[N]ow in the Gospel we are freed from impossibilities.
At the bottom, the gospel is not good advice, but good news.
They may seem weak in the eyes of the worldly strong. They may seem foolish in the eyes of the worldly wise. But the Gospel message is the power of God unto salvation, and the Gospel means are effectual to salvation. These are the Spiritual instruments given by God with which Christian congregational Spiritual life is nurtured, the Spirit’s tools of grace and growth in grace appointed by God in the Bible.
The Gospel is the heart of the Bible. Everything in Scripture is either preparation for the Gospel, presentation of the Gospel, or participation in the Gospel.
I’m tired of hootenanny religion, the new brand of Christianity that pagans do not feel embarrassed to join. I’m tired of Batman, the Beatniks, the Beatles, the “God is dead” movement, the new morality, situation ethics, existentialism, and the latest theological aberration out of Germany. If my faith were so weak that a professor down in Georgia could shake it, I’d get another kind. I’m tired of hearing in our church bodies that we must get away from our humble beginnings, shake the hayseed out of our hair, and come of age. I hear a lot today about grandstand seats in glory, but I don’t hear much about the baptism of Christ’s suffering. We’re wearing a lot of medals these days, and not many scars.
If you are going to bore people, don’t bore them with the Gospel. Bore them with calculus, bore them with earth science, bore them with world history. But, it is a sin to bore people with the Gospel.
The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.
In the Old Testament we have the gospel promised, the gospel foretold, the gospel in seed form. In the New Testament that seed comes into full flower, as the promises are kept and the prophecies are fulfilled.
The greatness of the Gospel is not found in the messenger, but the message.
The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it.
The glorious good news of the gospel is that the sin-devastated relationship between lost sinners and the holy God can be restored. That at first glance seems impossible. God’s perfect, infinite, righteous justice demands the punishment of all who violate His law. Standing before the bar of His justice are helpless, guilty sinners, unable either to satisfy God or to change their condition. But through God’s plan of reconciliation all the hostility, animosity, and alienation separating the Holy One and sinners vanishes, and those who were once His enemies become His friends. The high calling and noble privilege of preaching this message of reconciliation is the most important duty in the world, since it deals with eternal destinations.
The prophet Isaiah says all of us are like wandering sheep. We’ve all gone astray. Every one of us has followed our own sinful path and the Lord gathered all the iniquity of all of us and laid it on Him. This is the amazing reality that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the sinless substitute for our sins. He offered Himself, the sinless One, for the sinful one. Every person has sinned, and for everyone who puts trust in Jesus Christ, that sin is paid for. This is at the heart of the Christian gospel, Jesus the sinless one, dying as a substitute for sinners… God, the judge, determining what the punishment must be, and executing it on his own Son. Then when we put our trust in Him, with His death applied to us, our sins are forever covered, and the righteousness of Christ is given to us. It is in this great truth of the Christian faith, in which, we rejoice supremely. This rescues us from eternal judgment and gives us eternal peace with God.
Our real problem is not our sins. If our sins were the problem, we might muster the will-power to pull out of this nose dive. But the good news of the gospel begins with some really bad news. Our sins only provoke a bigger problem: the wrath of God. Our real problem is not our sins but God. He is angry, He isn’t going away, and there is nothing we can do about it. If God is against us, who can be for us? But here is the good news. God has made God our salvation. He did it at the cross. God has provided a way of escape from God: in God. We run from His wrath by running toward His grace in Christ. And if God is for us, who can be against us?
But the Lord God of His infinite and great goodness towards man exceeding His favour unto the lost angels had before all beginning of His great love towards [the] elect appointed of His free gift the means whereby His wrath should be satisfied, man’s sin and guilt done away, and he brought into a far more blessed state than he was created in Adam (John Penry).
We face a humanity that is too precious to neglect. We know a remedy for the ills of the world too wonderful to withhold. We have a Christ too glorious to hide. We have an adventure that is too thrilling to miss (Theodore Williams).
Religion says, “Attain”; the gospel says, “Obtain.” Religion says, “Attempt”; the gospel says, “Accept.” Religion says, “Try”; the gospel says, “Trust.” Religion says, “Do this;” the gospel says, “It is done” (John T. Seamands).
This is the rock where we stand when the dark clouds gather and the floods lick at our feet: justification is by grace alone (not mixed with our merit), through faith alone (not mixed with our works) on the basis of Christ alone (not mingling his righteousness with ours), to the glory of God alone (not ours).
We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self. Indeed, what could be more ludicrous in a vast and glorious universe like this than a human being, on the speck called earth, standing in front of a mirror trying to find significance in his own self-image? It is a great sadness that this is the gospel of the modern world. The Christian Gospel is about “the glory of Christ,” not about me. And when it is—in some measure—about me, it is not about my being made much of by God, but about God mercifully enabling me to enjoy making much of Him forever.
The Good News of Christ is not primarily that Jesus will heal you of all your sicknesses right now, but ultimately that Jesus will forgive you of all your sins forever. The Good News of Christ is not that if you muster enough faith in Jesus, you can have physical and material reward on this earth. The Good News of Christ is that when you have childlike faith in Jesus, you will be reconciled to God for eternity.
No other religion has ever claimed that its historical founder is the one and only supreme deity. Nor has any other religion ever dared to suggest that the one true God loves us enough to die for us. This is the glory and the beauty of Christianity. Because God is just, there had to be a payment for sin. Because God is love, He was willing to make the payment in the Person of His own Son.
[The Gospel] tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner canceled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone.
The Gospel makes us realize that we are far worse than we ever believed, but God’s love is far greater than we ever imagined. In the Gospel we realize the depths of our sin so we might better understand the greatness of God’s forgiveness. We see God’s holy hatred toward sin, but His incredible mercy in Christ toward the sinner. If God is God, he must inherently oppose that which opposes Him. Unless evil is dealt with, there can be no good news. The bad news is inherently part of the good news!
I sometimes wonder that you do not get tired of my preaching, because I do nothing but hammer away on this one nail. With me it is, year after year, "None but Jesus!" Oh, you great saints, if you have outgrown the need of a sinner’s trust in the Lord Jesus, you have outgrown your sins, but you have also outgrown your grace, and your saintship has ruined you!
The repeated promises in the Qur’an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah’s scales, whereas the gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.
This Gospel anticipates a world far different from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, where it is “always winter, and never Christmas.” The promise of the Gospel is that it is “always Christmas.” To be “in Christ” is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the gift of God around the tree of life.
The Gospel is so simple that a small child can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.
This God, who is King, is worthy to be known and to be proclaimed for who He is. The missionary who proclaims this God cannot fail. If his message extols the sovereign God, it will be significant even supposing it is never the means of winning one soul. The message will not be lost. It cannot be lost. It will remain as something precious. Before men and angels – yes, and before the demons of hell – it will be praise to God! “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Corinthians 2:15).