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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

(revised 08/24/15)

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the reality of eternity. God’s Word also uses the terms “everlasting”, “forever”, etc. I don’t know whether there will be “time” as we know it (with one year equaling 365 days i.e. one complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun). But however the word “time” is used after Christ returns, born again, resurrected Christians will live forever in God’s presence.

It is impossible to comprehend eternity. But I came up with this story which will perhaps give us a start.
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One day in Heaven a group of the born again saints came before God the Father and asked, “Could You teach us more about eternity? Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?”

God replied, My children, I will try to explain in terms you can understand. First of all, recall this passage from My Word:

29) Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31) So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:29-31)

Now, My children, how many birds  – not just sparrows but all birds – do you think there are on Earth?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions.  Then He wrote the total number of birds down in His ledger.

Then God asked, Now, My children, how many hairs do you think are on all the heads of all mankind?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions. Then He wrote the total number of hairs down in His ledger.

Then God said to the saints, My children, consider these two passages:

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psa. 147:4)

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Gen. 22:17)

Then God said, Now, My children, how many stars do you think there are? Here’s a hint – even ungodly, atheist scientists are awed by the number of stars in My universe; some scientists estimate there are between 100 and 200 billion currently observable galaxies, each with billions of stars. (1)

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of stars down in His ledger.

Then God asked, My children, how many grains of sand do you think there are – not just on the seashore, but in the whole Earth?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of grains of sand in His ledger.

Then God asked the saints,

How many leaves do you think are on all the plants on Earth?
How many blades of grass do you think are on Earth?
How many granules of dirt do you think are in the Earth?
How many snowflakes do you think are on the Earth?
And … how many drops of water do you think are in all of Earth’s oceans and other bodies of water?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with the numbers. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated each of the numbers by trillions. Then He wrote the total numbers of leaves, blades of grass, granules of dirt, snowflakes and drops of water in His ledger.

God passed around His ledger for the saints to see. As they pondered the huge numbers in awe, God called forward one of the saints. Then God gently placed ten drops of water in the palm of the saint’s hand. And God said, My children, let Me ask you just one more question. How many total atoms do you think are in My entire universe? Here’s a hint. One of Earth’s scientists has made this estimate when discussing molecules:

… the number of [known] stars in the heavens is “an unbelievably large number,” but then… you will find the same number of molecules “in just ten drops of water.” (2)

The saints conferred for awhile, then replied: “We don’t know the total number of atoms, let alone molecules – we can’t even fathom such a number.”

God chuckled, then wrote the total number of atoms in His ledger, for He knew the exact number.  When He announced the number, the saints bowed down in awe at God’s Creation. Then God said, My children, here is My point. You began by asking Me, “Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?”  Think of it this way. Imagine that each atom in My universe represents one year of “Earth time”. When this number of years has passed, this will literally be just the BEGINNING of eternity with Me.
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Dear reader, eternity is a long, long time. Imagine time that is infinite, that never ends. Unfathomable, but true.

Now, where do you want to spend your future – eternally in God’s presence, or in eternal torment in the Lake of Fire? Only a fool, a lunatic or an unbeliever would choose eternal torment by remaining an unbeliever. Yet most people do choose to remain unbelievers. As creatures with free will, they stubbornly refuse to believe the Bible and the message of salvation, rejecting Christ.

Dear sinner, I would plead with you to:

Repent of your sins and your ungodly, self-centered life
Believe Christ died as the “sin debt offering” (paying the penalty of eternal punishment for your sins) and rose again
Accept Christ as your Saviour today
Turn your life over to Christ as Saviour and Lord (commit your life 100% to Him)
Live for Him the rest of your life, in total obedience to His Word

Your eternal destiny is at stake.

FOOTNOTES

(1) Elizabeth Howell, How Many Galaxies Are There?

(2) Comments by David Blatner, as discussed by Robert Krulwich in Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?


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As I’ve tried to stress in other blogs, it is critical to emphasize the “bloody” message of our Saviour on Calvary, the message of “the Blood and the Cross”, in every service. This is the core of the gospel – to ignore or downplay the doctrine of the Atonement is an abomination.

