19 Aug

 Let's read John 3:16-17 in the NIV.  For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world , but to save the world through him.   This is the essential message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Salvation and redemption.  But it goes a lot deeper than that.  Today we’re just going to look at the message and what it is.  So we’ve all heard the word gospel.  We’ve heard that term before but what is it, what does even mean? What is it about and what do you do with that. And after you’ve shared the message, what’s next? What do you do then.Some people think that the gospel is only referring to the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew through John. I mean that’s where we learn about Jesus,who he is and what he’s about right?  We get to learn about Jesus‘s life and his ministry.  Others think that it really only refers to Jesus being able to save us from our sins.  And then There are those that don’t know Jesus, that don’t know anything about him, that have  never heard this term before so those people have no idea what it’s about.The gospel literally means “good news”  or “good telling” from the Latin evangelium or the Greek euangelion.  This is where we get our term evangelism from.  If gospel literally means the good news well then obviously there must be bad news as well. So what is this bad news that we are sharing the good news about?  Well it’s interesting really because the gospel message starts all the way back in the book of Genesis. Look back at Genesis chapter 3 I’ll read it for you, now this is going to be verses one through 13. It says, “The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God and made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Of course we may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden the woman replied, it’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we’re not allowed to eat. God said you must not eat it or even touch it; if you do you will die.  You won’t die the serpent replied to the woman. God knows that your eyes will be open as soon as you eat it, and you’ll be like God, knowing both good and evil. t The woman was convinced. She saw the tree was beautiful and it’s fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.  So she took some of the fruit and ate it.  Then she gave some to her husband, who is with her, and he ate it too.  At that moment their eyes were opened and they suddenly felt shame of their nakedness.  Sothey sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.  When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.  So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.  Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid.  I was afraid because I was naked.”  “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked.  “Have you eaten from the tree whos fruit I commanded you not to eat?” The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”  Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied.  “That’s why I ate it.”  Now, there’s a lot packed into that set of scripture and we’re not going to get all the way into this and break every single line down or we could spend a week just on that.  But I do want to make a point of a couple different things. Number one, why did the serpent go after Eve instead of after Adam? It clearly states in the scripture that he was with her, it says so she took some of the fruit and ate it then she gave some to her husband who was with her.  Well, Lucifer is smart, if Adam had given it to Eve, she could’ve simply said Lord I was just doing what my husband told me to.  And, don’t forget, Adam was with her, he could’ve stopped the whole thing immediately. But he didn’t.  The other thing I want to ask you is, how long do you think they were in the garden before they sinned? Now, obviously no one really knows for sure. But it is interesting, that immediately after the scripture about God making Eve  from the rib of Adam and defining marriage between a man and a woman, we go straight into the Scripture about how they sinned. We also know that God was not with them when they sinned. We also know that they had not had a chance to eat from the tree of life yet from the conversations between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And heres one for you,  they weren't around long enough to know that snakes aren't supposed to talk!  So it’s likely that they were in the garden less than 24 hours after being created before they sinned. God was not with them because it’s likely that it was on the seventh day while he was resting. Adam and eve were created on the 6th day..  Anyway I’m getting off on a bunny trail. We could talk about that all day.  The point is, this is the bad news, the fall of man from the very first people created. This is where the gospel message comes in as the good news and it comes in right after we hear about the fall of man. Let’s look again at Genesis chapter 3 verses 14-15.  Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild.  You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.  And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring.  He will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel.”  There it is. The first prophetic statement in the Bible about the coming of Jesus and it came from God himself. When God says I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring, he’s not referring to Eve he’s referring to Mary. And her offspring is none other than Jesus Christ.  And he goes on to say he will strike your head and you will strike his heel which basically means he is going to destroy you and you will cause a little bit of harm to him.  So in a time span of what is likely less than 24 hours after the creation of mankind, God had already laid out the plan for our salvation.  From the moment they first sinned, the earth and everything on it has been under a curse. From things as simple as weeds and thorns to things as complex as cancer and death.  But the good news is,  someone was going to come that would put an end to all of it. This is the beginning of the gospel message.  God created us and all things to live in perfect harmony and in relationship with him, but the first people he created changed everything by sinning against God, by not following his instructions.  That sin is like a stain on everyone one and everything since then.  And there is nothing we can do on our own to get that stain off of us.  There is only one way.That brings us to the next part of the gospel message. Who is it about?  Is it about us as people?  No, it’s not about us as people.  It’s about Jesus!  It’s about the one who makes a way where there is now way.  Isaiah 43:25 says “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.  God alone can wipe out our sins, but it isn’t by anything that we can do on our own.  It is only through our faith in Jesus by the grace of God which is freely given to all who put their trust in the Lord.  In John 14:16 Jesus tells us that He is the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through him.  There is no other way.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, and Hebrews 9:22 says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  Jesus came and paid the price for all of our sins by his blood. He gave himself up to pay the ultimate price to secure our eternal life with him.  It is through his death and resurrection that he defeated death.  We’re going to dive deeper into this over the course of the series.  I don’t want to get to far ahead of myself.  So we know what the gospel message is, we know who it’s about, but who is for?  It’s literally for everyone!  There isn’t a single person alive that doesn’t need to hear this.  Not only is it the only way to salvation, it is meant for every person to hear.  2 Peter 3:9 tells us this.  