The Importance of the Gospel

May 16, 2009 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. An I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world. Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be.      C.J. Mahoney

When I worked in the hospital as a cardiac cath-lab technician we had a certain “lingo”, a jargon, a vernacular that was familiar to all the techs, nurses and docs in the lab. For example the physician would walk in the procedure room and ask for equipment to perform the upcoming case. Please open a 6-french Guidant introducer sheath, a 6-french JR-4 guiding catheter, a 3.5 by 25 mm Ninja balloon and a slime wire. It made sense to everyone in the room except for the patient.

  • Everyone has a lingo
  • It’s a strange or incomprehensible language or speech special to a particular field of interest.
  • The bible has a “lingo” particular to those of us who love God and love to study God’s Word!
    • If it was spoken would you be able to understand it?
    • Justification, propitiation, reconciliation, glorification; Sound familiar or does it sound as foreign to you as a JR-4 guiding catheter?
  • The mission of Faith Baptist Church is to glorify God by winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples.
  • And winning people to Christ means becoming familiar with the jargon of the gospel.
  • These are Big words and need explaining.
  • Over the next 5 weeks we will be looking at several “Big Words of the Bible: that will clarify the gospel.
  • Our hope is that this will directly apply to how we share the gospel with our friends, to help us see and understand the gospel more clearly.

The words of the gospel are powerful and when

Chuck Swindle says

A word fitly spoken," wrote the wise Solomon, ''is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Proverbs 25: 11).

  • Like Jell-O, concepts assume the molds of the words into which they are poured.
  • Who has not been stabbed awake by the use of a particular word or combination of words?
  • Who has not found relief from a well timed word spoken at the precise moment of need?
  • Who has not been crushed beneath the weight of an ill-chosen word?
  • Colors fade. Shorelines erode. Temples crumble. Empires fall. But "a word fitly spoken" endures.
  • Fitly spoken words are right words . . . the precise words needed for the occasion.

Mark Twain, a unique wordsmith himself, once wrote: “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

  • And what power those "right words" contain! Some punch like a jab to the jaw, others comfort like a down pillow, still others threaten like the cold steel barrel of a .38 Smith and Wesson.
  • One set of words purifies our thoughts, transplanting us, at least for an instant, to the throne room of God; another set of words ignites lust, tempting us to visit the house of a harlot.
  • Some words bring tears to our eyes in a matter of seconds; others bring fear that makes the hair on the back of our necks stand on end.

Now, let's return again to more choice words from the pen of Solomon.

In addition to being a wise man, the preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd (Eccl. 12:9-11).

  • I love that! The man deliberately sought out, “delightful”, words (the Hebrew here is colorful: words that find favor, are easily grasped, readily digested), knowing that they are like, “goads” (prodding, pushing us on) and "well-driven nails, beautiful . . . and so true.

J. B. Phillips correctly assessed the impact of such words when he wrote:

"lf . . . words are to enter men's hearts and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men’s defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds.”

  • The finest examples of that are the words and phrases of Jesus Christ. His choice of words.
  • His placement of words. His economy of words. Even His eloquent turn of a phrase. The life-changing message of Jesus.

The words of the gospel, strong enough for the most hard hearted, satisfying for the intelligent, soft enough for those bruised by this world, perfectly crafted to cunningly pass men’s defense and explode silently and effectually with their minds.

What a classic example of "apples of gold in settings of silver.”

  • Words matter!
  • When you understand the Big Words of the Gospel, you are able to live what these words teach.
  • When we understand the key words of the Christian life, then we know that the Christian life is, and what God has done for us, and what God wants to do for us.

Why Words are Important

Let’s take a few moments to examine a few pictures or metaphors that emphasize the value of the Word of God. Understanding the benefits of the Bible serves as motivation to understand the “Big” words, to gain a grasp of what is being said in the Bible, so we can apply and reap the wisdom of the Word.

The Bible is Light

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

  • What does a light do? A light enables us to see.
  • When we understand these keys words in the Bible are like lamps we will understand that these words will guide us throughout all Scripture and through the Christian life.

God reveals truth to us in words.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

  • Revelation is simply God’s work in communicating truth to us, truth that we could not discover any other way.
  • Sometimes God revealed His truth in dreams or vision; sometimes people hear a voice;  sometimes they saw God in action.
  • We today have God’s words in the Bible. God has revealed His truth to us “that we might know the things that are feely given to us of God.”
  • Many false teachers come and warp the words of Scripture. They use the words of the Bible but they twist their meaning to arrive at distorted destination; God warns about such distorters:

2 Peter 2:3and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

  • The word “false” is the Greek word that we get our word plastic from.
  • What are plastic words?
  • Words that can be twisted to mean anything.
  • Those who are false teachers alike to use our Christian vocabulary, but do not like to use our Christian dictionary.
  • This misuse of the Scripture negates it’s light giving properties and like a cataract on an eye it causes distorted vision
  • God’s Word is light; it enables us to see. If you want to know what’s really going on in your life, in your world, then you’d better study the words in your Bible.

