Bible Lesson 157

The Simplicity of the Gospel
1st Corthians 2:1-2

In baseball, you never get to score unless you begin at the beginning, and that is, first base: Jesus said something like that, when He said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

I don’t know of anything that happens, where we start at the finish line and run backwards to our goal and win. Certainly, there are many who have attempted that, but what they don’t realize and won’t realize until it’s too late, is that they ran in vain. We used baseball in our heading, at the top of this page and everyone knows that in baseball and everything else we do, whether it be sports, work, or religion, there is always a proper way to proceed. God gave us His only plan for salvation, it is set in His Word the Bible, and the only way to win this race (be saved by the blood of Christ) is to follow God’s plan.

We have much to learn and even more to unlearn as we begin to study about how simple God’s plan of salvation really is. We must learn God’s plan and unlearn what we have been taught and have willingly learned over the last decades. In order to properly understand what God has said to us in His Word the Bible, we must be careful to follow the lines that God has clearly drawn about how any person is saved. Sometime in the past, ministers learned that the Bible had a word called love, and they focused on love and forgot everything else.

Thankfully our God is a God of love; however love is not God! In the distant past people liked the word so much that they squeezed everything out of the Word of God except that idea, the idea that God loves us all just the way we are, and has a wonderful plan for our lives, regardless of anything else. It is my hearts desire and my prayer that you have not fallen for that lie from the devil. There were some people (two people to be exact) that began with the love of God, and their names were Adam and Eve.

God created them in innocence, and they had no sin before the fall, and God loved them just the way they were; however the moment they disobeyed God’s command ‘not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’, they lost the love of God and were driven out of the Garden of Eden. The sin of Adam has been passed to everyone born of the flesh, since that time. We would like to think that since the Bible tells us that God is love, (1st John 4:8), that we all stand under the love of God. What we miss there is that we are taking verse 8 of 1st John chapter 4, out of context.

Follow me closely now because this is critical to your eternal soul. Verse eight, of 1st John chapter 4, taken out of context might make a person believe that God loves everyone just the way that they are: but if we read it in it’s context including verse 9 of 1st John chapter 4, we read’. ‘In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’

Now, having read those verses in their context, what do you draw from them’ What you should draw from those verses is, that God sent His One and Only Son Jesus Christ, to the cross to manifest his love for those who would obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). All of us, including you and I, and everyone you know, was born under the wrath and the condemnation of God, (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 3:16-21, 36; Colossians 3:1-6; Romans 5:18).

Now, that settles the issue of God’s love for sinners. God does not love and exercise wrath at the same time. He does not love while condemning. That is almost home plate as far as it goes to understanding true salvation. In order for a person to understand unto salvation they must believe in God, not some God or a God but the one and only God that exists, and that is Jehovah God of the Bible. We must see God as God, Eternal, Self existing, Creator and sustainer of heaven and earth, Sovereign in all things, invisible, incorruptible, Immortal, Omnipotent, Omniscience, Omnipresent, Most High, Just, Gracious, Merciful, Finite, Perfect and Righteous. Once we see God as our all and in all, we can see ourselves as sinners, transgressors of the law, children of Satan, foolish, rebellious, lawless, disgraceful, helpless, in need of reconciliation with God, hell bound without hope.

Only after you can see yourself in that light, will you ever have any hope of being redeemed from your pitiful state. Some who come to that point will fall at the feet of God and repent of their sin and weep over them, others will do like Adam and Eve, who attempted to blame each other and the serpent, or try to appear better than others. We must be like the publican (tax-collector), who prayed and confessed his sin to God, while the Pharisee prayed and applauded himself before God (Luke 18:10-14). It doesn’t matter how often you go to church, what kind of husband and father you are to your wife and children, how much money you tithe, or how sweet you have been, if you have not seen God as God, and yourself as a dirty rotten sinner who deserves hell, you are lost and cannot be God’s disciple. You may be a church member, but that will not serve as a pass to heaven! Only the blood and death of the Lamb of God can serve to redeem you. Even Christ’s death is of no benefit to you, unless and until you receive it by God’s Grace and God recreates you, in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17).

One of the most important parts of true salvation, and the hardest for the human, is coming to the recognition of our sinfulness. As long as we compare ourselves with others we may look good, but once we gather the courage to see ourselves in relation to our Holy and Just God, we know for certain how far we are from the creature that God created us to be. Why do you suppose that we in our age, here on the earth, never want to think about ourselves being unjust, unholy, and willful in our rebellion toward our Gracious God’ I have given it much thought, and I really believe that we have been led so far away from God that we do not even want to look back to where we left His paths.

