Understanding the Gospel

What do you say to a person who says that they are a ********* Religious Atheist?

Chapter 3 in McRaney.

Some of the limitations in clarifying the gospel message

  1. We tend to filter God through our perspective of what we think God is.
  2. We also filter the Gospel Message through our value system.
  3. The people we are sending the messages have their filter as they listen to you.
  4. God knows this, and he fully understands our limitations.  He uses us to carry the message of the Gospel.
  5. The method is intertwined with the Gospel Message.  We must remember that the prose and the tone of the prose that is being received by the person on the other end will impact the message. i.e., We cannot deliver a message about a loving and caring God when we are negative about the message, the messenger, and how he works with people.
  6. Communication of the gospel is wrapped up in the culture of both the person who is giving the message and the person who is receiving the message.

First we must understand what our message is NOT.

In the western hemisphere, people piece together a view of God based on the television, a television host, and what some famous people have said.

THE MESSAGE OF GOD-THE GOSPEL OF GOD IS NOT

  1. The message is not, “Come feel good about God!”
  2. We must be sure that we are not projecting the message that God is just there to serve a person.  The message should be that we are here to serve him.
  3. The message is not, “Just give your life to Jesus and or make a decision for Christ!”
  4. The message is not, “Give yourself to Christ, and then pull yourself up spiritually!” Christianity is not an individual sport.  We are inviting people into the community of believers.  A community of Great Commission Worshippers who take care of each other.
  5. It is not limited to a “private” Christian life.  We are hearers and receivers, but we are also givers of the message. Matthew 28:16 : ver 7, 10; Mt 26:32Matthew 28:18 : Da 7:13, 14; Lk 10:22; Jn 3:35; S 13:13; 17:2; 1Co 15:27; Eph 1:20-22; Php 2:9, [1]
  6. Don’t assume that when a person tells you that they believe in God that they are on the same page as the Gospel.  Ask clarifying questions to ensure that they are theologically correct. Remember that the devil also believes and trembles. James 2:19 [2]
  7. We must become experts on the message that we are trying to communicate to others.

SO WHAT ARE THE BASICS OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE?

WHAT ABOUT US AS INDIVIDUALS?

  1. People cannot pay the eternal debt of their own by carrying out righteous acts. “Not by works ” We cannot earn our way to a relationship with God.
  2. People must trust Jesus ONLY as the forgiver of their sins. He must be Lord and leader of our lives. He is the sole Lord of our lives.
  3. There must be a commitment every day to reaffirm that he is the leader of our lives.  Scripturally there is no separation between Jesus being our Savior and our Lord.

WHAT IS MAN’S PROBLEM AND WHAT IS OUR NEED?

  1. God is  holy and cannot have sin in his presence.  All sin is against God.  Romans 3:23 : S ver 9
  2. Our need is to have our sins removed.
  3. Without God, there is eternal separation of us from God.  Everyone will NOT be saved eventually.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RECEIVE CHRIST?

  1. Biblical belief is not intellectual consent to facts.
  2. We are looking for surrender to Jesus Christ and repentance.
  3. We have total faith.
  4. We are  looking for trust-absolute trust in God
  5. It means our lives are changed, and our commitment is to God, not an ideology or a religious construct.  He sets the rules and boundaries, not a religious order.
  6. We want to help people move toward following Christ, but it is not our responsibility to do the calling. The Holy Spirit does that.

If we are not clear in our message, a person may think that they are saved when in fact they are not.  Why?  They did not give their lives over to Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ.  Each one of us who has a relationship with Christ has a direct line to one of the early disciples who started with Christ.

If one of those disciples remained silent, then 1/12th of the world would not have had an opportunity to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Neither would they have become saved.

Notes

[1] 2 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the New International Version (GrandRapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).  All Scriptures are added by Joyce Gerald.

[2] James 2:19 : Dt 6:4; Mk 12:29; 1Co 8:4-6 ; Mt 8:29; Lk 4:34

Bibliography

McRaney, William. “Understanding the Gospel”. (Video of Lecture, EVAN 525-B12 LUO, Week 4. Liberty University, Spring 2015.) Accessed February 2, 2015.

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