i wanted to make this the last post of the year/first post of 2009, but as we are in the process of moving [to be pastor of a different church in a different city next week] and i do not know when we will have internet access at our new home, i will go ahead and post this now.

the thing we must get right, above all else as individuals and as the church, is the gospel and all of its implications. i challenge you to ask yourself the question “what is the gospel?” and make yourself answer it fully, as best as you are able. this would also be helpful to do in a sunday school class or small group. definitions will vary in word choice , vocabulary, and length. but where they must not vary is in the foundational content.

perhaps i will make it a practice to periodically post biblically acceptable answer’s to this question in an effort to keep my mind and yours contiunally going back to the gospel- to hold fast to what is true and to loosen our grip on what can fall away.

the answer to the question “what is the gospel” from monergism.com

The gospel is not something man made up or a well-informed opinion, but is good news directly revealed from Almighty God regarding what He has done in Jesus Christ to rescue all those who have called on His name. Yes, it is a divine rescue, a complete deliverance … not advice, not a moral improvement program, nor a philosophy of life, since we need sovereign mercy, not assistance. The whole frame of the house is rotten and corrupt and nothing of the old frame will serve; all must be made new. Our fallen condition and darkened heart has rendered us unwilling, powerless and impotent to even lift a finger toward our own salvation. So all you poor and broken hearted, (the spiritual bankrupt who have lost all confidence in their own efforts) … abandon despair and banish your laments because of what the Highest has done this day in sending the Eternal Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah to deliver His people from their sins.

The gospel is not about any merit I have on my own, but is based upon Jesus’ merit alone. It is not what we have done for Jesus, but what Jesus has done for us (Rom 5:19, 2 Cor 5:21, Phil 2:8). Where Adam failed, Jesus prevailed. It is God’s promise to us, not our ability to keep our promise to Him. In the covenant rainbow sign with Noah, God says He “remembers” never to flood the world this way again, so likewise in the covenant in Christ’s blood, God “remembers” not to treat us as we justly deserve for our sins. The mystery of God has been made manifest in the Person and work of the Son, who, in his wrath absorbing sacrifice, frees the prisoners, gives sight to the blind, breaks loose the chains and changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We were taken captive to do Satan’s will and could not escape until Christ set us free. In other words, Christ, in His cross work, does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He lived the perfect life that we should have lived and died the death we should have died, in order to free us so that we might then proclaim His excellencies, make known his gospel and spread justice and mercy to the poor.

Dr. Tim Keller once said “…the gospel is news about what God has already been done for you, rather than instruction and advice about what you are to do for God. The primacy of his work, not our work, is part of the essence of faith. In other religions, God reveals to us how we can find or achieve salvation. In Christianity, God achieves salvation for us. The gospel brings news primarily, rather than instruction. ” …the gospel is all about historic events, and thus it has a public character. “It identifies Christian faith as news that has significance for all people, indeed for the whole world, not merely as esoteric understanding or insight.” [Brownson, p. 46] …if Jesus is not risen from the dead, Christianity does not “work”. The gospel is that Jesus died and rose for us. If the historic events of his life did not happen, then Christianity does not “work” for the good news is that God has entered the human “now” (history) with the life of the world to come….the gospel is news about what God has done in history to save us, rather than advice about what we must do to reach God. The gospel is news that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in history has achieved our salvation…Jesus does not just bring good news; he is the good news.”

Jesus is Lord and creator – the only rightful king of all creation … king of of all things both seen and unseen. To those who worship the false idols of their hearts (any God-replacement) take heed … Jesus will soon be invading with His armies and will overthrow his ememies and all injustice with the breath of His mouth. But He is offering pardon in advance of His invasion to all those who receive Him (John 1:12, 13). Those who have joined themselves to Him now before He invades will be considered His ally and He will raise them up to be co-heirs with Christ as sons. The alternative is to be under the wrath of the king. We herald this announcement: that the True King is on the throne and he’ll be invading. The gospel is not merely an invitation it is a command to all those going their own ways. Will you heed the command? Jesus is Lord, repent and believe.” But because of the blindness sin has cast over us, Jesus says, no one can believe in Him unless the Father grants it through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (John 6:63-65). So those [anyone!] who, by the grace of God, trust in Jesus and His work can be assurred, on the sure testimony of Scripture, that their sins are forgiven and have the promise of God: eternal life.

To Summarize:
Man was created to glorify God & Enjoy Him forever
“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things.” (Rev 4:11) “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31)

Man has failed to glorify God & is under His just condemnation
“For all have sinned…” (Rom 3:23) The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction” (2 Thes 1:9)

Jesus fully bore the wrath and suffered the punishment sinners deserve
Not wishing that sinners perish forever, God determined to save a people for Himself in the Eternal Son who became a man and lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve. God loves sinners and sent His Son to be the wrath absorbing sacrifice for their sin (1 John 4:10; John 6:37) he “…gave His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45) & “rose again” from the dead (2 Cor 5:15) on their behalf.

All who, by the grace of God, turn to Jesus in submissive faith are forgiven
If [anyone honestly confesses that they] are a sinner in need of Christ then God has begun to work in you a life-changing, eternally satisfying relationship with Himself! “Repent and believe the gospel (Mk 1:5) “In Your presnece is fullness of Joy (Ps 16:11). If your trust is in Jesus alone for your salvation (that is, you have no hope save for Christ’s mercy) then you can be assured that your sins are forgiven and He has granted you eternal life.

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