The apostle Paul, in recounting his ministry to the Christians of his day, said, “I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19). That phrase has been ringing inside of me of the past few weeks as I have contemplated our final teaching together. I believe that over the past nine years I have shared more than you need to know to live a successful Christian life and to maximise your potential for the glory of God.
A modern translation of that verses states, “I have preached the full gospel of Christ”. Another translation reads, “I have told you in full the good news of Christ”. Just what is this “full” or “complete” gospel of Christ. What is its foundation? I need to remind you that Jesus said He had not come to talk about Himself, but that He came to reveal the Father. The crux of the good news of Christ was actually good news about God. I, too, want to talk about the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe the basic good news about God that I have shared over the past nine years is that God is a good God. “God is a good God and the devil is a bad devil. There is no badness in God and there is no goodness in the devil. God is totally good and the devil is totally bad, for God is a good God and the devil is a bad devil”, as Oral Roberts has often described it. Psalm 34:8 instructs us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. This is an invitation to get into a relationship with God, to test Him out to see if He is really good. In Psalm 100:5 we are also taught that “The Lord, He is good and His mercy is everlasting.”
The one thing that Jesus came to prove to humanity was that good is a good God. I still find folk whose concept of God is that of a great policeman in the sky, ready to hit us over the head whenever we step out of line. They see God as a dictator. They blame God for everything that happens. However, the Bible teaches that God is a good God: “You are good and do good” (Psalm 119:68). Not only is goodness a basic attribute of our God, but it is also the motivation for His acts. We need to share this good news about our wonderful God, for the foundation of Christian teaching is that God is good and does good.
God is a people-person
We seem to forget this all too often. God made people, God knows what makes people tick. God made you like you are because He wanted you that way. God has a purpose for your life; you are a unique individual, for everybody is a somebody with God. Psalm 8:4-6 states, “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visited him. For You have made him a little lower than God [marginal reading], and You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him have dominion over the works of Your hand. You have put all things under his feet.” Yes, God made man to have an exalted position in His universe. We are at the peak, the masterpiece of His creation. He made us “slightly lower than Himself”, is how the Hebrew text handles that phrase.
So everybody is a somebody with God. You are not just an empty floating by; you are important to God! You are important to His plan for humanity and this earth. Not only did God make man, but He made us in His own image. Genesis 1:27 teaches that “God made man in His own image; in the likeness of God made He male and female.” Adam was made in the image of God (Genesis 5:1 ) and what can be said of the parents can be said of the offspring (Genesis 5:3). We are people who have a likeness to God and people whom God wants to act like He does! This is part of the good news of Christ.
We are not just anybody; we are special because God made us in His own image. In I John 3:2, talking about people who have become Christians, we read, “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” So the image of God is continued right through to the Christian believer. In that coming day, when we are all together in Heaven, we are going to be like God. Yes, God is a people-person, God is a good God!
God is not mad at you. God loves you. That is central to the gospel of Christ. God loves people. In that wonderful verse, John 3:16, we are reminded that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” He loves you. God loves everybody.
God is not mad at people, He’s mad at sin! God has no time for that which separates people from Himself, but He’s not mad at people — He loves them!
In Romans 5:8 it says that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. I like that word “demonstrates” (NKJV), for God not only loves us but He proved it by sending His Son to the cross of Calvary to die for you and me. When we accept Him, Romans 5:5 tells us that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”. His love has been poured into me, into you! That is why we are like Him, for I John 4:8,16 says that “God is love”. That is all part of the good news of Christ.
Amazing as it is to learn that God is a good God, that He is a people-person and is not mad at you, I have also taught you constantly and unashamedly that God has only the best for you. We not only teach this but we practise it also.
The “best” for you includes health, wealth and happiness. Even the Old Testament believers were told that Gad would deliver them “from the perilous pestilence” (Psalm 91:3). They were not to be “afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you” (Psalm 91:5-7). “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (verse 16). God wants the best for His children. He does not want anything to happen to you that is destructive, that is downgrading, that will set you back.
In Psalm 103:3 we are told that God is the one “Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases”. God is as interested in your health as He is in other parts of your life. Jesus spent a large part of His ministry helping people with their health problems. Acts 10:38 says that “He went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.” Health is part of the full or complete good news of Christ.
A sick person cannot usually help another sick person, a poor person cannot help another poor person, a depressed person cannot help another depressed person; God needs people who are enjoying life to the full and maximising their potential to be able to lift a hand to help someone else.
God has made a provision for your wealth too. I have taught strongly and will continue to do so that God has laid down a principle in the Bible regarding giving and receiving. “Give, and it shall be given to you…”(Luke 6:38).God’s will for you is not only health but also wealth. God does not want you to have only enough to scrape by. Jesus came that we “might have life and that we might have it more than abundantly” (John 10:10). That is not just an existence, but an abundance.
We all need more money than is necessary to pay our bills, so that we can help someone else along life’s way. If you do not have abundance, something left over, you will not be able to help others. We must understand this great truth in the light of what God teaches us in the Word about His supply and our possessions. “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (III John 2); that is a key verse on God’s desire and provision for your wealth. There is a relationship there that needs to be fulfilled in order to enjoy the flow of God’s prosperity.
Of course, God wants you to have happiness also. Why endure your religion when you can enjoy it? God’s plan for you is clear I Timothy 6:17, “Trust in… the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Life is meant to be enjoyed. This too is part of the good news of Christ. You do not have to drag your body around and be miserable all your days. We do not put joy on the shelf when we become a Christian. We actually pick true joy off the shelf and really start to live and enjoy life. God wants only the best for you: health, wealth and happiness. The reason God has set teachers in the church is so that they can motivate and encourage you to make a contribution to life and enjoy it while you are doing it.
Yes, the good news of Christ is that God is a good God, He is a people-person and is not mad at you, and He wants only the best for your life. Will you rise to His challenge and believe it?
Copyright © 1997 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version.