Has anyone ever told you what the Gospel is?
Perhaps you have lost a loved one, and you look back with regret. You never mentioned that “you loved them”. It lingers in the mind, but it’s too late.
The Gospel is Good News to a fallen, broken world. A message of the love of Christ, who is the perfect Son of God for sinners, that’s all of us. ~ A loving personal call from God.
He loves all humanity, by creating and sustaining our lives. But He has a special love for those that will listen and respond to His call, turn from their sins and seek Him as their Lord and Saviour. They will be rescued from sin and given new life. We call this being born again or becoming a Christian. ~ A message of Good News which needs to be heard.
Today you are one day nearer to eternity, when you will stand before the Lord to give a personal account of your life’s thoughts, words, and deeds. Before then, you must know i) of God’s exclusive, free offer of salvation; ii) of how your soul can be right with God; and iii) that all who remain unrepentant must be punished by God, who unlike us is pure and Holy.
1. The Gospel is: Good news. “O Zion (His people), that brings good tidings (good news); lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; cry unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God” Isaiah 40:9. The gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” Romans 1:16. “O taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8.
Everything about this message is good. A contrast to this world, where the daily news is so often about disease, discrimination, and death; of sorrow, struggle, and strife. Sadly, these things are commonplace in this world that we live in, and we each contribute to this sad backdrop.
The Bible calls itself “The Gospel of peace” and “The Gospel of truth”. We don’t want to hear of war, or anger, envy, or of lies and fake news. We want to know things that are reliable, true and good.
2. The Gospel is: Exclusive and Eternal. Two bold claims to make. But The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by Me” John 14:6. You cannot get more exclusive: no other way, truth, no other access to heaven but through Christ.
It is also an eternal Gospel. The One who rose from the dead offers to us eternal life. Before time began, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit agreed that the “problem of sin” could only be solved by God. So God sent His Son, who willingly came from eternity into time as a human being.
He lived a perfect life, so that we can be forgiven. The Holy Spirit now individually opens our hearts and eyes to understand and see our need.
3. The Gospel is: a call to: “Behold your God”. The Bible has a simple way of explaining profound things. We do not want to look to God, or listen.
But God in three words gives the solution. Look not to an impersonal spiritual force, but to The God that made you and can be known. The word “behold” means look carefully and intentionally: away from self, from every thought you might have that you can solve your problems.
Away from other sources of help, and from thinking that you have one percent goodness to give to God. ~ Look to Him alone.
We are all accountable: e.g. to parents, teachers and employers. To pay taxes and obey laws. But also morally to God. We will stand before Him one day to give account. Our problem is we have a backlog of sin. John Bunyan of Bedford called it a burden; we must bring the burden to God and ask Him to remove it: to cancel our massive mountain of moral debt.
4. The Gospel is: a call to look to Jesus Christ. The book of Isaiah, written 800 years before Christ, contains vivid, detailed prophecies about Christ. Isaiah looked into the future, seeing Christ in his mind’s eye.
Christ is an indisputable, historical fact. We cannot see Him today, with physical eyes. But tens of thousands of people heard Him speak and saw what He did, when He was a man. Also hundreds saw the resurrected Christ. ~ History shows us more evidence for Christ, than for Julius Caesar.
5. The Gospel is: a call to come to The Good Shepherd. We are like sheep who are always going astray, going this way and that, into the rocky outcrops, and getting lost. We are in constant danger. Our souls will not be gathered unless Christ, The Good Shepherd, comes and gathers us. “He shall gather the lambs with His arm, with His strong arm”.
This is Christ ‘s arm, who is strong to save, will gather and carry us to safety.
We cannot save ourselves from sin, or come into the fold by our efforts.
He needs to come and find us, rescue and gather us, then carry us home to Himself. This is a message about a Good Shepherd; the Shepherd who does everything for us. We must accept our need and that Christ alone can save us. I do nothing but repent, and then by faith as soon as I hear His voice calling me, trust the Good Shepherd.
He gathers, carries, feeds and leads the lambs. Simply put, The Gospel is the timeless call of the perfect Good Shepherd to lost sheep. He comes looking for us, and He promises to gather us, but only if we will hear Him and ask Him to. “He shall gently lend those that are with young”. He also gathers the youngest.
6. The Gospel: is a call to look to the Cross. Christ is not only the Good Shepherd, but the One who lay down His life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world on a rugged wooden cross. I cannot lay down my life to earn Heaven. He must do everything by bearing the awful and just punishment for my terrible sins.
In Christ’s life on earth, He had no disobedient, or selfish and impure thoughts. He did not look upon anyone else with pride, jealousy, or anger in His heart. He lived a perfect life. Pontius Pilate said of Christ: “I find in this mnn no wrong”. There were two men hung either side on the cross. One of the men testified “This man did nothing amiss”. Christ had lived a perfect life. He died a perfect death so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, and pardoned from sin and He rose again. “God commends His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”; the just Christ, for the unjust sinner.
7. The Gospel is: the dividing line for all eternity. When Christ was on the cross, one of the men who hung next to Him feared God and one would not. They both heard the same words of the Lord Jesus. They both mocked Him. But one heard His offer of forgiveness, and believed it and feared God. He trusted Christ as his Saviour, the other would have none of it. Which of these two are you like? Will you fear God in your heart and seek His forgiveness; and trust Him by faith, or will you push Him away? One thief heard: “Today you will be with me in paradise”, the other thief died in his sins.
Think carefully about this personal call. Come to Christ by praying, trusting by faith and repenting of all your sin. He promises to hear you and change your life for good.