Pastor Paul’s Weekly Article: The Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Romans 1:16 (NASB95)

While studying, I came across an outline from a service many years ago. Adapting material from Ray Comfort, we walked through a presentation of the gospel. Please read through the following outline. Then prayerfully consider how you will present the gospel to family and friends this weekend as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If those people are local, invite them to join us for our Resurrection Sunday service this weekend.

The Gospel

Question 1: “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?”

Question 2: “Do you think you have kept the 10 Commandments?”

  1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
  2. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them…” (Exodus 20:4-6)
  3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” (Exodus 20:8-11)
  5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12)
  6. “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
  8. “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)
  10. “You shall not covet…” (Exodus 20:17)

Question 3: “If God judges you by the 10 Commandments on the Day of Judgment, will you be innocent or guilty?”

  • Innocent? I’m basically a good person.
  • Innocent? I haven’t done those things in a long time.
  • Innocent? I have done more good than bad.
  • Innocent? That’s man’s law, God’s law is different!

Question 4: “Will you go to heaven or hell?”

Question 5: “Does that concern you?”

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”

Ecclesiastes 7:20

“When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin)…”

2 Chronicles 6:36

“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

Isaiah 53:6

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

Isaiah 59:2

“As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:10-23

“For the wages of sin is death…”

Romans 6:23

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”

Hebrews 9:27

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:11-15

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:14-16

Several pictures in the Old Testament of what Jesus would accomplish as our substitutionary sacrifice:

  • Adam & Eve – they sinned, and God provided a covering through the death of an animal
  • Abraham & Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14)
  • Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) – shed blood for the protection of the people from death
  • Sacrificial System – temporary cleansing of sin through substitutionary sacrifices
    • Pointed to the coming Lamb that would completely remove sin!
    • Hebrews 10:1-10, 14
  • Genesis 3:15 – He would be the GOD – MAN.
  • Isaiah 7:14 (cf. “seed of the woman” in Gen. 3:15) – He would be VIRGIN BORN
  • Micah 5:2 – He would be ETERNAL
  • Isaiah 9:6 – He would be GOD (cf. John 1:1)
  • Isaiah 52-53 – He would suffer and DIE in our place but come back to LIFE
  • Psalm 22 – He would be CRUCIFIED
  • Daniel 9:26-27 – killed during the time of the Roman Empire (69th week)
  • Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10; 118:17; Hosea 6:2 – He would be RESURRECTED
  • Other Prophecies: Descendant of Shem (Gen. 9:26); Of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 22:18 cf. Mt. 1:1; Gal. 3:16); Of Isaac (Gen. 26:3 cf. Lk. 3:23, 34; Mt. 1:2); Of Jacob (Gen. 35:11f; Num. 24:17 cf. Lk. 3:23, 34; Mt. 1:2); Of Judah (Gen. 49:10 cf. Lkk. 3:23, 33, Mt. 1:2; Heb. 7:14); Of Jesse (Is. 11:1 cf. Lk. 3:23, 32; Mt. 1:6); Of David (Jer. 23:5; 2 Sam. 7:12-16 cf. Lk. 3:23, 31; Mt. 1:1); Son of God (Ps. 2:7; 1 Chron. 17:11-14; 2 Sam. 7:12-16); Presented with gifts (Ps. 72:10; Is. 60:6 cf. Mt. 2:1, 11); Children killed (Jer. 31:15 cf. Mt. 2:16); Shall be a prophet (Dt. 18:18 cf. Mt. 21:11; Lk. 7:16); Shall be a priest (Ps. 110:4 cf. Heb. 3:1; 5:5-6); Shall be a judge (Is. 33:22 cf. Jn. 5:30; 2 Tim. 4:1); Special anointing of the Holy Spirit (Is. 11:2 cf. Mt. 3:16-17); Zeal for God (Ps. 69:9 cf. Jn. 2:15-17; Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12 cf. Mt. 26:15); Money to be thrown in God’s house (Zech. 11:13b cf. Mt. 27:5); Price given for the potter’s field (Zech. 11:13b cf. Mt. 27:7); Silent before accusers (Is. 53:7 cf. Mt. 27:12-19); Crucified with thieves (Is. 53:12 cf. Mt. 27:38); Interceded for His persecutors (Is. 53:12 cf. Lk. 23:34); Forsaken by His own people (Is. 53:3 cf. Jn. 7:5, 48; Jn. 1:11); Bones not broken (Ps. 22:14 cf. Jn. 19:34); Heart broken (Ps. 22:14 cf. Jn. 19:34); Side pierced (Zech. 12:10 cf. Jn. 19:34); Buried in rich man’s tomb (Is. 53:9 cf. Mt. 27:57-60); Feasts & Festivals point to Him (Lev. 23)
  • Probability of these prophecies being fulfilled in one man:
    • 8 prophecies = 1 in 1017
    • 48 prophecies = 1 in 10157
  • Luke 24:25-27 – And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
  1. Validate Who Christ is! (Rom. 1:4) – Son of God!
  2. Fulfill the Law and satisfy God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Proof:
  1. Predicted beforehand
  2. Jesus was dead (no SWOON theory)
  3. Stone in front of the tomb (sealed & guarded; no WRONG TOMB theory; no STOLEN BODY theory)
  4. Grave clothes (He passed right through them)
  5. Resurrection appearances (no HALLUCINATION theory)
  6. Changed lives of believers (Apostles died as martyrs)
  7. Existence of the Church
  • God is love! (1 John 4:7-8)
  • How would we know that?
    • Creation reveals to us God’s POWER
    • Sacrifices reveal to us God’s HOLINESS / JUDGMENT / SUBSTITUTION
    • Crucifixion reveals to us God’s LOVE
    • Can be seen in TOTAL IDENTIFICATION (Philippians 2:5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21)!
    • Can be seen in TOTAL COMMITMENT!
      • John 15:13 — “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
      • John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

