If you ask this question, most people would respond..."In a nutshell, the gospel is that Jesus died for my sins, so now I can go to Heaven and live forever with Him." However, while that is truth, that is only a very small piece of the truth!
This is the fuller story....
We have been sold into sin - we are carnal. Because of that we have taken the throne that belongs to God and claimed it as our own. We are living in sin under the enemy's rulership of this world.
Unfortunately, "The wages of sin is death."
Satan has almost succeeded in destroying us and we are in prison with a death sentence hanging over our heads. But then Jesus comes as our intercessor to take the "death sentence" that is rightfully ours. By taking our "death sentence," he has paid the penalty of sin, and opens the prison door so we can go free.
However, although He unlocks that door...many of us stay inside. We're scared to step out, or we're not sure if we truly are forgiven. However, the miracle and magnificence of the gospel is that Jesus didn't die for us and save us to leave us in prison living in the stench and filth of sin. He died to set us free from it as well.
In fact, He not only died to remove us from that prison cell...but He invites us to live in His kingdom. When we realize how undeserving we are of his goodness, our natural response is probably, "I don't deserve to be in His Kingdom. I'll gladly take the lowliest position among his subjects, just to be there is enough." But no, it goes farther. He not only died to free us, so we could leave that prison and live in His Kingdom, but He wants us to live in His own palace. "Wow - that's too big a honor!" we say. "I don't deserve to be there. Maybe I could be one of the King's door-keepers or servants." But the good news of the gospel is, that Jesus didn't just die to rescue us from prison, to bring us to his kingdom, to live in His palace....He wants us to live in his throne room WITH HIM!!!"
"Ok, now we have gone waaaaaaay too far! This is too much!" we think. "I can't live in his throne room. I'm not deserving of that....just make me a servant."
But Jesus doesn't take us to his throne room to be his servant...He adopts us as his sons and daughters! And he gives us the keys to his kingdom. Everything that He has is ours for the taking. We don't deserve it, not one single bit....yet Jesus gives it to us! ALL!!! However, it doesn't stop there.
Our King Jesus beckons us close. "I have a job for you..." he says with a smile. We reply in humble adoration. "Anything Lord! Anything! Whatever you want....your wish is my command."
"I need you to go back to that prison cell that I rescued you from, and I need you to rescue the other captives that are still there. I'm calling you to die to self and all worldly interest. I need you to go..."
"Gladly!!!" we cry! "Our greatest joy would be to help others receive the incredible gift you have given us and to bring us back to your Kingdom! We long to share the joy of your presence with others."
"But wait..." he continues. "I'm not done! I'm not sending you alone! I'm going with you! I will live in you, I will be your strength."
And so we go, hiding in the strength of our Lord. Just being together is Heaven. Of ourselves, we can do no more then a little child shoveling snow out of the driveway. All the work is really Christ's...but still he honors us by allowing us to work at His side, and it seems at times as if we are doing great things. But all the strength and the power and the rescue mission isn't not accomplish of ourselves. It's through His power in us! That is the ultimate purpose of the gospel!!
So that is the full story...Christ rescuing us, setting us free, cleansing us, changing us, bringing us to his Kingdom, to his palace, and to his throne...and then commissioning us through his power and through his strength to return to rescue others. That is the gospel message!!