The Gospel…Does it really work?
What is the gospel all about? Why would we want to share the gospel with others if it is meaningless in our lives? How can we be sure that our lives are even changing? So many people have no idea what the gospel is really about. There are so many different things that people say you need to do to have the gospel in your life. What exactly is the gospel? a lot of people wonder but never get an answer. The gospel means “good news” but the good news of the Bible is what? If you had to write it down, what would you say it is? A lot of people would say it’s being able to live with the Lord forever, it’s having a better life, it’s being able to have your dreams fulfilled, it’s getting saved, etc. Is this really the good news of the Bible?
The actual good news of the Bible is the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If it was not for HIS substitutionery death on the cross for the sins of the elect then there would be NO good news. It is important to realize that we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). Nothing we can do will bring us to God. We have no divine spark within us that would actually allow us to bridge the gap to God. Before the foundations of the world, it was foreordained by the Father that Jesus, the Son, would be born in a manger as a man. He would be 100% God and 100% man. Around the age of 30 He would begin His ministry. During this ministry, He would eventually be rejected by all to spend 3 days and 3 nights upon a cross. At the end, the wrath of God the Father was poured out upon Him so that He could show forth His grace to the elect! What wonderfully good news this is to all of us! The sad thing is that because we are dead in our trespasses and sins…we hate God and do NOT want to be reconciled to Him! So just because we know about the good news does not mean that we will accept it, in fact we cannot accept it because it is not in us to accept it. Having said that, there is more good news! Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to draw the “whosoever wills” to Himself so that they would be saved! This also is wonderfully good news but what separates the “whosoever wills” from those who don’t want to hear or the “whosoever won’ts”? The Bible tells us that we will know those people who don’t want to hear the Word of God because they won’t change and they will LOVE the world. Let us look at all these things and see how it fits together. Let us take a look at two types of “Christians”.
A. The false “Christian” — thinks she has it all together and is doing God a favour!
- “Christianity” is just one part of their busy lives. They have their secular work, their social life, their family life–oh, and their ‘spiritual life’ that is good for Sunday only, of course!
- These people just have their “Christian life” as an experience to look back on. It’s just “the day I said ‘THE’ prayer” or “walked the aisle” or “joined the church.” These people also do not allow anything to affect their daily living.
- These people only look for a “ticket to heaven.” They want the assurance that they will go to heaven but are not serious enough to want it to be life changing.
- These people only want a nice Sunday package for their family. They want a wholesome atmosphere, good moral teaching, occasional meal times together as a church, and possibly a Ladies’ meeting every now and then IF they’re not to busy, thank you very much! All these things are not wrong or bad in and of themselves but if there is no change within their lives and they are depending on these things to get them to heaven then they are dependent on the wrong things. These things will NOT get anyone to heaven!
B. True Believers — knows herself to be wretched in God’s eyes before she was accepted in God’s sight!
- She knows she has a lot of baggage or sin in her life that only the Lord can change. Rom. 7:9-25, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was that then which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is I no longer that do that, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that , when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into the captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (See also Rom. 8:6-7, 13; Gal. 5:17; 6:8) She realizes that no matter how hard she tries to do what is right, it is only the Lord working through her to do what is right so her dependence must be totally on God and not herself.
- She seeks to spend time with the Lord. John 15:4-6, 9-10, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (See also John 14:15, 21, 23; 1 Jn. 2:5; 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:6.) She realizes that the more time she spends with the Lord, the more like the Lord Jesus she will become. She does this because she loves Him not because it is required of her to do so.
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit produces a life of fruit in her life that becomes obvious to the world. Gal. 5:22-24, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (See also John 15:2; Rom. 8:4-5; 13:14; Gal. 2:20; 5:16; Eph. 5:9; Col. 3:12; Jms 3:17.) As she loves the Lord and seeks to follow Him in every area of life, there is an evidence in her life of fruit to the world. It may not be quite so evident to her as she sees how she fails the Lord continuously.
- There is a time of pruning within her life. Jn. 15:1-3, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The end result of this pruning should produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Heb. 12:5-11, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
- She realizes she is not above the Master and there will be times of persecution in her life when she stands for God’s truth! Jn 15:18-25, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (See also 1 Pt. 3:13-17.)
- She realizes the importance of seeking to build a relationship with other believers on the truth of God’s Word in love. Jn. 15:12-17, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (See also 1 Pt. 3:8-12.) She realizes how important it is when people, who don’t show forth the fruit of a believer, try to get her to unify with false doctrine. She takes a stand because she believes it is important to glorify God first and foremost in her life! 1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do; do all to the glory of God.”
- She realizes that every area in her life will begin to change because the gospel changes her very soul. 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Take a moment and think about these things. Ask yourself these questions.
- Which one of these two types of Christians would you consider yourself? Why?
- Is there something in your life that would give forth a testimony that you are different from the world?
- Could someone pick you out as a Christian by your “walk”?
- Could you be convicted as a Christian by the way you live your life?
- What could you do differently by the grace and help of God?