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“THE GOSPEL”

 

READ IN THE BIBLE (1 PETER 4:17)

 

 

A question is asked in the Bible, the Word of God, in, (1 Peter 4:17) “What shall the end be of them that obey not THE GOSPEL OF GOD?  It will be our purpose in this message to provide the answer to this question.  Most people do not like to think about the end of their life.  If no preparation has been made for eternity, and the eternal well being of their soul, thoughts about ones life coming to an end can be frightening indeed.  Physical life on this earth, however, does come to end.  We read in, (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2) “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die”.  If you are reading or hearing this message you have had “a time to be born”.  And, you will just as surely, have your “time to die”. We are told in, (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.  We are told also in, (Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die”.  The important question is will YOU be ready?  Do YOU know where YOU are going?  There are only two destinations ahead.  It will be either heaven or hell.  God, our creator, says in His Word, your destiny is determined by whether or not YOU have obeyed the gospel message.  “What shall be the end of them that obey not THE GOSPEL OF GOD”?  Have YOU thought about the end of YOUR life and eternity before you to be spent in either heaven or hell?  We live in a pleasure-loving age, characterized by indifference, irresponsibility and shallow thinking.  Eternal realities are often crowded into the background, or even deliberately rejected by the majority of people.  Many people have heard about the gospel.  Many people have a vague understanding or an incorrect understanding of what the gospel means.  Since it is absolutely essential that you obey the gospel in order to be saved, it is vitally important that you have a correct understanding of just what the gospel is.  In this message we want to focus are attention on the subject of “THE GOSPEL”.  By way of outline we will consider:

 

  1. THE MEANING OF THE GOSPEL
  2. THE COMMISSION OF THE GOSPEL (Mark 16:15)
  3. THE NEED FOR THE GOSPEL (Acts 26:17, 18)
  4. THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPEL (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
  5. MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY REGARDING THE GOSPEL (1 Peter 4:17)

 

Let’s consider first of all;

 

1. THE MEANING OF THE GOSPEL

In the New Testament of the Bible, the gospel refers to the good news or good tidings of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Jesus Christ, to be received by faith, on the basis of His expiatory death, His burial, resurrection and ascension back to heaven.  The gospel is God’s message of salvation.  It is the good message, the good news, and the glad tidings.  The verb form of the Greek word is our English word, “evangelize”.  It means to bring or announce glad tidings.  Have you noticed how little good news there is in the world today?  It seems as time goes on there is less and less good news reported in our contemporary news media.  God, however, has good news for man.  He has provided salvation for sinful man.  Further more, God offers His salvation as a free gift to all who will accept it.  Have YOU accepted God’s free gift of salvation?   Let’s consider next;

 

2. THE COMMISSION OF THE GOSPEL (Mark 16:15)

We read in the gospel of Mark, (Mark 16:15)”He said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.  Just before the Lord Jesus Christ was received back to heaven, He gave this great commission to His own people.  Notice three particular things the Lord Jesus said to them;

  • “He said unto them GO”.  Here we have, THE SENDING OF THE GOSPEL.  Here is the divine commission and God’s great work in this dispensation of grace, which is the time in which we live.  It is God’s desire and purpose that His people take the gospel message out into the world.  This commission is again stated in (Acts 1:8) where the Lord said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.  The importance of the gospel message is evident by the Lord’s command to take it into all the world.
  • “All the world” … “every creature”.  Here we have THE SCOPE OF THE GOSPEL.  Every person in the whole world is to come within the scope of the message of the gospel of God’s grace.  It is the Lord’s desire that every man, woman and child, of every tongue and color, should have the opportunity to hear the gospel message.  We read in, (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  Because of universal sin, there is universal need to hear the saving message of the gospel. 
  • “Preach the gospel”.  Here we have THE SOUND OF THE GOSPEL.  The God ordained method of making the gospel known is to preach it.  The message is to be preached, proclaimed or heralded forth.  The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, (2 Corinthians 11:7) “I have preached unto you the gospel of God freely”.  We read in, (1 Corinthians 1:21) “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”.  Has there been a time in your experience when YOU heard the gospel and believed the message to the saving of your soul?  We read in, (Romans 10:13-15, 17) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.  How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach except they be sent?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.  They that hear the message of the gospel with open ears, an open and honest heart and mind will have faith to believe the message and be saved.  Let’s consider next;   

