always a message or a word. There is a verb form of the word for gospel which is used frequently in the New Testament (my quick search on Bible Works found 54 instances, though I didn’t take the time to go through each example and verify it). It is the action of announcing the good news. Thus, the “gospel” is something that by its very nature must be “gospeled” – that is, heralded/preached/announced.
There is a close connection between the concept of “gospel” and what the apostles are told in Acts 1:8 when they are informed that they will become witness-bearers of the resurrection. The resurrection – as well as Christ’s death, ascension, and future judgment – are important themes the apostles emphasize in their “gospeling” in the book of Acts. For them to bear witness to Christ and his resurrection they are also bearing witness to the gospel. Or to say it another way, the gospel is the apostolic witness of the death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return of Christ. It is a message, a testimony, to particular truths- historical facts regarding what God has done in Christ to save people.
That this is a word or a message is further emphasized in (1) the over-riding theme of Acts, in which the word of the Lord increases and expands in increasingly wide geographic and cultural settings; and (2) in 1 Corinthians 1:17 – where in the context of “preaching the gospel” – refers to the “word of the cross” as the “power of God.” This “power of God” in Romans 1 is specifically referred to as the “gospel.” Thus the gospel is thought of in terms of being a word/message.
So what? What is the point of all of this?
The point is this – the very nature of the gospel demands it must be announced. You cannot be “gospel-centered” if you are not committed to seeing the good news continue moving on, growing, expanding and bearing the fruit of its power throughout the world. Or, to put it another way, you are not gospel-centered if you sit on the gospel for yourself and only consider its ramifications for your own life and faith.
To whom are you committed to see that the gospel is announced?