Who is responsible for this’ It is the organized and institutional visible church, and it’s desire to prove to God and it’s communities that it can succeed on it’s own. In order to do that we have had to save a lot of people that are not saved, baptize a lot of people who went into the baptistery as dry sinners and came out as wet sinners. We have been unwilling to do the job that God gave us to do, which is “to teach them to observe (obey) all things which I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20). The visible church has left the Bible, and the God of the Bible, and gone into business for themselves in too many cases. We have devised our own bibles which are simply self-help kinds of programs, sterilized rewrites of promise verses from God’s Word, and programs that keep us as busy as ants and our minds off what God insists that His Church must be.

We have begun to worship the gods of tolerance and compromise and denial. Where did we ever get the idea that our Sovereign God who Created all that we know simply by speaking it into being (Psalms 33:6), who has sustained the sun, moon and stars, as well as all the thousands of planets in their orbits, would be a God of compromise and tolerance’ No, we as weak and willful creatures, devised this god who is no god at all, but an idol that we like to worship. We created this vacillating God who tolerates our disobedience and sin. God never changes and if we would stop and consider the Bible in it’s context we would find that He never tolerates sin, or our constant tinkering with His Word, the Bible. Think about how the church has changed, as it changed the Word of God, the Bible. We know that God demands obedience; but we demand nothing much other than attendance and silence from those who attend our services. I believe that we have wanted people to believe that salvation meant that we could continue in sin, do as we please and ignore our duty to God, and still go to heaven when we die.

Slowly but surely, we stopped reading, preaching and applying the Old Testament, and that is the reason that we can think like we do in today’s church. The old Testament tells us how God dealt with sin in early history. God set down what we know as the Law (The Ten Commandments, and Moses law which were given to him by God). In the old Testament, God dealt with men and commanded the people to deal with men who sinned, as it occurred. Under the law, anyone who broke one of the Ten Commandments, that was witnessed by two or more witnesses, was to be put to death (Read Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus). Reading the Old Testament will cause us to really understand how much God hates sin in His creatures. Being ignorant of so much of the Old Testament, we are easily led to believe that God does not really mind, if we who call ourselves Christians, have a few sins in our lives.

I am reminded here that a while back, I saw a bumper sticker on a car in this area that read “How much can I sin and still go to heaven”. That pretty much locks in on the mind-set of many in our day, and that is that God does not really mind a sin every now and then. If you want to believe that, I recommend that you go back to Genesis and read the first three chapters to find what God thought of Adam’s sin or disobedience. What Adam did was to take a bite of the fruit that God had commanded him not to take of, and when He did that one little sin (in his mind it must have seemed small), God separated Himself from Adam, and drove him and his wife Eve out of the Garden and placed Cherubim with a flaming sword to keep them from ever returning. God hated sin in the beginning, in the garden, God hated sin in the time of Noah, and God hates sin just as strongly today in our time. In the Old testament, when God’s people had the law, if they broke any of the Ten Commandments (The Moral Law of God), they were put to death on the spot, which proved to be a deterrent, that kept others from doing the same thing. We today are still obligated to God, in love, to keep the law (Matthew 22:35-40), however God has placed us under Grace because of the Sacrificial Sacrifice of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.

Does that mean that sin does not draw the same penalty that it did back in the Old Testament’ Absolutely not! Sin still requires a separation from God and death; however, those who have received Christ as the free gift of God for redemption, are forgiven of all sin, past, present and future. Those who do not seek God and receive that New Birth in Christ, will know separation from God and eternal death in hell. That is stark and very horrific, but it is time that those who call themselves ministers of Christ, stop dancing around the bush and begin to preach ‘Thus saith the Lord”. There should never be any doubt about what God requires, because He has written it down plainly and understandably for us in the Bible and He has warned us not to meddle with His word(Matthew 5:17-18; Revelation 22:18-19; Psalms 19:7-11; Psalms 119:10-11).

Let me ask you who think that it is impossible to keep the law of God, which one or ones of the law is it that you have trouble keeping. Which ones are impossible for you to keep. Remember now, I am asking people who have professed to know Christ, have been baptized, and who have joined a group that calls themselves church, those who ‘say’ that they love Christ. Do you really love Christ, and does Christ really love you’ If you said that you loved Christ’let me ask you: are you keeping his commandments’ Think about what I have just asked you’are you keeping all that Jesus has commanded you’ You know whether you are or not, and if you are not keeping all that Christ has commanded you, then you do not love Christ and He does not love you (John 14:15, 21-24).

