Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
The gospel is said to be several things:
1. the gospel of
the kingdom of God.
The word, "gospel," literally means "a good message" or "good news." It declares unto us the good news of the grace of Christ and the good news of the kingdom of God and the good news of our salvation.
Paul warned about preaching a perverted gospel: Gal. 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." He declares to us that "any gospel" other than the "grace of Christ" is "a perverted gospel" and not "the gospel."
Paul also told us that there would be those who would come preaching "another gospel:" 2 Cor. 11:4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
There are many sounds, and many spirits that have gone out into the world and many gospels, but there is only one true gospel. That gospel is "the gospel of the grace of Christ." Paul said to let any one who preached anything other than the "grace of Christ" to be accursed.
Unity of the Gospel Ministry
1. Ezek 1:6 "And every one had four faces, and every one had four
Each creature was typical of a gospel minister. The description was the same for each of the four creatures. When we look at the association of the number four and the work of the Holy Spirit, we will consider the faces of the living creatures, as well as the four living creatures.
Eph. 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." This description of the four types of gospel ministers shows us a unity of work of the gospel ministry. Whether the minister was a apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher, they all had the same job description. They were given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Furthermore, the qualifications of a gospel minister whether he was an apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher are identical and set forth in the following passages:
1. 1 Tim. 3:1 "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
2. Tit. 1:7 "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
In addition, the gospel ministry are to preach the same gospel regardless of whether they are an apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher. Paul warned against preaching any other gospel: Gal. 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Again, the gospel ministry are all to follow the Spirit of the Lord in
their ministry. This is illustrated in the description of the four
living creatures: Ezek. 1:12 "And they went every one straight forward:
whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they
went." The gospel ministry are to preach in power and demonstration of
Spirit and they are to be led of the Spirit of God both in their
preaching and to whom they are to preach and to where they are to
There are at least seven and perhaps more baptisms taught in the scriptures. Yet the above verses say there is one baptism. The context is such that it appears to pertain to the Kingdom of God and the things pertaining to the local church. That being the case then the "one baptism" would be water baptism of the individual entering into God's church kingdom on earth.
Since over the ages there have been multitudes that have been baptized with water baptism, then how can we properly think of baptism as "one baptism?" Every one who has entered into the Kingdom of God on earth have entered the same way. They came through belief of the gospel, repentance and water baptism.
Just as the one faith speaks to us of the one true gospel, government, and practice of the Lord's church, so water baptism speaks to us of the one true entrance to the Lord's gospel kingdom. Baptism shows forth the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: 1 Pet. 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Water baptism also shows forth the desire of the one entering the church to turn from the former walk of life to walk in newness of life. This one mode of entering into the Lord's church is the same for each of God's people who have come into membership in His church since John was baptizing at the river Jordan. The Lord, himself, set forth the example for us as he was baptized of John.
The unity of the Spirit in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is plainly set forth in the following verses:
1. 1 Cor 6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."
2. 1 Cor 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
3. Eph 2:18 "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
4. Eph 4:4 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling."
5. Phil 1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."
An exhaustive study of the work of the Holy Spirit is far beyond the bounds of this little study. However, we will outline some of the work of the Spirit to show the unity of the Spirit in the church:
1. The Spirit regenerates the elect into spiritual life. Without this spiritual life, it is impossible for anyone to see the kingdom of God or to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5). It is also impossible for the unregenerate to seek after God, to understand the things of the Spirit of God, to fear God, to do good, or to cease from sin (Rom. 3:9-17; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Pet. 2:14).
2. The Holy Spirit also works in the gospel ministry to move them (2 Pet. 1:21) and to enable them to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 2:4; Rom. 15:19; Lk. 4:18) and to give them utterance (Acts 2:4). The Spirit also establishes their labor in the churches (Acts 20:28) and leads them in their preaching appointments (Acts 16:6-10).
3. The Holy Spirit gave us the scriptures to govern us (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
4. The Holy Spirit unifies us through the gospel (Eph. 4:13).
5. It is through the Holy Spirit that we all have access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).
6. The Holy Spirit unifies us in the service of God (1 Cor. 6:17).
7. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
8. The Holy Spirit dwells with us and in us in the church (John 14:16).
9. We worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24).
10. The Holy Spirit leads us in the pathways of life (Rom. 8:14) and to cry out unto our Father (Rom. 8:15) and to testify that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).
11. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for each of us (Rom. 8:26).
12. The Spirit gives spiritual gifts to each of the members of the church and they all work in harmony with one another (1 Cor. 12:11).
13. The Spirit manifests the same spiritual fruit to each of the elect: Gal. 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
14. The Holy Spirit writes God's laws in the heart and mind of each of the elect (2 Cor. 3:3; Heb. 8:10; Heb. 10:16; Rom. 2:15).
15. The Spirit shall quicken our mortal bodies in the resurrection (Rom. 8:14)
The heart is the seat of affections and emotions. Due to the many things that people can get emotional over or set their affections upon, it would seem almost impossible to have a whole congregation to have one heart. Yet that is the very thing that we find in the scriptures. Several verses show forth this unity of heart:
1. 1 Chr 12:38 "All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king."
2. 2 Chr 30:12 "Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD."
3. Jer 32:39 "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them."
4. Ezek 11:19 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh."
5. Acts 4:32 "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."
We may ask ourselves, "What can bring about such a unity of affections and emotions?" First, we, as God's elect, have all been born of the same Spirit, have the same laws of God written in our hearts and minds, and have the same incorrupt nature in our inner man. Second, we have the same word of God to guide and direct us and teach us the truth. Third, we have the same Spirit guiding us when we are following after the spirit and not after the flesh. When we are all seeking to worship God in Spirit and in truth, then we will be of one heart with our affections on things above and not on things of the earth. This is a condition that every local congregation of God's people should be striving for both in worship and in service to God.