What a spectacle! The different denominations and churches that call themselves Christians can't even agree on what constitutes THE GOSPEL. Many say that it is a message about Christ. Some say that it is a message about grace. Some say that it is a message about salvation. Others preach what is derisively referred to by more conservative Christians as a Social Gospel (an emphasis on the Christian duty to help those who are poor, suffering and in pain and promote peace in the world). And a few groups insist that the only TRUE GOSPEL is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Which one of these messages is the God-sanctioned Gospel?
The correct answer (at least from a scriptural perspective) is "all of the above." All of the elements listed above are components of the "TRUE" Gospel. In other words, most of organized Christianity has chosen to focus on a part of God's Gospel message and ignore or exclude other parts. They emphasize what they have decided is most important.
The Greek word "euaggelion" that appears in the King James Version of the Bible as "gospel" means "good news" or "glad tidings." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) Hence, one could reasonably conclude that all of the messages listed above would qualify as "GOOD NEWS" for humankind.
Moreover, when we examine the testimony of the writings of the New Testament, we are forced to conclude that this is the only conclusion that is supported by the evidence. Let's look at a few of those scriptures:
In support of a message about Christ:
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them." -- Acts 8:5
"And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." -- Acts 9:20
"For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea." -- II Corinthians 1:19
"What then? notwithstanding , every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." -- Philippians 1:18
In support of a message about grace:
"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." -- Acts 20:24
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel." -- Galatians 1:6
"If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward..." -- Ephesians 3:2
"Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." -- II Thessalonians 2:16-17
In support of a message about salvation:
"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent." -- Acts 13:26
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek..." -- Romans 1:16
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise..." -- Ephesians 1:13
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." -- II Timothy 1:10
In support of a social gospel:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." -- Luke 4:18
"Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached." -- Luke 7:22
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" -- Romans 10:15
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." -- Ephesians 6:15
In support of a message about the kingdom of God:
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." -- Matthew 4:23
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." -- Matthew 9:35
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." -- Matthew 24:14
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." -- Mark 1:14-15
In conclusion, if we truly want to get to the essence of the gospel message, we must look at all of the scriptures related to the subject. When we do that, we must conclude that THE GOSPEL message was:
1) The story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
2) The information that we are saved by grace, not by our own efforts.
3) The knowledge that we have received the salvation of our souls and have been given eternal life.
4) The awareness that we are to live our lives in service to others and promote Christ's values and teachings on this earth.
5) About the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth, and all that that entails for humanity.
Hence, THE GOSPEL is not one of these things - IT'S ALL OF THEM!