Two passages come to mind. Paul said:

“22) Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23) but we preach Christ crucified… (I Cor. 1:22-23a).

And: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)

I Googled the search string [“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”] and found many great articles and sermons on the topic. Also, for me many old gospel hymns convey this message in a powerful way. Churches need to sing these hymns again, regularly: “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, etc. I found this YouTube video about these old hymns that seemed appropriate:

I came across an excellent blog from Stand Up for the Truth!, which emphasizes this same theme. Click here for the original site of this blog. I’ve emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Gospel-less sermons regenerate no one

How important is it to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached each and every Sunday?  That we would even need to ask this question nearly 2,000 years after the Church was first established is heartbreaking to me.

I’ve been told by Christians and even pastors that it is not realistic to expect to hear the Gospel preached in every sermon message. “Sometimes we’re talking about a different subject,” they tell me, or “it doesn’t fit in with section five of our 10-part sermon series.” Or this one: “If you think you need to hear the blood sacrifice being preached in every message, you’re  not going to be happy in any church.”

Really? Am I that demanding that I’ve placed an unfair, unrealistic expectation on our poor pastors who are just trying to reach the lost?

Imagine Paul, or Peter, or John, or even Jesus Himself sitting in a typical seeker-driven service on any given Sunday morning and not hearing the message that martyrs still die for: That we are born sinners into sin-filled world at odds with God and that while we still hated Him, He came to earth as a sinless sacrifice, whose blood on the cross atoned for our sins and the punishment we deserve. He rose from the grave and appeared to hundreds of witnesses, who saw Him ascend to heaven, and those witnesses have been sharing that Good News ever since, that those who believe in Him can repent of their sins and be reconciled to God forever. It is through Christ alone that we are offered Mercy and Grace. Only In His perfect sacrifice, He exchanges His righteousness for our Sin.

In the time I took to read that, 30 seconds have passed. Surely 30 seconds of these life-giving words of the Gospel is the message that we all must hear over and over again. Not just so that we can be saved, but so that we can have real life to the full. A Sunday service without the Gospel regenerates no one.

It is good to talk about making good choices, or treating each other in love. It’s good to sing worship songs and teach about putting God and money in proper perspective. But not at the expense of  The Gospel.  Because if I am still steeped in my sins, unrepentant without knowing who Jesus is, and I’ve just sat through your sermon series on how to have a good marriage or how to feed the hungry, I am still going to Hell when I die.

English: Titian's Ancona Crucifiction, 1558. Unfortunately, many Christians today don’t know what the Gospel is. If you were to ask, they might say that the Gospel is about loving our neighbor, or loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. And while important, these are not the Gospel, but are the essence of the Law. And yes, we need to walk the narrow path and live out what God commands.  But His truth also tells us that as hard as we strive, we can’t love God as perfectly as He commands. And by the way, how did you do at loving your neighbor last week? I fell extremely short.

That’s why we need the Gospel, even as we grow into mature Christians. We hear the Gospel so that we can be reminded of how good He is, and how wretched we are apart from Him. And when we do break the Law – any of them –we can repent of our sins and be forgiven.

As writer Mike Ratliff put it so powerfully, God will not tolerate a perversion of the Gospel because it is the only truth:

However, in our time the Gospel has been retold in all sorts of unbiblical ways. Some are outright lies while others are more subtle, for instance, there is the lie that is mostly true in which the Gospel is given, but that part about repentance and the lordship of Jesus Christ being necessary is left out. People want to make the narrow gate wide and easy, but that has never been God’s way. They want to remove the offense of the Cross, but it has to be there. Preaching against sin “puts people off, offends their sensibilities, puts them on the defensive, and makes them uncomfortable” is being cut from most churches in our time to make them more “seeker friendly.”

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins  2 in which you once walked according to the world system of this age, according to ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among whom also we all conducted ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and we were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Paul, speaking to Christians, told them and us that they were once just the rest of the world, which was dead in their own trespasses and sin in which they once walked according to the world system. There are no exceptions t this. A “Gospel message” or “theology” that does not address this is not biblical. In fact, it is false teaching. Those who teach these false teachings are teaching a different Gospel, and God will judge them for it.

