If the Gospel is True: It has the power to save

January 5, 2014

Do you know Him? Do you know His gospel? The soul that truly knows Christ and that truly knows the significance of what he has done is a soul that is truly changed! Do you know Him do you know His gospel? The Gospel is Good News, a proclamation about what God has done in Christ. The Gospel is not an invitation or a sales pitch or a brand of music or clothing. It is an announcement of what has happened in history, what God has accomplished in the sinless life, substitutionary death and victorious bodily resurrection of Jesus. Do you know His Gospel? It is in this good news that the hopes and future of the world are wrapped up. We cannot play games with this information; either we accept it (and it will define every aspect of our lives) or we reject it and move on. Either it is the power of everything we do, or it is a fairy tale. It is too great, too significant to be something we simply believe to make ourselves feel better.  It is too great to be simply held onto on a Sunday and forgotten the rest of the week. For by it we find life, and without it we are doomed to eternal death Let me as again; do you know Jesus’ gospel? I find myself perplexed as I look and see the world, this great question plagues me as I deal with day to day life; can the truth of the Gospel change the world? I believe that the Bible is true, I believe in its precepts and I stand on the truth it declares. But if I do that I need to live with the expectation that I hold a message that can rock the very foundation of the world I find myself in. I have to ask myself as I face day to day life, the Christ I read in the Bible do I truly know Him. For He was so much greater than I sometimes expect Him to be, He is so much more significant that simply to be reduced to a good philosophy to live my life by. He is either my King, my Lord and my everything or He is nothing. I have gotten to a place where there is no more room for a middle ground Jesus; that is easy and acceptable to everyone! And so for the next four weeks we will be looking at a series “if the Gospel is true?” If we hold onto the fact that this is true what Jesus said, and the Apostles preached and the Old Testament predicted if it is true what then? Sure if what we read of Jesus and what he has done for us in the Bible surely there is power there that will define everything in our lives! This morning we will look at if the Gospel is true it has the power to save! So let’s ask the question what is the Gospel?  Well The Gospel is: God, through Christ, has the power to save sinners! That is it in its simplest form that I can share it, however, there is a lot wrapped up in those few words. You see Jesus has the power to save you and he has the power to save me! But to understand this we need to understand what it means to be saved! 1.    Saved (a lot locked up in one little word) God has the power to save! Paul shares this truth in Romans 1:16 where he says to the church: [READ] We throw around this word salvation and saved enough for it to become a numbed word for people. Most people are more familiar with a saving word document than they are with the fact that they need saving. The reality is the Gospel is that God has the power to save sinners. But save them from what? What does it actually mean to be saved? We are saying this morning that if the Gospel is true it must then have the power to save. But the question remains saved from what? Saved from a boring life maybe? Saved from our problems in our lives maybe? Saved from ourselves? Maybe even saved from the devil? What does it mean to be saved? Maybe we as a church have so mixed up what it truly means to be saved that we have robed the gospel of its power to save. Simply put the Gospel has the power to save sinners from the wrath of God! And that is God’s wrath. It is Paul Washer who says the most terrifying truth of Scripture is that God is good. How is that terrifying do you ask? Well it is terrifying because we are not. So what must a good God do with wicked people? Because he is good punish them! Let us remember God does not possess goodness God does not like to be good. GOD IS GOOD! It is who he is and for God to simply pardon wicked people (like you and me) would be for Him to deny His very essence! He cannot! So we are left wicked and He is left good, and the divide between us is eternal and impassable! And that is why you and I and the whole world need the Gospel! It is only on the cross of Christ that all the wrath of God against all the sin that we have committed is poured out upon Christ rather than us. And all the sinlessness of Christ is given to us as he receives all our sin. The reality is that you and I need saving! We unfortunately are not essentially good people. The Bible says that essentially we are bad. And if we are truly honest with ourselves, if we start to gage ourselves by God’s standards rather that comparing ourselves to each other we would see that we are not essentially good. We are broken, sinful. Wicked. Every action, every decision is we do is motivated by a sinful bend that we cannot