What is the Gospel? (Part 2)

“Gospel” means good news. In the last post, we covered the bad news. You need to know there is bad news so that you can grasp how very good the good news is! You and I are fundamentally flawed with a thing called sin; sin must be punished by a just and holy God; but because of His amazing love, Jesus bore the just penalty for our sin.

Read Romans 5:6-11, then we’ll draw out some points that show us just how very good the good news is:
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:6-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

1. Christ died for sinners, including you and me, while we were still sinning. Before we knew to ask for help, God intervened. (Verse 5, 8)
2. Because of that sacrificial death we are NOW justified. (Verse 9). Now, before you do anything else good or bad, you have been justified, or declared innocent. This is not because God is an unjust judge, but because you were guilty and condemned and Jesus volunteered to serve your sentence for you. What sensible person would refuse such an offer?
3. Much more we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Verse 9). This refers to the theological term “propitiation”, which means a turning aside of wrath by payment. Jesus, by His death on your behalf, has ensured that God is not angry at you. There is no wrath in your future if you are in Christ. None. You might think you’ve done something that will make God want to cut you off. But the clear message of the Gospel is that He is not looking for a way to toss you out; He is looking for a way to lift you up.
4. We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. (Verse 10). The death of Jesus on our behalf reveals to us that God does not consider Himself to be our enemy. Think of when you were a child; were there times when you did something you shouldn’t have, and you would say, “My parents are going to kill me!” This is how we viewed God before we heard the gospel. We thought He was a parent who was going to kill us, or send us to hell, and He was our enemy. Perhaps you are a parent now. You have no intention of “killing” your child when they misbehave. You want to correct them for their protection and benefit. So it is with God. Somewhere it is written, “I held My hands out all day to a stubborn and rebellious people.” You might have considered Him o be an enemy, but He considers you to be a friend.
5. Much more, we shall be saved by His life. (Verse 10). The word saved is translated from the Greek word “sozo”. It includes in its meaning rescue, provision, healing, and wholeness. Jesus did not only die on our behalf, He rose from the dead on our behalf. He took the death we deserved so we could receive a life we didn’t deserve. In reality, we have been saved, we are saved, and we shall be saved. It is already accomplished by the work of Jesus at the cross, but it is not yet fully manifested in our lives.
6. We are empowered to rejoice when we receive the reconciliation. (Verse 11). Once you realize that Jesus is not a dead and distant God, but a very present living person who wants the absolute best for you, in every sense of what the “BEST” is, you can start rejoicing as you go through life.

The gospel is free for all; Jesus has already done so very much.  All that remains is for you to respond to it.

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What Is the Gospel? (Part 1)

In Romans 1:16, Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.”  The gospel has miraculous, life-changing power in the life of anyone and everyone who believes it.  I have experienced its life changing power, and I believe that those who knew me back then who also know me now can also attest that I have changed for the better.  (Still not perfect, but certainly better than I was!).

But what is the gospel?  What is this message Paul described as having dunamis, dynamic power?  Before we go further, let’s note that the word gospel means good news.  If there is good news, we need to understand what the bad news is.  After all, there must have been some well-known bad news o make this good news seem “good.”

So, here is the bad news.  As Donald Trump would say, you are a disaster.  I too am a disaster.  Mankind is deeply and fundamentally flawed.  If history doesn’t make this obvious, listen to the evening news.  If that doesn’t convince you, do what Darth Vader told Luke to do:  “Search your feelings; you know this to be true.”  The Bible gives us example after example of human frailty, even in the so-called heroes of the faith.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  Psalm 14:3 tells us, “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understands, there is no one who seeks after God.”  Isaiah 59;7-8 reports concerning those who should know better, “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood.”

Consider this: even those who reject God as a source of universal truth have some sort of moral code by which they live.  But even those who claim (for example, atheists) that they live according to their own set for morals FAIL TO LIVE UP TO THEIR OWN STANDARDS.

