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The (Easy-to-Understand) Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Why Humanity Needs Him

by Hope Wingo

(Hope’s note:  Please feel free to copy and use all, or any portion, of the following message.)

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE (John 3:16).

You may have heard that verse all of your life, but have you ever read the verses that immediately follow it? The next five verses (John 3:17-21) read, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Do you see what this scripture is telling us? Although John 3:16 is a comforting verse in itself, the message doesn’t end there. It leads into a warning of condemnation to those who refuse to repent of their ungodly ways and it warns of the consequences of unbelief. On the other hand, it teaches that we gain access to everlasting life when we believe in Him and allow our sins to be exposed to the Light (or, made manifest to Him) so that He can forgive them. This Light is Jesus. “I am the Light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life” (John 8:12).

So, why do we need this “Light of the world”? Why Jesus? The following will explain humanity’s broken relationship to God and, according to His Word, what we need to do to make it right with Him…

First, the bad news (about us):

Our sins have separated us from a righteous and holy God,

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

and (without repentance) our situation is hopeless; meaning, we are destined for eternal punishment.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Being a good person (or doing good works) can’t save us. We MUST be spiritually “born again”.

John 3:3 – and Jesus answered… Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Now, the good news (about Him):

Our holy, Creator God made a way for sin-cursed humanity to be reconciled back to Him by sending His Son to take our punishment for us. Since the consequence of sin is death, and we were all born into sin through our first father Adam, we were helpless to save ourselves from the pending death sentence of eternal punishment. That’s why God sent His Son to us. Jesus stepped out of eternity to die on our behalf; to pay the sin-debt that we owed. He came down from heaven, became one of us, took our sins upon His own sinless body, then paid the death sentence for us on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.)

Then, three days after His crucifixion, Jesus victoriously arose from the dead…

Luke 24:46 – …it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.

and ascended into Heaven to be an intercessor (or, an advocate) for us…

Romans 8:34 – It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

until He returns for those who are “in Christ”. (See verse below.) This much-anticipated, soon-coming event is called “The Rapture of the Church”. The reason for the Rapture is to keep God’s people “…from the hour of temptation (or testing) which shall come upon all the world…” (Revelation 3:10). We are told that Jesus’ return for us will be as a “thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2) so we don’t know what day it will occur, but He described many events that would mark the season (or era) of His Second Coming and told us to watch for those signs. He warned us to “…be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44) and to “Watch… and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass…” (Luke 21:36). Today, major prophetic events undeniably point to our generation as being that very generation of which He spoke; hence, the renewed urgency of our “don’t be left behind” plea. The following verse describes this “Rapture” of Christians, both deceased and living. (Also see: 1 Corinthians 15:49-54):

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Now, to explain what Jesus’ death on the cross actually accomplished: Our human efforts, however sincere, cannot make us holy; but “without holiness, no man shall see God” (Hebrews 12:14). The moment that Adam willfully sinned against God, humanity began its descent into physical death and the entire (yet to be born) human race spiritually died. Since all of Adam’s descendants inherited his sin-nature, and one sinner cannot atone for another sinner, humanity’s reconciliation back to God could only have come from outside of Adam’s sin-cursed lineage. Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), so He did not come through Adam’s bloodline. He alone carried the holy, sinless blood of His Heavenly Father. Scripture tells us that the blood not only symbolizes life, but that it is life. “The life of the flesh is in the blood: …for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Jesus paid the ultimate price for the souls of fallen humanity when He offered up His own life’s blood to redeem us from sin.“You are bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:20). There is no greater love than God’s love for us! …and when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior, we are redeemed by His blood and become “holy and unblameable in His sight” (Colossians 1:22). One man (Adam) brought sin upon us and one man (Jesus) took it away… “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Although we are still condemned to die a physical death, the life-giving blood that Jesus shed for us eternally reconciled our souls back to our Heavenly Father. We cannot earn our way to heaven on our own merits (regardless of our good intentions, efforts or works) because we still carry the sin-nature that we inherited from Adam. It is ONLY through our faith in Jesus that we are saved. (Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.) Everything in God’s plan of redemption has already been done for us, once and for all (Romans 6:10), through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We, however, must ACT on our faith in order to receive this gift. To do nothing is to reject Him because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). So… if you would like to accept Jesus as your Savior and trust Him for your eternal salvation, this is how to be born again:

  • Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (John 14:6 – …I am the waythe truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.) and (John 8:42 – …for I proceeded forth and came from God; …He sent me.) and (John 10:30 – I and my Father are one.) and (1 John 5:12 – He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.)

  • Believe that He paid for your sins on the cross. (Ephesians 1:7 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…) and (1 Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…) and (Revelation 5:9 – …for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation).

  • Acknowledge that you are a sinner, then ask Him to forgive your sins. (1 John 1:8-9 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness).

  • Finally, tell somebody that you believe in Him! (Romans 10:9-10 – …if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.)

So, how do we talk to God? What do we do now? Hebrews 4:16 tells us to “Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy”, meaning God is approachable: He invites us into a relationship with Him. That being said, simply talk to Him as you would talk to a friend. Be honest and open. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and to start you all over with a new life in Him. You’ll be amazed at how everything changes when you allow Him to become your Lord and Savior! Also, start reading the Bible. The New Testament books of John and Romans are a good place to start. They’ll teach you the basics. To the believer, reading God’s Word develops a spiritual hunger to learn more and more; and the more we read, the more we grow in the Lord and understand His ways.

A final heartfelt plea… Today is the day of salvation. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). When we die, our souls go directly to heaven or hell (Matthew 25:46) based upon whether we have accepted Jesus as our Savior or whether we have rejected Him through unbelief. There is no middle ground. Sadly, Jesus told us that the majority will refuse His gift and will spend all of eternity paying their own sin-debt. He said, “…Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.“ (Matthew 7:14), and “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). The truth is: Jesus will either be our Lord now, or He will be our Judge in the future. He paid the price for our souls because He loves us, but the choice to accept or reject Him is ours to make. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and His steadfast message is, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). There is no other Way. There is no other God. There is no other Truth. There is no other Light. “Neither is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12). That’s the pure, biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what we do with it determines our eternal destiny.

Source link for the above article:

www.1way2yahweh.wordpress.com/

Quick Reminder: Avoid self righteousness

* For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

* But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-5)

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God accepts us despite the way we are

Image source: Pinterest.com

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)

Those are renewed in Christ Jesus should never say God accepted them the way they were but rather that God accepted them despite the way they were. Let none mistake God’s acceptance of the repentant as an approval of his or her sins. But rather count this as God’s forgiveness and mercy to those who reject the ways of sin and accept the only way to God which is through Jesus Christ. And those who are reconciled to God in Jesus Christ have passed from death to life. Happy are those who are ever grateful for God’s acceptance of them despite they missing the mark and yet offered mercy to live in faith through the blood of Jesus which he shed for the sins of the world.

What happens when you get saved?

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Saving Faith

Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.” 

– Charles Spurgeon

A serious problem : preaching the Gospel the wrong way

A quote from an Evangelical preacher which in a way sums up how the preaching of the Word of God can go wrong:

Evangelicals, (including myself), have distorted the image of Jesus
FROM a Righteous, Reigning, Awesome King of Glory, to be feared, loved and obeyed.
Down to a Friendly Neighbor.
We have diluted the Gospel down to “Say a prayer and get your free ticket to Heaven.”  We handed out tickets to heaven, like it was free candy, forgetting the words of Jesus “It is hard for a man to enter the Kingdom of God”  and “narrow is the door…few there be that find it”
We have diluted down the image of Hell,
FROM a place of Miserable Agony, Torment, Wrath, Burning & Regret
Down to a much more digestible phrase,  “Godless eternity” (which doesn’t seem to put fear in any unbeliever)

Never ever dilute the Gospel even if the person who is hearing might reject the true meaning of the Gospel. It’s your job preach the Word of God without altering it. Don’t worry about the so called “undue” fear mongering because certain things are actually good to fear; ” The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)”

 

 

Quick reminder: Give the highest esteem to being forgiven by God

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“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:8)

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah …(Psalm 32:1-11)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ( Romans 10:9)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

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