the Gospel

Challies has an excellent summary of the gospel message as it is really compared to how it is usually preached. (my previous post on this topic is here)

First the real bad news according to the Bible:

But the gospel reaches its ultimate offense when it tells us that we are utterly unable to do anything about all of this. None of our deeds, however noble and good, are able to make the least dent in the debt we owe to God. Furthermore, none of us would pursue any kind of reconciliation with God were it not for his prior action in our hearts. We are, in our heart of hearts, God-haters. Without God’s grace we are helpless and hopeless.

then the not so bad news man centered version:

This is some exceedingly bad news. And this is why so many churches seek to soften the news. It’s better, they think, to welcome into church the many people who will accept a softened message than the few who will accept such a tough message. And so they tamper with it, taking the edge off. Yes, we have sinned, but let’s think of it as just doing bad things or making mistakes. And though God has noticed these mistakes, he is willing and eager to overlook such offenses. What kind of Father would he be if he really insisted that we face eternal damnation for some mistakes? Soon the message is watered down into watery, tasteless baby food.

the not so good man centered news follows directly from the not so bad news:

If you turn to God, you can have your best life now. He will bless you richly, giving you all the things you want and need. He will make your life better and promise you the reward of heaven where you will be reunited with all of the people and the things you held dear here on earth.

the real unadulterated Biblical truth is stark by comparison:

When we understand–truly understand–the precariousness of our position; when we understand just how badly we have offended God and how we justly deserve his wrath, the good news becomes so much sweeter. Gone is the man-centered view of the benefits of God’s salvation and in its place arises an understanding that the greatest benefit of salvation is Christ himself!

Are you satisfied with finding Christ himself? Or do you want/expect Jesus to help you with your health, finances, relationship issues etc. etc. etc?

That is the question that Satan posed to God about Job in Job 1:8-11. “Does Job worship you because he treasures you or does he worship you because you give him stuff?”

8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Job answered the question by saying that God was enough. Job passed the test.

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. [c]
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Satan then upped the ante by claiming that Job treasured his own life and health more than God.

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Again Job passed the test.

9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish [b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

How about you? Are you like Job and the Apostle Paul? Do you count the things of this world as garbage compared to the goal of pressing on to know Christ?

IS JESUS WORTH MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR MONEY? MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR HOUSE? MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR FAMILY? MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR HEALTH? MORE TO YOU THAN YOUR VERY LIFE?

do you want him to be? Really?

He said that if we follow him we have to hate our mother our father and even our own life. This means that everything else that we love has to be so far distant in our affections that it might as well be hatred.

Jesus said his followers have to “deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him.”

Is that what you signed up for when you prayed the prayer? are you willing to sign up for it now?

I think that the reason people don’t share the gospel is because they don’t know the gospel. They don’t know that God has promised them the glorious gift of Himself and that this gift makes every earthly thing pale in comparison. We don’t understand that God has called us to trust Him with everything we have and be ready to give it up every day for His sake because He is worthy of praise, honor, glory, sacrifice and first place preeminently in our affections.

Most of us never were told the really bad news about the precariousness of our situation outside of Christ and we never understood the magnificently wonderful news about the free gift of Himself that God is offering to us.

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