THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-24-11
LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: WHO IS THE GOSPEL FOR?”
Joshua once challenged the people of Israel and commanded them to, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve!” So how about you, have you chosen to serve your God and to put Him first in all things?
Welcome to our program and let me thank you all for joining us this day for this time of Worship to our God. It is my prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God’s precious will and His eternal purpose. Won’t you do your part this morning so that God may truly be praised and so that all we offer toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer.
Now it’s time to join in our first song of the morning. Our first hymn of the day reminds us that we are soldiers of Jesus Christ. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Soldiers of Christ Arise?”
(SONG # 1)
We all have choices in this life don’t we? In fact, many of the decisions we make are major and even life altering. In Joshua 24:15 we find that Joshua challenged the people of Israel to make a choice as to whether they would serve God or not. The whole of verse 15 says, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” In this text Joshua was dealing with a people who had been blessed by God time and time again. And still we find that they were worshiping idols and even considering it as evil or worthless to serve the true and living God. How sad this event was in the life of Joshua, yet what an encouragement it was for him to take a stand with God and to make the people choose between right and wrong.
Brethren and friends, we are faced with the same challenge today as God’s children. We may not have set literal idols in our homes or places of worship, but there are many things which we have chosen to put before God and thus have allowed these to become as gods. And now, faced with the same type of problems, we are commanded to make a choice. Will we choose God and a faithful service to Him or will we choose the world!
I believe this challenge is clearly seen in I John 2:15-17, there we read, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Will we choose eternal life with God based on the fact that we have put Him first and accomplished His Will? Or will we choose the world and the lust of it, therefore being condemned to passing away and experiencing eternal punishment. What will your answer be? Well, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
Our topic of study this day, will be a continuation of our discussion entitled, “The Gospel Of Christ.” Our specific lesson of the morning answers the question, “Who Is The Gospel For?” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “The Gloryland Way.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Our discussion today really begins with God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, the Israelites. And we remember how Israel was selected among all the nations that God might make them a special people that they might be His children and that He might be their God. Although that be the case we sometimes forget that under the Old Law God still loved other nations. Certainly God had created all things and God had made all things, and in the fact that He had made all man He did love all of His creation.
That being the case, we do find examples even throughout the Old
Testament of other nations that seemed to believe in God. There’s one specific story that we often think of in relationship to Jonah. He usually is noted concerning the fact that he spent that time in the belly of the great fish, but do you remember who it was that he went to? He went to Gentile nations, those outside of the Jewish land. As he went to Ninevah, to the Gentiles, those people repented and believed in God and began to follow and worship Him.
We find others throughout the Old Testament, even great kings that acknowledged God, even like Nebuchadnezzar. And so when we think about the fact that God had a chosen people, even under the Old Law, though the fact be that the Old Testament was primarily for Israel, for those who were sojourners for strangers or other nations that would still adhere to the law would be accepted as those who are also children of God.
So it shouldn’t be so strange to us when we move into the New Testament and we begin to find early on in Matthew chapter 4 that the Gospel of Good News is being preached concerning the coming of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of Christ that He soon would die for, that really Jesus’ plan always included not only the Jews, the chosen people, but also all men. We do know that initially Jesus went to His own people. We know it’s certainly in the great Sermon on the Mount. Those multitudes who had assembled were primarily no doubt again those who were of Jewish background but even at that time there might have been others. But as we move even for instance to passages like Matthew 10, it confirms for us that early on in verse 5 that the disciples were actually sent out not necessarily the way of the Gentiles but the way of the Jews. So initially those of Israel, the house of Israel, were given that first opportunity, but it’s the very fact that God had given the blood of His Son or would soon give the blood of His Son that therefore all nations would have this new opportunity to come equally before the throne of Almighty God. That’s what makes it so interesting here because He was willing to give Israel that chance but so many of the Israelite nation and the Jews in the days of Jesus rejected Him. They squandered that opportunity. In fact, He was rejected by His own people, the Bible says, His own family, many in His own physical family rejected Him.
All that being said, what was the plan? What was it that God really desired through the blood of His Son, the perfect blood of Jesus Christ? Well, that as Isaiah had said and Daniel and others dealt with in the Old Testament prophecy that someday every nation, all peoples would flow into guess what; the one kingdom of God, and that really the kingdom would be made up of any and every soul that had a love or interest to obedience to the Will of God.
All of these things being the case, now we go back to our main text in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16. “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” But do you notice the latter part? “For everyone who believes, the Jew first, but also the Greek.” Did you catch what was just said there? “Everyone who believes.” Not just someone or someone of a specific nation or race or background. Not someone who is of a certain Old Law. Everyone and anyone who does what? The text here says, “believes.” Anyone who believes, the Jews and including the Greeks, or as we might also say, the Gentiles, which would be more relevant maybe in our day. Of which I might remind you, probably almost everyone watching the program this morning would fall into the category of being a Gentile because we were not born by blood into the Jewish nation.
All of that being said, I want us now to understand that this was the very thought process of God all along. We can back up to perhaps one of the most familiar texts throughout all of the world and throughout all of the times as far as New Testament times, ever since it was spoken by Jesus Himself there in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he (did what?) gave His only begotten Son (that what?) that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” What is left out of this concept of that whosoever? What is excluded from anyone or everyone as we saw in the book of Romans? Jew or Gentile? What culture or nation or race or language? What person of God’s creation? What individual of mankind is really an exception that God would not find interest in and the reality that He made all man and placed a soul within every living of mankind? Well certainly I think the answer is clear that God does love and desire that every man come to repentance as Peter said. “God is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness, but His longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish,” but guess what, “that all may come to repentance.” Who would that include? Anyone and everyone! Is that not why then that we find in the Great Commission near the end of Jesus’ life as He gave that commission to that chosen twelve, that He told them for instance in Matthew chapter 28 and in verse 18 beginning that, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth,” but then He says, “And go therefore and make disciples,” hear it, “of all nations.” Did you catch that? Maybe up to that point some might say, “Well, only the Jews can be true disciples. Only an individual of Jewish descent, of those of the chosen people can be a…” No! It says, “Making disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them, all of them that believe in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them, ALL nations that believe, obey and are baptized, teaching them to observe all things.” Obedience unto God!
