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Gospel 2017-03-18T08:18:58+00:00

Introduction: The Gospel of Jesus Christ

OXYGEN VOLUME 13

The Gospel simple. 1 Cor. 15:3-4 says,

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Speaking the truth in love, when you want to share God’s plan of redemption, you must begin by gently telling the person you are sharing with, what the problem is before the solution will make sense. Simply stated, it’s because we have broken God’s law that we need His grace.

Allowing a person to look into the mirror of God’s Law (defining sin) is the most personal, powerful, politically incorrect, most in-your-face, none-of-your-business, most embarrassing, compelling, convicting, life-changing, and most loving thing you can say to another human being. A person has to be condemned before they can be converted.  If they are already under condemnation, then a crystal clear revelation of grace is the only thing standing between the sinner and everlasting life in Christ!

John 16:8 tells us,

When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. The word, “convict” means to: “expose the hidden things and to chastise in a moral sense.” When you explain what sin is by gently and lovingly walking a person through the Ten Commandments, and explaining the spiritual application of each one, the Holy Spirit has maximum leverage to do what only He can.

Allowing a person to see himself in the mirror of God’s law allows them to see themselves as God sees them. Denying sin is no longer an option. Matthew 1:21 tells us that it is sin that Jesus came to save us from! According to the New Testament, sin is the transgression of God’s moral law as defined by the Ten Commandments. It’s not the letter of the law but the spirit of law as Jesus revealed in Matthew 5:21-22, Matthew 5:28. Also see Matthew 19:16-21, Romans 2:15, 3:20, 3:31, 7:7, 7:12-14, 13:8-10, Gal. 3:24, 1 Tim. 1:8 and 1 John 3:4.

THE TRUE STORY OF THE WINDOW SALESMAN

Ideally, I like to build a rapport with someone before I drop this bomb in his or her life, but that is not always possible. One day I was expecting a window salesman to come by and give me an estimate on two new windows for my home. The phone rang, and it was Bob from the window company. He said he was just around the corner and wanted to come by a little early. I was in the study, and my children were eagerly looking out the living room window in anticipation of his arrival. Shortly thereafter, I heard the children cry out, “He’s here, He’s here.” We all watched as the man got out of his car. Like any good salesman, he began to “read” our house.
He was looking for clues that might reveal something about us. Obviously, if a salesman can find a common denominator between himself and his client, he may be able to improve his chance of making the sale. Nothing wrong with that, just good salesmanship. Well, our house is easy to read. There is a big cross in the living room window that lights up, and the bumper sticker on the car in the driveway said, “STUDY FOR YOUR FINAL EXAM; READ THE BIBLE!” As I said, our house is easy to read.
Now, I’m not making this up. This is exactly how it went word for word. I walked out to the side of the house and opened the gate. As my eyes met his, his first words were,
“My dad was a Christian.” I asked,
“Are you here from the window company?” He said,
“And, my sister was a missionary!” I said,
“You are from the window company!” He said,
“Oh, yes. I’m from ___ Window Company, and I’m here to measure your windows.” He then proceeded to tell me all about his dad and his sister. I enjoy a good sales presentation, so I decided to hear him out. After about five minutes I asked,
“Bob, can we look at the windows now?”
When he came back with his estimate, he went right back to his dad and sister. After a couple of minutes I asked,
“Ah, excuse me, Bob, but, can I ask you a personal question?” He said,
“Sure.” I said,
“You’ve been telling me a lot about your dad and your sister, but where do you stand with God?” He said,
“Oh, I’m fine.” At this point, I got excited, because I knew I had a golden opportunity standing right in front of me in my own yard. I said,
“So, you believe in God?”
“Oh, yes,” he replied. I followed with,
“If you died tonight, would you go to heaven or hell?”
“I’d go to heaven,” he said.
“On what basis?” I asked.
“I’m a good person,” was his reply. I said,
“Do you see your need of God’s forgiveness?” He said,
“No. I’ve never murdered anyone!” I said,
“I suppose if God compared you to Adolph Hitler, you’d probably compare very favorably. But, is that the standard God is going to use? Is He going to compare you to the worst person who ever lived and say, ‘Compared to Adolph you look pretty good. Come on in?’” Bob shrugged and said,
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, what standard is God going to use?” I asked. Bob’s reply was,
“I don’t know; I don’t think anyone knows.” Now, I really got excited! I said,
“Bob, I’m a chaplain at the Cook County Jail, and there are ten thousand men locked up there, and they’re all charged with a crime. If they’re found guilty, they’ll be judged according to the law. If you’re driving down the road going twenty-five miles an hour over the limit, and you run into the man who wears the star, you too will be judged by the law! “Do you want to know how you can know that the Ten Commandments were written by God and not by man? If man wrote ’em, there’d be ten commandments and a thousand amendments”!

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT IS: YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME

Stated positively, that means you shall ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.’ That means from the day you were born until the day you die, you will never put anything before God. So, what does it mean to love God? Jesus said, ‘If you love Me you will obey My commands.’ But, God is perfect! Followed to its logical conclusion, to obey that commandment, according to God’s standard, would require perfect obedience, which is another way of saying sinless perfection. No mere man has ever loved God like that! If the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, then the greatest sin cannot be murder. The greatest sin must be to not love the God who created you more than the things He created!

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGES

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“You are not to make a god with your hands or with your mind. I have people tell me that my god is a god of love; he would never send anyone to hell. I agree with them. Their god would never send anyone to hell, because their god doesn’t exist. He’s a god made in their own image. The Bible says that, ‘God is a consuming fire,” who has a passion for justice, holiness, righteousness and truth, who will by no means clear the guilty, but will hold every man accountable for every idle word that he speaks.’” —Ray Comfort The second commandment is referring to false religion. You can be wrong about a lot of things, but if you are wrong about who Jesus is, and what it means to believe in Him, you are wrong enough to spend eternity in hell (John. 8:24)!