The Bible is Food

Matthew 4:4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”

  • Food enables us grow. As you grow in your knowledge of the Word of God you can grow in your Christian life.

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

  • It’s possible to grow in knowledge and not grow in grace.
  • Knowledge does not guarantee growth in grace.
  • Just like knowledge about food does not promote growth, eating the food is what is responsible for growth.
  • Knowledge of the Word of God is different from practically applying the Word of one’s life.

Romans 12:2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  • However without the “knowledge” of the Word we will not grow.
  • It’s important for us to grow by feeding on the Word of God.
  • When you understand Bible Doctrine; what it means to be justified, what it means to be sanctified, what propitiation means and then appropriate these truths into your own life, then you grow and mature in life in the Christian life.

Jeremiah 15:16Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

Job 23:12“I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Hebrews 5:11-15Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

The Bible is a Tool

Jeremiah 23:29“Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

  • Sometimes God’s Word has to breakdown before it can build up.
  • Sometimes God’s Word has to burn before it can warm.
  • But God’s Word is like a hammer; it is a tool for breaking down the old life and building up the new life.
  • It enables us to build the church.

Paul said:

Acts 20:32“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

  • If you want to build your life, you must use tools, and the greatest tool of all is the Word of God.
  • The better you understand the meaning of key Bible words the more tools you will have in your “spiritual workshop” for getting the job done in building your own Christian life and helping to build the Church.
  • Church history proves that when the Word of God was given its free course, when there was faith preaching and teaching of the Word of God, the Church grew and with a strong missionary and evangelistic outreach.
  • The Word of God is light, it enables us to see. The Word of God is food, it enables us to grow. The Word of God is a tool, it enables us to build.

The Word of God is Weapon.

  • The Word of God is also a weapon, it enables us to fight.

Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Ephesians reminds us:

Ephesians 6:17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  • You have discovered that the Christian life is not a playground, it is a battleground.
  • There are false prophets and teachers around us.
  • There are false religions that are trying to sell you out.
  • Satan is out to get you.
  • The world is out to get you.
  • Satan is a liar, but God is the One who gives us truth.
  • It is important that you and I understand the words in the Word of God as weapons to fight battles.
  • When Satan comes with one of his lies and tires to tell you that you have lost your salvation, you will be able to refute him. When you are going through a period of despondency and discouragement , you will be able to reach into your armory of weapons and fight the Devil.
  • If a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer has to learn a technical vocabulary to do his job, how much more important it is for us who have an eternity in view!
  • How much more important it is for us who are trying to win lost souls to know these Bible words and use them the way God wants us to use them.

The Gospel

The Gospel Bridge is a an excellent tool to present the gospel with.

It is easy to grasp because of its use of a picture.

We will be using this gospel bridge over the next several weeks to see where the “Big Words” of the Bible fit into the picture.

If time permits you might want to familiarize you class with this tool so that in the weeks to come they will be familiar how it works.

God’s Purpose: Honor and Serve Him

God Created Man to Honor, Serve and Fellowship with Him.. The Bible Says… 

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and  were created.”
Revelation 4:11

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psalm 16:11

Mankind's Problem: Sin

Man Chose To Sin Against God Rather Than Serve Him.. The Bible Says…

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."             Romans 3:23

What does it mean to sin against God?
Sin is breaking God’s law (1 John 3:4).

We sin by doing what God has commanded us not to do or by not doing what God has told us to do.

Sin's Penalty: Death

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 6:23

When man chose to disobey God, the result was death. The basic meaning of death is separation. The Bible teaches that there are three types of death, or separation, that result from sin.

Spiritual death separates a person from the life of God (Ephesians 2:1).

Physical death separates a person’s soul from his or her body (Hebrews 9:27).

Eternal death separates a person, both soul and body, from God forever in Hell
(Revelation 20:15).

Then how can we ever you have eternal life?  

Throughout history individuals have tried many ways to gain or earn eternal life, but every attempt has been unsuccessful.

The Bible says...

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."Proverbs 14:12

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,"Titus3:5a

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast."Ephesians 2:8,9

Christ's Payment: Our Sinless Substitute

Jesus Christ, God's sinless Son, was sent by the Father to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in our place. The Bible says…

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet   sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,” I Peter 3:18a

Then how do we cross the bridge to eternal life?

Our Pardon: Turn and Trust

How do we cross the bridge to eternal life? We must receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus Himself said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John14:6

In order to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you must repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone as the only hope of eternal life. The Bible says…

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19a

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16:31a

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans10:13

God's Promise: Eternal Life

Jesus Christ said,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John5:24 

This verse has one promise with three parts.    The person who Believes:

  1. Has eternal life
  2. Does not come into condemnation

Has passed out of death into life.

Will you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior now?

To do so you must…

  1. Admit that you have sinned against God and ask Him for forgiveness. 
  2. Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died for you on the cross, rose from the dead, and is Lord. 
  3. Call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior.