Gospel

When something is good, you want to share it with everybody – good food, recipes, books, music, movies, restaurants, and so on.  Nowadays, these types of things are instantly shared with everyone with a carefully selected photo, catchy hashtag, and all of the appropriate emojis.  It’s so easy to share common things like those with everyone, and those things are good, but they are not that good.  They are not good in the sense that it will change your life in a forever kind of way.  They are just good to know kind of things.  What’s really good to know is there is a God who loves you.  The God who created you, and the entire universe for that matter, wants to have a relationship with you is some seriously good news.  So why aren’t people telling other people about that?  Why aren’t Christians spreading this gospel {which means good news} like they are commanded to do?  Is it good or not?  Is salvation good?  Is the gospel of Jesus Christ good news or not?  If it is, why hasn’t the whole world heard about it? 

I tell you it is good news.  It is the best news.  It is the only thing in this life that has the real ability to change a life.  People often ask if their life can change.  The answer is most certainly yes, but the key to changing your life is to let the one who created you do it.  

So, what is this gospel?  What is this good news that can change your life?  It surprises me how many people have never heard this.  In my opinion, people in Africa are more likely to hear the gospel than people living here in the United States.  The only people in the USA that are likely to hear the gospel are benevolent recipients such as the poor, the drug addicts living on skid row, or the homeless.  What about people in the suburbs?  What about the people living next to me?

Growing up, I can’t remember anyone ever sharing the gospel with me.  When I became curious about God in my late teens, I sought Him out.  It wasn’t because anyone said, “Hey, do you know that God loves you and wants to know you and oh, here’s the truth about all of these things.”  The only time anyone ever attempted to share the gospel with me was at 2 a.m. when I was drunk out of my mind leaving the bar.  While I can see the good intentions of this Christian ministry, the time they tried to intervene in my life was hardly appropriate.  You can’t reason with an intoxicated person or expect them to take anything you say seriously.  I’ve often wondered if this ministry has any success stories.  I hope they do, but it seems like a severely uphill battle.

After my life-changing experience of finding God, I decided I would always tell people about the Lord, what he has done for me, and what he can do for them.  I decided I would always invite people to church and do everything in my power to live my faith out loud.  Why?   Because it is the single most important and wonderful thing that I have ever experienced.  Knowing who God is and his desire to have a relationship with me, and the entire world, is the difference between a mundane, confusing, unsatisfing life on earth and an exciting, fulfilling, abundant life.  It is the difference between life and death.  It is the difference between spending eternity in heaven or hell. 

So, here we go.  Here’s the gospel.

In the beginning, God created humans, and he created them to have a relationship with him, and everything was perfect.  Man was perfect.  The earth was perfect.  All was good.

So God created man in His likeness. He created him in the likeness of God.  He created them as male and female.  

Genesis 1:27

And then, sin entered the world.  What is sin?  Sin is breaking God’s law.  God told Adam and Eve not to eat from a particular tree in the Garden of Eden.  They ate, and then sin entered the world.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it, you will certainly die.” 

Genesis 2:16-17

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-7

So now we have less than perfect (unholy) people and a perfect, holy God trying to have a relationship with each other.   A holy God cannot be in the presence of unholy people or things.  So, what’s the remedy?  The entire Old Testament (What is referred to as “BC” or Before Christ on the earth’s timeline) is full of God’s undying love and devotion to His chosen people, the Israelites.  It describes the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants and how God wanted to be in the presence of His people.  He wanted to walk with them and live with them.  God laid out very specific rules for living (Exodus 19-23).  He also told them how to make a place {called a tabernacle} where his spirit could dwell (Exodus 25).  Then he gave clear instructions about all of the requirements, including sacrifices, for his chosen people.  All of this was an attempt to bridge the gap between the unholy (us) and the holy (God).  These practices were necessary to be in the presence of and in good favor with God.  

Unfortunately, like all humans, the Israelites fell short again and again, and the sacrifices were never going to be a long-term solution for our sin problem or our separation from God.  All of the sacrifices in the Old Testament and attempts on God’s behalf to restore the once perfect relationship between God and man were pictures of what was to come, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, the perfect and final sacrifice.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

So why were all of these sacrifices necessary?  Why all of this bloodshed?  Why would God sacrifice His son?  The penalty or price for sin is death.  Blood signifies life.  Shed blood signifies death because, without blood, things die.  Remember the first sin?  The first sin was the sin in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were told not to eat from the tree because if they did, they would surely die.  Well, that death is something we are born into – spiritual death and a death that separates us from God.  That is why Jesus says that for a person to enter the kingdom of heaven, they must be born again, a spiritual birth.  The truth is we all are born into spiritual blindness, but we all have a desire to know God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8

What can be done to restore the relationship between God and us?  Well, since sin is the crime and the penalty is death, the payment of the penalty is blood, isn’t in great to know that the first and last payment of this blood sacrifice was made by God himself on your behalf?  That’s amazing grace.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Hebrews 13:12

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Hebrews 9:13-14

Grace is what God’s love is all about.  He knows that we are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world.   He knows that none of the sacrifices we make, or things we try to do to be holy or good will never be enough to repair a relationship with him.  God says, “Be holy for I am holy.” Well, if you’ve ever read God’s shortlist of rules known as the Ten Commandments, you can be sure of one thing, you have broken one of them.  If you’re like me, you have broken most of them.  God says, no worries, I’ve got a plan.  I am going to send my son, Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, die the perfect death, and pay the final and ultimate penalty for sin – holy, perfect blood that covers all sin.  

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Corinthians 5:21

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.  Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 2:9-11

For what I (Paul) received (this gospel) I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 

1 Corinthians 15:1-8

So what do you have to do to be spiritually right with God? What do you need to do to enter into a relationship with God?  Simple.  Just ask God to help you.  Ask God to forgive you of your sins.  Yes, you have sinned.  We have all sinned (Romans 3:23).  It’s ok.  If you admit it, lightning will not strike you.  Admit your sin, confess your need for a savior – meaning, you need someone, a perfect someone, to make a sacrifice for you for all of your sins.  In other words, you need someone else to pay for the sins you’ve committed.  Easy peasy.  God says, done.  I’ve already made those arrangements.  All you need to do is accept it.

Scripture says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32)

Say with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord.” Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved. With your heart, you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth, you say that Jesus is Lord. And so you are saved. Scripture says, “The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  (Romans 10:9-10, Isaiah 28:16)

God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.  (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)

And there you go.  You are born again, born into the family of God.  You are now a child of God! 

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  (John 1:12)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (the new, spiritually alive you) has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Praise God!

Romans 1:16

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