Theology of Work - Lesson 7

Salvation: Elements of the Gospel

Gerry Breshears
Theology of Work
Lesson 7
Watching Now
Salvation: Elements of the Gospel

Lesson 7 - Salvation: Elements of the Gospel


  1. What God does


Acts 2:22                  Jesus is Emmanuel


     Acts 2:23                  Jesus was crucified


     Acts 2:24-32                  Jesus was raised from the dead


     Acts 2:23                  Jesus was exalted


Acts 2:34                  Jesus has poured out the Holy Spirit



  1. How we respond


Acts 2:37                  Convicted


Acts 2:38                  Repent (Acts 26:20, Matthew 3:8)


Acts 2:41                  Trust


Acts 2:41                  Be Baptized


  1. What the results are:


Acts 2:38                  Forgiveness of sins


Acts 2:38                  Gift of Holy Spirit:  New life


Acts 2:46                  Hew Community


Acts 2:47                  New Mission


                           New Hope: Heaven


The Spirit-Empowered Gospel (Acts 2)


Adapted slightly from chapter 1, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Vintage Church, Crossway, 2009.


Acts 2 is widely appreciated by Christians across varying denominational traditions and theological persuasions as the record of the dawning of the New Covenant Church. Jesus poured out his Spirit to begin and to commission the church—the community of Holy Spirit regenerated and empowered people who continue the ministry of Jesus.

Some people ask, “What is the gospel?” and then proceed with their own speculations, as if God never revealed it to us. A better answer is to read the Bible! There we find Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, which summarizes the gospel, the power center of the mission of the church. The gospel pattern of Acts 2, as well as of other Scriptures, breaks down into three aspects: (1) Revelation, or what God did; (2) Response, or what we do; and (3) Results, or what God gives.[1]


Revelation: What God Did


Peter begins by affirming that Jesus fulfills the promises of a divine Messiah, God come among us as accredited him by miracles, signs, and wonders (v. 22). Next, Peter declares that Jesus died on the cross according to God’s prophetic purpose (v. 23). Peter proceeds to emphasize the reality that God raised Jesus from death in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (vv. 24–32). Peter concludes with the two final acts of God exalting Jesus to the right hand of the Father in triumph over the spiritual powers and pouring out the Spirit in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (vv. 33–35).


Response: What We Do


The first thing we are to do in response to God’s revelation is realize our need for salvation, crying “what shall we do?” That leads us to repent (vv. 36–37). Repentance is the Spirit-empowered acknowledgement of sin that results in a change of mind about who/what is God in my life, what is important, and what is good and bad. This is followed by a change of behavior flowing out of an internal change of values. The second response is to accept the revealed message about Jesus by Spirit-empowered faith (v. 41). Faith means taking God at his word and trusting my life and eternity to the truth of his revelation. All of this is seen in the act of baptism which is the visible expression of our connection with the death and resurrection of Jesus through repentance and faith (vv. 38, 41).


Results: What God Gives


Peter immediately announces the gift of forgiveness of our sins, which is the result of the propitiatory death of Jesus (v. 38). This gift flows into justification, or the imputed righteousness of Jesus. Peter goes on to the second gift, the Holy Spirit and the new heart and new life of Christ (v. 38). This is regeneration, or the imparted righteousness of Jesus, is for living a new life as a Christian with, like, for, to, and by the living Jesus. The third gift is membership in the body of Christ, the new community of the Spirit called the church. This community is a supernatural community where God’s power is seen from miracles and supernatural signs to the sharing of possessions among the community members and giving to all in need (vv. 41–47).


This full and robust biblical understanding of the gospel is incredibly important. There are many truncations of the gospel in today’s church. Some overemphasize the missional aspect of the church and in so doing abandon the theological truth that Jesus is God who came in the flesh to die and propitiate the just wrath of God toward sin. Others overemphasize the experiential aspect of the church and focus almost exclusively on renewal and worship while neglecting God’s missional calling for the church to be incarnational like Jesus and actively involved in their community and its culture. Perhaps the most common overemphasis is the confessional reduction of the gospel to Jesus’ death, forgiveness of sin, and imputed righteousness leading to eternal life in heaven. While this is true, it neglects Jesus’ exemplary life, resurrection, imparted life of regeneration, and the rich life of the missional community of the church on the earth until we see him face to face.

Tragically, many Christians have lost the understanding of the new life of the Spirit. They do not preach or live the regeneration of believers. Rather than living out a joy-filled life flowing from their deepest desire to be like Jesus, they settle for being sinners saved by grace, obligated to do all they can to keep the law of God by duty rather than delight. Subsequently, they have lost the double gift of imputed righteousness, which accompanies our justification, and the imparted righteousness of the indwelling Spirit, which accompanies our new heart and regeneration. On the cross God did a work for us by saving us through the death of Jesus in our place for our sins. At Pentecost we then see that God does a work in us through the Holy Spirit in our hearts for our regeneration. Together, both our eternity and every step along the way can be filled with hope, joy, purpose, and passion if we see the relationship between the cross and Pentecost.