help or fight. To put it in Biblical terms you and I are dead! And this is why we need good news. We need to hear that there is a way. That there is a possibility of being different of being saved! Thanks be to God who through Jesus Christ made a way that we can be saved! Let me just make this truly clear to all that are here this morning we are saved from one thing alone: the eternal wrath of God. I have heard people say that heaven is where God is therefore hell is where God isn’t. This simply is not biblical. Hell is people given over to the complete and unending wrath of a Holy eternal all-powerful God! This is why Jesus describes it as a place of restlessness, of gnashing of teeth, a place where the flame does not burn out nor the worm die. It is the place of God’s wrath! It was Jonathan Edwards who said it is truly a terrible thing for sinners to fall into the hands of a wrath filled God. That is where we are heading without Christ. That is where the world is heading without Christ! We need saving! The world needs saving! We are desperately lost and the really devastating thing is that most of the world doesn’t even know it. We and the world have so lied to ourselves, so deceived ourselves that we think that it is all okay, that it’s actually not so bad! It is! We need saving! We need the Gospel! We need Christ! I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of salvation! For all who believe! So do we believe in that awesome power of the gospel to save lives! 2.    Power (do we believe it?) The power to save a life lies solely in the hand of Christ, who by His grace gives us life by His death. I think we need to start living like this is actually true in our lives! Paul says that he is not ashamed of the Gospel why because he knows it is the power of salvation. It is the only power of salvation! I wonder if we somehow, are maybe not convinced of this so we are subconsciously ashamed. If our concern is what people will think of us, we are not convinced of the power of the gospel. No one would be embarrassed warning a child that a plate will burn them. No one ask I wonder if this child will hate me if I tell him not to touch the pan because it is hot. No the truth and seriousness of the situation causes us to act and we tell them, don’t touch you will get burned. So I believe that if we know Jesus and know His gospel we are compelled to speak from broken hearts. We speak from a place of love though. Let us go back to what Paul says in Romans; “He is not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of salvation!” The word for power here is the Greek word dunamis, where we get our word dynamite from! The gospel is an explosive power of salvation! It can change lives it can save people from the punishment of hell, it can correct nations! It is power! Explosive power! Now why don’t we see this? I have been asking myself this for a while, why is there so much lac-lustre half-hearted connection with the gospel; especially in the world we find ourselves in which to me seems like a world that is hopeless and desperate! I believe there are two reasons for the lack of power; firstly we live in a world that is not easy shaken, people have heard it all before (well at least they think they have) and we are not fully convinced of the power we hold in the Gospel of Jesus. So firstly you and I live in a society and generation that has it all together (or at least we think we do). Even when things fall apart, it is never our fault (it’s generally our parents etc.), and someone will come up with an answer. We live in a world where people are apathetic, self-absorbed, overstimulated and uninterested by anything that doesn’t directly affirm them and help them immediately! How do you bring a message of salvation to a people who know it all and who think they don’t need saving?  We need to bring it with power! The power of the Gospel lies in its truth! People are sin-filled and hopeless! God is wrath-filled and just! But Jesus is grace-filled and faithful! Secondly we might not be convinced of the power we hold in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is Angus Buchan who says that we will never fully realise the power of our faith until we are willing to share our faith. I challenge all of us here this morning to trust in the power of the gospel to change live. Stand up for what counts! If you are sick of moral rot, and corruption and crime, hating the people that do this will change nothing, picketing against this will do little to deal with the problem. However, if we change the hearts of people, change the hearts of this land. I believe we will see change. We will see people move from hatred to love, form corruption to charity! This happens when the gospel infiltrates a society. I believe this is possible. It is possible for even us to be a part of that! So pray for the work of the message to be heard. But also stand up and get yourself ready to work for the extension of the work that God is doing! Remember the words of Christ in Luke 10:2 “He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

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