A.      Reject Christ

B.       Receive Christ – “A B C’s”

  • Acknowledge our sin & repent (turn away from our sin)
  • Believe and trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ and His once-for-all substitutionary sacrifice
  • Confess publicly that we are disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus
  • What are you going to do with the resurrected Christ?
  • What will you say when you stand before the Holy God of the Universe and give an account of your sinful life?

Suggested Prayer: “Dear God, I know that You are perfectly holy and that my sin has separated me from You. I know that there is nothing I can do to earn eternal life. Thank You that Jesus (God in human flesh) lived a perfectly sinless life (to fulfill your righteous requirements) then died on the cross in my place to take away my sin. I now repent of (turn from) my sin and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I will follow Jesus and tell others about Him. Thank you for loving me. Change me now from the inside out for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Pastor Paul

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The Gospel

The question of life after death has occupied the thoughts of man for all of history. Just the fact that you are now reading this text bears witness to the fact that this most universal of all questions has occupied your thoughts as well.

Dear friend, allow us to share with you what God’s Word has to teach us about this subject. The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) gives us abundant evidence that man was created by God to live eternally. The sense of eternity is universal; a general belief in man’s mortal present but immortal future can be found in all cultures throughout the world. The question is, then, ‘What happens when I die?’

Most people today believe that if, generally speaking, they are a good person then they will go to Heaven. In other words, if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, or, as long as they sincerely try to live a good life, then God will accept them.

There is actually some truth to this. If a person dies and truly is a good and righteous person, then he is assured of an eternity in Heaven. There’s just one problem, though: the Bible makes it quite clear that there are no inherently good people. Romans 3:10 states, “There is none righteous, no not one.”

We know, we know. It sounds very brash and harsh to claim that there are no good people to be found anywhere. After all, one may wonder, ‘What about people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, or Billy Graham? Weren’t they good people? Well, by human standards we would be the first to answer that question with a resounding Yes. Though we would disagree with some of them on some theological issues, we would say that all of them were, or are, humble people who consistently placed others above themselves. History will look kindly on all of these individuals as being selfless people with high moral standards and personal integrity.

The problem, though, lies in the fact that God does not judge us by man’s standards, He judges us by His. What exactly are those standards? They are, very simply, the 10 Commandments. If a man could live by all of the 10 Commandments perfectly throughout his life, then he would indeed be a good person by God’s standards and be assured of eternity in Heaven. I invite you to look with me at the 10 Commandments and as we progress, evaluate yourself to see if you measure up to God’s standards.

The Ten Commandments

1. You shall have no other gods before Me

This commandment is not only an injunction not to worship other deities before the true God, Yahweh. It also means that nothing in our lives should ever take priority over God and His will. Has there ever been a time in your life in which something or someone was, even for a moment, more important to you than God? Has God always been your top priority and greatest love?

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol

If you are reading this, you probably do not have a statue of Buddha or of some other pagan god sitting somewhere in your home that you worship. In the clear, right? Well, not so fast. If you believe things about God that are not supported by Scripture (for example, that God will accept you as long as you ‘try to be a good person’) then you are not worshiping the true God. You have made a god out of your own image. This is called idolatry and is a serious sin.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

God takes His good name very seriously. Have you ever misused God’s name in a vulgar or even flippant way? This is called blasphemy.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

Though we should love and serve God every day, He has set aside one day a week for special worship of and service to Him. Has there ever been a Sabbath day in which you slept in or maybe went fishing or to a ballgame instead of going to church?

5. Honor your father and your mother

Have you ever disobeyed or dishonored your parents? Have you ever lied to them (and thereby broke two commandments at once)?

