That was the subject of the first in a series of revival messages at the Little River Congregational Church, February 10-13, presented by Dr. J.B. Hixson, Executive Director of the Free Grace Alliance.
In a message entitled, "The Gospel: Kaleidoscope or Microscope?" Dr. Hixson outlined six mistaken gospel models that are propagated in our postmodern society:
The Purpose Gospel-- The hope of this gospel focuses exclusively on the present age, like better relationships, less stress, more meaningful purpose, etc. Good stuff, but there's no mention of the afterlife-- heaven or hell-- nor emphasis on personal accountability to God.
The Puzzling Gospel-- What people should believe in order to be a Christian is not really made clear or is presented in contradictory ways. A lot of people live in this muddy puddle. Are you a Christian? The best they can answer is, "I'm trying."
The Prosperity Gospel-- A popular message that promises material riches with "name it and claim it" formulas. Again, it focuses on this world alone and obligates God to things He doesn't promise.
The Pluralistic Gospel-- All religions are equally valid pathways to heaven. Jesus is the normal path to heaven, but not the necessary path.
The Performance Gospel-- Believing in Jesus requires you either clean up your life before you believe or you must demonstrate a certain number of good works after you believe. Either way, salvation is in part dependent upon what you do.
The Promise-Only Gospel-- This gospel invites people to believe in Jesus, but without explaining who Jesus is and what He did. Knowing who He is and what He did isn't essential.
Finally, Dr. Hixson explained the "good news" message that best summarizes all the biblical data:
The Pure Gospel-- This gospel proclaims these essential elements:
- Jesus Christ-- This person is at the center of the Gospel message.
- Jesus' Identity-- He is the Son of God. In other words, deity with a unique relationship to God.
- Jesus' Work-- He died on the cross and rose again on the third day.
- Jesus' Accomplishment-- His death and resurrection pays your personal sin penalty and makes available to you the righteousness of God.
- Jesus' Offer-- He offers you the free gift of eternal life, which you may receive by putting your faith in Him.
So why did this exposition start off our revival conference?
When you know and appreciate what God did for you in Christ, then you can really rejoice, give thanks, and be revived.