Peter says that the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promises, but is patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ALL, not some, not a special group, not only those that he deems worthy… ALL should come to repentance.  This is one of the problems with the Calvinist theology and unconditional election.  This message is for everyone, and if you’re a Christian, you should be sharing this message with anyone who will listen to you.  1 Peter 3:15 says we should always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to do it with gentleness and respect.  Jesus himself told the disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations.  Do you think that message was meant only for that group he was talking with after his resurrection?  Anyone and everyone can and should be telling people about Jesus, it’s not reserved for preachers, or evangelists, or special forces Christians.  All you have to do is as Peter instructed, give a reason for the hope that is in you.  Why do you believe what you believe?  So let’s say that you just don’t feel qualified to share the gospel, where can you go to learn more?  I’ve got one idea, try reading your bible.  All the answers are in there, seriously.  If we believe what we say we believe, that the Bible is the word of God and the inspired word of God and it is infallible in the original languages, than that’s where you have to start.  Another place you can go to is your preacher.  Ask them for some recommended reading to help you be better at talking about Jesus with other people.  Once you get more comfortable with the scripture, make a list of verses or chapters to give people when they have more questions and for you to read regularly to have top of mind when these conversations take place.       Now, the final question, why.  Why does this even matter?  Why should you want to talk about Jesus with everyone or anyone for that matter?  The simple answer would be because Jesus commanded us to do it.  But can’t you just be secure in your own salvation and let everybody else just figure it out?  I mean, I’m sure at some point, someone will talk to them right?  Maybe, maybe not.  The conversation you have with someone may be the only time they have heard this, or maybe the way that you talk about it will make sense to them.  Who knows, but if you had the cure for death and destruction, why would you not want to share that with everybody?  You literally hold the key to their eternal life.  It can be ruling with Jesus or burning in the lake of fire, I can’t think of a single good reason not to share that with someone.  So let’s just recap everything.  There’s a simple acronym and it spells GOSPEL.  Here’s what it stand for, G-God created us to be with Him, to be in fellowship with Him and with each other.  O-Our sing separates us from God.  When they sinned in the garden, from that day forward, each of us have been born into sin.  Psalm 51:5 tells us that we are brought forth in iniquity and in sin did our mothers conceive us.  We’re born with a sinful nature and that sin, the S- says that sin cannot be removed by any good deeds, we talked about how it can only be removed by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  The P in the acronym stands for paying the price, Jesus paid the price of our sin through his death and resurrection, it goes deeper than that, but for today, that’s where we’ll leave it.  Sin against an eternal God can only be paid in one of two ways, eternal life in the lake of fire, or by the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus who paid it once and paid it for all.  The E stands for Everyone who repents and believe in him will have eternal life with Him.  When we do that, God will blot out every sin, every transgression we’ve ever committed against him or anyone else and never remember it.  And the L stands for life.  Life with Jesus starts now, as soon as you accept him as your Lord and savior, and it lasts forever.   We’ll go deeper into each of these parts of the gospel message over the coming episodes, but if anything I’ve said today resonates with you, maybe you’re listening for the first time or you’ve been listening for a while, but you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus but you’d like to.  I’m here to tell you that it’s yours, John tells us in Romans chapter 10 verse 9 that anyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and he goes on in verse 13 to say that Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  If you believe that and want to have that eternal relationship with Jesus I want you to pray with me right now.  This isn’t any kind of special prayer, there isn’t anything fancy about it, and it’s not the words that matter as much as what’s in your heart when you say it.  But it is an outward expression of what is going on inside of you.  Let’s pray. God I am a sinner.  I have sinned against you and others.  I know that I can not do anything to earn my salvation, I know Lord that I can only be saved by your grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Today I am asking you Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be the Lord of my life.  I want to live my life for you and I pray that your words are a lamp to my feet and a light on my path.  Amen.     Now, this is a podcast, so you and I don’t go to church together, but if you just accepted Jesus Christ I want to pray for you and I want to pray with you.  Send me an email to seekpodcast@gmail.com and let me know.  I’ll help you find a local church to get involved with if I’m able and I’d love to hear your story..  I also want to tell you that in Luke chapter 15 Jesus is telling a parable about a lady who lost a coin, and when she found it she celebrated and called all her friends to tell them.  In verse 10 he says, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  The angels are celebrating you right now.  We’ll dive into the G in the Gospel acronym on the next show, don’t miss it.  Let’s close out with a prayer.
Closing Prayer- Father I praise your holy name. I thank you for the blessings you have given each one of us. I am thankful for this opportunity to share your word with so many people and I pray Lord that you continue to provide opportunities to each of us to share your good news and fill us with boldness and confidence to speak about you and your great gift of salvation through Jesus. Amen.

Scripture Reference
John 3:16-17https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203%3A16-17&version=NIV
Genesis 3:1-13https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3%3A1-13&version=NIV
Genesis 3:14-15https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3%3A14-15&version=NIV
Isaiah 43:25https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+43%3A25&version=NIV
John 14:16https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A16&version=NIV
Ephesians 2:8-9https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2%3A8-9&version=NIV
Romans 6:23https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+6%3A23&version=NIV
Hebrews 9:22https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+9%3A22&version=NIV
2 Peter 3:9https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Peter+3%3A9&version=NIV
1 Peter 3:15https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3%3A15&version=NIV
Psalm 51:5https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+51%3A5&version=NIV
Romans 10:9https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+10%3A9&version=NIV
Romans 10:13https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+10%3A13&version=NIV
Luke 5:10https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+5%3A10&version=NIV

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