How would you explain the gospel?

Sharing the gospel on the dance floor of a bar might seem strange, but it happened to me once after I first got saved. I was at some nightclub in South Florida with my sister and her group of guy friends. One of the guys and I were dancing together when he asked me about my recent conversion to Christianity.

“Cindy tells me you are very passionate about the whole Jesus thing. Do you actually believe what you are being told at church?”

I was thrilled with his question, because it was the perfect opportunity for me to share the gospel for the very first time. It seems odd to me now that I could have such a serious conversation while grooving to pop music on a dance floor . . .  but at the time it was perfectly natural. He listened patiently as I began my explanation with the Garden of Eden.

I kept talking for an entire hour.

I didn’t know how to explain the gospel simply and concisely! I don’t remember that young man’s name, but God bless him for hearing me out.

So, how would I explain the gospel today? I’m glad you asked. 🙂

The gospel is the good news, or the glad tidings, of Jesus Christ. It’s good news because He came to solve a really nasty problem that has plagued humanity since the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:15-17, The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Adam and Eve were given one commandment to obey, and they failed. They ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They chose to reject God. So on that day, He left. They lost the life of God, the Holy Spirit, which had been breathed within them . . . and they died (Gen 2:7).

You and I are born into this world in the image of Adam. We’re born “spiritually dead.” We are empty. We are blind. We are lost. (Haven’t you noticed?)

Romans 5:17-19, For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Humans are born in the image of Adam, not in the image of God. Death reigned from Adam to Jesus. Life reigns from Jesus until eternity, until forever!  😁

God came to earth as the promised Messiah to the Israelites; the prophet that was foretold and expected for thousands of years. He was born as a baby and was called Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

After living a perfect life according to the Law of Moses, He was put to death; His death paid the penalty that was required for sinners under the Law. He was then buried in a cave; hundreds of Roman soldiers guarded that cave for the following three days.

But you can’t kill God, so on the third day, He rose again; His body was resurrected from the grave. Having died for the sins of the world, the world is now forgiven of all of its trespasses against God. The slate has been wiped clean so that anyone who wants to be saved, can be saved. You are saved by receiving the resurrected life of Jesus, by inviting His life – which is His very Holy Spirit – to come and live with you for all of eternity.

Romans 5:10, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

His death, His burial, and most importantly, His resurrection made it possible for humanity to be saved; to be made alive; to receive His resurrected life, His Spirit, that would resurrect US from the dead.

That life that Adam and Eve lost? It has been restored.

Have you been restored? Have you been made alive? Have you believed in the gospel?

Hearing this message with faith, is what allows a person to be saved from eternal death.

Kind of an important message to share. . . . even if you are on a dance floor.

May 4, 2018

Do you want to be blessed?

I know a lot of Christians who are focused on “getting blessed.”  They want a new car or a new house or a new job.  But what does God think about all of this?  What is His definition of “blessings”?

We first read about blessings In Genesis 12.  It is recorded that God made a promise of future blessings to Abraham (Abram).

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.”  Genesis 12:1 & 2

What was the blessing that was promised to Abram?  (Who was later re-named Abraham.) We get our answer from the Apostle Paul, the guy who was taught the gospel message directly from the Lord Jesus Himself.

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12

Okay, so with confidence that the Apostle Paul is a credible witness to the truth, let us finally get an answer to the question..  What was the blessing promised to Abraham?  Paul gives the answer in chapter 3 of his letter to the Galatians. 😁

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:13-14

You guys, this is so exciting!  We don’t have to be born an Israelite.  Even we Gentiles can receive the promise given to Abraham.  Whether a Jew or a Gentile, you can receive the promise of the Holy Spirit!

And we all need the Holy Spirit, because it is the Spirit that gives life to our mortal bodies.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  Romans 8:11

If you want to be blessed, that is about as good as it gets.  If you want to be blessed, it begins with faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you want to be blessed by God, seek the blessing that was promised to Abraham:  the Holy Spirit.

And once His Spirit has given life to your mortal body, once you have been born again, you ARE blessed!  That’s it.  You will never find anything better.  A new car, a new house, and a new job can not compare.

