Presenting the Gospel

If the Lord were to come back right now, do you believe you would go home to live with Him forever?  Any doubts?

How do we obtain eternal life?

1 John 5:13 – There is a way we can know we have eternal life.

John 8:24 – We must believe that Jesus is who he said he was or we will die as sinners in God’s eyes.

To believe who he is, may not be relevant by itself…

  • James 2:19
  • Proverbs 14:15
  • Phillipians 1:29
  • 2 Cor 10:5
  • Heb 5:8-9
  • Gal 5:4-6

Is there any way we can avoid this punishment and still not believe?  No, this is a life or death statement that Jesus has made.

Remember, God simply cannot lie.  Heb. 6:18

So, are good intentions enough to get us into heaven?  Apparently not.

-> Matt. 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Anyway, we must believe that Jesus is who is said he was.  Who was this?

  1. Matt. 16:13-18 – Jesus is the Son of God
  2. Matt. 12:40, Phillipians 2:7,8 – Jesus was also a man.
  3. Is Jesus still a man today?  Luke 24:43,51
  4. John 1:1,14 – Jesus is also God

So, who is he?  He is God and the son of God and he was a man, as well!

What is the reason that Jesus was both God and man?

1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus is a mediator between God and man.  Is it wise for a mediator to understand both sides of an issue?  Yes, they they can deal fairly with both parties.

Take the example of a bridge.  If it touches both shores, the it is fine.  However, if one side falls to the river, do they still keep the good side open?  No, it becomes useless!

In the same way, Jesus is the bridge between God and man.  He is God and he was a man.  He is the only person in history who can say this.  So, he is the only mediator possible.

But why do we need a “bridge” to God?

Isaiah 59:1,2 – says that sin separates us from God.

A major difference between God and man is that man can be tempted by evil but God cannot – James 1:13,14

That is why we need Jesus to bridge this gap.  He knows both sides.

Heb 4:15 – Jesus was tempted in every way, yet without sin.

Knowing that salvation is possible through Jesus, how do we get in on this?

First, what is it that saves us?

Romans 1:16 – The Bible says that salvation comes from the gospel (also 1 Cor 15:1,2)

Specifically, what is the gospel?

1 Cor 15:3,4 – The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

1 Cor 15:17 – The gospel is “good news” because…

Since the story of Jesus is what saves us, let’s look at a few highlights.

  1. 1 Timothy 3:16 – The “He” refers to God.  “He appeared in a human body or was made flesh.”  This was His Son, Jesus.
  2. Ephesians 1:7 – While on earth, Christ died.  The purpose was for redemption – “the forgiveness of sins”.
  3. John 2:19-21 – Jesus said he was going to be raised from death and he was (Acts 3:15)
  4. 1 Cor 15:20-23 – Christ experienced resurrection in order that we might be able to, later.  He was the “first fruits” or forerunner of what will happen to us.

Acts 24:15All will be resurrected one day.

Phillipians 3:20-21 – Christ’s people will be transformed in body, just as Christ was after his resurrection.  See, the parallel between his resurrection and ours?  That is why he is called a forerunner.

Let’s look back and remember what it is we are supposed to believe.  John 20:30-31 – “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  And that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Summarizing the things that are important for us to beleive:

  1. Jesus is God
  2. Jesus is the Son of God
  3. Jesus was a man
  4. As a man, Jesus experienced death, burial, and resurrection.

Why is it necessary to believe these things?

2 Timothy 1:9-10 – Grace (forgiveness of sins) is now available through the gospel.

If obeying and believing the gospel brings life and immortality, then what is the result of not obeying and believing -> death!  See how this is a life or death statement.

Example:  When you get a Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes packet in the mail, they tell you that if your number is picked, you will win the prize.  Notice that in the packet, it doesn’t say anywhere, “But, if your number isn’t picked, you won’t get anything.”  That is an implied statement.  A win-or-lose statement.

So, what happens if we do not believe and obey the gospel?

2 Thess. 1:7-9 – Punishment and everlasting destruction await.  Is this a life-or-death statement?  What else can it be?  Remember, God cannot lie – this punishment is real.

An important point – what if we choose to believe the gospel but not to obey it?  The same fate awaits.  Just believing is not enough.  Romans 6:17-18 says they “whole heartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” -> the gospel.

Mark 16:15 – Jesus’ apostles were to go out and tell everyone about the gospel.  It is for the whole world.

What exactly does it mean to “obey the gospel”?

Romans 6:3,4 – This passage talks about a death, burial and resurrection that we (“all of us”) must go through, just as Jesus did.  What is it?

Death – We must die to our sins – 1 Peter 2:24 – “die to sins and live for righteousness”.  Also, see Romans 6:2.

Burial – We are buried in baptism (Romans 6:4).  When you bury someone, you don’t just sprinkle dirt on them, you put them all the way under.  Baptism is the same – it meansto be immersed or “plunged under”.

ResurrectionRomans 6:4-5 – “united with him in his resurrection”.  Why?  So “we too may live a new life.”  We are resurrected as a new creature.

This is the process we must go through.  The Bible tells us to obey the gospel!  The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection.  So, we must experience these three steps to obey and have salvation.

After we go through this, then what?  We must obey, correctly, God’s commands.  One of these was already dealt with in Mark 16:15 – preach the gospel.

Peter was among the eleven when Jesus said that.  Let’s look at what Peter did.

In Acts 2:22-24 – Peter preaches Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – the gospel – just as Jesus had commanded him.

Acts 2:37 – The people listening wanted to know what to do.

Acts 2:38-41 – Peter tells them:

  1. Repent – put to death your sins
  2. Be baptized – be buried in baptism
  3. Their sins would be forgiven and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – they are resurrected as a new creature.

Note that Acts 2:32 is a life-or-death statement.  What will happen if you do not repent and you aren’t baptized?  What will happen if you repent but aren’t baptized?  What will happen if you don’t repent but are baptized?  In all cases, God cannot forgive you of your sins.  He cannot lie.

We are to obey this gospel and preach it to others.  Know what you are getting into at the start.  Persecution will happen (John 15:20).  But this verse also tell us that some people will listen to the message.  In order to fully obey the gospel, we must be willing to experience this persecution.  We must count the cost.

Luke 14:26-30 – First, sit down and evaluate the cost before beginning to build.

Matt. 10:34-38 – God must be our first love.

We see what the gospel is and that to obtain salvation, it is essential that we believe and obey it.  There is simply no way to get around the life-or-death statement presented by Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38.

As Ananias asked Saul immediately before his conversion:

“And now, what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” – Acts 22:16