Romans 3:23 puts it this way:  “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  For a working definition of sin, let us say that it is anything that falls short of God’s perfect standard of character and conduct.  If you are not perfect as God is, then you are flawed and broken.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.  There must be a just penalty for sin, and the just penalty is death.  God cannot be called just if he merely ignores the wickedness of the human heart.

Death, by the way, does not refer to immediate physical death.  The alternative to the wages of sin (death) is God’s gift of eternal life.  When God created humans, He created us as eternal beings.   If God created us as eternal beings, and those in Christ will enjoy eternal life, then the consequence of rejecting Him is eternal death; that is, an eternity of corruption and separation from God.  Yes, this seems hard. But Jesus, full of grace, spoke of eternal consequences.  In Mark 9:43-44 He said, “Better for you to enter life maimed, rather than having two hands to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched, where, ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'”  In Matthew 8:12 He refers to, “Outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Can you imagine the misery of an eternity tormented by the memory of your worst decisions, agonized by your most shameful desires — there very ones that fail to satisfy you now when you give in to them?

So, you are fundamentally flawed and have sinned against yourself, others, and a holy and perfect God.  For that sin, there is an eternal penalty.  And God, who is just, must execute that penalty, which is death.

So where is the good news n all this?  Back to Romans 3:23 for a moment: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” There is a gift; you didn’t buy it, you didn’t earn it, and you don’t deserve it.  To be worthy of it, you must be unworthy.  Are you prepared to admit that you are unworthy?

Beginning/in Romans 5:5 the gospel is expressed thus:  When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The gospel is that God loves you despite your sin and failures, and He has satisfied the debt that guilt demands of you through the blood of Jesus, His only begotten Son.  Through that sacrifice He invites you to share His life eternally.  Admit you need it.  Receive what He did for you.  Invite Him in to your heart tonight.

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Sunday Service Time

We will be returning to our regular service time of 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, but feel free to come early!

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This Month at LWC

Saturday 8/15:  ladies’ prayer at 8 am.

Saturday 8/22:  men’s prayer at 8 am.

Sunday 8/23:  Special guest minister!

Saturday 8/29:  combined prayer at 8 am.

Saturday 8/29:  James Island Outreach 9:30 am.  Meet at the Outreach (behind Bethany Methodist Church on Maybank Highway).

Summer service hours continue, Sunday morning worship at 9:30 a.m.

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Summer Service Hours

During the summer we will begin our Sunday morning worship services at 9:30 a.m.  Join us and beat the heat!

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Comprehending the Bible

The key to understanding the Bible is understanding its context.  The Old and New Testaments can seem totally unrelated at first glance.  It may also seem that the Bible, like any other world religion, is conveying a set of moral attributes people are expected to live up to in order to please God and gain His favor.  When read with the context in mind, the Bible reveals the redemptive plan of God.

Jesus is the context.  In Luke 24, Jesus is speaking to two depressed disciples after His execution and resurrection:  Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (‭Luke‬ ‭24‬:‭25-27‬ NKJV)

Again we read:  Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (‭Luke‬ ‭24‬:‭44-46‬ NKJV)

Notice that Jesus expounded how all the scriptures — the Law, the prophets, and the Psalms — spoke of Him.   In John 5:39, Jesus speaks to religious people, saying, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (‭John‬ ‭5‬:‭39-40‬ NKJV)   The Scriptures, all of them, testify of the Christ

If you read a passage and do not discover in it the redemptive work of Christ in His birth, death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and imminent return, you do not have a correct understanding of the passage

The Old Testament reveals the effort of God to redeem fallen mankind by convincing them that they are fundamentally flawed and in need of a heart transformation    It records man’s unceasing insistence that he can redeem himself through his own efforts. It reveals God’s antidote for sin in the suffering servant, the Messiah.

If you read the Bible as a list of rules to follow, you will find frustration.  If it is read as the story of God’s loving effort to redeem you, you will find salvation.

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Thank You For Your Support!

Thanks to our wonderful community for supporting our Fireworks Fundraiser!  Due to the overwhelming support, we did not open again after New Years’ Eve.  This allowed our hard-working volunteers to get some much-needed rest.  Come see us again on July 4!

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