Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Some Real Good News

Many gospel presentations today begin with the idea that man is a pretty good creature and has some sort of infinite value and therefore God came to the earth to give us the chance to allow him to make us better. Think of the phrases associated with the gospel today ... "God has a wonderful plan for your life"; "Who's your 'forever friend'? Jesus is."; "God voted for you, Satan voted against you, now YOU have the deciding vote."

Implicit in all these is the idea that man is good and salvation makes us better. But that is not the biblical gospel at all. In fact, when I took classes in evangelism I was told the first step to seeing a person come to Christ is to get them to see how lost they were. This is actually true. Ray Comfort, an evangelist gives us this example ... "If I came to you and told you I had a pill in my pocket that would cure any cancer at any stage, you would think 'That is good.' But if I told you the same piece of news and you were dying of cancer, the good news of a cure suddenly became very good news for you." It is impossible to appreciate the good news of the gospel until you understand the bad news that you are being saved from.

Well, what are you being saved from? In a word, God's judgment and wrath. You see, every child of Adam is born in sin. We are born "depraved" and what's more, since every part of our being is infected with sin, we are born "totally depraved." What this means is that because of God's absolute holiness we are utterly and totally separated from God. The Bible has a host of names for us while we are in our sins. We are called "slaves of sin, lost, haters of God, rebellious, children of the Devil, lovers of evil, without hope, deaf, blind, stony hearted, dead in sin, and there are others. But these give you a picture of man's desparate state when he is lost. Few preachers described our condition better than the American puritan Jonathan Edwards. In his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" he described how God looks on the lost sinner with loathing and disgust. From my own preaching, I would say it is as though God had thrust His hand into a bucket of vomit and as He pulls His hand out of that vomit. The way God would look at the vomit is the same way He would look at us in our sin. Edwards elsewhere spoke of how the earth cried out against Sodom and Gamorrah for justice against their sin. In the same way the earth cries out against us being on it, as we use every resource to rebel against God and sin.

This is our state before God saves us. But you see, that is what makes grace so amazing. Not that we are good and God wants to make us better. Grace is God seeing us through His wrath and hatred of sin and reaching down to us ... Him coming to us! ... and lifting us out of the miry clay and by His power making us into something new. When we were nothing God loved us enough to make us born again. He gives us life and points us to His Son. And seeing the Blessed God-man and His death in our place ... we believe... what does that mean? "Believe." It means we believe who Jesus is and we believe what He did for us personally. You see, salvation is personal. Let me use me as an example. The preacher who showed me Christ told me "For God so loved Timmy that He gave His only begotten Son, so that if Timmy would believe, then Timmy would never die but have everlasting life." I knew then, Jesus died for me! Jesus substituted for me! Personally! He is MY savior.

That is why the Apostle John proclaimed "behold what manner of love the Father has for us, that we should be called the children of God." Yes, look how the Father loved us, that even when we were like vomit in His hand, when we lived in rebellion and sin, when we were still His enemies and under His wrath, He loved us and sent Jesus to die for us, and made us into His own dear children. THAT is grace! And friend, that is really good news, wouldn't you agree?

If you are reading this and you have never come to God in your sin and known you were there with nothing to offer, if you can but look to Jesus, the God-man, who died in the sinner's place and know that He died for you too. I invite you today to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord, God, and Savior. You have but one question to answer ... did Jesus die for you? To say yes, you have to know your sin and your helplessness, you have to know that He died to save sinners and that He died for YOU personally. So, do you believe? You'll never be asked a more important question in your lifetime. So, what say you?

4 Comments:

Blogger unhingedsquare† said...

Pastor John,

I agree. One is not just a little bit sinner no more than a woman maybe just a little bit pregnant. I have seen it described in the manner of digital rather than analog. Either one is 0 or 1 not 1.2.3.etc.

God's peace. †

5:10 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Bro. John:

I followed the link for "Slice of Laodicea." Very well put!

We are going thru the Gospel of John in our Sunday School class, currently focusing on "The Woman at the Well." Jesus didn't promise her health, wealth and prosperity. He offered her "living water", but until she was willing to confront her own sin and repent, she wasn't able to receive it.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Gordy said...

I just preached a message last night that touched on this subject. Too many times we make the gospel presentation general and that does very little to soften the stony, self-righteous heart. When we tell someone they are a sinner because the Bible says every has sinned, it is like a police officer writing me a ticket for speeding even though I wasn't speeding at that particular moment, and he says "well everyone is a speeder so here's your punishment." If we don't get the lost person to see he has personally sinned against a holy God, there will be no conviction and no sense of a need for a personal saviour.

7:50 AM  
Blogger jolita90 said...

I followed the link from slice as well, I was wondering have you listened to Hells Best Kept Secret?? www.livingwaters.com watch the video they actually go out on the streets and show live video of confronting sinners, it really is refreshing from the old God has a wonderful plan for your life message!!!

2:35 PM  

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