Now, don’t get mad at me, because I am simply a messenger, and if you are offended by the idea that God expects you to be obedient, you are angry at the message. The message and the messenger in this instance are both from God and now you have to deal with it. What do you think could be the reason you think that you cannot keep the commands of our Savior’ If you have been truly saved by the Grace of God, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, you are a new creature (2nd Corinthians 5:17), you are no longer that old creature who could not obey, but a new creature that has the power of God, in His Holy Spirits indwelling who can and will obey. (Philippians 2:13). You have been born again, born above by God (Ephesians 2:8-10). To be frank and honest, there is no reason that a person who has truly been saved, cannot keep the commands of our God, except that they do not want to and will not even attempt to.

We all begin life , guilty of sin because we inherited Adam’s sin nature; but we can’t blame it all on Adam, because we all loved that nature that rebelled against God, and we enjoyed the pleasures of sin for a season. We like King David, were conceived in sin and we loved it and followed after it unless, and until, God takes a hand to turn us back to Himself. There used to be a song that had the words ‘.’looking for love in all the wrong places’, and we could take the liberty to change one or two of the words and make that song applicable to even sinners. We could change the word from love to light and sing it as ‘looking for light in all the wrong places.

Christ came into the world to be light for those who were in darkness, and wanted to come out of that darkness (John 1:1-5). Christ made it clear that He came and died for those who were sinners ,and knew that they were sinners, and were ready to die to self. Those who think that they are good enough and want to make their own way, can do so without any problem. The only problem is that their way leads to hell. Proverbs warns us that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Untold millions are on that way; because we have left the simple gospel of Christ, which is that all of us are sinners, who deserve death and hell, however God has provided ‘The’ way to redemption in the death of His Son Jesus Christ. Only those who come to the place that they are ready to die to the flesh and live in Christ as they obey Him by His power, will ever be saved.

We must understand that the Bible is the most important message that man can ever be allowed to read, so we must begin to seek God by reading His Word. We must come to the point that we do not view salvation as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Salvation consists of God reaching down to man to recreate Him and give him a new life, a different life, a life that will glorify God. It has nothing to do with joining a group that calls itself a church, although everyone who is saved will seek those who know God and have fellowship with them. Being saved makes us part of God’s army and we are all ‘grunts’ in the army, all of us are equal and all of us take our marching orders from God as we read and understand His Word. Grunts, are what common soldiers are called, because they do the work and the heavy lifting that is required in battle, hence they are called grunts. True Christians go into battle everyday as they live in the world and face the devil and his minions. Church is where we go to be built up and equipped to fight in this war. We do not go to church to have social needs met, or our children baby-sat, we do not go to meet business acquaintances, and we do not go to be able to say that we went. We go to worship God and show our willingness to yield ourselves ready to follow God’s orders.

I know that many ministers will think that what I am saying is old school, or fundamental, but that is what it has to be. I am not afraid that I will drive some sinner away from the church. What the Gospel is supposed to do is to drive them away from their sinfulness, and the road to hell. You cannot harm a sinner or drive him away from God; because he is already separated from God, the gospel is his only hope; and if he is so set in sin that he will not die to self and follow Christ, then there is no hope for him. (Isaiah 59:2). God did not give us the Bible for us to edit and revise, in order to please sinners, God gave us the Bible to crush the hearts of sinners and put the sinner in the dust before God in order that his soul may be saved. We have begun to throw out life-lines to sinners who do not know that they are drowning.

The first thing that preachers have to do is to convince sinners that they are lost and undone, separated from God, without help or hope: Then and only then will they ever see the need to look to the cross for their help. We have become so organized and institutionalized and sterile in our errors that we are leading people away from God instead of to God. It is terrible that we have to say something like this; but if the majority of people today who have church membership are Christians, then the woods are full of them. We as ministers do not make them that way, that is if we are ministers of Christ. Those who are members of some organized group may do that and it is apparent that there are many who do, otherwise why are there so many shipwrecks on the sea of religion’ We have to see things the way that they really are or we will end up working for Satan. It is what it is, and if you can look at what many churches are saying ‘Amen’ over today we don’t have to doubt that we are on the wrong track.