God promised a new covenant when Messiah came: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”[2] In the Bible, “heart” does not usually refer to the physical organ but rather the metaphorical center, seat, and sum of who we are. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Therefore, if our life is a river, it flows from the wellspring of our heart. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in the heart as the source of the Christian life and Christian church;

People who are regenerated are repeatedly spoken of throughout the New Testament as new people with a new identity, new mind, new desires, new emotions, new power, new hope, new joy, new love, new passion, and new freedom to live a new life. Therefore, by the Spirit’s power and our heart’s desire, we live for, like, through, by, and with Jesus Christ for God’s glory and our joy. We live our as missionaries for Jesus in the world by loving our neighbors. We also gather together as the church to grow together in love for our spiritual brothers and sisters, all of which is done out of love for God because he has loved us so well.


[1]            These three organizational points are adapted from Steve Walker, pastor of Redeemer’s Fellowship, Roseburg, OR. The same basic outline can be seen in Luke 24:46–47; Acts 10:39–43; 13:26–39; Romans 4:22–25; and 1 Corinthians 15:1–8.

[2]            Ezek. 36:26–27.


Class Resources

We are created in God's image and God invites us to be co-workers with him. By developing and using the spiritual gifts God has given us, the tasks we perform when we work have eternal significance in themselves. We also have opportunities to interact with our co-workers, promote justice and enjoy times of rest.

So what is God calling you to do? Is his calling only for pastors and “professional ministers” or is it something that applies to all of his people? Dr. Gerry Breshears, professor of systematic theology at Western Seminary, explores key questions such as who God is, what he has created people to be, how being the image of God affects the way we approach work, and what is the role of spiritual gifts in our job. This course will expand your vision of what work is all about, as you come to see yourself as God’s co-worker and representative.

Theology of Work

Dr. Gerry Breshears


Salvation: Elements of the Gospel

Lesson Transcript


One of the components behind our whole theology of work is what is the gospel? What are we saved for? What are we saved from? What is God doing? Redemptive role in our lives? This is a lot bigger picture. I've got a whole class on Sanctification and so Trilogy, I won't go into that. But I do want to come back and think with you just some foundational principles on what is salvation about. What is the gospel that we preach in here at Western? Our whole theme is gospel centered transformation, and it is what we're about because the gospel is brings us to Christ and guides your life and Christ gives us hope for the future, gives us hope to be with Him on the New Earth, which is a great thing. So what I'd like to do is just think with you, just for a few minutes on what is the gospel. So if you will grab your Bible. And I well, let me think really just second, if I were in, you know, First Baptist Church of Elmo, Oregon, I'm sure there is no Elmo Oregon. So I'm just picking a name and I'm listening to Pastor Bill preach. And he's a good Bible believing evangelical guy. And at the end of his sermon, he gives a gospel invitation. What is that gospel invitation? Most of the time, I if he's a good Bible believing guy like me, he's probably going to say, oh, you're you send you're separated from God. God loves you. Jesus died. If you believe you're going to heaven. Now, there may be variations on that, but that's the basic gospel that I hear all the time. Because you send you're headed for hell. God doesn't want that. He loves you and loves you enough to send his son to die for you.


Jesus loves you enough to come and die if you receive Him. If you're savior, if you believe in Jesus, then you go to heaven when you die. Now everything about that is true. The only problem is there's not enough there. Because, see, it says nothing. Nothing, Nothing about our life with Christ today. Nothing. It only says we go to heaven, only die. And that's the way a lot of us think. Is the Gospels about going to heaven when you die. Now it is that I don't mean to say it's not, but there's a lot more to it. So I'd like to do is take you back to the Bible, the paradigmatic, the central, the foundational preaching, the gospel, the core central. The simplest statement is in First Corinthians 15 in that just you can look at that. But what I'd like to do is take you back to the first preaching of the gospel in the history of the church as an act. Chapter two. This is the first time the Gospels preached. I'm just going go through it pretty quickly and lay some foundations. Here are in chapter two course. That's when the Holy Spirit is poured out. Oh, the people think they're nuts because they're they're hearing they're they're hearing the praise of God in their own languages. And Peter stands up and addresses them and he says, These guys are not drunk. This is the New Covenant. This is Joel chapter two. This is you're 36 at work. And then he comes and hears the gospel starts in verse 22. I and just some steps. First of all, many of us are listening to this. Jesus of Nazareth was a man credited by God to with miracles, wonders and signs which God did among you.


