By Peter Blanch
What is Wagga Wagga Evangelical Church? To answer this, we need to understand what the word ‘evangelical’ means. ‘Evangel’ is the English [transliteration] of the Greek word ‘gospel’. Which begs the question, what is the gospel?
News that Changes the World
The word ‘gospel’ is not a religious word but a media word for ‘news’. It is not just any news, however, because it is the kind of news that changes the world. It is momentous. It demands a response. The outcome of World War 2, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the death of a President constitute such ‘gospels’.
In the ancient world, these gospels arrived through a messenger. Pheidippides was the famous ‘gospeller’ that ran 42 kilometres from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to proclaim, “Rejoice, we have won!” When Isaiah, an Old Testament prophet, proclaimed the gospel of Jesus he said, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news (gospel)” (Isaiah 52:7).
But a gospel is only good momentous news when it is proclaimed in the context of judgement. Paul wrote, “… according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:16). Part and parcel of the gospel is news of judgement! We can only appreciate just how good the good news is when we understand just how bad the bad news is.
What is so good about Jesus’ gospel?
Our sin is so offensive to God that we deserve his wrath. The momentous good news of Jesus Christ for all is the offer of rescue from God’s wrath. However the focus of the gospel is not on our rescue, but on our rescuer.
When Jesus evangelised, 2000 years ago he announced, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The time of waiting is over. Jesus is the courier with beautiful feet. But above all, Jesus and his gospel demands our response. The right response to Jesus’ good news is belief (trust) and repentance. Christians believe the only way to God is by accepting Jesus as the rescuer from our broken relationship with God.
The gospel is the momentous good news that focuses on Jesus.
Jesus is identified as the ‘Christ’ (Not his surname, but the title that captures all that the Bible say about the King of God’s kingdom). The historical facts are that he died and was buried. Yet according to the Bible, he died for our sins. In love, he died for us to turn aside God’s wrath.He died as our substitute to save us from hell. He didn’t stay dead, he rose on the third day to rule with all authority in heaven and on earth and he will one day come to judge the living and the dead! As such, his death and resurrection has irreversibly changed the destiny of the universe.
This gospel is the momentous news that Jesus is the Christ. It is this gospel that is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). It is this gospel that is worth living, suffering and dying for (2 Timothy 1:8; 2:8-10). It is this gospel that we proclaimed to our city and the world (Romans 10:14-18).
How is this all related to Wagga Evangelical Church?
We are an church that accepts and promotes the gospel, the good news of Jesus, our rescuer. Which means we are a group of people who believe the gospel of Jesus and are basing our lives on it. The good news that we have been saved from God’s wrath through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! And God offers this good news to all people, including you.
We are a church where our central activity is to promote the gospel – both to people in our church (already saved) and to reach out with the gospel to those outside (not yet saved).
At the heart of who we are and what we believe is Jesus