6. You shall not murder

Most of us have not actually killed another person. Off the hook, right? Well, the Bible teaches that “Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). Have you ever hated another individual?

7. You shall not commit adultery

Like many of the Ten Commandments, this one encapsulates more than one might expect just at face value. Jesus said, “whoever looketh upon a woman with lust has committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you ever looked at a woman with lust? If you are a lady, have you ever done this toward a man?

8. You shall not steal

Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

Who among us has not lied?

10. You shall not covet

This means that we should not desire any possession of another individual whether it be his home, vehicle, boat, wife, social status, prestige – anything.

So, how did you do? If you are anything like us, you probably did not do too well. If you are really honest with yourself, you will find that at one time or another you have broken most, if not all, of God’s commandments. Even if we break only one, it is the same as breaking them all (James 2:10). By God’s standards, then, we are all liars, thieves, idolaters, blasphemers, and adulterers. We have all at one time or another dishonored our parents, disregarded the Sabbath, coveted another’s possessions, and not put God first in our lives. So you see, by God’s standards, we are not as good as we might have imagined. The fact of the matter is, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23).

The Consequences of Sin

Almost all people to whom we have shared the Gospel will in fact admit they are sinners upon hearing and understanding the 10 Commandments, but many fail to recognize the gravity of their sin. Some believe that God will just overlook their sin. Others have this notion that God will grade on a curve and reward them because they are not as bad as a, say, Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot. Friend, if this is your idea of God, let us say that we love you enough to tell you that you are wrong – dead wrong. All sin, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us, is an affront to a holy God. The Bible teaches that “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This death is a spiritual death and results in eternal separation from God. Please understand, dear one, that this eternal death is not just missing out on Heaven, it is eternal conscious suffering in a very real place the Bible calls Hell. Sin has eternal consequences because it is committed against an eternal God. Once a person enters Hell, there are no second chances, his fate is eternally and tragically sealed.

The Good News

The word “Gospel” means “good news.” The Good News of the Gospel is that God does not want you to go to Hell and loves you enough to have provided a Way of escape. His name is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God. Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man and was the only One to have ever lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus then willingly laid down His life for us by dying on a Roman cross. He was crucified to pay the penalty of your sins and ours. He became the offering for our sins and therefore satisfied the demands of God’s justice.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us – Romans 5:8

Then, on the morning of the third day, something amazing happened. God raised Jesus from the dead. All four gospels bear witness to this miraculous event. Jesus was raised and showed Himself very much alive to the disciples and apostles and to more than five hundred at once (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most well-attested event in all of ancient history and testifies to the deity of Jesus. The resurrection sets Jesus apart from all other “religious leaders” who came before Him or since.

By being raise from the dead, Jesus has gained victory over sin, death and Hell. He is alive today and stands ready to forgive anyone of his sins who will confess with his mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Jesus and Jesus alone can forgive one of his sins and secure for him escape from Hell and an eternity in Heaven. That is the Good News.

Your Response

According to the Word of God, dear friend, what you decide about Jesus will determine where you spend eternity. No one can earn his salvation by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). If we could somehow earn God’s favor, then the cross is empty and meaningless. We are forgiven of our sins when we first realize that we are sinners and in need of saving. Then, for the one who believes the Good News and is willing to repent of his sins and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord, salvation is freely given.

Are you ready to forsake your sins and surrender completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Please do not come to Jesus seeking happiness, peace, or some purpose-filled life. Come to Jesus seeking forgiveness of your sins. Come to Him because He alone can deliver you from the judgment that must come to anyone who dies without Him.

Friend, if you come to Christ, please do not expect that your life will all of the sudden be wonderful and without problems. Jesus did not promise anyone this. To the contrary, Jesus promised those who follow Him that they would face trials, persecutions, and be hated by some – maybe even by one’s own family. No, Jesus does not promise an easy life, financial prosperity, or physical healing (contrary to what some preachers would have you believe). He does promise you, though, the greatest gift of all: forgiveness of sins and eternal life. When the inevitable trials of life do come, He will grant His sufficient grace and strength made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He will grant His peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). This peace and strength comes from knowing that we are forgiven of our sins and that our eternity is secure.

If you have read all of this and are being convicted by the Holy Spirit of God that you need to surrender to Jesus Christ and trust Him as Savior and Lord, we would invite you to do that now. Go to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you. He stands ready to receive you unto Himself and wash your scarlet sins white as snow.

If you have any questions about any of the things you read here or you’d like to talk, we would love to talk to you personally! It’s always a privilege when we can tell someone about what it means to have a genuine relationship with Jesus and answer questions they may have. Please feel free to send us an email or call the church office at 818.776.1500 and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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