Friday, April 14, 2017

The Gospel

I must needs return to the message of the Gospel.

Scripture text:
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and the third day rose again according to the scriptures.”     1 Corinthians 15

History is a witness to the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified. We could refer to historians of that time – Josephus and Tacitus. Also the rejection of the Gospel message by Jews and Gentiles related to the shame of following a once crucified leader. Paul adds significant evidence :- “according to the scriptures” – these scriptures like Isaiah 53, show that the death of Jesus Christ was no accident. Rather had God planned it, God had spoken about it ahead of time and also explained why.

Why did Jesus Christ die?  - because of our sins!

This immediately brings into view the human condition:
.....Lost away from God
.......By natural inclination doing and saying and thinking in disobedience to God
..........Guilty before God’s laws, condemned by God’s judgement.
...............Helpless as to rectifying the problem

Some have tried to cure the problem by education ( for two centuries of enlightenment, the heart of man has not changed), by wealth (wealth and riches increase discontent and selfishness), Religion (humanity continues to be destroyed by man made religions).

The only answer “Christ died for our sins”

When we take sin seriously, admit to God we have a problem, and that we have a history of wrongdoing, then God has an answer:
“God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.”

The prophet put it so well:
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, BUT the Lord has laid on Him the guilt of us all.”     Isaiah 53

The promise of forgiveness by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is liberating. But what about help to change from the old life of sinful habits?
The answer – “he was raised the third day according to the scriptures”   1 Corinthians 15
Because the Lord Jesus lives, we are directed to live new lives and we are given the power to live new, holy, joyful lives.
Every believer is tempted to sin, but the Holy Spirit give us the ability to say ‘no’. When the call of the Lord to live for Him seems beyond human capacity, the Holy Spirit enables us to say ‘yes – by God’s help’

A little chorus puts it well:
‘You rose up from the grave
     To me new life you gave
        Thank you Lord for loving me’

So what is the message of the gospel?
“Let it be known unto you therefore, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses”   Acts 13
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Acts 16

There is so much more – the promise of eternal life, the purpose of serving a new master, the welcome into the family of God, the prospect of heaven as home etc.  So much flows from the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

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