Finding the Gospel… Again
G od. The Gospel begins with God. Actually, everything does! The world and all that is in it began with God. It is God who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. It is God who chases after and searches for the lost sheep. It is God who is trying to find you if you are lost. It all begins with God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” (John 3:16)
O ur sin is the problem. The greatest need of our world is not a better politician to lead us or more enforcement of stricter laws or even the elimination of terrorism or drug abuse. We are sinners…not sick. We are sinners… not “mistakers.” We are sinners… not dysfunctional. We have sinned and done what is evil in GOD’s sight. We need salvation, not therapy. All of us measure our problems on a sliding scale that sees other people’s flaws clearly and our own only vaguely. There is not a person in America today who would look at the Orlando shooter and not think, on some level, we are better than him… more moral than him… more righteous than him. But we have all sinned. God doesn’t grade on the curve. And we must admit that we have fallen short of his standard… some greatly, some less so…but our sin has rendered us spiritually dead. Our problem is not the act or acts of sin… it is the nature that drives those actions that must be redeemed and rescued from the wrath of God to come.
S alvation comes from Christ alone. He is the sufficient one. He is the only one who has lived and died in a perfectly sinless state, proving both that he was and is God and that he is the only perfect substitute and sacrifice for our sin. He is the one seated in heavenly places in the place of honor. He is the ever-living, ever-reigning one. Christ alone is sufficient for our salvation. There is no other way; no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)
P ersonal commitment. This is an important point that we must not forget. No one else can make the decision to trust Christ for us. Our baptism as an infant or attendance at confirmation or good deeds cannot save us. Our membership in a church does not save us. Only a personal, one-on-one encounter with God as we are confronted with the reality of our sin and the claims of the Gospel can make that happen. God makes Himself known to all people so that “all are without excuse.” We must decide… for or against God.
E veryone may come. The invitation to salvation through Christ alone is open to all who will come. It is not a matter of being deserving. It is a matter of be willing to open your heart, recognize your need, and humbling yourself to receiving salvation that is “by grace alone through faith alone.” (Ephesians 2:8) “For it is by grace you are saved through faith….” The Word of God says. Now faith as it is used here does not just mean having blind faith in something you don’t understand or believing in someone you don’t know. Faith is placed IN the finished work of Christ and IN the truth of God’s Word which proclaims it.
L ife transformation. “If any man (person, woman, boy or girl) is in Christ he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away and all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “For we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:9), created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” A transformed life will produce works that are pleasing to God. In other words, change will occur. The things we once enjoyed that may have been wrong will grieve us now, even though we may still do them. We will want to do the things that please Christ now, even though at one time before we had no desire to do them.
If this GOSPEL presentation is something you want to make real in your life… personal in your life… then pray a prayer like this:
Dear Father, I know I have sinned against you and the things you love. I have gone my own way, like a wandering sheep. I know you are searching for me and today I stop, turn around, and come to You. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for searching for me. I give myself totally to You, and surrender to You completely today. Come in and take control of all that I am.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.