12th December 2016

The Gospel

The gospel   


A hero, an enemy, and a rescue. These are the elements of a good story.What if I told you that you are in a story, right now? What if I told you that your life, and the lives of all the people around you are in terrible danger? And what if I said there is a hero who saves people’s lives from that danger every day? Would you believe?This is exactly what the Bible describes to us. It says there is trouble in our world – terrible things are happening. People are hurting, desperate, and dying without hope. An awful disease, called sin, has infected the entire human race (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-18,23). Because of this infection, we cheat and kill one another, and do many other hurtful things to each other and to ourselves (Romans 1:29-32). Even worse, the family of man is responsible for this pandemic of sin that has infected every human creature, and even nature itself (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-24; Romans 5:12; 8:19-22). Because of this, we are estranged from the loving and good God who created us (Psalm 51:4; Ephesians 2:12). No person is exempt from this situation (Romans 3:10-12). The Bible is clear: every soul who sins will die (Ezekiel 18:4). Every person must bear the punishment for his own sin, which is an eternity of years in a frightening place the Bible calls hell, where “the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).But, there is hope. There is a hero. The Bible tells us that there is a hero named Jesus Christ, who came to free humanity from its bondage to darkness and spiritual disease and eternal death. He was God’s own Son – in fact, He was God (John 1:1-17) – and he came down from heaven, where everything is clean and free from the infection of sin (Psalm 84:1-2). Since he was clean, he had the power to do what no other person could ever do – offer himself as an acceptable sacrifice (Isaiah 53:5; Hebrews 9:22). Since Jesus was pure, unstained by sin, he could fulfill God’s law and make atonement for sin (Leviticus 16:30; Exodus 12:5; 1 Peter 1:19). By voluntarily dying as a sacrifice, he paid the debt of punishment that man owed for his sin. In his death, he traded places with man’s sinful family (Romans 5:6-8), so that any member of that family who trusted in His loving act of redemption could live forever (John 3:16), be clothed in His perfectly clean life and have a relationship with God (Romans 5:18).Christ is the curse-bearer (Galatians 3:13). He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed by God for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5, 10). He gave his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He is the Savior who was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). He is the sorrowful suffering Servant who drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath for our sake (Mark 14:36).God sent this Hero to us because He loved the world. He sent Jesus so that anyone who believes in Him would become clean, and would live eternally with Him in paradise (John 3:16). Anyone who believes will become clean from sin (Hebrews 10:10, 14), and will become part of God’s family (Matthew 12:49-50). But there is also an enemy (1 Peter 5:8). Because this enemy hates God, he tempts and terrorizes the people on earth. He doesn’t want people to find the cure for sin, so he tells lies to them, saying things like “you don’t need a cure, you’re not sinful” or “God and Jesus don’t even exist, what are you worrying about?” or “I can give you a better cure for your empty, painful life – drugs, sex, gambling, sensuality, ambition and pride can make you feel better right now”. But the enemy’s false cure is like heroin – it makes you feel better for a little while, but in the end it leads to death (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 6:7; Proverbs 14:12).Don’t believe the enemy’s lies. You know in your heart that God is there (Psalm 19:1-3; Romans 1:20; 2:15). He is calling to you now. Give up trying to fix your life and yourself, and trust in Jesus Christ and the cure for sin and death that he provides. Look at your life, and at the pain you see there. Admit the truth that you have caused this pain because you are full of sin. Admit that you need to be rescued from the infection growing within you – before it is too late. Jesus’ heroic act on the cross has provided a lifeline for you. Ask Him to change your heart and to change your life (Acts 4:12; Ezekiel 36:26).This is the good news: You can have eternal life with God. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You don’t have to “clean up” to come to Him (Romans 5:8). God sees and hates your sin (Psalm 5:4-6; 11:5), but He also knows and feels your pain, because He has a good, compassionate heart (Hebrews 2:18; 4:18; Luke 15:10). Because He loved the world, He has promised to rescue and cleanse all those who believe in His gift of love – His own son, Jesus (Romans 6:20-23).Turn away from sin, and believe (Mark 1:15).

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