What is the Christian message today? What is the essential core of Christian teaching?
What is the crux? Because nothing has happened in the past 2,000 years to change God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or the needs of man, today’s message is the same as it was in the beginning.
At Pentecost, the first sermon that was given by the apostles of Jesus remains the authentic message: “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power…This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses…Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:22-24,32,36).
Those who gladly responded to this message repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). This was the beginning of the church. Throughout the lifetime of the apostles, the essential, saving message was always the same: Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, resurrected, seen by witnesses, ascended, is reigning, and is coming again.
We will never outgrow these fundamental truths. The popular “theology light” or “health and wealth gospel” centering on felt needs and consumerism perverts the original message. It’s only in the cross and the resurrection that God forgives our sins and puts us right with Himself (Romans 1:16,17; 4:25). Faithful believers will want to “know Him and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). May we be able to say with the apostle Paul: “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).