THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 3-15-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF GOD: WHO IS THE GOSPEL FOR?
The Hebrew writer proclaimed, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest… let us hold fast our confession!” Do you know this high priest today?
Greetings to all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me thank each of you for joining us this morning – welcome to the program. Today we have the privilege to once again assemble before the throne of God. In this time of worship we will have the opportunity to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. May we each do our part in praising God according to His Will, as we make these sacrifices and offering toward His Throne? Now as we begin talking to our God, will you bow with me in prayer!
What a great blessing and privilege it is for us to have the opportunity to praise and magnify our God. If you’re like me, I love to sing and accomplish God’s Will as we teach and admonish one another. But ultimately, how wonderful it is to have this avenue to worship our God. So this morning, let’s begin with a song which reminds us of the confidence we can have through Christ. Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Blessed Assurance?”
(BREAK FOR SONG # 1)
I find it very interesting to see that many comparisons the New Testament writers use to those things of old. In fact, we see men like Paul continually comparing the literal things of the Old Law, to the new and better things of the New Law!
One such reference is made by the Hebrew writer in chapter 5, verses 5 and 6, of that book. There we read, “So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Christ in a spiritual since is our High Priest today, just as Aaron and Melchizedek were literal High Priest of Old!
So what does this mean to us as Christians? Well, let’s read another verse back in Hebrews chapter 4. Verses 14 and 15 say, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Praise be to God that Jesus Christ is our High priest, who truly knows about our sufferings and trials in this life? And why, because He Himself also, lived as us, suffered and endured these same temptations. However, the only difference is, when Christ was tempted He endured and sinned not! What about us, is this how we respond to trials and temptation. Do we look to God for help and endure without sinning?
May we always learn from the great example we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Although we can not be perfect as He was, we can at least be complete before Him. Which means, knowing His Will, doing it and putting our God first in all things. What type of response are you giving to Jesus, the One who loves you and has shown you so? Are you serving your God, by following and obeying our High Priest?
As far as our main study this morning, we will be continuing our new series of study entitled, “The Gospel of God.” Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with, “Who Is The Gospel For?” So please stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in this interesting study from God’s Word. Now let’s again join together in song, as we sing the hymn, “A New Creature!”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us today and we continue now to look to God’s Word and to find out what the scriptures say about the gospel. We began last week a new series in looking at what the gospel is and really what the scriptures teach us concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so last week we saw what the gospel was and this morning we want to look at the idea of who the gospel is for.
When we go back to the Old Testament, we know that from the very beginning God loved man. In fact, He created man with all of the other wondrous creation that He made in the very beginning. And when He made man, He certainly did everything for man because of that care and love for man and there was certainly a will that God gave to man for even Adam and Eve knew that there were things to do, trees and plants that they could eat of and there were also things that were not to be done such as eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And so therefore from the very beginning God has set a message, God’s plan, God’s message, God’s news.
So as we move throughout the Bible, it is not strange that we would find even in our day as back in the days of Jesus as He lived that they began to preach the message of God or the good news of God or the gospel of Christ.
It’s also not strange because as we back up yet again we find out that through promises given in the Old Testament, the gospel was always going to come. We even mentioned last week together the idea that there in Genesis chapter 12 that even through Abraham, God in the promise to Abraham said that “Through you all families or nations of the earth will be blessed.” Not some. Not a few, but all! What is interesting about that is it shows us that God now is beginning to take a new plan or a new idea in the future to where no longer will He just look at one nation, one people, but now He is going to open the plan up for all of mankind.
We further see this idea being presented over in the book of Isaiah by the prophet Isaiah. You might recall there as it speaks about the coming of the church or the kingdom in the days that Jesus would bring forth in the days He lived. If you’ll notice there in chapter 2 and verse 2 it says this in Isaiah again, “Now it shall come to pass in those days that the mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established on the top of the mountain, and shall be exalted above the hills,” and hear this, “all nations shall flow to it.” Now certainly again that was something different or strange in contrast to what we find under the Old Law because under the Old Law God shows a people, through Abraham, Isaac and then Jacob, who was later named Israel, and then the nation of Israel, the Israelite nation that certainly got all the way up until New Testament times looked at as a chosen people, a special, unique people of His.