First stage Jesus is Emmanuel. Okay. Stage one Jesus is Emmanuel. God with us. The first stage in the Gospel is God has come to us in fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament. And He is with us. Huge hope. I mean, that's so central. Go back to Genesis one and two. God is with us. The hope through the whole of the Old Testament is God is with us. A whole theology, a temple of the Coming, of the Holy Spirit, the looking forward to the new Earth. Revelation 21 God is with us. So first of all is Emmanuel, Second verse 23. This man was handed over to you by God. Set purpose and followed and you are the help of wicked men. Put him to death by nailing him to a cross. So number two, Jesus was crucified. Okay, we understand that. Number three is verse 24. But God raised him from the dead. And it goes on and talks about resurrection for the next several verses. So Jesus, Emmanuel, Jesus died. Jesus rose again. Going down to verse, Oh, gosh, you got a long ways. You're going all the way down to verse 33. Summary in verse 32, God is raises to life. We're all witnesses. Then at 33, we have this exalted the right hand of God. So it's the fourth. When Jesus is exalted, He's received the Father, the promised Holy Spirit, and is poured out what you now see in here. So fifth is pouring out the Holy Spirit. These are five things that God has done for us. Jesus came. Emmanuel died. Rose exalted. Poured out the Spirit. No. Next step. Oh 37 We see the people beginning to respond. What do we do in response to this gospel? First of all, they're cut to the heart.


So first thing we do is convicted. We realize that, gosh, we need a savior. What should we do? He says. And then Peter answers that. He says, Repent. So that's the second thing we do is repent. And when we repent, it means a change of mind about who God is around here. Acts 2620. Mark or Sir Matthew three eight would be places we see that change of mind. And in that change of mind, the basic change of mind is who's got around here or what are the basic values that drive my life. That's the foundation repentance, not change of behavior. That's actually the fruit of repentance. Repentance itself is the change of mind about who is God around here changing me as God to Jesus, as God, changing the basic values of self centered, world centered to Jesus centered repentance. And then he says, Be baptized, which is baptism is like the wedding ceremony of the Christian life. This is when we make a publicly pledged commitment to be lifelong, faithful to Jesus, just like a wedding to people come together and make a public pledge of their covenantal relationship, promising be lifelong faithful. That's what baptism is, is just that pledge. It's an expression of what's already true through repentance. And then down in verse 41, we have the other thing we do, and that is it says There they accepted his message. That's faith in that faith or trust that what God says is true is the other thing we do. So three things we do we repent, we trust, accept his message, and we express that in baptism, the wedding of our Christian life, so to speak. It's the that sermon that we do. So five things. God, did you remembering this Jesus Emmanuel died, Rose exalted, poured out the Spirit.


Three things we do conviction, repentance, trust, rebuilt baptism expressed baptism. Actually, I guess there's four things if I look at it that way. And then there are five things that we get starting in verse 38, Repent. We baptize everyone who, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. First thing we get is forgiveness of sin that's related to justification, which is about the forgiveness of sins as acceptance as children of God. So we get forgiveness of sin, and you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the gift of the Holy Spirit is the whole new heart promise of the of the New Covenant. Ezekiel 36 Joel to when the Holy Spirit comes, He and dwells us and He regenerates us. Now, big argument about the order of faith and regeneration. I'm just going to skip all that because it isn't relevant what I'm saying here. But regeneration is the when the Holy Spirit or the the coming of the Holy Spirit is when the Holy Spirit dwells us, regenerates us, gives us a new heart. So my fundamental desires are changed. It's a powerful thing. So I just call this the new life. So we get justification. We get forgiveness of sins or justification. We get the Holy Spirit, new life, regeneration. And then we keep reading. Verse 42 They devoted themselves to the Apostles, teaching fellowship, breaking bread into prayer. Everyone is filled with our many wonders. Miracles and signs are done by the Passover. All the believers were together, had everything in common. And what we're talking about here is a devoted to a new community. Then this new community is not just a, you know, a garden club. It's a supernatural community. The spirit where God is at work.


When we do see him at work in lots of different ways, ranging from miracles, which happens at his will, to just people sharing and loving each other, which really is a work in the Holy Spirit. And then it talks about here as we go on to the end of the chapter that they were in the temple courtyard. They're praising God and enjoying. They were all people. That's the new mission in this new mission that we have is joining God's kingdom, mission, God's rescue mission to bring lost people back to himself into that new community, into the fellowship of God. And then interestingly here, Knox Chapter two it never talks about going to heaven, only die. Now, that's implied and is there later on. We see it, for example. And Steven, as he's dying, he's expecting to be at the right hand of Jesus. So it'd be a fifth thing, new hope. Okay, so the five things we get to follow, those five things we get are forgiveness, justification, poured out, spirit, new life, regeneration. We get a new community, supernatural community's spirit. We get a new mission. We join with God in his rescue mission or world. And that's what work is about. And then we get a new hope. So let me summarizes oh, five things God does. Jesus comes. Emmanuel died, Rose exalted pours out the Spirit. Four things we do conviction, repentance, except the message, faith and baptism. Five things we get Forgiveness, Justification poured out, Spirit, regeneration and rolling. Holy Spirit, new art, new community of the Spirit, new mission. Doing God's work in the world, restoring Shalom, new hope that will be with Jesus forever in the New Earth. That's the basics of the Gospel now. Lot more to do here.


I'm in. I've written this up or in a book that Mark Driscoll did called Doctrine. It's also in the Vintage Church, the book we did there. And I'll put a section that on the CD so you can get it. But this is really foundational. This is really foundational stuff. Let me talk just a little bit more. What do you have to do to be saved? What you have to do to be saved. Will In the gospel that we just went through, we have a response to God's working. God works in five things. Emanuel died, Rose exalted, poured out the Spirit, and God is at work there. So the incarnation God comes to us. The death. I mean, who? Father and son partnering together to do the perpetuators, sacrifice, resurrection, the new life that comes their exaltation. Triumph for the hostile powers, the demonic powers, all that pouring out the Holy Spirit. God is at work. Cool. I don't have to do anything to be on his team. I don't have to do anything to impress him. In fact, I depressed him by being an enemy and a sinner and helpless from chapter five. So what I do, my side of it is just to receive the gift. Oh, so it's salvation alone. Salvation by grace, alone through faith, alone and Christ alone, apart from all meritorious works, all that. Absolutely. I just received the gift. And again, there's a debate between Calvinist Armenians about some of the details. But it's everybody believes all by grace, it's not any meritorious work of any kind on my part. However, that's not the end of salvation. Salvation is coming to Christ, but salvation is also being in the new community and a part of the new mission. That's what we often call sanctification.


And in sanctification we do work on well, look at it by infusion chapter two. And there's, you know, if you have to listen to a different. How about Titus three Oh, just a literal. You can look at infusion two, you know that one really well He Creator's for Good works, which he's prepared for us to walk in them. But Titus Chapter three is another gospel summary. One time Titus three three. At one time your foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved jakes. Bad stuff. Ooh, verse four. But when the kindness of love, our God, our Savior appeared, He saved us. There is not because of righteous things we have done. So it's not that we've impressed him to be on his team, but because of his mercy. That's the five things he does. He saved us through the washing and rebirth renewal by the Holy Spirit. That's the regenerating work that He does and the Holy Spirit, which he poured out us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that have been justified by His grace. We might become heirs of the hope of eternal life, emerging as all those themes we've just been talking about in the Gospel. But here's verse eight This is trustworthy saying, and I want you to stress these things. So those who trust in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. So are part of that community of the spirit, and we're doing the mission of God and we devote ourselves of. Second, Peter says, Make every effort. I do a search some time in that little phrase, make every effort, and you'll find that there's a lot of effort in the Christian life not to get us say, but to live out the new life we have in us.


Philippians says that I cash is powerful stuff. Now, here's the thing Works are not the foundation of our salvation ever. Nope. Know what they are is the fruit of that indwelling Holy Spirit. And the regeneration is not that I'm it. I'm living out that life that's in it. That that supernatural life, the spirit that's in me. I just leaving out. And there's a piece which I work hard to do that and I'm doing that in the community and I'm doing it in the mission of God, those points of the Gospel. And when I do that, that's the gospel at work. When I work in that supernatural community, like an act Chapter two or acts for other places where I'm sharing things with my fellow believers, that's God's work. The shalom, the human flourishing that we talk about, the community where everything is in place, where justice and righteousness are happening. We can look at those modules too. But the other pieces is the divine mission. When I love my neighbor as myself. And who is my neighbor? Well, it's even up to the Samaritan, even up to the enemy. Jesus, Very powerful there in the sermon, Mount Love your Enemy. ROMANS Chapter 12 Overcome evil with good. And what you do to your enemy is you give him food. That's the gospel at work. So the work that we do is in service of God loving our neighbor as God loves the neighbor. And that that work we do not the foundation of our faith. No, no, no, no. But the fruit of our faith. And that's where we participate with God together in that doing so. Basic idea of of gospel. Lot more to do here. But this is just the foundational piece, and I hope this gets some stuff clarified so that you're going to understand how gospel relates to work.


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