Is that not a similar concept that is also presented there in the Gospel recorded by Mark in Mark 16? Specifically in verse 15 beginning the Bible says, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel (guess what) to every creature.” Now certainly he is not talking about animals or those things that don’t have souls. What he is referring to here is this every nation, this every facet or part of mankind, those who have been given the ability to intellect, the intelligence, the logic, and rationale, to really understand, believe, and obey what it is that God has asked. Then he goes on to say this in verse 16 after he says, “Preach the Gospel,” there’s that Good News, “to every creature.” Then he says, “And he who believes and is baptized shall be saved. But he who does not believe shall be condemned.”
So what do we find in the Great Commission? That it was much different from the early on, limited commission of Matthew 10 when the Jews were first given the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, but that the Great Commission when Jesus now died and then gave the challenge to His apostles to teach and preach the Gospel and no longer it was just to the Jews, but it now was to all of mankind, every creature, every nation under the entire Heavens.
Now as we think about that again, I think it’s amazing to realize just how much then our God loves us. But all that being said, I think it’s significant that after the Great Commission, after Jesus including Peter, being present, told them to go to every creature, every nation, said that, “All men whosoever will believe shall be saved,” that there was still a problem. If you read throughout the early parts of the New Testament and the early church, the Jews continued to have this problem with being maybe a higher Christian or a greater Christian or maybe the only true Christians. They continued often to look down on the Gentiles. You will remember one time that even Paul, to the face of Peter, rebuke him. Why? Because he had been making a mockery of God’s Will that ALL men can be Christians.
There’s even a specific example found in the book of Acts. You might recall there around Acts chapter 10 when eventually Peter goes to Cornelius. Do you remember the story before that when he actually has the vision from Heaven saying that, “What now has been made clean by God, even though under the Old Law something might be unclean, that even Peter and the Jews should not call unclean if God has made it clean.” The next verse there, verse 17 says that Peter wasn’t sure what God was talking about. But then he met Cornelius and he saw in verse 44 that the Holy Spirit even fell on the Gentiles and they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and they became Christians, and then in chapter 11 he returns Stephen to the Jews and the Jewish council and tells them, “God has made this opportunity available to every creature, every nation.” Even Peter had to be reminded! Do you remember what the reaction of the Jews was? Actually it is quite surprising there in verse 18. It says, “When they heard these things,” and again these are those of Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, “When they heard these things they became silent and they glorified God saying, ‘Then God has also granted the Gentiles’ repentance to life eternal.’” You see they got it! They figured it out! But you know there are still some today who have not? There are religions in recent years that claim that there were certain races or peoples or colors who could not be followers of Jesus. I find that quite interesting when Jesus Christ Himself said that “Whoever believes shall be saved.”
I finally would like you to notice the work of the apostles and all those chosen to be disciples in the early days, how they really then desired to fulfill this purpose through missionary journeys and proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. We know that to be true because the Gospel was being carried even to as we might say the “uttermost ends of the world.” In fact there for instance in Acts 13 and verse 47, this statement is made in relationship to the work of Paul and Barnabus as there was a conflict, it says there, even in Antioch. It says, “For the Lord has commanded us, I have set you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be for salvation even to the ends of the earth.” What? You mean that that Barnabus and Paul and others were challenged to go to the entire world? Yes! To the end of the world, to every…, not just some Gentiles, all Gentiles! What was the goal of those in New Testament times? The goal was that they might be able to reach every one of God’s creation, every person on this earth, every one amongst mankind with that gospel. No wonder in Romans again and chapter 10 and verse 18 this proclamation is made by the mouth, the mouth of God’s elect when he said, “Their sounds have gone out to all the earth and their words to the end of the world.” Do you know where that quote is from? The book of Psalms. What it shows us is not only do we find here the clear evidence of Paul and others declaring the reality of what has been said by the Holy Spirit, but it says this is the same desire God has always had, that the Gospel be taken to the ends of the earth. The only difference was under the New Law when Jesus’ blood was shed it was shed for all. Is that not what it says in Galatians chapter 3? That when Christ died, when He shed His blood that He would make us all of Abraham’s seed, Jew and Gentile alike. It didn’t matter whether you were male or female, bond or free, Jew or Greek, in Christ we are all one. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? It’s a beautiful thing to see the love of God for not just a portion of His creation, but throughout all of time for all of His creation, God has always wanted man to be obedient to His Will.
Now back to our main text that we have always begun with here throughout our study in Romans chapter 1. There in verse 16 as we talk about the power of the Gospel to the Jew and the Greek, back in verse 14 no wonder Paul then said, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, the wise and the unwise.” Paul understood the Gospel was for all. Do we? Are we going to be willing to give God our best? Are we going to obey it? And are we going to teach it and preach it to the world that they might be saved and have eternal life as well?
(SONG # 3 - “To Canaan’s Land I’m On My Way!”)
As always it was great to have you join us this morning. I hope our time together has been uplifting and profitable to all. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Thanks be to God that He has made the saving Gospel available to all of mankind. For as Jesus said, “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” Have you obeyed the gospel unto a complete obedience?