And see then we find all these things brought to a fruition as well over in the New Testament if you’ll turn there to the book of Galatians. Here we find that same promise that Abraham spoke of and even really a confirmation of what there Isaiah was speaking of found in the verse of Galatians chapter 3 and verse 16. Notice what this text says. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He does not say and to the seeds of Abraham as of many, but as to one and to your seed,” And then it says, “Who is Christ.” You see, through your (meaning Abraham) seed, all nations, all peoples, all families of the earth will be blessed. Who is that seed? Jesus Christ.
Now jump down in the same text to verse 29. “And if you are in Christ,” it says there, “you are no longer just Abraham’s seed but you are heirs according to that promise.” You see if you are Abraham’s in a spiritual sense, through that seed, you are also Christ’s and vice versa. Therefore what we learn is that there was a plan, God’s plan that was going to be accomplished in bringing about a good news, a good news no longer that was for a specific people such as we again confirm in Israel through an Old Law or the Law of Moses that was given at Mt. Sinai for that specific people, but there was something coming (Jeremiah chapter 31), a day when a kingdom, a church, a house would be established with the people of all nations that they could come to it and be a part of it. And so therefore in order to accomplish that what was necessary? Would the things of the Patriarchal Period teach them that? No! Would the things of the Law of Moses teach them what the needed to know about Christ and the detail of the gospel of Christ? Certainly not! And so what was necessary? The gospel itself of Jesus, the good news, God’s message of Christ. That’s what we have today as has been delivered to us through the New Testament.
Now to understand the gospel we need to back up just a little bit more yet again before looking right into the heart of the New Testament where certainly we find confirmation of what the gospel is and who it was to. Let’s back up just a moment and see when Jesus first came. He certainly began His ministry most likely around the age of 30. I find it interesting that even before the church or the kingdom was established that He preached about, that He spoke about as a part of the gospel there in Matthew chapter 16 even before He was preaching the gospel of Good News. Look with me at Matthew chapter 4 and notice what it says. It says there that, “He came preaching (what?),” there in verse 23, “He came preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” He also was as it says, “Healing the sick, healing people of disease.” It says, “His fame went throughout all the land,” but as He was doing good, what was He preaching? Clearly in Matthew 4 and verse 23 says, “He was preaching the gospel of the kingdom. What kingdom? There again we have in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.” He says, “Peter, I am going to give you the keys to the (what?) kingdom,” in the following verses there in the same text.
So there at Acts chapter 2 we find that the church, the kingdom was established that all things were brought about and came to fruition at that point. Why and how? Through the gospel! So Jesus was already preaching the good news of what? A coming kingdom that will save you and give you the opportunity to be saved or that all nations might be saved through it. And we know now certainly through scripture that it would be based on the shedding of His blood, that the church would be purchased (Acts 20:28) and that all those would have through His blood the opportunity to have forgiveness of sins and salvation.
Another verse that we might take note of is found also in our next gospel account there in Mark chapter 1. As we look at it, again I find it interesting because we have mentioned that He was preaching the good news, God’s message of the kingdom, the coming kingdom that was “at hand,” as Jesus said, “at hand,” as John the Baptist said. And here again in Mark chapter 1 and verse 1, I want you to notice what this author starts out before the church, before that kingdom had even been established as he starts talking about guess what – the life of Christ. We find here it says, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” What’s a part of the good news? Well, certainly as we even saw last week and as we’ll see even more in the future, the gospel is centered around the life and the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus primarily as Paul said there in Corinthians, “the death and the burial and the resurrection,” but here we have added even “the life of Christ.” Why? “For it is the life of Christ that He lived to give us,” as Peter said, “an example that we might follow in His footsteps and do those things according to His Will.” And so we learn the gospel of the kingdom before the kingdom ever existed was being preached. We learned the gospel of Jesus, His life, and what He was doing in His life, what He was preaching in His life including the kingdom, including what He was going to do by dying on the cross and including the fact that something new was coming that all men could be a part of. All these things were a part of the gospel of Jesus, the same gospel that today you and I share in as New Testament believers.
Another unique fact about the gospel is found back in Matthew 15 because when Jesus first began His ministry, which would show us as well the ministry of John the Baptist and others, initially they went to the house of Israel. You might recall with me in Matthew 15 and verse 24 this very point is made in that context as here a Gentile woman comes to Him and says, “I have a demon possessed daughter and I want you to heal her.” Notice what Jesus answers her with in 24. Verse 24 of Matthew 15, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He later goes on to say things that seem cruel to us sometimes because He says, “Can I through things to dogs that are really for some who have been chosen like the Israelites?” Well what Jesus was trying to show her was that it is not yet time. “I have not yet died. Blood has not yet been shed for all nations, all families to yet come to follow the Father.” So what He was trying to help her to understand is that the gospel was now being preached and prepared and was about to be brought to fruition at hand when the Day of Pentecost took place. Well if you look on in the story before you begin to question God, He did actually heal her because of her great faith and He commends her highly as a Gentile although He says, “It is not time yet for Me to go to the Gentiles.”
