My attention was first arrested to consider what the gospel of the Kingdom might be when I noticed that John and Yeshua both came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. I expected the passage to say 'preaching the gospel of salvation' or 'the gospel of grace' or simply 'the gospel'. But it is more detailed and clear than that.
Is there a difference between the gospel of the Kingdom and the gospel of salvation, or grace, as we've come to know it today?
John preached and baptized those who came confessing their sins for the remission of sins they craved and needed. When the Pharisees and the Sadducees came to his baptism, he warned them that they had better come bearing the fruits of repentance because He who is coming will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The relationship between “fire” and “fruits” should be kept in mind. Any tree not bearing good fruit will be cast into the fire. He who is coming will gather the wheat into His barns and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. This is a Kingdom message.
Both statements referring to the fruitfulness of the one being examined.
This is Matthew chapter three. In the next chapter, Yeshua is tested as to His fulfillment of His mission.
Satan craftily tried to trick Yeshua into submitting to him by the first two temptations but gets down to the real point in the third: "I will give you all these kingdoms" if you will fall down and worship me.
Yeshua was here to establish His Kingdom in order to give it back to His Father at the end of the age (1Cor 15:24). Satan was on track to try to dislodge Him from that purpose.
My point this morning is that the full gospel is not only repentance and receiving the remission for sins, but that this salvation is the equipping us for the establishment of the kingdom, which is determined by fruitfulness. Yeshua was here to take back the kingdom(s) from the legal owner, as Adam had transferred ownership over to Satan when he sinned, by paying the ransom price of the contract.
That Satan attempted to deter Yeshua from His purpose by offering a painless shortcut to having all the kingdoms and their glory given to Him, and that Yeshua turned him down, and that Yeshua began preaching the gospel of the Kingdom after John had been put in prison, leads me to grasp a bit more fully why there is no reference in Yeshua's Sermon on the Mount, for example, to getting saved, or repentance but rather the entire sermon is full of exposing what good works and useless works look like.
Yeshua is giving us the gospel of the Kingdom. That gospel is the good news that, being saved, we are to become useful once again, or fruitful, for the King. When is this determined? In all the references to exposing what kind of works one is producing, fire is the paradigm.
Some call this fiery judgment the Refiner's Fire judgment. See Malachi 3:1-6 and Zechariah 13:9 and 2Peter chapter 3. He's purging for fruitfulness and faithfulness. Paul records the same event in 1Corinthians 3:9-17. The results are exceedingly important since the one being tested can suffer “loss” and the results appear to be permanent.
It is the most significant event any Believer in Yeshua ha Mashiach is facing. Yeshua, and His Apostles, continually confront us with the reality of it. Every New Testament writer references that event for the exhortations to holy living.
The full gospel takes us from death and destruction to life and fruitfulness and usefulness in Yeshua's Kingdom He will set up. Any gospel that does not lead to obedience to the commands of God and our outfitting for serving Him there is a false gospel for it will be giving the false hope that fruitfulness is non-essential for those who want to go to heaven.
There are no Scriptures that make that case.
Besides, we are not going to heaven. If called, chosen and faithful (Revelation 17:14), we are being groomed for the Kingdom Yeshua will establish upon the earth. The meek (those like Christ) shall inherit the earth (like Christ), not heaven. What’s the point of inheriting the earth if you just have to give it up to go to heaven?
That also explains why Yeshua's first concern when providing faithful feedback to the churches in the Revelation is their works.
If the gospel we are preaching gets people saved and then to just wait for His Son from heaven, we have perverted the gospel. The gospel is all about works. They don’t save us; they equip us for service. We are saved for service.
Here is the full gospel:
1Thessalonians 1:2-10 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols [work of faith] to serve the living and true God [labor of love], and to wait for His Son from heaven [patience of hope], whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
The labor of love is what is between the saving faith and the return of His Son from heaven. We have been saved from something, for something. He brought us out in order to bring us in. To be redeemed is to be purchased back and put into useful service once again. The labor of love.
We will be tested for fruitfulness in our labor of love. It will be permanent and affect our eternity in the Kingdom.
Hebrews 10:30-31 For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
We should pay attention to the details.