Bible Lesson 148

The heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is redemption

“Now then, we are ambassadors of Christ, as though God were pleading through us: We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2nd Corinthians 5:20-21

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your Spirit, which are God’s” 1st Corinthians 6:20.

“The fare was paid at Calvary and modern self-sufficients want to pay their own way. They do?..but they arrive at the wrong destination.” Vance Havner

In the days when Nero was Emperor of Rome, there is an account of a dire shortage of food in the country. Yet with numerous ships arriving at the port, there was no food which was available in places like Alexandria, and could have been brought to the hungry people in Rome. The ships were all carryings loads of sand for the Arena in the Coliseum. Nero was denying his people food that they needed by having nothing but sand brought to make a proper landing for the Gladiatorial games.

That should at least give us a place today to begin to think about what is going on in most countries where the Christian faith is supposed to be preached. If we compare preachers and teachers and denominations and individual churches we in some fashion match up with Nero’s Rome. The leadership had made the first priority sand instead of food. The people need food desperately, but Nero the Emperor had plenty of food for himself and his family and he would not allow ships filled with anything except sand for the arena, to come into the harbor.

You may wonder what that has to do with your church and your congregation today. The fact is that it mirrors, in some way, exactly what is going on in many churches today. I pray that people that go to church every time the doors are open, go there for the right reason and the only right reason is to Worship and learn about our Great God, and what He has done to change us. Most who go are treated to business as usual for the most part. It is all preplanned, printed and unloaded at the dock (Pulpit); however most of the time it is not the bread of heaven that is unloaded but a load of sand.

It almost makes me sick to hear preachers standing before great congregations and holding a Bible while preaching something that does not resemble what the Word of God says about our great God. Oh, yes they have a Bible, and they sometimes open it and read a verse or two, but they never confront sin and sinners who sit before them, about how far they are from being what they should be. Whether we like it or not, and whether preachers know it or not, the Bible was given so that we could open it and read and confront the congregations about what has been read. It would seem to me that the cart has been put before the horse and everything now is somewhat backwards.

Instead of preaching that men are lost and undone and helpless and hopeless ‘.without the love of God because of their very nature (Which is depraved); it is so much easier to take a middle of the road mindset and just wiggle around some of the promise verses, never taking them in context.
Are you saved’ What saved you’ Can you take someone to the Bible and point out the verse or verses that speak about how faith is established’ In case you can’t, let me recommend Romans 10:17, which tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (The gospel of Christ). So in order for you to understand that God has a gift for you (Grace and Faith), you must know either by reading the Bible or hearing a faithful preacher preach the truth. (See Romans 10:14-17). Don’t be fooled faith is not something that anyone can conjure up or milk from God. Faith is a gift from God because He has been gracious to those who will obey Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We have attempted to snatch salvation from God, and that is so impossible that it should be evident; however, more and more people are simply electing to join congregations that are very casual about membership and they think that because they have joined the church that God has to sanctify them and adopt them as His children. I pray that not many of you who read this lesson has done that, or would ever do it. The purpose of salvation is to be radically changed’.changed from a lost, blind and depraved creature that is hell bound, to a Christ like creature that has been forgiven all of his/her sins and is now a child of God and obedient to God’s Word and Will. There is only one way to that enviable position and state, and that is to depend upon God for your salvation. God always brings gifts to us not sand.

Think about this! Wouldn’t it be a tragedy for a person to listen to someone who either does not know the truth or else is pandering to sinners, and they think they are saved because they joined some church, but in the judgment they will hear the Father in Heaven say to them’ “Depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.” God has sent us a ship’s load of wonderful gifts, Grace, Faith and eternal bliss, and yet we looked for and accepted a load of sand. You never know what is bread and what is sand, until you attempt to eat it. With that understood let me show you from Holy Scripture what the difference really is. Many of you attend churches, who according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, have heaped to themselves teachers who preach and teach myths, fables, and half truths, and never dare to preach the gospel of the Grace of God (2nd Timothy 4:3-4). Some may ask, well brother bob, what exactly is the truth, what is the gospel of the Grace of God.

Well, the truth begins like this, and that is that everyone of us was born with a nature that was anti-God. Oh, we never openly declared war against God, most of the time we simply ignored God; because we wanted nothing to do with Him. We had another sweetheart, another paramour, another darling that we liked doing business with and that was Satan. We were in bondage to Satan and we hurried to do his every bidding (John 8:41-45). We were born dead (unresponsive, unable to communicate or connect with God) in trespasses and sin and we stood under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-3). God always stands by His Word and God had told us along with Adam, when He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, that disobedience would bring death, both physical death and separation from God (Genesis 2:15-17). God reminds us over and over about disobedience and encourages us to know and obey what He has revealed to us in His Word the Bible (Romans 6:23; John 3:16-21; 1st Peter 1:13-14; Romans 12:1-2; 1st John 2:3-5; Ephesians 4:17-24; Ephesians 5:1-7; Acts 5:29-32; 2nd Thessalonians 1:8).