 

 

3. THE NEED FOR THE GOSPEL (Acts 26:17, 18)

The story of the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road is described in the book of Acts, chapter 9.  Sometime later Paul was arrested and he appeared before King Agrippa where he described what took place and what the Lord Jesus said to him at that time.  Paul was not only converted, but the Lord also commissioned him to go to both Jews and Gentiles for this purpose, (Acts 26:18) “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”.  How was Paul to fulfill this responsibility?  It was by preaching the gospel.  He said in, (1 Corinthians 1:17) “Christ sent me to preach the gospel”.  Dear reader, YOU need to hear and believe the gospel message.  This is necessary because God says in His Word that YOU along with the rest of mankind are in a state of sinfulness and alienation from God, (Romans 3:9-23) “Jews and Gentiles, they are all under sin”.  “There is none righteous, no not one”.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  We read also in, (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not”.  Man, then, is born in sin and possesses a sinful nature which is soon manifested by sinful thoughts which are entertained in the mind, sinful words that are allowed to escape the lips, sinful acts that are committed in the life and a sinful attitude of rebellion adopted toward God Himself.    We sin because we are sinners.  A person sins because it is his nature to sin.  The consequence of sin is death and judgment.  (Romans 6:23) “The wages of sin is death”.  (Ezekiel 18:4) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”.  We read also in, (Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS the judgment”.  Dear reader, YOU have an appointment to keep.  Death and judgment are appointments YOU must keep.  As a result, YOU need to be saved because God must and will punish sin and the sinner.  God is holy, righteous and just; therefore, He must visit His judgment upon sin and the sinner, if that sinner dies with his sins unforgiven.  From (Acts 26:18) we have brought before us both the condition of sinful man and the blessings that result from believing the gospel.  Notice what God says in His Word about the condition of the natural man and the blessings that result from believing the gospel message. 

 

·        “To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light”.  The natural man, the unsaved person, is spiritually and morally blind and in darkness.  The eyes being closed and darkness are metaphors for ignorance and sin.  For the unbelieving, the “eyes of their understanding” are darkened.  We read in, (1 Corinthians 2:14) “The natural man (one who is an unbeliever, unconverted and unregenerated) receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.   They are in a state of spiritual and moral darkness.  Man in his natural state loves his sin and his darkness.  We read in, (John 3:17-19) “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 (Jesus Christ) is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil”.  Speaking of the natural man, still in his sins, it says in, (Psalm 82:5) “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: they know not at what they stumble”.  It says also in, (Proverbs 4:19) “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble”.  The spiritual blindness and darkness of man was never more evident than at the cross of Calvary where sinful man crucified God’s beloved Son.  “He is despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3).  When the Savior was hanging on the cross, His first words were, (Luke 23:34) “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do”.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Ephesus and said to them, (Ephesians 5:8) “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord”.  The gospel is described as “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ”.  They heard and believed the gospel message and were brought out of darkness into light.  Peter in his epistle, wrote to those who were, “called out of darkness into His (Jesus Christ) marvelous (wonderful) light”.  (1 Peter 2:9).  Dear reader, have YOU been translated from your moral and spiritual darkness into the light of the Lord? 

·        “From the power of Satan unto God”.  Many people believe that Satan, or the Devil, is a myth and only a concept, not a real person.  God says in His Word, however, that he is a real person and he is the enemy of man.  The great masses of people in this world are subjects of the kingdom of Satan are led captive by him at his will.  They are under his power and control.  The unsaved are described as those who are,  (Ephesians 2:1, 2) “Dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein ye walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”.  Satan’s power and authority over the “children of disobedience” (unsaved) is revealed in this verse.  Paul said, belief in the gospel message can deliver the sinner from the dominion of Satan and transfer him under the dominion of God.  We read in, (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”.  Dear reader, is the gospel hid to YOU because you refuse to believe it? 

·        “That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”.  Dear reader, unless YOUR SINS are forgiven by God, you will never enter heaven.  If you have committed one sin, you are a sinner, and as a guilty sinner, you need to be saved.  The believers at Ephesus are described as those who, (Ephesians 1:7) “Have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.  The believers at Colosse are described in a similar way.  They had redemption through His (the Son of God) blood, “even the forgiveness of sins”.  (Colossians 1:14).  Dear reader, only God can forgive your sins.  It is vitally important that YOUR sins be forgiven by God.  Heaven is the dwelling place of God, and Jesus declared: “If ye believe not that I AM (the eternal One, the Son of God) ye shall die in your sins … and whither I go ye cannot come”.  (John 8:21, 24).  Over the gates of heaven is written:  There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they who are written in the Lamb’s book of life”.  (Revelation 21:27).   NO STAIN OF SIN SHALL EVER DARKEN HEAVEN.  ALL WHO ENTER THERE MUST BE CLEANSED FROM THEIR SINS.  Those who believe the gospel, the good news concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished by His death and resurrection, will be saved.  As our verse above says, they are then sanctified (set apart for the Lord) by their faith in Christ.  They will have a heavenly and eternal inheritance from God.

Let’s consider next; 

 

4. THE CONTENT OF THE GOSPEL (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

We read in, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.  By which also ye are saved …. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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”.  The gospel, God’s good news, is then, about His beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation He has accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection.  This is the subject or content of the gospel.  Dear reader, God has revealed His love to YOU and every person by the giving, and giving up, of His beloved Son.  We read in, (John 3:16) “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”.  And we read in, (Romans 8:32) “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all”.  It says of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, in, (2 Corinthians 8:9) “He was rich”.  In His heavenly abode above He was rich in power, glory and majesty.  The Father said of Him in, (Hebrews 1:8) “But unto the Son He saith: Thy throne, O God, is forever and forever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom”.  For all eternity He sat upon the throne of His glory.  Also we are told that all creation is ascribed to Him.  We read in, (Colossians 1:16) “By Him were all things created …all things were created by Him and for Him”.  This vast universe is part of the riches of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But, that verse in (2 Corinthians 8:9) goes on to say, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich”.  O the marvelous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Savior left the glory of heaven and came down into this world.  He did not have to come.  He could have remained in heaven.  But, if He had not come, sinful mankind would have been doomed and damned eternally.   But, thank God He did come.  (1 John 4:14) “The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world”.  Why did He come?  We are told in, (1 Timothy 1:15) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  He came to save YOU and me dear reader.  Deity clothed Himself with humanity.  God became man.  Absolute Deity and perfect humanity were combined in one person, when the Son of God became the Son of man.  When He was here He went about doing good, doing always those things that pleased His Father in heaven.  Scripture records that the heavens were opened on a number of occasions and God’s voice was heard to say, (Matthew 3:17) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.  When His time came to lay down His life it says of Him, (Philippians 2:8) “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  In a voluntary manner, He permitted Himself to be taken and mistreated by wicked and sinful men.  He was reviled, reproached and rejected.  He was blindfolded, buffeted and beaten.  A Roman scourge laid open His back like a plowed field.  They platted a crown of thorns on His head and clothed Him with a purple robe and bowed their knees in mockery of His kingship.  The immensity of His sufferings were so great that it says of Him, (Isaiah 53: 14) “His visage (form, countenance, appearance) was so marred more than any man”.  After they had done all these things to Him, they led Him out to the place called Calvary and there they crucified Him.  They laid Him on a wooden cross and drove nails into His hands and feet.  He was then lifted up on that cross, where for three hours they continued to mock and ridicule Him.  Suddenly, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) there was a supernatural darkness that came over all the land.  It was at that time that, (Isaiah 53:6) “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all”.  He took our sins in His own body on the tree.  He was made sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  It was during those dark hours on Calvary’s cross that He was, (Isaiah 53:4, 10) “Stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”.  “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”.  Dear reader, has your heart become so hardened that you can remain unmoved by all that God has done FOR YOU?  God has issued a solemn warning in His Word for all who reject the gospel and go on in their life in sin and unbelief.  It says in, (Hebrews 10:29) “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith He was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  This verse is a warning to the apostate that they will be counted worthy of much worse punishment.  This is because they have had greater privilege and opportunity to be saved.  An “apostate” is one who goes on in his sin deliberately after hearing the gospel which is the same as receiving the knowledge of the truth.  “Apostates” are any who, for awhile, profess to be Christians and associate themselves with Christianity.  Later, by a deliberate act of their will, they turn away from Christ.  They were never really saved or “born again”.   The enormity of their sin is seen in the three charges leveled against them in (Hebrews 10:29).  The three charges are;