The only Gospel is, “Trust in Jesus’ blood as the only redemption from sin.”       (Source: Possessing The Treasure)

In those last four seconds is packed an eternity of truth.  No, I don’t think I’m being demanding by asking to hear the Gospel each and every time. How can we expect anything less for our families, our friends and for a world that does not know Him?  Churches, pastors, Christians: It’s time to step up. Let’s not just squeeze these in around our three main principles or five action points. No, let’s make the Gospel the center of every message, and the rest can flow from Christ’s amazing, perfect love.

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My wife and I love wholesome family shows like “The Waltons.” But what really bothers me is that – even in supposedly “Christian” scenes – I rarely hear Jesus’ name mentioned or the gospel of salvation mentioned. I have reposted a blog which expresses this concern well. Click here for the original source of the following blog:

Where’s the gospel?

July 6, 2012 by | 3 Comments

Sheila and I love watching shows like The Waltons, Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie and even sometimes Veggie Tales. They’re good wholesome programs with good lessons about living but there’s something missing. Even Bible quotes are not uncommon but there’s something missing. Forgiveness, sharing what you have and love thy neighbor are frequent themes but there’s something missing.

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The bible quotes while welcome are almost universally Old Testament and “law” oriented. Our family shows are seemingly just moralistic tales. Where’s the Gospel? Where’s cross of Christ the redeemer? The law says if I’m good enough, God will accept me. The message of the gospel is vastly different in that I cannot be good enough and never will be able to (be good enough on my own) apart through saving faith in Christ. It comes down to what is our motivation for our morals and ethics; are we good to seek God’s favor or because we have God’s favor (in Christ alone), we strive to be good. Paul devotes a lot of time to this in the letter to the church in Rome.

But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed —attested by the Law and the Prophets  —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ,to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  – Romans 3:21-24 HCSB

We must never forget or misunderstand; we are not saved through works and that message must be heard clearly and consistently.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. -Ephesians 2:8-10 HCSB

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[blog under construction]

I stumbled across the following article from Let Us Reason Ministries. As per the copyright notice below the article,  I am reproducing it in its entirety without any changes. Any thoughts I have on the article will be placed either before or after the article. Click here for the original source of the article.

Now, here is the article itself:

Is the gospel being preached in the emergent church movement?

We are to be keepers, protectors and proclaimers of the gospel, it is to be the same message that was given to the apostles nearly 2,000 years ago.

The gospel can be changed from applying new innovations. Even Brian McLaren admits the way that emerging church presents the message can be changing the gospel:

“It has been fashionable among the innovative [emerging] pastors I know to say, “We’re not changing the message; we’re only changing the medium.” This claim is probably less than honest … in the new church we must realize how medium and message are intertwined. When we change the medium, the message that’s received is changed, however subtly, as well. We might as well get beyond our naivete or denial about this.”

This is one of the rare times I can agree with him. Our method of presenting the Gospel can adopt change in its presentation when necessary; but the content of the message cannot, or we have another gospel. If we are not careful the message can be changed by the method. And the message HAS already changed for many inside these progressive type movements like the emergent church movement. Without the cross as central to our lives and our preaching, the Church becomes just another religion with wonderful teachings about a man named Jesus. Salvation does not come from just believing in God, but in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross- this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ One is to believe and follow. We all get saved the same way, by the message of gospel, not other way can be a substitute. Paul warned about another gospel being changed by preaching a different Jesus in Gal.1:6-9.

What kind of Jesus allows other religions teachings and practices to be taught in his church to those who are to supposed to be following him as the way the truth the life.