So then, the gospel of Grace, begins with knowing our condition and all of us begin equal in this condition’.we are all lost and blind and going to hell, unless and until God begins His wonderful act of salvation. We must remember that we cannot begin or end our own salvation, it is all of God (Psalms 3:8; Isaiah 43:11). God begins our salvation by sending His Holy Spirit to quicken us, or to impart to us Spiritual life. Then we can see how Holy God really is and how depraved we are and it will cause us to look to the cross of Christ and His death there to save us. Now that we know that the cure for our sickness of sin is in Christ and what He did. Let’s look at prophecy and see what God the Father had revealed to us even back before Christ went to the cross. In Isaiah 9:6 we find, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.”

Then In Isaiah 53 we find this prophesy’.”For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of a dry ground. He has not form or comeliness: and when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:1-6).

We speak of the gospel as the Gospel of Grace, and that reminds us that, it is only because our God is a Gracious God, that we have the way out of sin. There is only one way and that is by the Cross of Christ, where Christ was made sin for us, (2nd Corinthians 5:21), where Christ was nailed to the tree, where we should have been nailed, and where God extracted a just penalty for every sin that those who would obey Him had or would ever commit. Christ, out of obedience to the Father, allowed those creatures whom He had created to drive the nails in His hands and feet; and He gave up the ghost and died so that God the Father could forgive our sin and adopt us into His family and receive eternal life. Grace is a gift from God just as faith is a gift from God.

Jesus Christ paid it all, so all to Him I owe.. sin had left a crimson stain but He washed it white as snow. From beginning to the end Salvation is of God. We can put nothing to it and we can take nothing from it. Those who love Christ enough, for what He has done, to obey Him will be saved, and those who stand on the shore of eternity waiting for their load of sand will go to hell to suffer for eternity. Do you desire Salvation or will you be satisfied with sand’ If you desire to be right with your maker, (God, then you must be forgiven of your sin and imputed the righteousness of Jesus Christ. If you are just interested in playing church and receiving sand, you can join just about any of the visible church groups and be perfectly happy until judgment day; but then you will receive your payday. You will spend your eternity in the literal flames of hell and be there with no hope or no help forever without end.

The gospel is founded in the passion of Christ as he hung on the cross to pay the sin debt of all those who were given to him before the foundation of the world. It is a gospel of wonder and power, that comes to those whom God calls with His effectual call, by His Holy Spirit. This has nothing to do with the traditional altar call that we hear at the completion of the unloading of the sand that most of us are satisfied with every Sunday. This call of God is a call that cannot be denied, cannot be put off or rescheduled, when God calls a person, that person comes to God who saves them. That is just the beginning, because every person that is called , is justified, sanctified and glorified.

They are given a new birth, by being put to death with Christ, in Christ; being buried in baptism and raised up out of the water of baptism to newness of life. They emerge as a new creature, created in Christ, with the old things (old man) passed away and all things become new (new man, in Christ). They love God so much that they strive, in His power, to live according to His Word. They are no longer children of darkness but children of light and they walk in the light, Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:1-14; Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17; 1st John 1:5-7; Romans 8:1-11).They are wonderfully saved and changed from sinner to saint, and called to live like a saint (Romans 1:7).

Joining a church makes you a church member but dying to self and being recreated ‘in Christ’ makes you a Christian. Simply stated that is the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Christ. Of course, there is much more to understand before you can understand that simple statement that sets forth the grace and power and love of God. I am not sure what has happened to the church since the 19th and 20th centuries. The point that we find ourselves in today, in the 21st Century, did not happen over night. It does prove the old saying about if you drop a frog into boiling water, he will jump out and save himself; but if you put him a pan of cool water and put it on the eye of a stove, he will sit there and boil himself. That’s because we can acclimate ourselves to our surrounding and if they change slowly over time we will not say a word. Our problem of tolerance, compassion, and general disinterest in the inerrancy of the Word of God, the Bible, began many years ago and over time we have come to the point that we don’t know what we believe or why we believe it. I have been in churches where the pastor or one of the leaders would come out and say that since the Bible was written by men that men make mistakes so there are mistakes in the Bible. What a lie! The Bible was written by men, but they were men who wrote under the inspiration of God Almighty, and they wrote exactly what He wanted them to write. God protected the original and God is still alive and protecting His inerrant, infallible Word of God, the Bible, today. The problem with these men is that they have gotten educated beyond, and above their intelligence. When you take a stand against the Bible, you are defying God and whether you know it or not, you amount to nothing to God unless you are submitted to him through His One and only Son Jesus Christ. In fact, we live and thrive in the world today because of the mercy of God, and if we could wake up and realize just how inconsequential we really were, we would know that God does not need any of us.

