Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 12th - The Gospel

Prayer Requests
- Aaron and Moireen and Chaneille
- Abbie’s Wrist
- Hannah Singing
- From Saturday - Amy's Salvation
- Matthew's friend John

Text – 1 Thessalonians 1:10

I want to make sure we’re absolutely clear on something I said last week, I’m not sure I said it right and it’s so important that I want to make sure everyone understands.

Repentance and Faith don’t save, they are the applications to God for salvation, at which point he chooses to save. Jesus Christ is the one who is actually doing the saving. If someone repents and believes, they do not have a 100% chance of being saved, we see this evidenced by millions of people who have “accepted Jesus” or “prayed a prayer” who are not saved, who show no fruit, and who live like the world. God is faithful that if you seek him, you will find him, and if you confess your sins, he will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The key here is that God is doing the saving, and the choosing, and the cleansing, we’re only making application for him to do these things. Like if you went down to Lockheed Martin where I work and said, “I choose Lockheed Martin as my employer and my paycheck giver.” Is that going to work? No, you have to apply, and if Lockheed Martin chooses you, then they’ll become your employer and paycheck giver.

Repentance + Faith ≠ Salvation

Repentance + Faith = Christ will grant you salvation

It’s a very minor difference, but a very important distinction to make, that Christ is our mediator, advocate, and high priest pleading our case and making us righteous in the eyes of God based on Christ’s atonement on the cross.

Make sense?

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Before we jump into what the Gospel is, I want to define some terms.

Gospel-Good News, it comes from the Greek Euangelion which is separated into two words, Eu – Good, and Angelion – Message, it is the good message. The bad news is that we’re all sinners condemned to die and be punished by God for eternity because we’ve broken the law. The bad news is as infinitely bad as the Good News is infinitely good.

Atonement-Restoration of Relationship, Atonement is a BIG concept which can’t be easily defined. It is a covering of sin, an appeasement of wrath, a reconciliation, a repairing of something that was broken, of resurrecting something that was dead, of lifting up something that was fallen. It is a big word and concept.

Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Propitiation-A Source of Atonement, usually substitutionary, specifically between God and men.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Ransom/Expiation-The payment for sin. The Bible says we are sold under sin, our sin has earned us a debt to God that there is no way we can pay, that even an eternity in Hell will never pay for, which is why it will go on forever.

Here is where I am probably going to make some of you mad. Who likes the Chronicles of Narnia? Remember when Aslan the Lion goes to the altar as the ransom to the queen? He was paying a ransom to evil. While I really like C.S. Lewis, he is terribly mistaken in this point, our ransom was not paid to Satan or to evil, our debt was against God and Christ paid the price to redeem us.

1 Peter 1:18-19 …knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Justification-Your legal standing in the eyes of God. You were guilty, but now you are seen as innocent and righteous in the substitutionary death of Christ in which he took all of your sins and gave you his righteousness. It is important to remember though, that while justified, we are not yet perfect.

Romans 4:24-25 [Righteousness] will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Sanctification-The work of holiness of the Holy Spirit in your life, conforming you closer and closer to an image of the Living Christ. This is the process of making someone clean in order that they can enter into the presence of God. It is a process and sometimes you see very little positive movement and sometimes you’ll grow by leaps and bounds. When Pastor Aaron gave me the title Pastor of Evangelism was probably my biggest spurt of sanctification, but since I’ve started working with our students I have also seen a very steady progression in holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Glorification-When we are called home and made pure as Christ is pure. Your sanctification process may last 85 years like it did for a man in the Second Century named Chrysotum, or it may last for two hours like it did for the thief on the Cross, but we know that when we step out of this world as justified, redeemed children of God, we will be glorified when we enter Heaven.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Now lets look at why this is important.

Attributes of God


These stand trillions of miles apart, they are entirely contradictory. A just God cannot just randomly forgive someone. A vengeful God is not interested in patience…he cannot just let lawbreakers go, there is a debt against him, justice is due, his perfect goodness requires his perfect hatred of wickedness and sin.

But our God is genius, he is the most loving, patient, merciful, and kind God you can imagine, because he couldn’t compromise his justice, wrath, and hatred, he willingly sent his Son Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for them, to atone for our sins so that Christ got everything on the left and we get everything on the right. This is the Gospel, the bad news of our lostness is on the left, and the Good News of our salvation is on the right. We are redeemed in the cross of Christ.

Lets look again at our verse, to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

God’s wrath, his hatred in action, was pointed at us, but Christ took that wrath on his own body and paid our fine in his own life’s blood, the infinite wrath of God was poured out upon him. The Paschal lamb of the Exodus died a painless death, but God's wrath was demonstrated against Christ, in order to redeem us he could have died a painless death, but then we wouldn't appreciate what we are saved from. Our ransom was complete in his death, our reconciliation is complete in his life.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

See if you can pick out the Gospel in this long wrathful passage, this is Nahum 1.

2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. 5 The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. 7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. 8But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

The Gospel is that the LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Here is the clearest Gospel presentation in the Bible, I think, because Paul was specifically writing to Galatia who had abandoned the Gospel:

Galatians 1:4-5 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Lets look at the verse one last time to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

If it wasn’t good enough news that we’ve been reconciled to God, there is even more, on the third day after his death, Christ rose from the grave and defeated death. Death is dead to the saint, "Oh death, where is thy victory? Oh death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55-56) and even more good news is that this present evil age will not last forever, but that Christ will come back and purge death and sin from the universe.

When giving the Gospel to people, it is imperative that we include the bad news in order that they know what they are being saved from. Alistair Begg puts it beautifully, Unless you have a real wrath, a real anger, the biblical concepts of long- suffering, of mercy, and of grace, are robbed of their meaning.

God’s justice magnifies his forgiveness by paying the price himself. He is exalted and glorified in the Gospel just as we are saved in the Gospel.


We missed four verses I want you to know, so we will look at them first thing next week. In preparation for Reformation Day (October 31st) we will skip a week of 1 Thessalonians and learn about Martin Luther, I'm doing this early for a few reasons, partly because I have lots to do this week and don't think I could do 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 justice in the time I'm going to have to prepare this week. I already have a lesson prepared on Luther.

If, before October 26, you witness to one person, I will pay you $5. If you need tracts, I have lots, if you don't know how, just read them a tract letting them answer the questions. Time will be alotted on October 19th and 26th for reports if you'd like to recount what happened or have any questions. Don't forget to talk to God about people before you talk to people about God!