THE BLESSING OF PREACHING THE WHOLE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
Repentance and the forgiveness of sins
With what instruction did Jesus begin his ministry on earth? "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
What is the very last instruction Jesus himself left with His disciples (that includes us) as He opened the whole point of His Word to them in Luke 24:45-49? To preach" repentance and remission (forgiveness) of sins in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (that is in our home towns and congregations)".
And what instruction did Peter give to the crowd of people who were "pricked" in their hearts by the powerful manifestation of the Spirit in his sermon on the day of Pentecost? "Repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!" Acts 2:38 3000 souls heard, repented, believed and were added to the Kingdom of God that day.
Do our teachings and messages regularly bring forth this central theme of the Gospel?
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast!" Eph. 2:8
Here we see that the most critical component of faith is God's GRACE - HIS GIFT TO US - not anything we have done or can point to of ourselves - it is only by His grace that we can believe - lest we could boast or point to anything WE have done. This text is very clear.
Abraham's faith: "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness!" Genesis 15:6
"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he believes not shall be damned." Mark 16:16
This brings us to the bearing question - BELIEVES IN WHAT?
"That whosoever believes in Him (God's son Jesus Christ, who He gave to atone for the sins of the world!) should not perish but have eternal life!" John 3:16
"But as many as received Him (that is who received this gospel of atonement in the name of Jesus and through the wondrous power of His blood), to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
There are millions of people on this earth who "believe" there is or was a Jesus but who have not received Him as Lord and King and Saviour who died for their sins and purchased for them the gift of eternal life.
"Do you believe that there is one God? You do well: the devils also believe and tremble!" James 2:19
SO WHO IS THIS JESUS WE BELIEVE IN?
Is he some great historical super hero? A mega star in the religious world? Like the earthly king the Jews tried to force Him to become? A hyper Miracle Man?
Where is the Man of Galilee, rejected, scorned, spit upon, humiliated and crucified for our sake?! Who shed His own blood, died and was victoriously resurrected to release us from the power of sin, death, hell and the devil and to bring us EVERLASTING PEACE and open those glorious portals of heaven to eternal life.
WOW!!!! THIS IS WHO THE REAL JESUS IS!! Not a crutch, not an emblem or a medal, not an attractive ADD-ON to our lives!
The only condition I find in God's word for "receiving" such a priceless gift into our lives is a true change of heart, "a broken and a contrite heart" as David puts it in the 51st Psalm. Or like it says in John 3:3, "You must be born again"! And this is nothing but a gift of God's grace and His grace alone. This is not a repair job, a patching of something new into the old. This is a complete transformation whereby a sinner becomes righteous in the sight of God and receives a spotless robe to cover him TOTALLY by faith. As we also heard Peter say on the day of Pentecost he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit right then when he so believes! So he is NOT transformed in his flesh - for that we will always carry with us on this earth, or by something he has been able to accomplish, any self improvement he is able to brag about and show off for others, but simply transformed in his heart by that very gift!
The fascinating part of this is that even after we have believed and received this blessed Gospel of why Jesus came to earth we are STILL SINNERS. Sinners saved by grace! So that means that there are just two kinds of sinners here on earth, the saved and the unsaved. Like Apostle Paul brings out so clearly in Romans 7 and 8 we are still sinners even though we who are born again but with a new heart and in the power of the Holy Spirit we strive daily to follow His word. But often we fail. Therefore Paul puts everything in the right perspective when he says how he can only thank God that the answer to this DILEMMA is in Jesus Christ and Him alone is ! We all need Jesus - to hear His Word for us personally and to be reminded of His blessed Gospel as often as possible - to feed us, encourage us, lift us, strengthen us and give us Life and Hope daily. Especially those of us who profess his name and are leaders or members of believing congregations. THIS SAVING GOSPEL IS FOR "BOTH THEM WHO ARE AFAR OFF (outside the church) AND THOSE WHO ARE NEAR (inside the church)!"
"Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done and you that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid......!" Isaiah 33:13-14
To the human mind and to probably most people in this world and even to many nominal Christians the preaching of this Gospel is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21), old fashioned and even very complicated. But in Matthew 11:25 Jesus says, "I thank you, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them unto babes!" It is amazingly simple.
All the thief on the cross had to offer was a repentant heart and faith - and he was instantaneously forgiven, clothed by the words of the Gospel from Jesus' own mouth with a perfect robe of righteousness and a home in the Kingdom of God in Paradise eternally!
MAY GOD OPEN FOR US MORE AND MORE EACH DAY THE WONDROUS TRUTHS AND RICHES OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST SO THAT IN HIS SPIRIT WE COULD TRULY FEED HIS SHEEP AND BUILD HIS CHURCH HERE ON EARTH.
AND MAY HE TRULY BLESS OUR TIME TOGETHER HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
IN GOD'S PEACE,