What if you’ve only heard a clever substitute for the real gospel of Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul warns of “another Jesus” and false gospel in 2 Corinthians 11. Let’s evaluate key verses about the gospel Jesus taught.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Why is the true gospel of Jesus Christ neglected in professing Christianity? Why do we hear instead a different gospel from that taught by Jesus, His apostles, and first century Christianity? Why is the message Jesus proclaimed for three-and-one-half years ignored and forgotten?
The answer to these questions is simple. A substitute gospel entered the professing Christian world shortly after the early church began, and the true message of Jesus Christ has been supplanted ever since. But how can that be? Surely the messages heard throughout the land on Sunday mornings must be the same as Jesus proclaimed. Sadly, it’s not true!
Many of you viewing this telecast read your Bible. You know what that message is that Jesus proclaimed… or do you? Is it possible even you have been deceived? I give you this challenge today: Look into what the Bible says and compare it with the message you think Jesus preached during His ministry, because I can almost guarantee that the true gospel of Jesus Christ has not been preached in the denomination you grew up in.
Does that sound too brash, too arrogant to say? Is it too politically incorrect to tell you the truth? As we often repeat on this program, don’t believe us just because we say it. And don’t believe your minister or priest just because he says it. Prove it for yourself, right out of the pages of your Bible. So if you want to hear what the true gospel is, stay with me. I’ll be back in five seconds.
A warm welcome to all of you from all of us here at Tomorrow’s World. The true gospel that Jesus taught is not being preached in mainstream professing Christian churches! Now I know that is a bold statement and I don’t expect you to believe it without biblical proof. If the gospel you’ve been hearing is not the same as that proclaimed by Jesus, and if I can prove [it] to yourself from the pages of the Bible, what will you do about it? Think about that. A Christian is supposed to be one who follows Christ, so who will you follow? Christ? Or a popular denomination, a charismatic teacher, family tradition? Will you continue attending the “Church of your choice,” if it’s not proclaiming the gospel brought by Jesus, or will you take another path? This is a serious question that may call for courageous action.
How important is it to understand, and believe, not just any gospel, but the true gospel? Notice what Jesus said at the very beginning of His ministry, as recorded in Mark 1:14–15:
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15).
Yes, that’s a command straight from Jesus: “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” But how can you believe in something if you’ve never been taught what it is? Oh, but YOU are not deceived. YOU know what that message was! Don’t be too sure, because you’re not hearing it in mainstream Christianity.
So, what is that message? Do you care to know? Or are you comfortable with a counterfeit, just as the first century Corinthians were? Notice how the Apostle Paul soundly corrected them for their careless attitude in 2 Corinthians 11:3–4.
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! (2 Corinthians 11:3–4).
Wow! A different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel! If the Corinthians could be deceived, to whom the great apostle to the Gentiles was sent, how about you? Is it possible that you, too, could be fooled? Could you be worshiping a different Jesus and believing a different message from the one He proclaimed during His three-and-a-half year ministry? Paul did not care about political correctness. He called out these deceivers for what they were in verses 13–15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).
No, these ministers did not look evil, but they appeared as ministers of righteousness. And do we think it is any different today? There are a lot of charismatic preachers in our world. Many are kind-hearted and do lots of wonderful works—feeding the poor, carrying on campaigns to “bring people to Christ,” but here is what Jesus said in Luke 6:46:
But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
Notice He also said this in Matthew 7:22–23:
Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21–23).
Many people claim Jesus to be their Lord and Master. It’s easy to claim Him as Master, but not so easy to live as though He were your Master. The Apostle John dealt with the same issue of people professing to know Christ, but living their own way. Have you ever been asked, “Do you know the Lord?” How do you answer that question? Here is how John answers it in the second chapter of his first letter:
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:3–6).
Now circling back, what were the two commandments Jesus gave at the beginning of His ministry?
Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
But how can you believe in something you never heard?
I understand that it is shocking to hear that the true gospel of Christ is not taught in professing Christianity today. That is why I’m challenging you to prove it to yourself from the pages of the Bible. The Apostle Paul said that anyone preaching another gospel is under a curse. Therefore, it’s vital for you to know exactly what it was that Jesus and the first century apostles taught.
Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:42–43).
Yes, for this purpose He was sent, and the message He was to proclaim was the Kingdom of God. So what IS the Kingdom of God? Do you know? Does it matter? Absolutely, according to the Apostle Paul! Here’s what He wrote to the people of Galatia, chapter 1, verse 6:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6–8).
So what was it that Paul taught? Was it the same gospel Jesus proclaimed, or was it a different message? At the very end of the book of Acts, where we find the Apostle in Roman custody, long after he brought the truth to the people of Galatia, here’s what we read in chapter 28 and verse 23:
So when they [that is, the Jews in Rome] had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening (Acts 28:23).