The Bible says a lot of things, but nowhere, in the Bible, can I find where God has said that it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long are you are sincere about what you believe. I have not found anywhere that Christians are to tolerate those who come to speak against God or His Word. I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where it says that God loves everybody, or that Christ, who is God in the flesh, loves people that are in sin and disobedient to God’s will. Neither can I find in the Bible where Jesus Christ died for everyone. I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where God opens the door for His children to sin without any consequence. I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where heaven is where everyone will end up after they die. I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where God says that the death of Christ was not sufficient for our justification and salvation, so where do these people who preach that it is Jesus plus works, or anything else that saves a person. We have become ‘suckers’ for hucksters who tell us how nice we are supposed to be and how we need to be more tolerant and compassionate than God is. We have even refused to look at sin as God looks at sin, and as a result America is now involved in the destruction of the family.

We have learned from the example of preachers and denominations that simply because the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination does not mean that we have any right to draw the same line that God has already drawn between the things of God and that sin. Sure, God will forgive homosexuality, but only after the guilty person has repented and turned away from that sin and turned to God. What we seem to want to do today is to sanctify a sin that God has said is abominable to Him (Leviticus 20:13; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:21-32; 1st Corinthians 6:9-10; 1st Timothy 1:9-10). The visible church of America is choosing political correctness in many places where God is not politically correct and that manifest itself in the proper function of husbands and wives. The Bible makes it clear that wives are to submit themselves to their husbands but the church has, in many places taught that this is not necessary (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). America has gutted itself, by calling liberal preachers, liberal politicians, liberal teachers and liberal judges, and put them in places where they can corrupt our way of life.

We have even come to the point where simple people argue that we are not to judge one another and they always want to use Matthew 7:1 which does say ‘judge not lest you be judged’ but Matthew chapter one has more than just one verse and if you read verses 1-6, you will find that we are to judge. We are not to judge anything that God has not judged in his Word, but any sin is to be judged. You see, those who would obey the great commission to witness for Christ, you must first see a need and who needs to hear the gospel’ That’s right, those who need to hear the witness, are people who are lost, so you have judged anyone who you give a clear witness to. Of Course, we have almost lost most of our real evangelism zeal, and we don’t really do much witnessing anymore. Again, I contribute that to our lack of belief and where our belief is focused.

We have been guilty of a lack of discernment and have grown weary or lazy when it comes to application of our time and minds to the Word of God. We have been guilty of accepting anyone and anything that comes down the pike. We like to join in the latest fads in our religious observances. We now know the form and fashion of worship but we hardly ever really worship God because we cannot worship a God that we do not know. Since we do not know the Word of God for ourselves, we have to accept whatever someone else tells us that the Bible says. It is evident that we have become a people who do not know how to prioritize our lives according to the Plan and the Word of God; and that is because we have not made the time and took the effort to apply ourselves to know the Word and Will of God. We have a lot of excuses, but none of which will be allowed or accepted by God. We all have to remember that there is coming, and perhaps sooner than we think, the day in which God will judge the quick and the dead. There is only one outcome and it will be based on what each of us has done.

If you pass God’s judgment, you will enter into the blessings of heaven but if you fail, you will enter torment and pain for eternity. We have been speaking the holy Word of God and as I write, I encourage you to be neither sweet nor sour in your preaching and witnessing of God’s Word. Sinners will be confronted by God, not by you as you preach it. They may take their wrath out on you but it is God that they hate and would destroy if it were possible. “The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV). We are simply called to preach what the Bible says, and is applicable to those who hear it. God will do the rest and there can be no glory for anyone except the Lord for those who are converted and saved by it. We follow up to make sure that those who profess Christ really understand what they have professed. Salvation is based on obedience to the truth and that truth is whatever the Bible teaches us in it’s context.

We can take King Saul who was Israel’s first King who took it upon himself to obey God (but on his own terms). God sent Saul to wipe out the Amalekites and Saul did indeed go and killed the majority of them, but he decided to spare the King (Agag), and the best of all the herds and flocks. He had a fair excuse but when He told God’s Prophet Samuel that he had performed the commandment of the Lord, Samuel asked him’then what is this bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen that I hear'” Saul had done a portion of what God had commanded, but he took it on himself to leave some of it undone. Partial obedience is no obedience at all. What God says He always means and when He says that we must come toHim ready to die to self and ready to obey Him alone, He means exactly that. (1st Samuel 15:1-230).

There are too many people that desire to set aside God’s Word and just do what they think is so much more desirable (Worship God in our own way). We have devised little phrases like, we don’t want to teach doctrines because they are divisive. They don’t like doctrine, because it is as they say, divisive; but that is the reason that God gave us doctrine, it was to separate us from the world and the worldly. What the visible church is doing is to change the Word of God to make it acceptable to sinners. The reason that God gave the Word of God and doctrines contained in it was to change sinners to make them acceptable to God. What our greatest need today is, that we know the truth of the Word of God in context and that we set ourselves to strive to defend the Faith as it exists in God’s Word. Till next time be faithful to study to show yourselves approved of God, a workman that needs not be ashamed. (2nd Timothy 2:15).

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob