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 a new college graduate who had moved back home, and 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!  Oh Lord, how embarrassing.  I don’t even remember that young man’s name, but God bless him for hearing me out.

And, if you don’t mind, may I please explain the gospel to you right now in a simple and concise manner???  I promise; I’ll be quick.

The gospel is the good news, or the glad tidings, of Jesus Christ.  It’s good news because He came to solve the problem that plagued humanity.  As I told that anonymous guy on the dance floor:  the problem began in 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 “spiritually dead.”  We are all born in the image of Adam.  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

The Strong Emotions of King David

Was King David a Drama Queen?  Maybe he was . . . but, in a good way!  He was a wonderfully passionate man with really strong emotions.  And he was a man with a heart filled with so much faith, so much trust in God, that he is used as a type of Christ, a model for the Messiah:

“And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:24)

That is astounding!  David is used synonymously with the Messiah; this verse is a prophesy of the coming Messiah!

David was an ordinary human who became extraordinary because of his passionate reliance and dependency on the Lord His God.

Because of his faith, David was chosen to replace Saul as the King of Israel.  Because God recognized him as a “man after my own heart.”

“But now (Saul) your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people…”    (1 Samuel 13:14)

Despite being one of the most famous men who has ever lived, and one of the most important Bible characters in the history of the world . . . to me, David is just my big brother in Christ.  He is someone who I look forward to meeting, and teasing, one day.

“Dude, you know that you were a total drama queen when you lived back on the old earth.  Right?  I mean, c’mon, you totally were.”

And he’ll reply, “Oh yeah!  Totally.”

(LOL.  . . .Well, who knows?  But I nonetheless entertain myself with such imaginings.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Okay, so you know those reading plans that give you daily assignments so that you can read through the Bible chronologically in one year?  Well, so far, it’s been five years and I’m in the book of Jeremiah.  I’m so slow because I often skip a day, or a week, or even a month.  Plus, I typically re-read my daily assignment; sometimes over and over for several weeks.  (Gotta be OCD with the Bible!)

Since I’m new to the “grace message,” to a complete understanding of the New Covenant, it seems like I am reading the Bible for the first time.  Even though I’ve been saved for 26 years.

Anyway, this slow and careful reading style allowed me to really get to know David.  And I fell in love with him while reading through his life story, and through all of his poetry.  When I came to his death in the book of 1 Kings, I started crying.  I remember exactly where I was sitting in my house when that happened.  I realized how much I would miss him.  I felt so sad that his life came to an end; it was like a good friend had left me.

I hope that one day on the new earth, he will come to regard me also as a good friend.  And I hope he will laugh when I tease him about being a drama queen.  Such mood swings; such melodramatic laments at times!  But maybe that’s what I love best about him, because his emotional outbursts were often channeled toward his praise of God. (Such as Psalm 103). When you read David’s Psalms, you see that David completely trusted in God.  He knew that God is good; that God is trustworthy; that God is kind.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

(Psalm 62:8)

Of course, we all know that David was not a perfect person; his adultery with Bathsheba and the way he orchestrated the murder of her husband are notorious stories.  David fully acknowledged his own sinfulness; he was completely acquainted with his own depravity.  He didn’t try to hide it; he was a man who lived in reality.

But he pleased God because he had true faith.  His heart trusted completely in the Lord.  And God honors David’s faith throughout the Bible.  In Jeremiah, it is implied that the Messiah came because of David!  That is was for David that the Messiah is raised up!

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.  (Jeremiah 23:5)

David did not get to live in the days of the New Covenant, in the days following the resurrection of the Righteous Branch.  As a result, there was so much that David did not understand, and perhaps that is what caused his mood swings.

“Take not thy Holy Spirit from me,” was spoken by a man who did not have the opportunity to be born again by the Holy Spirit.  Certainly, the Spirit “came upon” David at times, but not in an abiding, eternal way.

For us today, we know that the Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us.  It is because we are “raised up” with Jesus; we are resurrected from the dead, just as Jesus was.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

David looked forward to the resurrection; we look back to it.  I think it’s at the Second Coming that the dead in Christ will rise first – so does that mean that David will be with us during the Millennial Reign of Christ?  I hope so!  But whatever happens, we know that David has a fantastic future ahead of him:  everlasting life with the God whom he loved and trusted in with all of his heart!

 

February 3, 2018