Notice that while he taught them about Jesus and how He was the fulfillment of many prophecies, his testimony involved the same message Jesus was sent to proclaim—the Kingdom of God. Now notice verses 30 and 31—the last two verses found in the book of Acts:
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him (Acts 28:30–31).
So what exactly IS this Kingdom of God that Jesus and the early apostles taught? Some think of it as a nice sentiment—something set up in the hearts of men. Many think the church in today’s evil world is the Kingdom of God. Others think it is about going to heaven. And as outrageous as it may sound today, some people once thought the British Empire was the Kingdom of God. None of these are correct.
But the kingdom Jesus proclaimed was not a sentiment in one’s heart. It was not about going to heaven. It was not the church. And, it was not about Christianity taking over the world. It was a message about a very real kingdom set up on this earth, with a king, with territory, subjects, and laws.
So far, we’ve only looked at a few of the dozens of scriptures proving this point. We’ve seen that a substitute gospel was extant even in the early years of the Church, but the true gospel was, without a doubt, about the Kingdom of God. It’s time to see what exactly is the Kingdom of God.
It is self-evident that a kingdom is a government which must have four elements:
Does the Bible tell us about such a kingdom? The answer is, yes, it does! Beginning in Daniel 2 where we read of an unusual dream given to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The prophet Daniel was given understanding and explained to the king that the giant image he saw in his dream represented four great empires that would arise in the area of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The first was that of Nebuchadnezzar’s Chaldean empire. Then history shows it was followed by the Medo-Persian, the Greco-Macedonian, and the Roman empires. This last empire would continue in one revival after another until the end of the age when the God of heaven would set up a Kingdom. Let’s pick up the story in verse 44:
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).
These same four kingdoms are described in Daniel 7, but instead of a giant image of a man, they are depicted in greater detail in the form of four wild beasts. And again, the last one continues down to the end of the age. Daniel 7:27:
Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him (Daniel 7:27).
Jesus elaborated on this kingdom in His parables. And as we have already seen earlier in this program, He said:
I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent (Luke 4:43).
Do you realize, my friends that Jesus gave us the answer to all four elements of this divine kingdom? He explained:
Who would be the king of the kingdom
Who the subjects of the kingdom would be
Where the kingdom would be located
[and] What would be the laws governing the kingdom
In the remainder of this program, let’s look at each one, beginning with Who would be the King of the Kingdom. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of Him in this famous passage found in chapter 9:6–7:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6–7).
This was a clear reference to the One who would come to set up a literal government on earth. Many passages point us to none other than Jesus Christ as that King, but let’s look at one of them. When Jesus appeared before Pilate, he asked Him a very direct question, and Jesus gave a very direct answer. John 18:37:
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” [and] Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world…” (John 18:37).
One of Jesus’ most famous parables is found in Luke, the 19th chapter. He gave it in response to a misunderstanding. Let’s notice it, beginning in verse 11:
Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately (Luke 19:11).
There was no question that He spoke about the kingdom to be set up—it was only a matter of when. So in response to their lack of understanding, He begins by representing Himself as a nobleman on a mission:
Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12).
Notice that He states here that He would receive a kingdom and return. We read of Him being crowned in a future coronation ceremony in Daniel 7:13–14:
I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13–14).
Now back to the parable of the minas. What are His servants to do until He returns? Are they to live out their lives with nothing to do? Or are they (are we) expected to grow in grace and knowledge and to do His work? Let’s notice Luke 19 once again, beginning in verse 13:
So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, “Do business till I come….” And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, “Master, your mina has earned ten minas.” And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:13, 15–17).
Yes, Jesus was born to become a king. He came 2,000 years ago proclaiming the message about His coming Kingdom and to give His life a ransom for many. He gave parables showing that we can be born into that Kingdom by the resurrection from the dead and we can rule with Him. We must be changed from physical to spirit, as clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 15:50:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption…. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50, 53).
One must be born into the Kingdom of God, no longer flesh and blood. But then what? Where are those cities that God’s servants will rule over—the ones spoken of by Jesus in the parable of the minas? Are those cities in heaven? Not according to your Bible! Not according to Revelation 5:10:
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:10).
Who will they rule over? Who are these subjects? Notice in Zechariah 14:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16).
Read all of Zechariah 14 and you will see that these subjects will be flesh and blood human beings who survive the great tribulation and the day of the LORD. These are not servants of God up in heaven, but carnally minded individuals who will learn God’s perfect way and also have a chance for salvation, just as we have. In summary:
The King of the kingdom will be Jesus Christ—Luke 19:12
The territory will be here on earth—Revelation 5:10
The subjects will be flesh and blood humans—Zechariah 14:16
And the laws of God will govern Christ’s Kingdom—Matthew 19:17
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