The gospel is such good news.  So good.  . . . It’s almost ridiculous how GOOD it is!!  😆  Let’s rest in and trust in this awesome God of ours today!


For more on this topic, check this out.

April 27, 2018  6:31 PM

Do Christians need to “fully surrender” to God?

My 16-year-old and I attended a mother/daughter Bible Study this past Sunday in which the overall message presented to the teenage girls was to “dream big” for God.  To dream up grand ideas.  To imagine bold plans.  To further God’s kingdom while solidifying your own faith.

A supporting argument was, “if you are fully surrendered to Him, then He will be able to use you.”

But what does it mean to be fully surrendered to Him?  I’ve been meditating on this question for the past five days.  In order to fully surrender to God, what are the prerequisites and requirements?  What are the markers used to determine the halfway mark, for example, and how will you know when you’ve reached “full” status?  How will you know when completion has been achieved?

My opinion is that you will never know.  The idea is too nebulous to ever be achieved.  Because the fact is:  He is the One who is fully surrendered to you.

Jesus Christ Himself – The Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us — was fully surrendered to God.  God Himself left His heavenly realm, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and eventually paid the ultimate sacrifice:  He died.  What He did on the hill of Calvary by dying for the sins of the world was nothing less than full surrender.  You can’t get any more surrendered than that.

To tell a room full of teenage girls that they must be fully surrendered to God, without specifically defining the exact meaning of that phrase, is, I feel, insulting the work of Jesus on the cross.

But is there any place at all for surrender in a Christian’s life?

Well, yeah, there is.  First, we must surrender to the gospel.  And second, we must surrender to the New Covenant.

Surrendering to the gospel is the primary work that a human must achieve.  Otherwise, you remain in a state of death – spiritual death.  So, first, believe in the gospel, and receive the life of God through faith, by His grace.  That is the main WORK an earthling is required to do.

“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.””  John 6:28-27

Believe in, trust in, rely on, depend on and fully surrender to the fact that Jesus Christ alone provided for the forgiveness of sins, and that He alone can offer to you the Holy Spirit of God which gives life to your mortal soul.  A simple prayer to the Creator is all that is required to accomplish this work.  Say yes to Him; tell Him you want to accept His free gift.

“Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.”  Jesus’ words in John 6:47.

After you receive the Spirit of life and are born from above – just as the Israelites wandered around for 40 years – you also will inevitably spend a few years of wandering in the wilderness of Churchianity.  But after you realize that your devotion to religion is empty, then you are ready to fully surrender to the New Covenant.  This is not a burden.  Surrendering to the New Covenant is like crossing the Jordan River.  It may take a bit of struggle to make it across, a bit of wrestling.  (The word Israel means, “He who wrestles with God.”)

So wrestle with God!  And then surrender to His grace!

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Surrendering to the New Covenant means that you have come to believe in the complete forgiveness of sins.   It means that you no longer quote 1 John 1:9 to get forgiven.  You have come to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished.”   You realize that the sin issue between you and God actually is finished.

God had to forgive the sins of the world and cast those transgressions as far as the east is from the west, so that He could clear the slate, wipe the table clean and finally have a bunch of humans – forgiven humans – to whom He could make an offer.

The offer is this: “Will you eat from the Tree of Life?”

So, do you see how surrender to the New Covenant allows you to understand the gospel in which you believed?  To really grasp that the two are part of one whole?  Things finally makes sense!  You are no longer trying to put new wine into old wineskins.  You have walked through the door.  You are finally inside the Promised Land of Rest.

Don’t let anyone judge you or condemn you for resting.  Don’t let anyone put a burden on you by saying you must fully surrender your life to God, and by implying that God is waiting for you to shape up, and if you don’t, He will ship you out.  When they essentially say that God is powerless and impotent without your FULL surrender…  just remember that it’s a lie.

Lies keep you in bondage; God wants to lead you into all truth, because the truth sets you free.

“But when He the, Spirit of truth, shall come, He will guide you into all the truth.”  Jesus’ words in John 16:13

 

March 22, 2018  11:28 AM