Tag Archives: The Gospel

What is Revealed in the Gospel?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” (Romans 1:16-19, KJV)

Most are familiar with what Paul states in verse 16 about not being ashamed of the gospel (literally, the “good news,” the New Testament). Paul states that there are two things that are revealed through the gospel. The first is the righteousness of God. It is described as being delivered “from faith to faith.” This literally means “out of faith, into faith.” Therefore, the Gospel is God’s delivery of faith “out of” him, “into” us, because the just shall live by means of the faith God delivered. The gospel is God’s means of delivering to man what he needs to have faith.

Paul also says that the gospel reveals the wrath of God. It is delivered against all ungodliness and unrighteousness done by men. Just as much as God’s Word shows man how to have faith and be acceptable to God, it also shows how God will judge a man who refuses his will, and ignores his commands. Verse 19 says that God’s wrath will come upon those who refuse his will because he has showed them everything they needed, yet they refused to accept the gospel.

We must understand that the gospel, the New Testament, reveals two things: the righteousness of God, which leads us to faith; and the wrath of God upon the unrighteous. We cannot be ashamed of either, and must stand for the truth of both, otherwise we will find ourselves recipients of the latter because of our lack of the former.

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An Impartial Gospel

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:1-5, ESV)

Sometimes it is possible for Christians to be more concerned with what people can offer the church than what Christ can offer the soul. They will spend their time trying to woo the wealthy or prestigious people in the community and refuse to spread the Gospel to all men.

It is interesting that during Jesus’ teaching it was the poor, down-trodden, and broken that came to him constantly. It was the wealthy and powerful that feared and hated him.

We must always remember that the Gospel is for ALL. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, well-known or unknown. Therefore, we cannot show partiality in the way that we spread the Gospel or in the way that we treat others. The Lord loves each and every soul equally, and so should we.

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“Come Try My Brand-New, Never-Before-Seen, Remedy For Sin!”

You see it all over Facebook, e-mails, and other forms of social media: the advertisers trying to get you to buy their new drug, remedy, food product, diet, or super-simple means of changing your life forever. People are constantly spending their days trying to find the latest, greatest idea or concoction to deal with things that, most of the time, already have answers that have been known and effectively utilized for generations. Often, the comments and responses from people include such lines as: “This looks cool,” or, “I’ll keep this to try later if _______ does not work,” or, “I guess it can’t hurt to try it.”

While it is true that there are some new things that are worthwhile, and for many of these things there is not a right or wrong decision to be made across the board, it must be recognized that there is a limit to which this mentality can be applied. Unfortunately, many people have taken this same mentality and applied it to religion as well. They jump on the band-wagon for whatever new idea or concept comes along. They affirm to people the necessity of simply “finding what’s right for you,” and they are constantly advocating how much they know that you cannot know.

However, this is not some new fad in regard to religion. Men have been trying to come up with new ways and means of salvation since the early centuries of Christianity. There are nearly as many ways man has tried to purport as acceptable means of salvation as there are cold remedies in the aisles of the local pharmacy. In the 3rd century men began arguing for the acceptability of sprinkling instead of immersion. In the 4th century, some began the practice of infant baptism as an acceptable means of salvation. In the 16th century John Calvin popularized the notion that there was nothing one could do to be saved, God either predetermined you to be saved or lost and you could not change it if you tried. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, men such as Moody and Graham popularized the idea of belief and prayer for salvation. While this is by no means an extensive list, it gives you an idea of the fads and beliefs that people have utilized with the same mentality as has been discussed above.

Like those cold remedies, there are elements of each that are the same. However, unlike a cold remedy (whereby you could take an inferior concoction and still get a meaningful result), taking an inferior remedy for sin will only leave you with one thing: sin.  You cannot take away sin with an inferior method or inferior practices, it can only be done by the system that was originally prescribed for its removal.