And so what then, through Christ, do we have? The opportunity of salvation as the seed of Abraham and through the seed of Abraham, Christ Himself, we now are Christ. But what was it that was accomplished that we could do that? Well you and I know the death on the cross. That’s why after the death, after the death of Christ no longer was it primarily the Jews, the limited Great Commission as we sometimes say, or the House of Israel that was being approached with the gospel, but after His death and as He had met with His disciples, apostles as we call them, and He was challenging them for the last time before returning there to be with the Father in Heaven at the right hand of the Father as the Hebrew writer says in chapter 1 and verse 1 and following.
Notice what He says in Matthew 28. He says there, verse 18 beginning, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth.” Jesus says that, but now notice verse 19, the commission, the challenge, the open commission, no longer limited to Jews. He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and low I am with you always.”
What has been opened up? The gospel, the good news! What good news? Well so far we’ve learned the good news of the kingdom. We’ve learned the good news of the life of Christ. We’ve learned the good news of His death, burial and resurrection. And now we see a good news that includes a reaction of man of what? Baptism! All nations should be taught about Christ and be what? Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit and then they should be taught all things. Taught what things? The gospel, things pertaining to the gospel, matters of salvation, things that not only start my walk with Christ, but they show me where to go and how to continue to live that I might be right in His sight.
That same expanded Great Commission is found over in Mark 16. You might notice with me there in a parallel account where Mark puts it this way in verse 15. He says, “Jesus said, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to (what?) every creature.’” He goes on to say, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that does not believe shall be condemned.” We again see the same act is required of those, all families, all nations that would respond to the gospel. But here we see who were the recipients. All nations, every creature, all the world. Why? The blood of Christ now gave an opportunity that all men could be saved.
Now to really bring this home, I want you to go back with me yet again to Galatians 3 where we saw the seed of Abraham, Christ. We saw that we are seeds of Abraham in a sense, and really if we are Abraham’s seed and if we are those that follow Christ, we’re one in the same because Christ is the fulfillment of the seed of Abraham. I want you to notice what he states within this context of those who through the seed of Abraham have become heirs or followers or obedient to Christ. Notice with me there in that text, verse 26 beginning. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you has been baptized into Christ have put Him on.” Hear this. “There is neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither slave nor free. There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus, and if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” So what has been added now to that same verse 19? That if we put on Christ, if we are children of God, if we are sons of God, we, guess what, are those who now are Abraham’s recipients, heirs, those who have now shared in that promise and notice that anyone, everyone, Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, men or women, everyone was now given the opportunity no matter who they were or where they were from, no matter what color, no matter what race, no matter what background or culture. They were all given the equal opportunity to come to God through Jesus Christ.
What a beautiful thought then that these things are showing us just what God was willing to do for us. No wonder that is why Peter said in 2 Peter 3 and verse 9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
You see Paul, you see Peter, you see the apostles, you see John, on and on we could go finding the same outcome to the equation that whoever believes will be saved. Whoever believes in what? Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. They will be saved. And oddly enough is that not the very statement that Jesus Himself made in probably the most familiar verse of all ages there in John 3:16, “Whoever believes will be saved.” You know the gospel is for all. The gospel truly is for all. No matter who we are, God wants us to be saved.
So you have the great opportunity today to do what you have already been encouraged through the Word of God to believe that Jesus is the Christ, God and the very Son of God, to repent of your sins, to turn away from those things that are wrong and sinful that you might get your life straight and focused on Christ and then as we have already read to be buried with Him in baptism. For then (Acts 2:37) you are added by God to His kingdom (His church) and as a part of the church you have responded to the gospel that has saved you and also the gospel that will continue to save you if you diligently continue in it.
So the question is: Will you do what God said to become a Christian and will you do what God has said to remain a Christian unto eternal life?
(SONG # 3 - “Faith Is A Victory!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. What a blessing it has been to share this time together in Christ. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves through this worship to God!
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Praise be to God that the Gospel of Christ is for all mankind and that through Jesus Christ all those who believe and obey will have the blessing of eternal life. Have you responded to the Gospel?