THE THIRD COMMANDMENT IS: YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD IN VAIN

When a man stubs his toe, he usually takes the name God or the name Jesus; the name that is above every other name, the name which represents a blessing, and uses it as a curse! The ancient Jew was so fearful of breaking this command that he dared not even speak the most holy name of God, because the commandment goes on to say, ‘the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.’

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT IS: REMEMBER THE SABBATH TO KEEP IT HOLY

 The idea here is to take one day out of seven, and to set aside all your worldly amusements, and any effort to better your position in this world, and just rest. And in that rest, acknowledge the God who created you, the God who sustains you, and the God who purchased your salvation with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Our rest is in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT IS: HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER

Abraham Lincoln once said,

“The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people. As go the families, so goes the nation.”

Our world is in trouble because our families are in trouble. Many fathers have failed to take the role of spiritual leaders in their homes; and train their children to love God and to love their neighbors as themselves.

In the Old Testament, to rebel against your parents was punishable by death. When you dishonor your father and mother you dishonor God, because He commanded us to honor our parents, and all in authority.

THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT MURDER

Hitler in car

Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not murder . . .” but I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother (or calls him empty-headed or a fool)  will be in danger of judgment and the fires of hell’ (Matt. 5:21, 22).  When someone does something wrong to you, and you ‘decide’ not to forgive that person, you have already crossed the line of sin. Jesus taught that we are to forgive even as we have been forgiven (Matt. 6:14,15).

Second, when you choose not to forgive someone, you are putting yourself in the judgment seat of Christ; you are judging that person unworthy of forgiveness, which only God has the right to do. God says, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay’ (Rom.12:19). Third, refusing to forgive someone makes you a hypocrite with an arrogance beyond belief, because the very things you refuse to forgive in others (sin), you are guilty of yourself!

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY

*temp*

Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already, in his heart’ (Matt. 5:28). Because ‘Only man looks on the outer appearance; God looks on the heart’  (1 Sam. 16:7).

THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

People are not thieves because they steal; they steal because they are thieves. Do you know how much you have to steal to be a thief? Anything! It’s not the value of the thing, it’s the principle of the thing. Jesus said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of these my brethren you do to Me’ (Matt. 25:40). The Bible says that thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9,10).

THE NINTH COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT LIE

Testify in court

 How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar? The same number of times Adam and Eve had to eat the forbidden fruit to be found in rebellion against God and worthy of death – just once. God means what He says, and, He says what He means. Revelation 21:8 says, ‘All liars, their part {will be} in the lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.’

THE TENTH COMMANDMENT IS: THOU SHALT NOT COVET

Stated positively, it means:  ‘Be content with what you have’ (Heb. 13:5). That is, be content with what you can make with your own hands and your own mind. You are not supposed to desire what already belongs to your neighbor; including his house, his car, his wife, his title, his position, or his bank account.”

At this point I asked, “Bob, do you see your need of God’s forgiveness?” He hung his head and said, “Yes!” I went on to say . . .

THE GOSPEL OF GRACE

“In the Old Testament, an animal was offered as a sacrifice for sin. The animal had to be perfect, that is, without spot or blemish; symbolic of moral purity. The spot was inherited, and the blemish was acquired.

“When the virgin Mary was impregnated, not by the seed of man but by the Holy Spirit, what was begotten nine months later was God in a human body. Because Jesus was not born of the seed of Adam, He had no inherited sin (spot). And, because He kept the Law I just described, He had no acquired sin (blemish). That is why the Bible refers to Him as ‘The Lamb of God without spot or blemish” (1 Pet. 1:19).

“When Jesus died on the cross, because He had no sin of His own, His death satisfied the righteous penalty  of the Law.  God can legally declare sinners not only not guilty, but righteous, by virtue of the fact that an innocent substitute was provided on our behalf.

 HOW DOES CHRIST’S DEATH APPLY TO YOU?

“While living in the Chicago area, I became engaged to the young lady who is now my wife, Susan. While it was the Lord’s idea in the first place, I still wanted the blessing of my future in-laws who lived in Nevada. My fiancé flew out a few weeks before I did. When I arrived, they were expecting me. I knocked on the door, and without hesitation they invited me in. Later that night we had a wonderful dinner together. A few hours later, I was escorted to my own private bedroom, and was told to, ‘Make myself at home.’ The next day, my future in-laws said, ‘You’re going to need to get around, so here are the keys to the car!’

“Can you imagine what might have happened if I had knocked on the wrong door, a perfect stranger, and asked for food, a place to stay for the night, the keys to their car, and their daughter’s hand in marriage? The sandwich may have been achievable, but the rest would have been out of the question! However, I was accepted and treated like their own son, because I knocked on the right door, I came in the right name, and I had the right motive which was love! That is precisely, how it works with God.”

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Rom. 5:1-2

“In the same way, when you come to God the Father (in repentance and faith) in the name of His Son, Jesus, you are ‘accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).  We are called ‘children of God’ now (Phil. 2:15, 1 Jn. 3:1, 2, 10; 5:2), and are one of the family! We become ‘co-heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:16-17)!

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus said,

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

The door that Jesus is referring to is the door of your heart. How do you open the door of your heart? In Matthew 4:17, the Bible says,

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

Repent means to change your mind, turn around and go the other way. Stop ignoring God and living as if He did not exist. Repent and believe the good news that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. If you truly believe with all of your heart, sin will no longer hold you in its power. You will want to follow Christ because you love Him. You love Him because He first loved you!

That is the Gospel! 

Romans 10:9-13 says:  “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

man rejoicing

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