The Gospel: God, love, fellowship, and joy!

The Gospel is not ultimately about forgiveness of sin. While important, that’s only a means to a much greater end. The Gospel is, first and foremost, the good news about God. For we see Him in the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. And, through Jesus, we see that God is love, and at the heart of Love is divine fellowship, and at the heart of this divine fellowship is fullness of joy, which He desires to share with us!

This is why the gospel is the good news that brings great joy! And this is what John wants us to know in the prologue of his first epistle:

We saw him with our very own eyes.
    We gazed upon him and heard him speak.
    Our hands actually touched him,
    the one who was from the beginning,
    the Living Expression of God.
This Life-Giver was made visible
    and we have seen him.
    We testify to this truth:
    the eternal Life-Giver
    lived face-to-face with the Father
    and has now dawned upon us.
So we proclaim to you
    what we have seen and heard
    about this Life-Giver
    so that we may share and enjoy
    this life together.
    For truly our fellowship is with the Father
    and with his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One.

We are writing these things to you because we want to release to you our fullness of joy. (1 John 1:1-4 TPT*)

The first thing we learn here is that John’s experience with this Christ was first-hand. He saw Him, touched Him, heard Him speak, and actually lived life with Him. And what was revealed to John was that Jesus was not just a good teacher, but God the Son made flesh. God, who is love (1 John 4:8) literally incarnated Himself in order to express His love in relationship with His creation.

John said this eternal Life-Giver lived face-to-face with the Father.” This is important to understand. The Greek word used for God’s love in the New Testament is ἀγαπάω (agapaō), which must be expressed to another, for it’s other-centered and self-giving. Which means, for God’s very essence to be love, He must be able to express it to another within Himself, apart from His creation; otherwise, He could not be love before or apart from His creation. But Jesus declares the following:

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 NKJV*)

Also notice Jesus’ desire for us: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me….” This is the heart of Gospel. He desires for us to experience what He experiences within the Trinitarian life of God. This is at the heart of John’s message to us:

So we proclaim to you
    what we have seen and heard
    about this Life-Giver
    so that we may share and enjoy
    this life together.
    For truly our fellowship is with the Father
    and with his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One.

The thing about this other-centered love is that it always wants to share and expand the fellowship circle. So, the most amazing, mind-blowing revelation is that God, who has never been alone, who has always experienced joy in fellowship from eternity, wanted to expand this Divine Dance to include us!

I want you to think about this deeply, because it says everything about God and why He does what He does. God wants you and me to experience the life of love and joy He experiences…forever!

Here’s how Jesus said it in John’s gospel account:

“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. 10 If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. 11 My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness

12 “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 TPT*)

Which brings us to why John is writing this epistle:

We are writing these things to you because we want to release to you our fullness of joy.

Because John had received God’s overflowing love, it compelled him to invite us to experience it. John’s desire, which is Jesus’ desire, is stated thus: “to release to you our fullness of joy.” John had received Jesus’ very own life, filled with joy, by doing what Jesus did (see John 15:10-11 above). And if this love did not flow out of him to others, he would simply burst! When you’re apprehended by God’s unfathomable love, you’re greatest desire is for everyone to experience the pure joy and bliss you experience. This is why we preach the gospel—the good news that brings uncontainable joy!

So…God who is love, in continual fellowship within Himself from eternity, became like us and walked among us. He came to reveal the heart of the Father to us, by dying for us and as us, and because of His obedience to the Father’s will for us, God brought us with Him when He raised Christ from the dead, into immeasurable glory in heavenly places IN God, so that WE would experience the same love, the same joy, and the same fellowship He has experienced within Himself from eternity. And when we accept this invitation into God’s life, and experience His love and joy and fellowship, we can’t help but love others exactly the same way we are loved.

This is how this circle of Love is expanded. This is the Gospel.

This is what the world needs now….and what will turn it right-side-up.

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to The Gospel: God, love, fellowship, and joy!

  1. Very cool, Mel! One of my favorite songs, too. That fullness of joy just leads to a desire to share. It’s exciting, it’s wonderful, and the next thing you know you’re trying to give it away. Love how John says, “We are writing these things to you because we want to release to you our fullness of joy.” It kind of reminds me of the woman at the well, i can almost hear her excitement, “Hey, i met a man..”

    I was reading your post and all these orphan spirit things were ticking off in my head, lies people falsely believe that tend to separate them from God. So we need to hear these words over and over again until they get into the cracks of our soul. God is not a flawed earthly parent, He wants you, He desires you, He does not perceive you as a burden, He made you on purpose, His greatest pleasure is to spend time with you.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, IB. The woman at the well is a great example of what happens when we encounter Jesus! What’s so cool about that story is that Jesus addressed her “no husband” issue, yet it was with such grace and hope and love, that it made her come alive instead of feeling condemned. He was actually freeing her from the shame she felt from within and from the community. This is what Jesus does when we encounter Him. He doesn’t shame us (we have plenty of that already!), He frees us.

      What you’re talking about with the orphan perception of God is probably my biggest motivation to share the Gospel. I LOVE talking to people who’ve been turned off by religion with the “Zeus” depiction of God, and being able to share with them what Jesus reveals about the Father. Some of my best conversations are with people who would never go to a church, but they know I’m a pastor, so they ask me questions that are on their heart but were afraid to ask. The two most common questions I get are, “Is God mad at me?” and “Can I be forgiven for what I’ve done…”, or some variation of that. It’s very sad that they feel this way about God, but so exciting because God is giving me an opportunity to love them like He does!

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