 

·        They have trampled underfoot the Son of God.  This means they have rejected the Son of God as their Savior.  It is a deliberate, definite, calculated refusal to acknowledge the person of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the only Savior. 

·        They have counted the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified a common thing. The apostate regards the precious blood of Christ as being unclean, or unholy or common.  The death of Jesus on the cross and His blood that was shed was a sacrifice of infinite worth.  But, it is counted by the apostate as being of no value.  This rejection of God’s beloved Son must inevitably call for wrath upon the rejecter.   

·        They have insulted the Spirit of grace. The Spirit of God was the One who at one time illuminated the sinner concerning the good news of the gospel.  It was the Spirit of God that convicted him of sin and pointed him to Christ as the only refuge for his soul.  The apostate has rejected the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He has insulted the Spirit of grace.

 

On these three accounts the apostate is guilty.  His punishment will be severe and deserved, and will be administered without mercy.  He has rejected God and the gospel message and God will reject him.  Apostasy is willful sin, a coldly-intelligent refusal of revealed truth.  Dear reader, we sincerely hope that this is not a description of YOU?  This leads us to the final point we want to consider;   

 

5. MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY REGARDING THE GOSPEL (1 Peter 4:17)

Stated very simply, YOUR responsibility is to obey the gospel.  Our main scripture text is, (1 Peter 4:17) “What shall the end be of them that obey not THE GOSPEL OF GOD? What will be the doom of those who have rejected the gospel of the grace of God and have died in their sins, unrepentant and unsaved?  Another question is asked in, (1Peter 4:18) “Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear”?  The Word of God tells us that all who reject the gospel and God’s Savior will appear at the “Great White Throne” with its terrifying conclusion.  We read in, (Revelation 20:15) “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.  (Revelation 21:8) “Unbelievers …shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”.  Dear reader, will YOU be a “gospel receiver” or a “gospel rejecter”?  The Apostle Paul preached the gospel in his day to people who lived in the city of Athens (Acts 17).  When he conclude his message there was a three fold response by his hearers.  There were three classes of hearers.

·        (Acts 17:32a) “Some mocked”.  There were some that mocked and ridiculed the message of the gospel.

·        (Acts 17:32b) “Others said we will hear thee again of this matter”.  They were “procrastinators”.  Like the man called Felix in (Acts 24:25) they were saying in effect, “When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee”.  Those who procrastinate are simply unbelievers.  Hell is filled with people who have put off God’s offer of salvation until it was too late.

·        (Acts 17:34) “Howbeit certain men believed”.  There were some who believed the message and obeyed the gospel.  As a result they were saved for time and eternity.

Dear reader, which class of hearer describes YOU?

  

In closing, I urge YOU to take advantage of this present time while you can and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR personal Savior.  The Apostle Paul was traveling the Damascus road when God saved him.  The first African, an Ethiopian eunuch, was returning from Jerusalem in a chariot when God saved him.  YOU are traveling the “highway of life”, passing through time on the way to eternity.  There are only two destinations.  It is either heaven or hell.  Now that you have read about “THE GOSPEL” AND God’s Salvation you have come to a “crossroads” on your life’s journey.  Which way will you go?  You can remain on the “broad way” to eternal destruction and hell by doing absolutely nothing.  But, heaven can be your eternal destiny by believing the gospel message and by a definite act of faith, receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior.  Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

 

Christian Messenger