Let me ask you, when was the last time that you listened to a sermon and an altar call and the singing of an invitational hymn, and seen people go forward and be accepted into the church membership by a unanimous show of hands’ How many times have you heard someone in the pews challenge the one who came forward. It seems that we have come to the place that we really believe that God has no part in salvation. We would never say that to anyone; but our actions prove that we really believe that anyone who walks the aisle, shakes the preachers hand and is baptized is saved. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from the one who saves and that is Jesus Christ. In John chapter 8 we find Jesus preaching to a large group of Jews, and many said that they believed in Him. Did Jesus tell them that they were saved, or offer them membership in a church’ No! instead Jesus said to those who believed Him’. “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus could have handled that like the churches of our day, but Jesus was not looking for a crowd of people who would join Him, He was looking for people who would commit themselves completely to Him. Look at John chapter six, where Jesus preached that hard sermon about eating His flesh and drinking His blood (He was not talking about cannibalization; but about complete surrender to Him), and multitudes or many of those who were His disciples turned away from Him and never followed Him again. Did Jesus have to go see a head doctor or have a nervous break down’ No, instead He looked at the twelve disciples that had been with Him from the beginning and said, “Do you also want to go away'” Jesus went on to tell them that “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to Him by My Father.” (John 6:53-67). That makes it abundantly clear that no one gets saved until and unless God the Father calls or draws them (John 6:44).

In true salvation, there is a radical change, which can be observed only as we watch how the person behaves, how hungry they are for the Word , and how they manifest the Spirit of God in them. Think about this; until next time, this is brobob.

I am including some comments from J.C. Philpot that shine some light on this lesson.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Ephesians 1:4, 5

It is a very solemn but a very true assertion, that no man can quicken his own soul; and it is an equally solemn, we might almost say, a tremendous truth, that the gospel only comes in power to those whom God has chosen unto eternal life. Indeed the one flows from the other; for if no man can quicken his own soul, it necessarily follows it must be of sovereign grace that it is quickened at all.

Once allow the fall, and acknowledge that a man is by nature so thoroughly dead in trespasses and sins that he cannot raise himself up out of this state to newness of life, and the doctrine of election necessarily follows. A living soul may reason thus: “Am I quickened’ Yes. Did I quicken myself’ No.

I could not; for I was dead in sin. Did God then quicken me’ Who but he could have given life to my dead soul’ But why did he quicken me, when dead in sins’ Because he loved me, and chose me in Christ to be an heir of his eternal glory.” Whether, however, you can speak thus or not, there is no doubt that the Lord has a people who are dear to him, and to whom he makes himself dear.

These, though despised of, or unnoticed by men, are the elect of God; and if you be a vessel of mercy whom he has thus chosen to eternal life, the gospel either has already come, or, in his own time and way, will be made to come with power to your heart and conscience.

“That he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:26

Every created thing, every finite intelligence, must sooner be annihilated, than Jehovah can sacrifice, or suffer the slightest tarnish to come over any one of his eternal attributes. Yet God can be just, infinitely just, scrupulously just, unchangeably just,’and yet, preserving his attribute of justice unchanging and unchangeable, he can still be “the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

The way by which this was effected will take a countless eternity to understand, and a boundless eternity to admire and adore. But what is meant by the expression, “the justifier'” “The justifier” means, that God can count man as righteous, can freely pardon his sins, can graciously accept his person, can impute to him righteousness without works, and can bring him to the eternal enjoyment of himself.

And who is the character that he thus brings to himself by justifying him’ “He which believeth in Jesus.” What simplicity, and yet what sweetness and suitability is there in the gospel plan! Say it ran thus, “That he might be just, and yet the justifier of him that worketh, that pleaseth God by his own performances, that produceth a righteousness satisfactory to the eyes of infinite purity.”

Who then could be saved’ Would there be a single soul in heaven’ No; such a word as that would trample down the whole human race into hell. But when it runs thus, “That this is the mind and purpose of God, that this is his eternal counsel, which cannot pass away; that he is ‘the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,”the poor, the needy, the exercised, the tempted, the distressed, and the perplexed, that believe in Jesus, that look to Jesus, that lean upon Jesus, and rest in his Person, blood, righteousness, and love for all things; that these are justified, that these are pardoned, that these are accepted, that these are graciously received, and saved with an everlasting salvation,”‘how sweet, how suitable, does the gospel that declares this become to the living, believing soul!

JC PHILPOT – 1802-1869

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob