Some may wonder what I mean by the term “the old Jerusalem Gospel.” Well. Simply put. I mean The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I guess I picked up the term reading from Gospel preachers from long ago who have now gone on to their reward. While I do not remember any preacher explain the phrase, I will explain what I mean by it and am reasonably sure that those in the Lord’s church who previously and possibly currently have referred to “the old Jerusalem Gospel” mean the same as well.
“The”. That is the definite article. When referring to the Gospel, it means it’s not just any preaching that makes the mere claim of being the Gospel (meaning good news). Paul indicated that there is only “the Gospel” in Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” There may be perversions of the Gospel, but there is only one Gospel, i.e. the Gospel.
“Old”. By being “old” it is not meant that it is outdated and in need of replacement or update. It is “old” in the sense of having existed for a long time, for almost 2,000 years to be more specific. It is the message found in the New Testament, prophesied by Jeremiah (31:31ff) and fulfilled in the first century (Hebrews 8:8-12). Friends, it may be old, but it is as up to date and relevant as today’s newspaper (even more so). There are those who preach a message that is old. It originated between 600 and 1,400 years ago, but it is not the message that was preached the days of the apostles and New Testament prophets in the first century.
“Jerusalem”. That is the place of origin. If it does not go back to Jerusalem, in the first century, it is not “the Gospel.” There are those who preach a message that originated in Rome, or Germany, or Switzerland, or even in America. But that is the wrong location because the Gospel began at Jerusalem and spread far and wide. (See the Book of Acts).
“Gospel”. As we mentioned previously, Gospel means “good news”. This good news is the one and only which originated in Jerusalem in the first century. Any “gospel” that is one of many “gospels”, that is “new and improved”, and originated in any other place than Jerusalem, is not “the old Jerusalem Gospel”.
The old Jerusalem Gospel is what is to be preached today. There will always be those who prefer to hear preachers for what they teach, that being what the people want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). There are those today who do not want to hear the condemnation of sin. They just want their spiritual leaders to speak “smooth things”. They do not even care if they were lied to, as long as they feel good about themselves. (Isaiah 30:10)
Every generation needs to hear the old Jerusalem Gospel, which tells one to believe, repent, confess and be baptized for the remission of sin. After baptism, one is a New Testament Christian, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” Titus 2:12.
If preaching the old Jerusalem Gospel does not make one popular, that is fine. My desire to teach and preach the Bible was never grounded in winning a popularity contest. We should remember, the old Jerusalem Gospel is not popular with the devil either. We must seek to please God and not man. Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” (ASV)
- Jerry D. Sturgill