But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.…
I. THE NATURE OF THE GOSPEL. In etymology, the term signifies "glad tidings." In theology, the thing signified is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The gospel is the new law as distinguished from the old; for there is much gospel in the old, and much law in the new. The gospel is the foundation of a sinner's hope as distinguished from the rule of the creature's conduct. It is called "the gospel of the grace of God," because the whole system originated in the free and unmerited favour of God; "the everlasting gospel," because it occupied the mind of God from eternity, and its blessings extend to the end of time; "the ministration of glory," because it combines the attributes of Jehovah; "gospel of the kingdom," because it is the basis on which the whole empire of the Redeemer rests. It includes in itself our Lord's divinity and atoning sacrifice, the justification of the sinner by faith, the renovation of the heart by the Holy Spirit, the universal invitation to all sinners to avail themselves of its provisions, the promise that all that believe shall be saved.
II. TO PREACH THE GOSPEL IS TO EXHIBIT —
1. The crucifixion of Christ as a fact, in connection with the design of that fact, as connected with the moral government of God.
2. Christ in the divinity of His person. The divinity of Christ is essential to His atonement.
3. The atonement and righteousness of Christ, as the exclusive foundation of the sinner's hope of acceptance before God.
4. The death of Christ as the great means, in the hand of the Spirit, for the sanctification of the sinner's heart.
5. An invitation of mercy co-extensive with the aspect of the atonement, and both as co-extensive with the wretchedness of human guilt and misery.
6. The supreme and ultimate object of the Christian's hope, namely, the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He shall come without sin unto salvation.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL. Consider —
1. The sublimity of its ultimate design — the salvation of the soul. The proudest monuments of genius are not worth a thought, compared with the salvation of one of those children that belong to your Sunday school.
2. Its collateral benefits on the individual and society. I am aware that education is the idol of the day, that knowledge is sounded forth; and let it be sounded forth, for it is not good for the soul of man to be without it; but we are mistaken if we suppose that anything short of a preached gospel will purify society or elevate the human race, and meet the moral necessities of men.
3. Its adaptation to effect these things. Where can we find such a message from God to engage us? Where such power calculated to subdue our hearts? Where such a token of good-will towards the sinner as in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?
4. Its effects in the world.Conclusion: Learn —
1. The main purpose of a Christian place of worship — the preaching and hearing of the gospel.
2. The great business and duty of the minister of religion to preach Christ.
3. How important it is to private Christians, to feel their obligation to provide places of worship!
4. If it is our obligation to preach the gospel, it is yours to receive it.
(J. Angell James.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.