To Whom Does the Gospel Belong? (Mark 1:14-15)
This morning we will be making it through only the first two verses from our morning reading. Let us briefly recall what we have seen so far:
1.) John comes preaching a baptism of repentance pointing to the coming Christ.
2.) The Christ comes and identifies with John’s message in baptism in order to fulfill all righteousness before the Father. Christ is anointed by the Spirit preparing Him for His earthly ministry, and the Father voices His pleasure with His Son.
3.) The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by Satan, who desired the emptied Son to work independently of His Father.
Mark now does not necessarily begin with the start of Christ’s earthly ministry here. John 1:35-4:43 gives a more detailed account of what takes place prior to this point. Mark cuts forward to show us a handing off of the baton between John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching …and after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God.”
John had thus fulfilled his duty by pointing Israel to their Messiah, to their Christ. The One promised to deliver mankind from sin and Satan, and the One prepared before the very foundations of the earth.
If we have read the gospel of John we can recall the baptizer saying of his relationship to Christ:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
This is the attitude we must have within every facet of our lives! Does Christ’s glory have preeminence in your life? May we not taste satisfaction until He does!
Understand John’s imprisonment was not the cause of his decreasing. Meaning John being taken off the scene was not the method through which God had Christ increase in the sight of the people. John was a man of humility, and willingly faded in the distance so Christ may be visible.
Now Mark does not give us the details of John’s arrest at this moment other than it occurred. As we continue through to Mark 6 we will cover the events that occurred, but not yet. For now, know John the Baptist’s teaching angered King Herod prompting him to throw John into prison. Let us look at what occurs after this:
There are several things I want us to ponder in this portion of Scripture. We can clearly see in Mark 1:1, Mark wants his listeners to know the beginning of the gospel. Starting with the fulfillment of John the Baptist, Mark has now worked his way to Christ preaching the gospel in Galilee.
One can also note we have not even made it half way through chapter one yet. So take a moment to consider what the gospel message has required of its adherents so far:
1.) A complete and utter rejection of one’s self and circumstances evidenced through John’s baptism of repentance. Through baptism people were outwardly declaring their depravity and inability to deserve God’s love, because of their sinfulness.
2.) A guarantee of becoming a partaker in an unseen warfare that desires to devour and destroy all of Christ’s followers. 1 Peter 5:8 warns believers to be sober minded for Satan wants to destroy you.
After all of this what do we see Jesus doing? Continuing to proclaim God’s gospel.
He teaches the very message which calls for rejection of self and produces such trials and persecutions for its adherents.
I have shared this quote from Charles Spurgeon with you before and feel it is fitting to do so again:
“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.”
One can quickly discern in Mark’s gospel account that Jesus does not come with a sugared gospel:
I want us to hone in on the statement, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God.” The Greek word for preaching here is Kerusso. It is also rendered as proclaiming.
Of the 61 times it is found in the New Testament, 6 of them occur in the first chapter of Mark alone. As Christ followers we must understand it means to be a herald and it always carries with it authority which must be listened to and obeyed. Every time we teach the gospel we are calling rebellious humanity to obedience before God. Jesus tells us in John 3 the world hates the light of the gospel, because it reveals their depravity.
May we make special note of the final part of Mark 1:14, “…the gospel of God.” This is not simply referring to good news about God, rather it is demonstrating possession. One could say “the gospel that belongs to God.”
It has been stated before, but it needs to be reiterated there is but one gospel, and it is God’s. The gospel message belongs to Him because:
1.) The gospel was contrived in Him in eternity past before the earth’s foundations were laid.
2.) The gospel was proclaimed by Him in the garden at the fall of man.
3.) The gospel was confirmed by Him as He made an everlasting covenant with Abraham.  A process through which God had Abraham cut animal carcasses in two and separate them to form a path way. God then caused Abraham to fall asleep and God alone passed through the bodies. Essentially signifying, “Just as these animals were torn in two let that be done to Me if I do not keep my word and fulfill my gospel.”
4.) The gospel was therefore accomplished by Him in the Christ, where the Father gave His only Son Who willingly rendered Himself as an offering for our sin. Jesus Christ bled and died the death we all deserve appeasing God’s wrath towards us in so doing and justifying us before Him in faith. Christ was buried, but God raised Him from the dead three days later showing His offering was acceptable to His Father. Since Christ lives all that put their trust in His finished work will live and be forgiven of sin. Again, the gospel belongs to God!
According to the Scripture what has God done with His gospel? He has entrusted it to His children.
Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:16
Believers, don’t you dare neglect it and don’t you dare tamper with it. It is not yours, it is His! If we recall our study in Acts it is the only way through which Christ builds His church. What then do you do with it? Do you soften its blow? Do you dull its edge? Do you take away its offence? Do you seek to give it appeal? Do you keep silent in shame of it?
Know that the world, the flesh and the devil are going to strive to get you to commit all of these.
What then will you do with it?
May I implore you as Christ followers to proclaim it in its totality, knowing it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. When Paul says, “the power of God” he is speaking of the exclusivity of the gospel in salvation. Meaning humanity can only be saved through the proclamation of the gospel message. This is clearly seen later in Romans when he says:
Yes, this means the people on this earth who have no access to the gospel, and have no chance to respond to it, will die in their sin.
The Joshua Project currently estimates the figure of that population to be 3.19 billion. This figure alone ought to silence anyone from insisting America needs people to stay too. A statement often held as a crutch by those caught in the grips of complacency. America does not necessarily need more people to stay; it needs every Christian making up a local assembly to take seriously the gospel of Christ. Relentlessly taking the light of the gospel and penetrating the darkness engulfing the communities with which we live.
What happens when we do?
Take a look at Christ’s statement in Mark:
His kingdom is not established among the realm of the seen, but among the unseen realm of the hearts of His people purchased with His blood. We are called to let the peace of Christ and the Word of Christ to richly dwell within us. We are called to keep every thought captive in Christ. Through these we yield to the reign of Christ in our lives, Who has established His kingdom among us.
I want to close with this account I shared with nearly all of you three years ago. While Amanda and I were among a tribe in Papua New Guinea a man showed up in the village. He traveled for days through the jungle specifically seeking out the missionaries in the nearby villages. He had only one request, “Send some of these individuals to bring us the word of your God.” He made this request, because he heard news about nearby villages being changed.
What was bringing about their change? The establishment of God’s kingdom through the gospel in the hearts of believers. Christ’s inner reign had drastically altered the face of the tribes outwardly, and this man wanted someone to be sent to teach them this word. The word, which he did not understand or even know, was the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How will he call on Christ in whom he has not believed? How will believe in Christ if he has not heard about Him? How will he hear about Christ without someone to proclaim Him? How shall someone proclaim Him unless they are sent? For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.
To Whom does the gospel belong? God!
To whom has it been entrusted? The church.
What then will we do with God’s gospel?
 Mark 1:1,4,14
 John 3:30
 Mark 1:4-5
 Mark 1:12-13
 Mark 1:14a
 John 15:18-20
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 2784
 John 3:19-21
 Ephesians 1:4
 Genesis 3:15
 Genesis 15; Galatians 3:8
 Romans 5:9
 Romans 1:16
 John 3:18; Romans 3:23
 Colossians 3:15-16
 2 Corinthians 10:5