Wolf Stake Baptist Church
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Redeeming Love

What is The Gospel?

What is the Gospel?
     First of all the Gospel begins with God. The whole problem really comes back to the nature of God, God is just, and God is Holy. God cannot violate his attributes. He cannot do something that contradicts himself. He is a righteous God. Now that is a good thing! It would be terrifying to know that this universe was created by an evil god. An omnipotent god that was evil would be absolutely terrifying. So it is good that God is just, but then it presents also another problem. If God is just what does he does with us?

      Let me illustrate the problem for you. I am a preacher that many would consider to be a social dinosaur, one with some puritan type message. In addressing the Gospel to today’s culture, some see me as one who says “you sinners you’re going to hell, and that is the end of it" But if God would allow me some wisdom, Let me share with you. 

      I'm about to tell you the most terrifying truth of the Bible. The most terrifying truth anyone could ever know about God! Here it is. That truth is that God is good! You say “how is that terrifying?" What's the problem with a good God? Why is that a problem? My answer is this; it’s terrifying to know that God is good, because we are not!

      So what does a good God do with people like us, sinners? We've sinned against God, we've sinned against one another, we've sinned against nature, and we’ve sinned against everything. All of creation calls for our condemnation. If God is truly just then what does he do with us. If a just God simply pardons the wicked, he is no longer just. If a holy God calls the wicked to himself, to have fellowship with himself, he is not a holy God. So the great question of the scriptures is this. How does a just God pardon wicked men and still be just? How does a holy God call wicked men into fellowship with himself and still be holy? And the answer is found in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

      In the cross of Jesus Christ we see this tremendous, unique revelation of the fullness of God's attributes. God is just, he must condemn our sin. God is love, and so he becomes a man, in his son and lives a perfect life as a man, and then goes to that cross. And On that cross the sins of his people are cast upon him. And all the justice of God, all the wrath of God that we deserve, is thrown down on the head of Christ, The exact measure that was required in order to fully satisfy the justice of God.

     After suffering Christ said "It is finished", that meant he did what was required, to satisfy God's justice against God's people. He paid the price in full. This is so very important to understand, it wasn't that our sins were paid for simply because the romans beat Jesus up and nailed him on a cross. Our sins were paid because on that cross he bore our sins, and it pleased the Lord Yahweh to crush him. The wrath of God that should have fallen on you and I, fell on His only begotten son, and he suffered it in full, he paid the price. He died, for the wages of sin is death, and on the third day he arose from the dead. 

      And now he's seated at the right hand of God, and there is no other name, no other name in any other world, no other name given among men whereby we must be saved, except for the name of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father except through him. There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, and in order to be saved.

     The bible calls all men everywhere to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel. Now what does it mean to repent? Many have defined the term, “to change one’s mind". That’s what the word means in Greek, and that truth is there, but it means so much more than what you and I can conceive in our culture today. You think to change one’s mind is pretty superficial, well it might be, but then it’s not. If we understand what the mind is. The mind in the Bible refers to the mind, the heart, it is the control center of the human being, it is the control center of our will, our emotions, our intellect, our decision making process, and so what the bible is saying is, If you have changed your mind, everything else will change along with it.

     Let me give you a perfect description of repentance. The Apostle Paul, he had a change of mind, when he left to go on the road to Damascus. He left with orders to capture Christians, why? This is what he believed, this is what Paul thought. He thought Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest blasphemer that had ever walked the planet, that’s what he thought, he also thought that the Christians were a terrible sect that ought to be destroyed. That’s what he thought. 

      And then on the road to Damascus, he had an encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and what happened, his thinking changed. His entire reality was proved to be wrong, everything he thought about reality, especially with regard to God was wrong. He recognized he was wrong, and began to think completely different. He now thought what? That Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the long awaited Messiah. He now thought Christians were the very people of God, the very Israel of God. And because his thoughts changed everything else began to change.

     After being baptized he began to minister and preach the gospel, and to be persecuted for the very faith he was once persecuting. You see to repent, is to realize that all your thinking, and your entire view about reality was wrong. And then to see and to submit to the very truth of God, about who He is, and about who you are, and who Jesus Christ is and all that he has done for you.
Now the question is, have you repented? Has your mind changed? Has that change of mind led to a change of the intellect, a change of the will, a change of your emotions? The sins we once loved do we now hate? The holiness we once ignored do we now desire? The Christ that we had no part with, that we lived apart from? Do we now esteem him? Do you consider the Kingdom of Heaven to be a pearl of great price? Those are certain evidences that a work of repentance has been done in our hearts.

     Not only must we repent but we must believe in Jesus Christ. To recognize that there is absolutely nothing in us that can save us. As the hymn writer wrote “nothing in my hand I bring, but only to thy cross I cling”. It is recognition that we have only one hope, and 100% of that hope is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. You know that you cannot save yourself, and that even if someone were to suggest that you enter heaven by some works of righteousness you would become nauseous, and cry out no, no, blasphemy, no.
I am saved for only one reason. 2000 years ago the Son of God bled and died for me. So salvation comes to us by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Now if you truly believe in Christ you have eternal life!

     But how do you know you have truly believed? Even if you’ve had some sort of conversion experience and you felt some sort of peace of God, and so many other emotions. How do you really know it’s real? Well one of the ways you know that it’s real is that it will continue. It is not necessarily so that the emotional high will continue.

       But what will continue is that you will continue to grow in grace. You will continue to grow deeper in your repentance; you will continue to deepen in your faith. Little by little you will be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.
And you say “Well, Bobby does a real Christian sin?” Yes, sadly enough yes. Can a real Christian fall into sin? Yes, but here’s the difference, a real Christian cannot continually live in a state of carnality, a continual state of immaturity. Because the Bible says, “That He who began a good work in you will complete it.” The bible says in Hebrews 12, that one of the greatest signs of true conversion is that God will watch over you with loving parental care. And he will even discipline you; chastise you when you turn off the path. Not because His attitude toward you has changed but because He loves you. And He desires your holiness. 

     You see once you become a Christian; you become a part of God’s providence. And He that began a good work will finish it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that God is just; that man is radically depraved and worthy of all condemnation. That in order to forgive men, God’s justice had to be first satisfied. That was done on the cross, where Christ stood in the law place for his people, bore their sin, Crushed under the full weight of God’s wrath against them. 

     In dying He paid the price in full. He has risen from the dead. Now all men everywhere might be saved by repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. And the evidence of that repentance unto salvation and that faith unto salvation will be the continuing work of God leading into holiness.