Utilizing systems that only go back a few centuries, instead of all the way back to the beginning, are not sufficient because they do not go back to the proper source. While religious leaders will use a modicum of truth and Scripture that seems to support their claims; but much like most of the above claims of new products, there is only enough Scriptural detail to pass a cursory glance. A deeper inspection removes the credibility of the claim.

If you go back to the original (the New Testament Scriptures), here is the prescription for the removal of sin: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:24; Acts 16:31), repent of your sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19), confess Christ before men (Mat. 10:32; Rom. 10:10), be immersed in water for the remission of sins (Mat. 28:18-20; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4), and remain faithful to God until death (1 John 1:7; Rev. 2:10).

This is the pattern Christ presented, both during and after his time on earth. It is the original, and only, God-ordained means by which one can be saved. Do not be confused by imitations claiming to bring forth a “new way” or an “easier way.” The path God gave is the one that works, and it will be the only one that leads to eternal life.

Remember the words of Paul: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9), and utilize the teaching of John: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

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The Purpose of Preaching

It never ceases to amaze me to see the attitudes of some people, and even some preachers, when it comes to an understanding of the purpose of preaching. There are those who seem to believe the preacher is nothing more than a “religious entertainer,” whose main purpose is to tell enough jokes from the pulpit that the people will feel jovial as they leave. Others find the preacher to be a paid storyteller, his main purpose is to tell stories that the majority of the people will relate to that they might leave content with their own lives.

Amidst all these opinions on the purpose of preaching, the Bible lays forth, very plainly, what God considers to be the true purpose of preaching. In Nehemiah 8 the people have come together upon concluding their rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. They request that the book of the Law be brought before them by Ezra and read before the congregation. It is then we read, “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8). This single sentence describes, in a very complete sense, the purpose of preaching as God defines it. The purpose is threefold.

Read from the law of God. The focus of preaching should come from the Word of God. If God’s Law is not read, then it is impossible for biblical preaching to have occurred. There is no adequate substitute in the pulpit for the Word of God. Some preachers use flashy thoughts, funny stories, and interesting tidbits as the center of their lessons, and then put a couple of Scriptures around those points so as to have a “spiritual application.” That may be motivational speaking, but it is not preaching. Preaching is using God’s Word as the center of any lesson presented and using the thoughts, stories, and tidbits as a means to bring understanding of what was read to the audience. The speaker must present God’s Word distinctly, meaning to declare clearly or distinguish, not cover it up so an individual cannot find God’s Word in the midst of all the other chatter.

Give the sense of it. The word translated “sense” means, “insight and understanding.” To simply read the Scriptures is not sufficient. The preacher must have a working understanding of what he is reading. Adequate time and preparation must be given to ensure, not only the reading of the appropriate Scripture, but the ability of the speaker to give the sense of it to the congregation as well. If the preacher does not know, or is unsure of the way a passage of Scripture is appropriately used, he should refrain from using it until his understanding is adequately improved. Many problems have arisen over the years by preachers speaking about passages they don’t understand, because they have not studied them properly, and then making applications that misuse the passage in question and take it out of its context. Philip’s question: “Understandest thou what thou readest” (Acts 8:30), should be a question every preacher examines in his own mind before using a Scripture in a sermon.

Cause them to understand it. The most well-prepared and ingenious sermon ever proclaimed can be found to be utterly worthless if those listening do not understand what is stated. All the education a man can obtain is useless in preaching if he cannot convey to the listeners an understanding of the Scripture under consideration. For this exact reason, Paul did not come before the Corinthians with excellent speeches, but preaching only Christ crucified (1 Cor. 2:1‑2). The understanding of the hearer is just as important as the understanding of the speaker.

The purpose of preaching is very simple: read it, know it, and cause others to understand it. Preaching is the most powerful tool in spreading the Gospel, but it must be used properly. True Bible preaching will never be mistaken for a “social club” talk, but will evince itself by the preparation and communication of the speaker.

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