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 Taz.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is a repost from February of this year.

What Is The Gospel?

That was a question that was asked to me earlier in the week. It is a question every Christian ought to be able to answer. The Bible tells us to be ready to give an answer to every man for the hope that is within us. More importantly, this is the one question we dare not be wrong about. When I was in the Air Force we had a saying "It is good enough for government work." It meant that if it was close enough to what it was supposed to be it would be good enough. In the matter of the gospel, we dare not settle for "close enough." The gospel is the message of salvation. To be wrong about that is to be giving people a false message. One of the greatest evils that can be inflicted on men (generally) is to tell someone they are assured of going to heaven when they are not. If we are wrong about the gospel, we can put someone's immortal soul in danger. We dare not play games with the gospel.

The word gospel is the Hebrew equivilent of the Greek word evangel, from which we get our words Evangelical and evangelism. It literally means good news. But the good news of Jesus Christ contains both bad and good news. Ray Comfort tells it like this ... If I tell you I have a cure for cancer in my pocket, you would say that was good news. But if you are dying of cancer and I tell you I have a cure in my pocket, then the good news is really good news indeed! The power of Jesus Christ to save people from their sins is good news. But it is never really good news until a person is convinced that they (personally) need to be saved from their sins. As I tell it to my listeners at church, no one is saved believing that God so loved the world ... they get saved when they realize that God so loved them (personally) that He gave His only begotten Son. So the good news is both bad and good news together.

The bad news is that each and every one of us are sinners. God measures us against Himself and we all fall short of perfection. We are sinful in every part of our being so that there is nothing, not a word, an action, a thought, or even a good intent that we can offer God that is not somehow stained with sin. When God looks at us all He sees is sin. All we have to offer God is sin. The Bible says "All our righteousness is as filthy rags." Also, we are told "There is none righteous, no, not one."

And God has judged sin. The Bible says that the "wrath of God abides on them (sinners) already." God has already judged sin and has determined to send sinners to hell. If nothing happens to change this, every human in the world will go to hell.

Worse, there is really nothing we can do about it. Think about what I said above. We don't have anything to offer God except sin. We are already guilty and there is nothing we are capable of doing to make up for it. We are helpless. As the Bible says in one place, we are "without hope."

But God has purposed to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot go to Him. Human beings cannot bridge the separation between heaven and earth. So God came to us. God set aside his glory and took on the form of a human being. God became one of us. Jesus Christ, the baby born in Bethlehem, was the God-man. 100% God and 100% man and He did what no human could do. He lived a perfect, sinless life. And sinful men took him anyway, and killed him with a criminal's death. When Jesus hung on the cross and was crucified, God poured out all His anger and wrath against sin on Jesus. So Jesus paid the price for sin, Infinite God paid an infinite price and now God calls on sinners everywhere to turn to Jesus and believe that He died for them personally.

Let me be more clear. Jesus died for sinful men. And every sinner .... every sinner ... who comes to Jesus, confessing his sinful helplessness and asks for mercy ... finds it. A lot is made in some churches about a "sinner's prayer." There is only one sinner's prayer recorded in the Bible "God have mercy on me, a sinner."

The Bible tells us that such sinners have had their sins imputed to Jesus ... that means counted to his account. And at the time when you believe that Jesus died for YOU you have Jesus' perfect life counted to your account. Jesus was judged as though he were you so that you could be judged as though you were him! And that, my friend, is very good news.

If Jesus Christ is your savior ... you will know. Have you read this post and said to yourself, "I know that Jesus died for me"? The Bible says that "The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God." If Jesus is your savior than confess him as such. If we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will be saved.

And if Jesus is your savior then he is also your Lord. He is the God-man. He is savior and God. If you are his then he owns you. The Bible says that "If he died for us then we ought to live for him." Jesus is alive today, at the right hand of the Father. One day, he will return to gather all his people to himself and take them to be with him wherever he is at.

Sinful men have no hope to save themselves. But God comes and saves us. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He did it in the person of the God-man, Jesus Christ. Jesus saves every sinful person who comes to him for mercy and salvation. Even if we die in our physical bodies, God takes us to heaven to be with our Lord, Jesus. One day, Jesus will come again and gather all his people, those on earth and those in heaven, to himself so he can enjoy them forever. That is the good news.

The Bible says that God calls men everywhere to repent. That means to turn from your old ways of thinking and to believe in Jesus Christ. There is nothing you can add to what Jesus did for you. Believe it. Confess it. Live it. Remember the old Christian hymn ... "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see."


Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours John!

Jim and Cristina

7:41 PM  

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