This is not to say that everyone in the Emergent church holds to the new views of the gospel but there are many of its leaders that do. Using humanistic concepts, other religious ways or just adjusting the gospel to reach the various cultures they avoid the real intent- exposing the darkness in all human hearts by Christ being preached “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

The changing of the gospel message and its application come in many forms Leonard Sweet explains it “Postmodern missions must have a geomantic imagination and geomantic design. What I am calling a geomantic style of evangelization will ensure harmonious habitation patterns as the gospel interconnects and interacts with all life-and landforms. (Quantum Spirituality p.168). This is changing the gospel to be relative to the environment. Earth based spirituality has nothing to do with the gospel that was preached by Paul and the apostles whose intent was to deal with sin (1 Cor.15:1-4).

Brian McLaren has endorsed Jones’ book, Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind. Brian McLaren: “Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply.”

Alan Jones, like McLaren, rejects what is the Gospel message. Jones :

“The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.”( Alan Jones, Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit without Disconnecting Your Mind (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005) p. 132. Jones goes on to say, “Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine.” Alan Jones, p. 168

This is an intentional denial of Jesus himself, both his person and his work that showed the love of God. What we are seeing is an intellectual – philosophical movement that offers a baptism into a new spiritual openness. But without the preaching of the cross it neglects the true spiritual condition and need of mankind. This is not leading people to the truth of their sin by being confronted by the gospel for salvation but instead pursuing a spiritual experience outside the parameters given by Jesus. This is all integrated in the church to reach the post- modern generation that does not see any one way more valid than another. It is opening the door to thousands to go another way. All this leads to is interfaith- accompanied with universalism.

In an interview with Christianity Today McLaren said “I don’t think we’ve got the gospel right yet. What does it mean to be ‘saved’? When I read the Bible, I don’t see it meaning, ‘I’m going to heaven after I die.’ Before modern evangelicalism nobody accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, or walked down an aisle, or said the sinner’s prayer.” “I don’t think the liberals have it right. But I don’t think we have it right either. None of us has arrived at orthodoxy.” (The Emergent Mystique, Christianity Today Nov.2004)

McClaren questions nearly everything in the Bible so how can one preach the gospel of salvation if they do not know the truth of the gospel and exercise faith in it. The Bible says if we doubt, we are doubleminded and will receive nothing. This attitude is the opposite of faith. Then no one can really know if they are saved or anything for that matter, which is the very opposite of what John wrote in his first epistle. I Jn 5:13 “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” Having eternal life means going to heaven- Jesus said I give them eternal life, where I am they may be also.

Rom 10:16-17 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Obedience is believing the word, exercising faith unto salvation.

Rom. 16:25-26 Paul says the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, has now has been made manifest, by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.

Paul wrote in 1 Thess. 2:4-5:“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak”

1 Cor 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Rom 1:16 tells us the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”

If McLaren does not have the gospel right, then he lacks the power of God which first and foremost brings salvation which gives us the ability to live the Christian life by faith. The whole Christian message is that mankind is sinful, God came to earth as a man to die for our sins- to bring us into a relationship with our maker.

So how is it he is so unsure of this? Its all very clearly written down. 1 Pet 1:25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

1 Cor 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you– unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”

The Gospel is focused on two specific areas: who Jesus is and what He has done. It is centered on the person and work of Christ for us. The person is the who- which the gospel is focused on-God who came in the flesh. Jesus said unless you believe I am you will dies in your sins”

Lk. 24:47 gives us the message of the gospel “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations.”

Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

We need to be able to explain God’s word to people because that is where the power resides, it is his words that are spirit. Help people understand their need for a savior because of their sin. Paul preached the simple gospel that confounds the wisdom of the world and God honored it with salvation to many who heard it.

Col 1:23 One day we will stand before the Lord holy and blameless “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard

When you do not have a basic understanding of the gospel as it is presented in the emergent church then you are cannot be saved by it.

God spoke to Israel Isaiah 1:15-19 “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

God asks to discuss their sinful condition so he can give them the remedy, it is not just for Israel but a clarion call to the world for cleansing by the blood of the lamb.

 © 2009 No portion of this site is to be copied or used unless kept in its original format- the way it appears. Articles can be reproduced in portions for ones personal use. Any other use is to have the permission of  Let Us Reason Ministries first. Thank You.

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